RL195 - Cowboy Handsome

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problem: The first thing you lose are your skis, referring to what John calls a Yard Sale when you crash on skis and fall down and you lose all your belongings in a long streak, first your skis and all the way to your gloves.

The show title refers to people like Sam Elliott and Kris Kristofferson who are cowboy handsome in a certain way although they are not cowboys, and John wanted to be cowboy handsome so badly!

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John recording at John Hodgman’s place (RL195)

It is very loud in John’s headphones, he is at an outside studio and there is Judge John Hodgman, engineer beside him. Other than the manager of John’s office, who one time knocked on the door and maybe was audible in the background and some Seagulls, Hodgman is the first guest voice on Roderick on the Line. He is just here to make sure it sounds good.

Merlin wonders whether Hodgman would like to join them for Roderick on the Line to adjudicate some issues, maybe some dad issues, but Hodgman just wants to make sure it sounds good. They are not set up for that right now and he has to go do his work.

On his way out Hodgman offered to adjudicate one thing and Merlin says he found a love note to his daughter in her backpack. Should he acknowledge that, ignore it, or something else? She is not old enough to be receiving love letters, in John’s opinion. She is 8 years of age, and the love feelings are reciprocated. It is written in a nearly indecipherable scrawl. Hodgman’s reply is that Merlin should take a picture of it in case he ever needs it for evidence, but otherwise he should let his daughter begin to cultivate her own inner life. Merlin sent John a picture of the note, but they did not share it with the audience.

Hodgman asked John if he wanted a beverage and gave him two options: An Arby’s Pepsi Pint glass from 1973 with Warner Bros. Branding and the character Foghorn Leghorn on it (something like this) or a hand thrown ceramic mug with a screen-printed face of a very serious looking early Lyndon Baines Johnson before he was president, probably while he was vice president. Hodgman left them both there.

John has been recording a lot of podcasts lately remotely in the bath and in the streets, and now he is at the famous Judge John Hodgman chambers with velvet curtains and an enormous desk. John had received as a gift a pretty Neat Beecaster microphone, which is weird looking, but it plugs directly into his laptop. When John moved his computer to the office he eliminated the possibility of podcasting from his home, partly or almost entirely to get himself out of the house and into another location where his work could conceivably happen.

But then he got this microphone and when he was on the RV trip he podcasted from California and then he realized how easy it was to just plug and play. Right now he is using Hodgman’s Rode USB mic, it looks like a butt plug, like a short Coit Tower. That is what Merlin used for years until the last couple / three years. Hodgman has a radio station articulated mic booms. His Skype profile photo is actually one of the less creepy pictures Merlin has seen of him in the last five years, it is a computer selfie talking into a hanging mic and his beard would not be out of place in the movie Big Trouble in Little China.

He looks like the character played by James Hong, who also plays Kung Fu Panda's dad and is the Chinese restaurant guy on Seinfeld and he is looking for a girl with green eyes in Big Trouble in Little China. But Hodgman’s beard now has definitely become a little bit scraggly? He got this boom mic, which makes John feel like he is doing a radio interview in a radio station, many of which he has done. John’s podcast mic holding set up is just a desk stand, a normal mic stand that is only eight inches high and he keeps his microphone in his hand in his lap when they normally record,

When he started recording in his bed and then also in his bathtub he wasn't sure what to do with that mic and that picture of me recording in his bed it is actually on his chest, but he couldn't do that in the bath.

Compact Discs no longer being the way musicians make money, musicians who died in a bicycle accident (RL195)

John’s varying recording locations keep things fresh, their show is evergreen, and they never run out of topics, there is Always Something There to Remind Us (reference to the song by Naked Eyes and composed by Burt Bacharach). Merlin had a Burt Bacharach box set that he got in 1998 that he adored, back when they had Compact Disc records, which until very recently seemed like they were going to be the way that John earned a living. Somebody smug, snide, pro-streaming, a Millennial, asked John the other day: ”Do you want to buy a Compact Disc?” - ”I never wanted to buy a Compact Disc. What I wanted to do was sell them to people!” John had no personal interest in them, but he wanted to sell them, and he cannot sell streaming.

