Archive for March 1st, 2010

God bless you, Mr. Welchos

March 1, 2010

Tonight I’m meeting up to set off soosh bombasticos for probably the last time in a bad long while with Jonohs Welchos, Esq., aka the MWP, aka Junior Quizboy. (He didn’t know about that last one.) I’m also returning the last of the books he loaned to me over the course of our friendship, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Mother Night.


Click to enlarge.

I’m inexpressibly sad that he’s moving away and I didn’t make better use of my time with him, but I’m glad to have got to benefit from his centered-yet-unpredictable company and sound advice even for a short time. My brief association with Jonohs has taught me many valuable things.

  • Two heads are better than one when it comes to cryptic crosswords.
  • I am not alone on Spaceship Earth in thinking Achewood is worth buying shirts over. (Mine is from my husband and features Roast Beef Kazenzakis saying “what we need more of is science”; Jonohs’ is even older school and has the “equation of the day.” We knew one another for several months before it even came up.)
  • There is such a thing as acai berry beer.

  • From a BevMo visit with Jonohs in September. Left: Acai berry beer. Right: The hard shit, only recommended for true HST gonzos who are ready for some serious bat country driving.

  • Don’t discount anyone based on age or the suspicion you yourself will be discounted based on age.
  • Not every coffee shop in Motown is full of hipster douchenozzles, and, even if it were, I still have the right to sit there and read about opera with my friend.
  • Wonderful new people can pop up into my life in the least likely places, even places I’ve searched a thousand times (aka the pub).

  • Some lost summer night of trivia and shenanigans.

  • There is a secret menu at Miki from which only Jonohs, like a g, can order and convince the waitress to convince the chef to make food that technically no longer exists at their restaurant. It is a powerful display of confidence. Peanut sauce, ahoy.
  • I apologize too much.

  • Graciously serving as my candy corn vampire date at Paolo and Miss D’s wedding.

  • Candy corn vampires suck much less than the trite usual kind, and are ultimately far superior to sparkly vegetarian douchebags.
  • Kurt Vonnegut wrote novels that were as good as his short stories and are well worth my time.
  • I deserve and should expect fidelity in all my relationships. I have to stop assuming I am not worthy of good things.

  • Jonohs as That Guy at chili cookoff.

  • Even my best drawings of the flux capacitor look more like a crude sketch of a uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • No matter how complete you think your circle of friends is, there is always room to make it even better-rounded.
  • The Gentlemen and I first met Jonohs when he stepped in for Ronald as the quizmaster one trivia night at the pub — calendar check — last April, specifically April 27, 2009. Man. So much in my life has changed since then, but I definitely would not change having gotten to know Jon and become friends. I’m really going to miss the prospect of seeing him weekly. I guess the final lesson I’ve learned from getting close to a new friend as a fully-formed adult is not to take people’s presence in my life for granted. Even though I had a great time with him and he constantly surprised me by showing me new things I didn’t already know about the area, or had never tried, I still wish I’d made more use of our time together.


    Just all by myself exactly and with kind of a science type question…

    On that note, I’m going to go make something out of this cloud of frizz I call hair, and scootch by the bank to deposit a check from subbing — I’m treating the Man With the Plan, if he will allow it (we’ll see), to some serious soosh bombasticos. Have to make the best of the last time I will be able to get the secret menu stuff!, and I plan to guzzle “crispy” beers the size of his new-job-seeking head. Catch you on the flip side!

    Teevee Time: the X-Files, “Bad Blood”

    March 1, 2010

    X-Files, Season 5, Episode 12: “Bad Blood.”


    While investigating a series of bizarre exsanguinations in the sleepy town of Chaney, Texas, about 50 miles south of Dallas, Mulder kills a teenage boy wearing fake vampire fangs, whom he “mistakes” for a vampire by pounding a stake through the boy’s heart.

    The young man’s family is now suing the FBI for $446 million, and Mulder and Scully are brought before FBI Director Walter Skinner to tell their versions of what happened. Prior to making their reports, Mulder and Scully attempt to get their stories “straight” by relating to each other their differing versions of what happened during their investigation.

