The Entrepreneur

It was a dark and stony night at the Scarlet Eh Toke and Snack. The rain came down so hard it obliterated the stars, giving rain a bad name. Inside, the Eh was smoky. The table-tenants occupied their spots, having laid down a sawbuck for the night’s rent of a table.

Sitting over by God-knows-where, Call-Me-Ishmael held a joint between his fingers. It was the best of weed. It was the worst of weed. It was the best of weed because there was a lot of it. When there was a lot of it, Ishy could get buzzed sooner than later. It was the worst of weed because there was a lot of it. When there was a lot of it, Ishy would never get un-stoned. Not that he thought there was much to say for the un-stoned life.

Ishy looked at the joint between his fingers and said, “I dub thee Moby Dick.” Then he lit up and took a puff. “Man, that’s good.” It was good enough to give Acapulco Gold a run for its money.

H. P., the legendary Hester Prynne and proprietress of the Eh, moseyed her svelte figure over to Ishy’s table in the corner. “You wanna share, Big Boy?” she asked, a bit of demand in her Mae West voice.

“With you?” he said. “’Course I wanna share. Take yourself a little sitsky.”

H. P. never refused an offer she couldn’t refuse. It just wasn’t polite. She dropped into the chair across from Ishy.

He passed the doobie over to her. She took a long puff. It went down easy. Real easy. She released the smoke, making several rings Gandalf would have been proud of.

“That’s some buzz,” she said.

“Ought to be. I grew it myself.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do say.” And he did.

“It’s a bomb,” she said, smiled and passed the big fellow back to him. “Very cannabistic. A real blitzkrieg.”

“You do know that it’s a long way to Temporary?”

“Hadn’t thought of it that way. It did look like you’d been babysitting them smoke rings long enough for them to grow feet and make for the border.”

“Not a bad thought if you ask me.” he took another puff. “I was just taking a bake break.”

“I can see you’ve reached your destination.”

“That’s cause my brain has been ashed.”

“In other words, you are blazed.”

“There’s no other words about it. I done went and got myself blitzed.” Ishy would have suggested a walk to walk off the stony. But there was no possibility of taking a trek out into that night. He never liked long walks, especially on stony nights.Besides he had just returned from his landlord’s house earlier that evening, and that had been a bit of walk for him. Almost two miles, I’d say, and he had only made it to the Scarlet Eh by two or three minutes before the dungeons had let the dark and rainy out of the bog. And here he and H. P. were, communing with Alice B. Toklas. It was enough to make a Rastafarian weep.

“You know, I do believe I have a case of couchlock. Even if you asked me to take a flying leap–” he said, then hiccupped, then continued, “I would have to refuse the invitation. One thing is for sure. I don’t think I will be dry for a while.”

“Ishy.” H P had a moment of absolute brilliance. It was as if the Archangel Gabriel came down and tooted in her ear. “Ishy, why don’t you go on ‘Shark Tank’. Raise some money to entrepreneur yourself into a nice little business.”

Ishy took another hit of fatty and passed it back over to H P. “I don’t like sharks. Besides I can’t swim.”

She toked on Moby Dick. The smoke going down and lifting her higher. “No, man. Get some folks to invest in your weed. Once they toke on one of your joints, they’ll be in. Big time. Then you can retire and do the Maynard G. Krebs you’ve always wanted. It’s a future.”

“You mean–”

“I do mean.”

“I won’t ever have to–” he hesitated to say the hated word, but finally it came out like water bursting through a leak in a dam, “work.”

“That’s what I mean.”

“I think I hear the angels rejoicing. Have I died and gone to the big pot store in the sky?”

“Could happen.”

Ishy took himself a little looksee through the window of the Scarlet Eh. The rain had stopped. The dark had parted like the Red Sea back in Moses’ time. There was at least twenty-two stars shining down on Call-me-Ishmael that night. He wasn’t sure whether he was seeing clear or it was the weed hallucinatin’ his brain. It really didn’t matter.

All he knew was that the day began with the sun rising and nothing to show for it. Now here he was at the end of the day with a Plan. That Plan was going to help him reach his ultimate goal of sitting on his butt and roller coasting through this life and the next one. Hallelujah.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: “High Noon” in Space

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Outland”.

A remake is a remake is a remake, except when it is not. Peter Hyams’ “Outland” (1981) is a remake of Fred Zinnemann’s “High Noon” (1952), except it’s not. “High Noon” is set in 19th century Western United States. “Outland” is placed in a futuristic outer space. There are an awful lot of differences but even more similarities.