The streaming model is not earning artists a lot of money, it is not really earning money for anybody. Didn't somebody just report fewer earnings than they expected? There is a lot of infrastructure to that, it is an ecosystem, it is very challenging to people and Dean Warheim, who sounds like somebody from a 1980s comedy… John heard Merlin say ”Neko system”, and was thinking of The New Pornographers (Neko Case) Merlin was thinking of the one from the Velvet Underground (just called Nico) who died on a bike. The lady from Stereolab (Mary Hansen) had a bike accident, too!

Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident, making a Yard Sale when you crash while skiing (RL195)

Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident, and also there was a Kennedy that died in a skiing accident. John has skied his whole life and he had a lot of accidents, some of them horrific, accidents that we used to call the yard sale accident, because from the point where you initially contact the snow to the point where you finally come to rest you leave little bits of yourself, all your garments, all of your equipment, just in a long skid mark, like a Wile E. Coyote accident.

You are going so fast and when you lose it there is that pregnant moment when you are skiing and then you realize that you are going to go down. Something happens, you catch an edge or something, and you are flying through the air and you are like: ”Oh shit!” and when you hit, when you contact and you start to tumble, the first thing you lose are your skis, and then your hat and goggles and then inexplicably your gloves.

Your gloves just come off for some reason and your poles and then snow is being stuffed into your nose and mouth because you are still going 40 miles an hour and then all this other stuff comes off, your jacket somehow, and by the time you come to a rest you can be really fucked up. But to die? Usually it is that they hit a tree, but even that? Hit a tree? He is Sunny Bono, how fast is he fucking going?

John is trying to picture Sonny Bono at a speed where he would go out of control and hit a tree hard enough to die. John has been thinking about this for years. How did this go down? He really wishes there were some crime scene photos of Sonny wrapped around a tree so he could get a mental picture of it. Merlin read that after his death, Mary Bono told in an interview that Sonny had been addicted to Vicodin and Valium. Maybe he was skiing under the influence? Douglas county coroner said that there was no indication of substances or alcohol.

There was always a divide between skiers who would ski drunk and skiers who wouldn't. John loved to ski stoned, it is one of the great feelings because you recognize: ”Wow, I am hurtling down a mountain! This is amazing! This is singular!” When you ski all the time, you just feel like this is your normal thing, but when you really realize what you are doing, you are way high up on a mountain in the middle of winter, which is a condition you would not otherwise be in, it is a fantastical position to be in.

If you had to climb there in the winter, it would be amazing. But you ride a chair up there and then you are just flying down it. When you are stoned you are aware of all that in a different way, and it is incredible! A lot of John’s friends would get drunk on wine and ski, and that always seemed insane! All it does is deprive you of coordination! It doesn't give you any feeling of: ”Whoa!”, it just makes you sloppy.

Merlin used to be a connoisseur, even before his days of discovering whiskey. He used to be a connoisseur of picking the right substance for a given situation because getting that wrong? You don't want to do that! He can see that skiing and weed sounds like a match made in Heavenly. Skiing, weed and Mountain Dew? What could be better?

Sonny Bono became interested in Scientology and took Scientology courses, partly because of the influence of Mimi Rogers. He stated he was Roman Catholic on all official documents. His wife Mary also took Scientology courses. However, after his death, Mary Bono stated that ”Sonny did try to break away at one point, and they made it very difficult for him” The church denied any estrangement from Bono. Maybe they took him down to the desert outside of Palm Springs and put him in a shipping container and whacked him with a sagebrush, or whatever it is they do down there!

Heavenly is a nice name for a place. John has never skied there, and he is embarrassed to say that he has not skied that many places. Skiing was a big part of his identity when he was growing up, he has been to Europe many times, but he has never skied there. He has been to all 50 States, but he has only skied in Alaska, Washington, and Idaho. He never skied in Colorado, he never skied in Utah, he never even skied in Wyoming. He has never even been to Mount Hood (Oregon).

For all of the adventuring that John supposedly does it reflects poorly on him. He has been to Andorra, he stood at the foot of the ski mountain, he played Rock music at the Sundance Film Festival, stood at the foot of the ski mountain, but he never… Going skiing in a strange mountain is such a pain in the ass! You have to go rent all your stuff. You have to dedicate a whole day to it. You wake up early, find a set of gloves somewhere, it is not a sport that you can just spontaneously… But people do it all the time, they spontaneously go skiing all the time. John is just not a spontaneous skier!

Denise Richards (RL195)

Merlin is looking at the Wikipedia page for a list of skiing deaths and he is trying to cross references with people who may or may not be Scientologists. What about Natasha Richardson? Was she a Scientologist? Was she the one that was in that James Bond movie where it seemed implausible that she was a nuclear physicist? No, that is Denise Richards (see RL146). Which one dated the guy with the drug problem (Charlie Sheen)? That is also Denise Richards!

Merlin says she was a pretty girl in magazines in the 1990s, but John didn’t find her pretty. Her nose was very unusual. Normally John likes a nose that gets in the way, but her nose seemed like it had been whittled down, so there wasn't anything to get in the way. It seemed like a small nose. Basically, if your nose is capable of getting nectar from a flower you might be a Hummingbird! Merlin says that in a Southern voice in his Jeff Foxworthy accent.

Bike accidents (RL195)

John’s good friend Richard Hughes who plays drums in the band Keane is a real advocate for bike safety in London and John sees a lot of helmet-cam videos from the streets around London where bicyclists are on ridiculously narrow bike paths and then some angry lorry driver will intentionally run them off the road because there is apparently a lot of hatred of bicycle culture in the UK, which is a corollary to just the general hatred that is in the UK, but it is directed at bicyclists.

John has spent a lot of time over there and he has a pretty good sense of how deeply sublimated their… they used to have an empire that spanned the globe, the sun never sat on the British Empire, and now it sits on the British Empire every morning just as long as it wants, it just sits there, and the British Empire is trying to get out from under the sun’s butt, but it cannot.

John wonders if he and Merlin are troping themselves, descending into self parody. They have never really said #Supertrain to each other, other people say #Supertrain to them, but when they start saying that to one another they are in trouble. John is flying too close to the sun's butt right now!

Private Benjamin, Stripes, The Goodbye Girl, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Ellen Burstyn (RL195)

Merlin continues to go through the lists of famous people who died in a skiing accident or a bicycle road accident. You don’t want your famous people to die like that, you want them to die of a drug overdose or a sex overdose, although that has never happened except for Goldie Hawn’s husband in Private Benjamin (Albert Brooks). He was going to afford her a comfortable life and then he died on the bathroom floor on their wedding night and maybe he didn't have any money or maybe his family fought her for the inheritance or something, for whatever reason she was forced to become a private in the Army and she was recruited by a sneaky recruiting Sergeant played by Harry Dean Stanton.

Private Benjamin really acquitted itself well to John’s 12-year old mind in 1980, he thought Private Benjamin was just a jam. Stripes was 1981 and John assumes that Private Benjamin probably inspired Stripes. To Merlin Private Benjamin seems to be inspired a little bit by something along the lines of an Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore by Martin Scorsese and that is the movie the TV show Alice with Linda Lavin and Vic Tayback is based on. It was the first time Merlin ever heard the Mott The Hoople song All the Way From Memphis, it has a good soundtrack.

During that period John was pretty traumatized by Kramer vs. Kramer and it was hard for him to watch any kind of divorce porn, except The Goodbye Girl was one of the great examples. If only every movie could be like The Goodbye Girl! Merlin hasn’t ever seen it. Merlin just realized Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan are different people. Ellen Burstyn was the one in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Eileen Brennan was the one in Private Benjamin.

Ellen Burstyn was a comedian? No, John is thinking of Ellen Barkin, who is also not a comedian. Ellen Burstyn was born Edna Rae Gillooly, which is an awesome name. If John were David Letterman he would now say Gillooly 40 times during the show. She was in Same Time, Next Year with Alan Alda, the guy from M*A*S*H, which went off the air 33 years ago. The Goodbye Girl is referenced by many people and it is weird that Merlin missed it.