    (combination of the wiki and the imdb)


    Sheriff Hartwell: You really know your stuff, Dana.

    (Dreamy music. Scully smiles goofily and the scene shifts back to real time)

    Mulder: Pffft! Wh–? “Dana?!”


    Mulder: He didn’t even know your first name.
    Scully: (pause) … You gonna interrupt me or what?
    Mulder: Oh, no-no. You go ahead … Dana.


    Scully: Mulder, are you okay?
    Mulder: [drugged] “Who’s the black private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks? Shaft! Can you dig it? They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother —


    Mulder: (singing) — shut yo’ mouth! I’m jus’talkin’’bout Shaft!”

    (Scene shifts back to real time)

    Mulder: I did not.

    Guest stars were Luke Wilson (Home Fries, Legally Blonde, The Royal Tenenbaums, Old School, bloated phone commercials that remind me that age comes inevitably for us all, and that ripening is not always kind even to handsome Hollywood guys you once wanted to boff that you thought would stay hot forever) as Sheriff Lucius Hartwell and Patrick Renna (“Ham” in The Sandlot!) as Ronnie Strickland.


    Mulder: It’s all true.
    Scully: Except for the part about the buck teeth.


    (repeated line): I was drugged.


    Gillian Anderson voted this her favorite episode of all time.

    The Way They Were: Egon and Wally

    March 1, 2010

    Yesterday I was reminded that I had a bunch of these “Way They Were” entries planned and had only followed through on one (Jayne and Mickey). That’s cowardly. I’m going to try to motor through more in the coming months.


    “Sitzende Frau mit hochgezogenem Knie”/”Seated woman with bent knee”, 1917.

    Although artist Egon Schiele had been separated from Valerie “Wally” Neuzil and married to Edith Harms for two years by the date of this painting, most everyone agrees this is from an earlier study of Wally. It looks too much like her not to be, and he uses the colors that are associated with the Wally work. It’s my favorite work by him. It was on the cover of the Schiele book that my husband, who is a painter, had at our house in Portland, and was the entire reason I found myself opening and reading the book one day. I was interested in Schiele’s work, which is provocative and weird and has many shockingly modern features, all things I like, but, because his life was tragically cut short by disease, his career arc is brief. Coming away from the slim book about his life and art, I felt that his work was dominated by the chief feature of his life, which is to say in a nutshell his time with the real love of his life, which he royally fucked up, and it was the story of that, of Egon’s eventually jacked-beyond-repair relationship with Wally Neuzil that really sucked me in.


    “Das Modell Wally Neuzil”/”The model Wally Neuzil.” 1912.

    Artist Egon Schiele and his model, Valerie “Wally” Neuzil, were together from 1911 to 1915. He met her in Vienna when she was seventeen and he was twenty-one. Supposedly they were introduced by Gustav Klimt. Supposedly she had been Klimt’s mistress before she got together with Schiele. These things are all conjecture because everyone involved is dead, and they happened before the Great War, which so influenced the German-speaking art world in the years just following it that anything which contributed to or influenced an artist’s work before the War kind of fell by the wayside until later generations resumed their scholarship of turn of the century artists. That’s fair. Such radical changes happened during and after the War that I imagine it seemed crazy, outdated, and irrelevant to really consider too deeply the little emotional outbursts and criminal trials that came before the dramatic political events of the 1910’s and 20’s that literally reshaped the landscape.


    “Rothaarige hockende Frau mit grünen Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Crouching figure with green stockings” (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

    Egon and Wally left Vienna because they considered it too oppressive. They sought an inspirational, romantic, and bucolic lifestyle of freedom in the countryside, moving to Krumia — which also had the more practical benefit of much cheaper rent than Vienna — where, though Schiele’s mother was born there, they were summarily run out of town not too long after for being a little too inspirational, romantic, and bucolic: they’d been using the town’s teenagers as “models”. There’s a Schiele museum there now, so I guess that, like cream cheese, their hearts eventually softened to a spreadable cracker topping. That analogy got out of control in a hurry. It’s almost time for me to grab lunch, sorry.


