Friday, January 31, 2014

Complaint Week // Complaint #5 of 5: INDUSTRIAL DECAY.

True in 1980; true today. 

In Theodore Dreiser’s turn-of-the-century novel, Sister Carrie, Carrie’s sister, Minnie, muses that, unless Carrie, a recent arrival to her modest household in Chicago, “submitted to a solemn round of industry . . . how was her coming to the city going to profit [Minnie and her husband]?” This selfish outlook on Minnie’s part accidentally unleashes one of the greatest phrases in American literature: “a solemn round of industry.” The phrase needn’t refer to gloomy industrial tasks per se, as it might refer to the incomplete “industriousness” of Sister Carrie, notably her unwillingness to conform, as Minnie contends, to the laborious traditions inherent in the City of the Big Shoulders, circa 1900. Ah, the good old days! What America wouldn’t give for a little more Industry, now, more than 100 years after Sister Carrie fled with the manager, Hurstwood, who helped himself to a sack of loot, to boot. People would probably submit to Industry, if Industry would open a few hundred factories; okay, even five or six. Instead of Industry, Americans must submit to other forces, such as DNA paternity tests. It’s a flawed principle, you’ll grant me, to rely upon the confusing haze of promiscuity in order to “grow the economy.” The Hookup Economy, at best, allows a laboratory to hire a ‘Night Guy’ for the newly-minted graveyard shift, and nobody really knows what goes on then, except the cleaning crew, who dance with the ‘Night Guy’ to “Heart of Glass.” On the other hand, Google Girth now tracks the whereabouts and deeds of Chris Christie, the embattled New Jersey Governor whose accumulation of scandals rivals Imelda Marcos’ accumulation of sandals. Still, the Chris Christie economy doesn’t add many people (but his cronies) to the payroll, and Google Girth, for its part, hired the chap who’d been rotating the egg camera at the Great Blue Heron nest. That’s an albatross for the labor force, who yearn, aloud, to submit. “Let us submit,” they cry, amid googling. The gurgling you hear isn’t the gargling of a desperate labor force, but the water in the hookah pipe, it turns out. The toiler submits to a solemn round of hookah. The toiler sits in armchairs, in divans, in minivans, in situ; the toiler sits in hot tubs, in dance clubs, for back rubs, for medicinal shrubberies; wherever can be found a sitter can be found a googling hookah, the apple jack tabac, Jack. Lo, the American Dude sits on the couch, and considers the sport that destroys the athlete. I am an American Dude, I too consider the sport that destroys the athlete. There follows a solemn round of touchdowns, a solemn round of advertisement, and a solemn round of indigestion. Both oceans batter our shores. Across them, in exotic lands, can be heard the faint sounds of Industry, the pile driven into the soil, the pain of the soil, the dumb might of the mechanical driver. 

Complaint #1: Doctors & Pre-illness.
Complaint #2: Gravitational Pull.
Complaint #3: Washington Metrorail.
Complaint #4: Beer Prices.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Complaint Week // Complaint #4 of 5: BEER PRICES.

The dreaded 8-oz goblet.

At some point in the otherwise brilliant Craft Beer Revolution, someone—a brewer? a pub owner?—decided to serve a brew in a goblet, while, at the same time, administering “price creep” to the tab. We’ll return to the Goblet Problem in a moment, but first, let’s review a few basic principles that would govern pricing in any marketplace. A brewer who brews a smaller quantity of beer than, say, Boodweiser, and perhaps operates with a smaller distribution network than does Boodweiser, will, in all likelihood, have to charge a bit more for beer than Boodweiser would charge for a Bood or a Bood Lite. I also understand that, in a Big City, the pub has to pay Big City rent, electricity, etc., and these expenses stack up higher than for a pub situated, say, in the Wilderness. Still, when the bartender brings me an 8-oz (eight ounce) goblet of beer, and asks for $8 (eight dollars), I’ve got to conclude that both parties—brewer and pub—have begun to charge me (the consumer) for the phrase “Craft Beer.” Even if I’m wrong about the Elite Pricing Strategy at the Craft Beer Taps, that doesn’t change the bottom line, namely that a helping of Craft Beer will effectively price the Little Guy out of the market. In the end, $8 isn’t just $8. Tax makes the tab closer to $9, and after I leave a buck for the bartender, I’ve spent $10 on a goblet of beer. Two goblets is $20, and so forth, until I cannot indulge in much pub-going each week. [Ed. Note: the same beer, in the retail environment, typically costs $2 or less per 12-oz bottle.] Now, let’s get back to that Goblet Problem. It might as well be called a Snifter of Beer, or a Snort of Beer, or a Pinch of Beer. No, a beer should not arrive in an 8-oz goblet, it should arrive in a 16-oz pint glass, filled to the rim with beer, and I’m sorry to say this, but Boodweiser does not get served in an 8-oz goblet, does it? “Oh, can I please have an 8-oz pour of the Bood Light? Thank you. Put it on my tab.” A snifter of Boodweiser: Yeah, right: I don’t prefer Bood to a good Craft Stout, but Boodweiser doesn’t arrive in pretentious glasses. The Craft Beer Revolution gives us great beer, brews that we always yearned for, that we couldn’t even conceive of, before we beheld a pint or a bottle. Everyday guys brew these beers—dudes with beards and overalls and dyspepsia—as opposed to Corporate Facilities. The Cost of Living soars, unless I remove several Craft Beers from my Basket of Goods. Beer Guys: Double-You, Tee, Eff? I don’t alight upon a barstool in order to drink a few goblets; I’m there to drink some pints. It’s not wine, it’s not brandy. It’s beer!