Map programs having become worse over time (RL195)

John would be following along, but he can't get the hyper corners on John Hodgman's enormous Mac computer to activate. A lot of people use Chrome, but John just goes to Safari, although he is not sure he likes it. He doesn’t like any of the Mac programs anymore. He used to like Google Maps, he never liked Apple Maps. He used to love Google Earth and could just sit there for hours looking at forests in Czechoslovakia, he zoomed in on so many forests in Czechoslovakia looking for specific details on the ground. ”Where was that obelisk?” or whatever.

But now every time he loads one of those map programs he will be standing on the street and there is a truck bearing down on him: ”Which way do I go?” and he loads Google Maps and the program has become stupider and stupider over time, now it can never figure out where he is, it can't Intuit what he is asking, which is: Show me a map! It wants to think that he wants is something that he doesn't. It has just enough agency to not realize that he just wants a map, but not enough agency to really divine what he is asking it to do, which is generally to show him a map. It is very frustrating.

Girls, Newhart, Bosom Buddies, Peter Scolari (RL195)

Also, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel were in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Diane Ladd was in it, whom Merlin could easily confuse with Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan.

The other night John watched the television show Girls for the first time. It has Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in it, Darth Vader’s grandson, the guy who never has a shirt on, and who was in that super annoying movie where he was playing the fun millennial character that the two middle aged people wanted to be friends with, a movie based on the idea of Girls, but seen from the perspective of some middle aged people that wanted to stay relevant. It was pretty hard to watch!

Watching Girls, John started in the middle of Season 2. He doesn’t normally do that, but it was too much to figure out how to watch this show. John liked it quite a bit and he realized that the music was by Michael Penn and was spectacular. Also: A lot of the big characters, the moms and dads of the main characters are all played by sitcom stars from the 1980s. The mom of one of the characters was Julia Duffy, the cute girl from the Newhart show when he moved up to Vermont and had the Lodge, the Bond girl who was kind of cute and perky, she was the Diane of that show a little bit.

And her husband on the Newhart show was the guy from Bosom Buddies, Peter Scolari, the guy who wasn't Tom Hanks, and Peter Scolari also appears in Girls (John must have gotten something wrong here, Julia Duffy was not on Girls and she was not a Bond girl), but not married to the girl from Newhart, but he is a different dad. John was watching the show and was admiring all these young, beautiful stars. Merlin is such a sucker for that. He watched an episode the other night of Parks and Rec with John Larroquette playing a completely unhinged, very insecure man in his 60s or 70s and it was great. You get to play against type. It is fun.

Bosom Buddies was a very influential show for John. Merlin also had strong feelings about that show, it was made for him, that was exactly his humor. The premise was that Tom Hanks before he was famous, and Peter Scalari were like Tootsie, but pre-Tootsie, and John thinks it influenced Tootsie. When Tootsie came out he thought that this was just the plot of Bosom Buddies.

At the time John preferred the Peter Scalari character. Tom Hanks seemed gangly and Peter Scalari was… everybody liked Starsky, nobody wanted to be Hutch, in the same way that everybody wanted to be Luke Duke instead of Bo Duke (from The Dukes of Hazzard). Merlin is not sure about that. He often wanted to be the person who he wasn't supposed to want to be. He liked Luke Skywalker more than Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie when he was a little kid.

Tom Hanks’ character Buffy Wilson was infatuated by Dan Aykroyd's wife, Donna Dixon. They met during the filming of Doctor Detroit, one of the all time great films ”I am going to rip off your head and shit down your neck!” Dan Aykroyd had two really inexplicable movies, that and Nothing But Trouble, two movies that are very hard to understand.