    “Wally in roter Blouse mit erhobenen Knien”/”Wally in red blouse with raised knees.” 1913.

    Essentially fleeing the angry mob in Krumia, Egon and Wally moved again, this time north to Nuelengbach, where it was apparently same shit, different day, as they were not there even six months and Schiele was arrested for seducing a minor. Once in custody, they dropped that charge (apparently the young lady changed her tune when the absinthe wore off?) and an abduction charge the parents had insisted be levied originally, and instead tried and found him guilty of displaying inappropriate art in a place where minors could see it. He was released from prison after serving twenty-four days in April 1912 — are you getting the idea of what an awesome prince he was? such the lucky girl, that Wally — and they moved back to the Vienna area.


    “Auf einem blauen Polster Liegende mit goldblondem Haar (Wally Neuzil)”/”Reclining female figure with gold blonde hair on a blue pillow (Wally Neuzil).” 1913.

    Settled with Wally in Heitzing, a Viennese suburb, Schiele wrote to a friend in early 1915 that he was going to marry one of the Harms sisters, two locksmith’s daughters named Edith and Adele who lived across the street from his studio, for money. I guess running around for three years painting erotic pictures and pissing people off while sleeping with teenagers and doing jail time had not turned out to be the lucrative life of luxury he’d anticipated; the cash flow was getting low, and, despite that he considered Wally his partner and soulmate, marrying for money was Schiele’s timeless solution to their financial woes. He followed through on this, marrying the older of the daughters, Edith, on June 17, 1915, exactly 91 years before my own wedding day.


    “Frau in Unterwäsche und Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Woman in underwear and stockings (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

    A few days after his wedding, Schiele was called to the war, but managed to always serve in Austria, so he was able to continue with his art and stay close to his ties in Vienna. Wally had broken up with him when he told her he was getting married. Schiele wrote to friends expressing shock and grief: he’d actually expected her to understand and stay with him. He wrote a letter to Wally asking her to meet him at a billiards parlor that he liked to go to. There he gave her another letter, proposing that every year they go on an extended holiday, without his wife. She did not write back or respond positively to this. Instead, she left him and never saw him again.


    “Frau mit schwarzen Strümpfen – Valerie Neuzil”/”Woman with black stockings – Valerie Neuzel.” 1913.

    I was furious when I read this. I still remember sitting in my little house in Portland and my jaw dropping, and my blood boiling, all this anger and resentment simmering in me, directed at people I never met who’d been dead nearly a century, but I couldn’t help it. I hate him for marrying someone else, I hate him and I hate the story of how they were because it reveals that through all that time they spent together, Schiele must have considered Wally lower than him, and though she stood by him , asshole though he could be, he thought her to be the unimportant one, expendable and suppressable, and he literally threw her away like garbage even though she was the best thing that had happened to him; his drawings of her are the best things he did. But that is how some stories are, and I deserve to feel angry because I need to accept that, I have to work through my sadness about the fact that nothing and no one has ever been perfect not even for a day or an hour or a moment, every joyful thing is secretly riddled through with the knowledge that this is so good now because there will be pain later and every lucky penny has a tail side of the coin, and if I have to search my soul and see if there is any gold in the dross of this love story that I in my infantile understanding of human nature found so devastating than I guess I must say that I do love that Schiele really loved Wally in an incredibly broken way, and had that time with her in which there must surely have been good moments.


    Photograph of Wally and Egon from the Schiele Museum online.

    Schiele died only three years after his breakup with Wally, on Halloween 1918, in an influenza epidemic which had several days earlier killed Edith and their unborn child. He passed away completely unaware that Wally Neuzil had herself succumbed to death from disease around Christmas of the previous year. She’d become a nurse for the Red Cross and, stationed at Split in Dalmatia, she caught scarlet fever from one of her patients and died in the same hospital at which she’d been working for over a year.