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November 02, 2007



Many books need not be written; sometimes, the title is enough.

Kurt Vonnegut, rather than discard stories not working, instead kept the synopses, and attributed them to Kilgore Trout.

Vonnegut was then, ahem, kind enough to shine a spotlight on Trout's oeuvre, just giving us the gist, you see.

Years after I credited Vonnegut for the trick, with everything of my own begun and never finished, I resigned myself to Day Job Training, and after three years and the Test That Eats A Summer, I found a day job people might urge me to keep.

Soon enough, armed with my necktie, I found a niche in District Court, where each day, imperfect people seek imperfect remedies in the name of imperfect justice, and gained new perspective on one of Trout's best "stories," The First District Court Of Thank You.

Trout's premise was a forum for people who felt they were owed a debt of gratitude. They could sue, and if successful, the Defendant could choose: say thank you, or go to jail. According to Vonnegut: "according to Trout, most people chose jail."

This brilliant concept failed utterly as a Vonnegut story, but tossed off in a paragraph about Trout in a Vonnegut novel, it worked!

According to the final sentence, in the Vonnegut paragraph referencing Trout's fictitious bit of fiction, most chose to go to jail. Many times, in my day job, I have taken great solace from this Not Actually Written Story.

The First District Court Of Thank You opened for me a new category of works of arts which don't actually exist except referentially.

(I add parenthetically that Aunt Sigourney qualifies: she's not actually in The Great Gatsby, but Jordan Baker, who is, is staying with her for the summer. (The actress Susan Weaver honored Aunt Signourney in her stage name, and Hartford seems to have named a street in her honor!))

One of my favorites is almost a song, in a movie whose name was unfortunately changed, so I can't name it accurately: perhaps it lives on at netflix as Honeysuckle Rose or On The Road Again, but to be certain, one could always imdb Willie Nelson and cross-refence Dyan Cannon, Slim Pickens, Amy Irving, and Mickey Rooney, Jr. I will simply call it HR here.

Buck's band is going back on the road, but guitarist Slim Pickens' wife has put her foot down, and he's not going. A new guitarist has been hired, but can't join the tour until Nashville. Into the breach steps Slim's daughter Amy Irving, and how can Dyan Cannon nix the daughter of her husband Buck's lifelong friend filling in for a bit.

The movie needed a plot,of course, and into the breach plunges Buck. Once Amy stares back at him and pronounces herself "all growed up and haired over," what chance does Buck have to resist? By Nashville, they're furiously shagging each other, and not at all willing for it to end with the arrival of the flashy new male guitar player, but: there's a contract!

Buck has a plan to get around the contract: humiliation. The setup involves a clandestine band trip to a men's clothing store, and then a trick: the new guitarist is sent out in his flashy Nudie suit to "warm 'em up a bit." Buck/Willie and the band will them come out in their Robert Hall Canary Yellow sports coats and undermine the Nudie suit and its wearer!

The filmmaker can't prolong the setup, naturally, so the film audience sees only the end of the solo set: or do we?

The New Guy is singing: "Cause it's the onlyyyyyyyyyyyy part I knooooooooooooow! and then he strums three times and he's done!

The audience applauds for a second, and then howls, and the new guy is successfully alienated, so Amy Irving can stay on tour until Dyan Cannon takes matters into her own hands to get her Buck back, but wait!

He didn't actually sing a song:
"Cause it's the onlyyyyyyyyyy part I knoooooooooow" is the only part there is!

Ironically, the line's author went unacknowledged in the credits, and ever since, has been searching for an attorney who will plead his case in the First District Court Of Thank You. I sure hope he doesn't read your blog!

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Self Portraits 10/07

  • Img_0093
    Seems easier to maul my own image than other people's somehow.

Obama 10/22/07

  • Img_0074
    Barak Obama at the New Hampshire Statehouse Rally, 10/22/07


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