Burn After Reading, The Big Lebowski, George Clooney, Sam Elliott (RL195)

John was watching Burn After Reading, which is a Coen Brothers movie. They make some movies that are very serious and they also make some movies that are very funny, and then they make those movies in between that are neither serious nor funny, and those are the ones that really baffle him. Burn After Reading is in that category. It has an allstar cast like John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney. Maybe if George Clooney is in a Coen Brothers movie, the chances are it is not going to be one of their good ones. Everybody likes O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Merlin says it is a great exercise, not something he would return to like The Big Lebowski. Or like Hail, Caesar! Merlin is anxious to see Hail, Caesar! when it gets to where he can watch it. John saw it. It got George Clooney. Picture George Clooney in The Big Lebowski. Do you want him there? No! John loves The Big Lebowski, he just doesn’t want George Clooney there. If George Clooney was there, The Big Lebowski would be a lesser film, and John does like George Clooney. He was really good in the one about the one, not the one where he puts Jennifer Lopez in a trunk (Out of Sight), that was a really good movie, but the one about The Gong Show guy, Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Not Sam Elliott, he is in The Big Lebowski and in Parks and Rec where he plays Ron Dunne to Ron Swanson's Ron Swanson. John has never seen a picture of him in that, although he sees pictures of Ron Swanson all the time. Merlin thinks he is awfully good in that, and he has a mustache in that role. Tom Selek gave a bad name to signature mustaches. John thinks that Sam Elliott is Cowboy Handsome and John wanted to be cowboy handsome so badly.

Being Cowboy Handsome, Kris Kristofferson (RL195)

Kris Kristofferson is cowboy handsome and he is not a cowboy. He was an officer in the US Air Force in the 1960s. He has lived a George Plimpton live, he was a songwriter before he was well-known as a performer, he dated Janis Joplin, he lived in the Chelsea Hotel, all these things. Then he was in that Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash band (The Highwaymen), he was a military brat, he was a road scholar, he went to Oxford, he has a Master's degree in English in 1960 pre-everything!

John always thinks of 1960 as a year that is pre-all-culture. All of the cars from the 1950s all have wings and look like pregnant porpoises, and then in 1960 we started to get the flat cars, the square cars, the cars that drive themselves, not the shifter cars, but the 1960 cars for the most part were not the good square cars. They were the test case. It is post Rock’n’Roll, but all the Rock’n’Roll up to then was Pompador Rock, and then after 1962 it became Bowl Haircut Rock. He already has a Master's degree pre bowl haircut rock.

Then Kristofferson joins the Army, becomes a captain, and became a helicopter pilot and in 1965 he went and taught English literature at West Point and then decided to leave the Army to pursue songwriting in 1965. His family disowned him because of this decision, and they never reconciled with him. By the 1970s he is an actor. Merlin thinks of him because of that noise he makes in that movie with Barbara Streisand (A Star Is Born). No, that is Nick Fury, the guy from 48 Hrs. (no, that is Nick Nolte) He (Nick Nolte) is in Down and Out in Beverly Hills where he eats the salmon that he finds.

Kris Kristofferson's life has always astonished John, so much that the only thing missing is that at a certain point he became a retired director of the CIA. If anybody was going to be that, it was him. Willie Nelson was born in 1933. What does Willie Nelson look like now? He looks like a dried Apple? But he looked like that since 1968. Kris Kristofferson is only three years younger than Willie Nelson, he is born in 1936, he is John’s mom's age, and he is still as cowboy handsome as he ever was.

John has never become a bush pilot or a war zone reporter (RL195)

John never actually pursued being a bush pilot. After he got his pilot's license as a kid he never did anything else to be a bush pilot, but he continued to fantasize about being a bush pilot for several years after. When he pictured himself as a grown-up, one of the ways he imagined himself was as a bush pilot, and he is not sure why. That was a job that was accessible to him, he could have become a bush pilot, and during High School or the summer after High School he would have gone down to the airport and gotten a job pumping gas for the airplanes and immersed himself in that life.

John didn't do anything like that, but to be a bush pilot seemed to be the gateway to a kind of cowboy handsome. Your clothes were always a little bit stained, and Alaskan Bush pilot is one of the very few jobs where carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster does not seem crazy. Maybe you could be a comics artist like Ed Brubaker (see RL165)? At one point John told that story and Ed contacted him and he said he never wore a vest because John said he was wearing a gun in a shoulder holster under a vest. That was not denying the gun! If you are a Double-0, you can carry a gun in a shoulder holster, like a James Bond.

Merlin thought Dubble-0 rhymes with Juggalo, which made him really happy. If you are a Juggalo you can carry a Four Loko in a shoulder holster. It is Faygo now, but only because the good Four Lokos aren't made anymore. As a gritty San Francisco detective you can carry a gun in a shoulder holster, and then what else? A crocodile Hunter? As a bush pilot it is not required, but if you show up somewhere and you get out of your plane, you don't know if a bear is going to come out of the woods.

A shoulder holster was how John’s dad was carrying that gun when he shot the Zero out of the sky (see RL34). He opened the window on his plane and just shot it out of the sky, which is a bush pilot move. You don't want a gun on your hip, you want to be able to get it and still be controlling your airplane. John is not sure how much it still weighs on him that he didn't become a bush pilot. The thing about so many of those job paths is that the decision to be a bush pilot is somewhat predicated on you not realizing yet how many different ways there are to die. Once you get in it, by the time you get to be John’s age you are the old guard. But it is not a thing in your mid 40s to say: ”Now I am going to go get the riskiest job you can have!”

Merlin thinks John could become a freelance helicopter adventurer, like a costly Uber involving helicopters where you could have missions. You could definitely carry a gun! Like B.J. from B.J. and the Bear (Greg Evigan), the guy on Magnum (was he?). You can carry a gun in a shoulder holster if you are a helicopter adventurist, but you have to learn to fly the helicopter in the Army.

What about War zone reporter? There was that movie WTF (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) starring the girl (Tina Fey) from (inaudible). Merlin thinks she shouldn't make as many movies, but TV is her medium and he likes her so much on TV and her movies don't do that much for him. This movie has the additional problem that you don’t know if this a comedy? There are some people getting blown up and killed in this movie, and that is not funny, but there are also some lols in it. John is not sure how much he wants my lols leavened with suicide bombing. But he didn't mind the film, but it also relit that fuse and John started wondering again why he didn't go to the war zone and become a war zone reporter.

As a war zone reporter people are going to give you a pass on epaulettes, or a jacket that has a belt and some pockets in it. Christiane Amanpour is a strong look. You get a belted jacket with some epaulettes. John would look terrific in that! There is also a kind of sunglasses that you can only wear if you are a war reporter. The sunglasses John is wearing right now, because he often wears sunglasses to record their podcast,… John never wears his sunglasses on his forehead, or on the back of their neck. If you have the glasses on the back of your neck, you had better be a bass fisherman, or selling RVs, like Todd (?).

John is wearing a pair of Ray Ban Aviators and they are bush pilot glasses / war reporter glasses. It might be aspirational because maybe he going to get swept up in a situation where he is landing a de Havilland Beaver somewhere under fire to combine the two: Bush pilot / war reporter. That is so much better than John’s current job.+

Actors with male pattern baldness, being able to shave your head (RL195)

Merlin is on the Wikipedia page for people who were born in 1936 and there is a lot of cowboy handsome on this page. Burnt Reynolds was so cowboy handsome and he also has a big mustache area. John really want to know what Burt Reynolds looks like without his rug. He could look really good! God gives you the beard you deserve. He also gives you the hair you deserve!

What about the guy on the TV show with the Capitol hijinks and the President (House of Cards), not Kevin Spacey, but the guy that plays the young congressman in that show (Corey Stoll). He is the bad guy in Antman and he was in Girls. Merlin likes him a lot, he is an old-school bad guy, and he is proudly bald. He's like (Rob) Corddry, he is a good looking guy with no hair. For a long time Merlin used to think it would be a fun thing if you could get 150 people in Brooklyn to take a razor to their head and giving themselves a male patter baldness, make it a hip thing. It would fun if you could convince people that faking male pattern baldness was a thing, or to do like a Monk tonsure.

When Merlin was a kid all men over the age of 35 looked like his grandfather, which means they had a monk’s tonsure, but you don’t see that anymore, today it is mostly receding hairlines. John’s dad's hair went away on the top. In the intervening 20 years now men that are bald can shave their heads and they look amazing, but when John was a kid it wasn't an option, and so you just had to go out there. It wasn't even an option really to cut it short unless you were in the Army.

The actor from Simon & Simon who was in the movie about being a bad dad to his kids back in the 1970s, a military dad and he was abusive to his kids, Gerald McRaney of Major Dad? No, John was thinking of Robert Duvall, The Great Santini, who was also in Apocalypse Now: ”I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!” He only threw cards on the bodies in the Redux version, not in the original film. Merlin thinks Robert Altman in Apocalypse Now (Merlin says the wrong thing here, he is referring to the movie Nashville) had a pretty bad case of ADHD. As a sufferer, Merlin goes back and he watches that movie and all he sees is the guy who has trouble focusing. He played the general (in M*A*S*H).

Robert Duvall in The Great Santini in 1979 was a balding guy who had his hair cut really short, and that was the one look you could have. They call it a high and tight. He looks so different! Otherwise you had to wear your hair any old way. However it came out, it just had to float around. Even Merlin’s dad grew his hair out a little bit. Everybody had to get longer hair and sharper collars, but so many men, even in Rock bands, like The Zombies, half of The Zombies are obviously totally going bald, even in like 1968. Everybody had hippie hair and looked like Fredo in Dog Day Afternoon (John Cazale). You got long hair, but then you got this whole thing where you are swooping it over. He almost looks like he is a member of The Monks (?).

John never understood how that movie could be called Wait Until Spring Santini (?), See You Next Tuesday (actually See You Next Wednesday, running joke in John Landis movies). Merlin literally got that joke last year. He has been seeing John Landis movies for years that constantly reference a fictional film called See You Next Wednesday and he finally only got the job last year. That kind of long con or Shaggy dog story makes John really happy. Wouldn't you like to be somebody that had been running some long gag for years, hiding in plain sight the whole time? John always wished that he had the foresight to lay something in wait decades ago that was still laying in wait for some Manchurian Candidate style gag.

How to get a fake ID back when John was in High School (RL195)

When John was still in High School, it was still possible to get a fake ID by the following two processes, maybe John learned this in The Anarchist Cookbook, maybe this was just conventional wisdom on the streets, but one of them was that you would go to a graveyard and find a gravestone of a child that was born in the year you wanted to be born in, but then died at two years old. Then you would go to the public records and get their birth certificate that had no reference of their death and then get an adult ID based on their birth certificate. From that you could then get a Social Security Number and actually build an entire actual identity. You can have a passport, you assume this identity.

You could do it even at 40 years old, all you had to do was go find somebody that was born the year you were born and then died at a young age, and you could just assume their identity and disappear. This was supposedly a method and it seemed just too complicated and risky to do just in order to buy beer, but it seemed even at the time you could do this now and spend these many years building that identity. You never use it, but you get a bank account, a Social Security Number, a passport, you make payments, you get a credit card, you maintain it, but you never utilize it, but it is there when you need it! It is just a doorway to another world that you could decide at any day to just disappear. There is really no risk of it because the parents of this kid, it is not like a birth certificate has a serial number.

The other way supposedly was that there were many instances where a birth certificate wasn't available, the courthouse had burned down, something something, and you could get a baptismal certificate from a priest where you were baptized and your date of birth was on the baptismal certificate. In certain jurisdictions that was considered as good as a birth certificate because who do you trust more than the church?

In High School John actually got ahold of a baptismal certificate, and he went to great lengths to forge it where he wrote the information in what he at the time thought was old timey 1960s writing and he might have even spilled some coffee on it and maybe touched the edges of the thing with the light of a match like he was making a pirate map. He had this thing, which he felt pretty confident about. It looked pretty good!