Complaint # 1: Doctors & Pre-illness.
Complaint # 2: Gravitational Pull.
Complaint # 3: Washington Metrorail.
Complaint #5: Industrial Decay.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Complaint Week // Complaint #3 of 5: WASHINGTON METRORAIL.

A typical ride is like an everything bagel of sucks.

Never mind the SmarTrip card readers which often reject your first, second, and third swipes; Never mind the herky jerky braking of cars which toss you about during all phases of slowing; Never mind the sheer volume of trash onboard a typical car—KFC gristle, unread Express, and half-spent Sunny D bottles, for example; Never mind the persistent breakdowns of railcars and the resultant single-tracking that never makes any sense unless witnessing seven trains headed in the opposite direction with none servicing your platform, for an hour, makes any sense; Never mind the overhead station announcements so loud and so garbled that nothing can be gleaned from them and at the same time nothing else can transpire while they occur; Never mind the same garbled, painful, staticky intercom announcements onboard the cars themselves that offer nothing discernible, in the end, for the rider; Never mind the persistent overcrowding on trains; Never mind the railcar designs that don’t seem to anticipate even a few standing passengers; Never mind the riders who must jam doors and disable doors and force the offloading of the entire train despite another train (visibly) lurking in the tunnel, its headlights glowing like two febrile eyes; Never mind the arrival boards that routinely mistake the arrival times of trains—that, or suggest the arrival of a (first ever!) two-car train; Never mind the wisdom of station managers who, with one functional escalator, freeze it in the down position, forcing all arriving passengers to trudge up the twenty-story hike to the street; No, never mind all that; What I’d like to know is, what the heck is that nasty burning smell, it smells like electrical wires afire and burnt monster truck tires and ‘incinerated bathroom’, the Metro Rail system didn’t used to smell like that but now it does smell like that all the time, especially with a train idling on the platform, and we, the riders, have to breathe that smell on a regular basis, and I mean, any thoughtful person will conclude that the smell is (1) very harmful and (2) hurting me and other riders and (3) not being addressed AT ALL.

Complaint #1: Doctors & Pre-illness.
Complaint #2: Gravitational Pull.
Complaint #4: Beer Prices.
Complaint #5: Industrial Decay.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Complaint Week // Complaint #2 of 5: GRAVITATIONAL PULL.

The earth doesn’t care; it just pulls.

Many years ago, during a period of General Disarray, the earth pulled a big hunk of intergalactic rock into its molten core, and the big hunk of rock became part of the earth, and part of the earth snapped off, and became the moon. The wound healed, the earth pulled the moon, and the moon pulled the earth because the moon is made of earth, which pulls. We suffer from this dynamic today. The earth pulls us down, the moon pulls us up, but the earth pulls harder, so in the end, we shrink, but not so badly, because the moon keeps pulling, too, in its own little way. On the one hand, people administer more oral sex than ever before, but on the other hand, if you were five foot eleven, like me, a few years ago, you may be five foot ten and three-quarters today, like me, on account of this gravitational battle. At some point, the earth begat Nature, and Nature, like the earth, pulls all the time. The flower pulls the bee. The mountain pulls the cloud. The fire pulls the wind. The primate pulls (on) the whiskey flask. For these reasons, people are forever establishing their whereabouts, especially on mobile phone calls. “I’m on the auto-boos,” they say. “I’m on the dubious mitigation foray.” “I’m on the water closet.” Some might see the double-pull situation as “checks and balances.” The founders of our country based our entire system of government on the dual attractions perpetrated by these two celestial orbs. Cussing, when pulled, becomes percussion. It’s a lot of percussion out there. So much so, it’s a grave situation. As in, what could be more serious, more grave, than the grave, the actual grave. The earth, in the end, is a giant cemetery. But not before it exerted pull. The earth, as we know, has pull in most situations. The font pulled the filmmaker. You know what I mean. It fused. It is Times New Roman Polanski. 