On Io, the third moon of the planet Jupiter, Con-Amalgamate has a mining colony. Con-Am 27 mines titanium. Sean Connery is the security for the colony. He is a Federal District Marshall. He is just arriving. Gary Cooper is the town marshall. He’s just leaving town.

Both marshalls have wives. Gary Cooper’s Will Kane just married his. She is a Quaker and she hates violence. So he is giving up the law enforcement business. When Kane decides to face down his adversaries, she goes to catch a train. She doesn’t leave town but she almost does. Sean Connery’s William T. O’Niel has a wife too. But she isn’t up to being stationed on another mining colony. These differences and similarities are only cosmetic.

Marshall Kane and Marshall O’Niel both are the only thing that stand between civilization and the barbarians. Men are dying on Io and it looks like suicide but the Marshall isn’t so sure. The badass Marshall Kane put in prison to be hung has just been pardoned and he is on the noon train. Why is it always the noon train? One thing is for sure. If it wasn’t the noon train, it wouldn’t be called “High Noon”, now would it?

Marshall O’Niel starts digging and it’s not pleasant what he finds. Not pleasant at all. Like Kane, he has a choice to make. A “to be or not to be” kind of situation. He can leave well enough alone and he’ll be just fine and dandy. If he goes after the bad guys, there will be hell to pay.

Some western, huh? “This ain’t no western,” you say. “Wanna bet,” I say. Most of these space movies are westerns in disguise. Think not. “Star Wars” was a space opera that was really a western. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. Darth Vader was simply an updated version of Black Bart.

Do you have a favorite remake?

Movie of the Week: “Easy Rider”

Easy Rider, directed by Dennis Hopper.

What is the big whoopee about “Easy Rider”? I mean, c’mon, two guys on motorcycles, selling a stash of drugs to pay for a road trip across the country to New Orleans. It’s 1969. They aren’t even hippies. They’re capitalists and their product is cocaine. And the love they’re getting ain’t free. It’s a coupla hookers they pick up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Give me a break. These two guys riding down the highways of America on bikes, their hair blowing in the wind. Was that the freedom all those boys were dying for in Vietnam?

They’re out to see America and we’re out to see it too. What could be more American than touring the sights with these two fellas, easygoing Captain America and uptight Billy the Kid? One can almost hear the voice of Horace Greeley himself, advising, “Go East, Young Man” as the two take their leave of California and cross the Colorado River.

They get to camp out, like boy scouts, and they get to ride those bikes like John Wayne and his pardners rode their horses. They could be outlaws if they had lived a century earlier. But they’re just wannabee outlaws. The clothes they wear are what the fashion-conscious Hollywood celebs might think would be appropriate to see America in. You just gotta love those designer sunglasses Peter Fonda wraps around his eyes.

Along the way they pick up a hitch hiker. A real hippie who thinks Porky Pig would be the thing to be. Takes the two on a detour to a commune. It’s a bit of a Noah’s Ark of a place what with the animals and the people. At least, the barn they are staying in looks like what the ark might have looked like. Then it’s back on the road again for the two wannabees.

The only thing I envied about Captain America and his partner were the motorcycles. Those were not motorcycles hippies would fly away on. They cost too much bread for any hippie. Then there was Jack Nicholson wearing that stupid helmet, riding behind Captain America. He was Jack being Jack as only Jack can be. Guess that was why he won that Academy Award. Nobody could do Jack better’n Jack.

It has one real downer of an ending. Kind of like a bad trip. They take a wrong turn and all heck breaks loose. Some might say the pair got their just end for their sins. Or maybe that’s what happens when you take a road trip in America.

But the music. Now that is something. That is something with a capital S. It was 1969 when I saw it, and it was the best music. The best I had ever heard in a movie that was not a musical. The movie’s titles start title-ing and the soundtrack cracks into one good road trip song, “Born to be wild” by Steppenwolf. There was Dylan, there was Hendrix, there was the Byrds and there was the Band doing one of my all time favs.

I had never heard “The Weight” before the movie. That darn fine piece of music laid the movie’s story out for me and it was off and running with “I pulled into Nazareth.” The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Later I bought the album and somebody else was doing that song. I took that vinyl and broke it into pieces. How could they cheat me like that?

Still the movie doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. Some parts you like and some make you shake your head, wondering. All I know was that I walked out of that movie, thinking what was that. But then again, what isn’t that?

Is there a movie you think is way overrated by both critics and viewers?