John kept it in the bottom of his sock drawer, and it was like this loaded pistol of possibility. He was 16, he had this thing, he had no independent confirmation that this would work, but he was building up the cajones, the chutzpah, to walk in to the DMV, lay this thing down and say: ”My birthday certificate was lost in a fire and this is all I have!” and roll the dice. It was a pretty big roll of the dice, because if this wasn't going to work, there was 50% chance that the person would just say: ”No, we don't accept that as an ID!” and chase you out, but there was also a 50% chance that they would say: ”Why don't you come over here and sit in this room for a minute?” and then all of a sudden there are three detectives there. John never did it!

Pretty soon after that it no longer was an option. Now you would not be able to go in with a birth certificate and establish an identity that had never existed before and then all of a sudden a 40 year old person gets his first Social Security Number. Obviously there are computer systems and cross matching, however, that works, but also there probably used to be more fires and floods. Also, more kids died.

Think about all of the cars that John bought and then broke down and left parked on the side of the road and never saw them again. In every case the reason that he was able to do that is that he never switched the registration over to his name, which is why when you sell a car to somebody, immediately go and register that you have sold it. Multiple times John bought a car for $500 from somebody and he drove it until it broke down, he parked it in a parking meter on a Saturday night and they get a call a week later, saying: ”Your car was towed and you owe $750!” - ”What? I sold that thing to some guy!”

If you had a fake ID it could be your parking ticket ID or your Welsher ID. Nothing against a Welsh. But John missed his chance and that is the kind of ”sow the seeds when you are young!” of a gag, of a bit, of a hiding hole where one day Amélie is going to drop some marble and it is going to knock a piece of tile out of the bathroom wall, and there is your little box full of toys. At this point John still holds out hope that Amélie will discover his box, but he also feels like maybe he is becoming cowboy handsome.

John getting dimples at his age (RL195)

When John was in High School there was a guy that had Magnum P.I scale dimples. Magnum didn't just have a big mustache area, he also had killer dimples. John had a buddy who had these dimples and it was incredible to watch the dimples cast spells on people. It was nothing else, he had really good hair, too, but it was the dimples that were doing the work. John didn't have dimples because his face was just made out of raw chicken, he was a beard canvas, he had a beard shaped face that was made out of raw chicken. Certain parts of his complexion were uncooked scallop, raw chicken and uncooked scallop covered with hair.

Now John is starting to develop dimples and he is not sure whether they are fencing scars, whether it is cancer, whether he is just falling apart and one of side effects is dimples? It is causing the inside of your cheek to adhere to your jaw, but it is cute. There is a little bit of scarring and weathering happening to John that almost looks cowboy handsome. It might still be cowboy cute, but he is not sure cowboy cute is what he wants.

Cowboy cute sounds like somebody who dies near the end of the second act. That is James Dean or Sal Mineo cowboy. John always thinks of Sal Mineo as being one of the guys standing behind the guy that was the dad of the girl that won the Oscar in the Woody Allen movie (Mighty Aphrodite). It was Paul Sorvino, and his daughter, Mira Sorvino won an Oscar in the Woody Allen movie back in the era where if you were an actress and wanted to win an Oscar and you were young, you had to play a prostitute, especially in a Woody Allen movie.

Paul Sorvino was always in the foreground of the scene where John always imagined Sal Mineo was one of the guys in the background. He was a different kind of actor, he was handsome. Merlin thinks he had problems. He is very cute and looks like the guy in the band who had a very conspicuous British drug problem and he dated Kate Moss (Pete Doherty), the guy that was in the band (The Libertines) where he and his bandmate (Carl Barât) had matching tattoos of the band name. There is a cover of their album where they are both showing their tattoos of their own band. It is the type of thing that you could only get away with if you are a British Rock musician. Maybe if you are in Guns N’ Roses you can have a Guns N’ Roses tattoo.

John might not even remember that he got it. He might have forgotten. Maybe that is John’s Amélie box, he wakes up one day, he realizes he is Duff McKagan and he is investing in things and he remembers he has a tattoo. John definitely saw Duff in a couple of situations where he could have given him a tattoo.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License