Complaint #1: Doctors & Pre-Illness.
Complaint #3: Washington Metrorail.
Complaint #4: Beer Prices.
Complaint #5: Industrial Decay.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Complaint Week // Complaint #1 of 5: DOCTORS & PRE-ILLNESS.

Over four billion written per year.

The general practitioner no longer interrogates a patient, but the patient’s blood-work, instead. Clicks the pen, does the G.P., and scribbles script. On account of your “levels” you must now take a pill for the rest of your life, if you do as G.P. says. Do you have a symptom? Good. If you don’t have a symptom, then why have you gone to the doctor in the first place? Oh, I see, because you need to prevent a disease from getting you, somewhere down the line. Clearly, the first sign of trouble—is having no symptom(s) at all. Chances are, you stepped into the office healthy, but left the office as a person who has a pre-illness; you left the office pre-sickly. Clicks the pen, does the G.P., somewhere else, down the corridor. You are, by now, idling at the reception desk, staring out at a simmering ruck of patients in the waiting area. Hey, to be a patient requires patience, because the doctor won’t call you back for a couple of hours. Some people go back straightaway, though. They wear shiny suits, and uncork their shiny grins, and tug behind them heavy suitcases on wheels. You can subtract “Theory” from “Conspiracy Theory”, by the way, when the Conspiracy holds itself up to the light. The doctor is also, as they say, a pharmacy. His shelving overfloweth with free samples. The drug rep comes out, his suitcase a little lighter. He will make many rounds (house calls!) in the same building until he has delivered all the samples to all the doctors. It has been noted by many reliable researchers that doctors with ties to Big Pharm are responsible for determining the blood-work levels required to verify your pre-illness. It may follow that the free sample carousel must be part of some elaborate (and lucrative) reward system to benefit the entire doctoring field. Click, goes the doctor’s pen. Click, click. What’s next? If you don’t have a pre-illness, then you may be at risk for developing a pre-illness. How’s your pre-illness? Can you take a pre-illness day at work? Do they cover pre-illness in pre-med? No, no, no! I get it, I get it! The medical profession has successfully dealt a blow to illness … by creating pre-illness. Pretty soon, there will be no more illin’ people, anywhere, in the world. Everybody will be pre-illin’.

Complaint #2: Gravitational Pull.
Complaint #3: Washington Metrorail.
Complaint #4: Beer Prices.
Complaint #5: Industrial Decay.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Fred the Dawg
Dan Gutstein (as Himself)

Dan Gutstein

Running Time:
1 minute

Required Statement:
An animal was given exercise during the filming of this movie.
One dog toy was shredded during the filming of this movie.

Advance Praise:
“Tugs on your heart-strings” —Canine Courier
“Fur Versus Foe!” —Dog Dispatch
“5 Tails a-Waggin’! A Must See!” —Hound  Around Town

Best Tug-o-War in a Dramatic Short
Best Leading Dog in a Dramatic Short
Best Growling by a Human in a Dramatic Short

Thanks To:
Rod & Mel
My phone
The treat I bribed Fred with beforehand


The Author, Hoisted.

After a month of intense deliberations (with appropriate breaks for Stout) I have decided to forge ahead with the blog. According to Blogger statistics, last year alone Blood And Gutstein recorded more page-views than in its previous four years (combined), with hits in the tens of thousands. I offer my sincere thanks to devoted readers and casual tourists alike, and pledge to create more mayhem in 2014, a year that has a nice ring to its own numerology.

Up that alley, and to make up for lost time, next week will be Complaint Week at Blood And Gutstein, with five posts (one for each business day) featuring unmitigated critical acumen (read: Complaints) of various types and various sizes. It’ll be “thcandalouth”; it’ll be “ludicrouth.” Critics will dub it UnmitiGate or maybe even MitiGate. Topics may include, but will not be limited to Medicine, “American Dudes”, Beer Prices, Gravity, and Smoking.

You may be interested to know a few things about Posts of Yore. Here are a few Blood And Gutstein facts, as reported by Blogger statistics:

The second most popular post (a jokey post) of all time is: Valences, meantime.

The most popular movie of all time is THE HAND FAN THAT STIRS THE PUMA.

I am especially proud of THE GREATEST POET, PAUL CELAN.

Thanks again for keeping up with my blog. I realize that the relationship between blogger and reader can involve a lot of “give and take.” Please see my latest film, TUG-O-WAR, for more information.