Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

Sunday Espress Editorial ClintStages across the Bay Area are full-on gay these days. And that, of course, is not a bad thing. The timing is peculiar, however. How can so many theaters be producing so many shows with gay leads, love interests and themes, all at the same time? Is it the Glee factor? Or perhaps, it’s just the law of averages. After all the Bay Area is all about freedom of speech and expression, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy living here so much.

Father’s Day Playboy

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I’m especially fortunate in this regard, because I have the best dad anyone could ever ask for. The one who told me to “suck it up” whenever I supposedly hurt myself as a youngster, then cried seeking sympathy. The one who, along with Mom, showed me and sis the world outside our Canadian home. We would live in England, New York state, and Florida. Then there was the camper van, touring across Canada and the expansive, wonderful United States (Grand Canyon, O.K. Corral, Mount Rushmore, Golden Gate Bridge, the Batmobile!). All thanks to the sabbaticals my Dad could take and share with his family.

Embarrassing moments, though, are far more interesting than platitudes.

Sabbatical 1976, Mexico
Sabbatical 1976, Mexico

So I thought hard about this one. The next few paragraphs may disappear later today when I come to my senses. Loni tells me to only write things I’d be comfortable talking about in a business situation. I actually think I’d be perfectly fine with this one. It did take some thirty years or so to finally put in writing.

One day, as a freckled little Canadian red head, with all the curiosity in the world (having even survived, according to my Mom, locking myself in our downstairs fridge once) I discovered my father had an interesting calendar in the downstairs office. Very interesting. Every month was special. Very special. Mind you, this was the 70s, so in retrospect I suppose it was all standard fare. You know, Hair, The Beatles, John Lennon… backgammon. Naked women, I learned, had breasts (and so did clothed ones as a matter of fact). And while that was quite fascinating and worthy of study, I also learned that my friends in our small neighborhood block in Ottawa also found it quite fascinating. When I told them of my discovery, my popularity index soared. Would this be a lesson in modesty and restraint? No. I realized that passion and lust could influence list price. It would become a lesson in economics and entrepreneurship. At least, that’s my version of the story.

Every kid bought at least one month, with some doubling up. Miss February went for ten cents. All told, I was probably able to pull in at least a dollar in revenue by breaking up the calendar by month. Sure some artistic integrity would be lost, say, as the lifeguards of summer transitioned to the log house babes of winter. But this was business!

Too bad one of my friends was destined to become a whistle blower.

Imagine that call, from his father to my father… what exactly was little Clinton (also sometimes appearing as Little Lord Fauntleroy) up to, selling Playboy pictures to my child? But to be clear: they were calendars, with much pragmatic purpose. Just with added visual interest. And, no doubt, Playboy magazine was the gold standard for short story writing, and its editorial content. It must be. Why else, could it have defined the adult generation of its time?

Dad, Happy Father’s Day!

World Cup

Sometimes my left eye flinches uncontrollably these days under stress. Like when our host company’s servers for SSC go down. It bugs me to no end. The lack of control. My eye twitches. The blood boils. Then Loni somehow manages to calm me, usually involving chocolate and/or Diet Coke. If my eye twitched and bled, that would be something. I could even be a Bond villain some day.

When US played Slovenia (which broke an ESPN ratings record) last week, there was plenty of opportunity for more eye twitching.

First of all: “football” referees are not above the law. If they make a call, they must explain it. We may not like it. It might be right, dubious or wrong. Regardless, they need to explain why they called what they called. No? Am I wildly off-base on this? According to FIFA, this is not so, and apparently part of a wonderful mystery that makes the game so special. Why Edu’s decisive strike would not count is only for referee Koman Coulibaly to know.

My eye was twitching. Bring on the espresso please.

That disallowed goal that would’ve given the USA an astonishing, Robert-DeNiro-in-Casino-could-not-happen-would-not-happen 3-2 victory over Slovenia. Instead, the USA settled for a 2-2 tie in a still remarkable second half comeback.

There was an alleged foul. We’ll never know the details. Like who? What? Where?

It’s stubbornly ridiculous. Absurd I say!

Interestingly the play-by-play commentator, Ian Darke, was sympathetic. Even perhaps overly-so… chastising the ref, not only for that inexplicable call, but the myriad of questionable calls and yellow cards that preceded it. I wonder if the BP oil spill has anything to do with the unexpected softness from the usually intellectually cantankerous Darke.

Still, it was a fantastic game. I’m not one to complain about refereeing. The most likely memory of the game for me was Landon Donovan’s three touch run for the first goal. I had to laugh. It looked exactly how a hockey player might try to score playing soccer; go wide to beat the sprawling defenceman, turn the corner, attack the net, head-fake a pass to the slot, then blast it top shelf. What a shot, and what a goal! I’m sure bars across San Jose were particularly jubilant. Donovan, likely the best player in US soccer history, used to be a MLS star here with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Now Team USA controls their own destiny. Beat Algeria and they’re through to the round of 16.

Joan Crawford Tomatoes

Lessons in vegetable gardening can sometimes be delivered at the oddest hours. Like when I woke up at 5am yesterday; I thought I was sleeping in a garden. What was that smell? It smelled like tomatoes, and plants, and soil. There was a small green cutting dangling before my eyes. Where was I? I must be dreaming.

Then a Pulp Fiction-like monologue fueled with vengeance. Something about not cutting tomato plants. The voice? That would be Loni. The dangling, dead green evidence would be a tomato plant. Sadly (especially for me) it would never live to see the tomato at the other end.

The lesson: don’t cut the flowers. They actually turn into tomatoes. Second lesson: don’t touch Loni’s vegetable garden; well, aside form my little pepper plant (that has yet to produce anything).

All of it has a tawdry Betty Davis and Joan Crawford feel to it. Next time I’d prefer if Loni wore a wig and mascara. It would make the Straight Jacket impression far more credible.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear