A Bourne humiliation

Light in the night (Castelldefels)

When “The Bourne Legacy” was filmed without so much as a single Bourne,  Jacob Bourne went into a tailspin.  He developed troubling symptoms.  Pools of stage light now lit him up like a tap-dancer.   Much more troubling was the sudden accompaniment of lush strings which made it impossible for him to sneak up on anyone.

Were the fates presenting a pink slip to a master spy?  Suddenly, there was no approaching a doorknob, a blind corner, or a window without a glare of klieg light and a foreboding musical chord.

No corner of Bourne’s life would ever be private again.  He fled to the dark of a movie theatre to consider his options.  During the trailer for whatever Bradley Cooper movie that was soon to come, Bourne decamped to the men’s room.  As he approached a urinal and unzipped his fly, the “Jaws” theme built deliberately, pulling the unfocused gaze of his restroom neighbors from their own square foot of tile.  Used to avoiding notice, public attention to his urine stream shook him to his core.

Bourne hid behind a toilet stall.  Maybe he could relax sitting down although the sight of his underpants at ankle height made him feel like anything but a superspy.  The music quickened.  John Williams’ infernal cello duel rattled the stall walls.  Growing louder, the music shattered Bourne’s porcelain refuge.  He had to recalibrate.   Fine leather shoes had become collateral damage.

This would take extreme measures.  Bourne dropped in on his brother, Jason, to ask how he’d handle the affliction.  That’s when a riot of strobe light forced his more celebrated sibling into a seizure and an Amnesiac relapse.  Or maybe Jason was just pretending not to know him.

Lights

A last-chance mission ended horribly when Bourne’s arrival on a penthouse ledge was announced by multicolored spotlights and the Tom Waits tune that opened “The Wire.”  A family of armed latchkey toddlers clubbed Bourne off their balcony into a high-speed encounter with a sidewalk.

He limped away with his booty of Hezbollah porn.  How much more proof do we need that Bourne’s life had gone sideways than the Dumbo the Elephant spotlight which showed his enemies a candy-colored path to his safe house.

Jacob Bourne had nowhere to turn except to the tender mercies of Dolores, a gorgeous VA psychiatrist.  Here was someone who must’ve paid rigorous attention to Oprah’s show on bras, someone who could also put a name to his ruinous condition: Melodramatic Orchestral Non-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  There was no known cure.

She tried to manage his condition pharmaceutically, but without luck.  Perhaps, she reasoned, Bourne could find relief in a MO-NTSD support group.  It was full of others—Cat burglars, pickpockets, IRS auditors, and rodeo clowns–whose careers, dependent on stealth and surprise, were sabotaged by their own ostentatious, noisy senses.  If not, Bourne reasoned, he could always find refuge in Dolores’ glorious nakedness.

The very sight sight of her triggered  something in Bourne:  the infernally happy whistling of the Andy Griffith Show soundtrack.    Annoying as it sounded, he could put up with it as long as they were exchanging bodily fluids.  Dolores responded therapeutically, insisting that a Doors tune, “The Spy,” spoke more honestly to Bourne’s identity.  She purred the lyrics, “I’m a spy in the house of love.  I know your deepest secret fears.”   Bourne certainly preferred it to the track that heehawed,  “Hey, I got a fishing pole here somewhere.”

Gaye performing live at the Oakland Coliseum d...

The condition evolved.  Now, Bourne infected Dolores.  When they carried on late night conversations of the flesh, Dolores was able to guide Bourne’s attentions by swiveling a small keylight from her face into a colored ray that pinwheeled brightly atop her breasts. Accompanied by artful halo light and psychoactive medication, Bourne sang along to Marvin Gaye’s aphrodisiac shuffle, “Come Get To This.”

“Ooh, remember baby how you made me feel just like a king.  I’m ready for you to do the things, drive me out of my mind.”  It didn’t take long for each lover’s musical theme to drown out the other.  His Marvin Gaye tune smacked up against her “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

1959 Series Logo

The next morning, Bourne was jarred awake by the coda from “The Twilight Zone” theme.   Did that suggest they were becoming incompatible?  Hell no.

The glint of light from her butcher’s knife said it better.

Obama challenges Romney to a duel

The Voice (U.S. TV series)

Following a savage rhetorical beating at the hands of his opponent, President Obama has taken the campaign battle to the Romney team with a daring, new challenge.  A one-night only singing competition between the candidates on “The Voice.”  Obama’s handlers laid out their strategy this way:  “If we can’t use actual sidearms, a free-market musical skirmish has got to be the next best way to settle this thing.”

English: Christina Aguilera sings "Can't ...

Deprived of his usual trick-bag of rhetorical traps, President Obama will have to rely on a silky falsetto and, to nudge the army of unmotivated millennial white kids, a knit beanie. With voting constituencies of challenger and incumbent hardened before the actual election day showdown, both candidates are confident a singing competition will connect them to the undecided portion of the electorate.  (Political demographers have analyzed and parsed this group into two subgroups:  1) People committed to their indecision.  2) The Re-undecided.)

English: Cee Lo

Hoping his hard luck story will resonate with the judges. Romney laid out his plan.  “I can’t imitate Al Green like Obama but I surely can make “Let’s Stay Together” my own by transforming it into a marching band piece.  It’s amazing how you can improve rhythm & blues by muffling the rhythm  with a high-velocity mixture of styrofoam and other petroleum-based products.”

Now, Mixmaster Mitt has to dig deep to find a song about deregulation that will make the chairs of Adam, Christina, and Blake spin in his direction. Until Cee-Lo Green supplies a picture I.D. and an electric bill, a Denver Boot will be clamped around his chair.

English: Blake Shelton at the 45th Annual Acad...

This will be one campaign event with no stump speechifying, debate zingers, scripted answers, or gotcha questions.  All that will matter to the judges are vocals that preserve their sense of hearing.   During the musical duel, expect to see dramatic cutaways to the campaign teams in the green room jumping up and down and imploring Blake Shelton to press his red button.  Others will simply implore Christina Aguilera to jump up and down.

Me and Etta James and Yom Kippur

Français : La chanteuse américaine de blues Et...

Twenty years or so ago, I phoned R & B legend, Johnny Otis, to ask if it was okay for a Jewish kid to drop in at the Sunday church service he conducted inside his West Adams district mansion.  He said, “Sure!  After all, we got the same hero.”  I’m sure he meant Jesus.  I was thinking Ray Charles.

The actual draw for me was Etta James appearance in Johnny’s choir.  Ketty Lester and Shuggie Otis, Johnny’s guitar-prodigy son performed too, but I was there to watch and feel Etta.  And when she stepped out of the choir and stood five feet from me, she transformed Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” into an acappella “God Is So Beautiful” that rocked every soul in the room.

Johnny Otis

I still nourish my spiritual connection, perhaps imperfectly, by presenting the Almighty with a daily list of wishes and grievances.  On occasion, I’ll even drop into Sabbath services at my local temple.  But Judaism 2.0 has made worship a whole new deal.  Now, during the High Holidays, I can save the trip and tune into that temple’s video webcast or as it’s known on the website, the Sanctuary Cam.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, was about to arrive.  Elevating the importance of this holiest day would be the performance of my friend, Julie, in the role of guitar-strumming itinerant Cantor.   I rushed to beat the sunset deadline for the start of the ritual fast by shoveling a fistful of wavy potato chips into my gullet.   My sofa became hideous, one more sacrilege from which I’d have to avert my eyes, one more thing for which I’d have to atone.  On the plus side, I didn’t have to wear pants.

I conjured up the Sanctuary Cam on my laptop.  The voice that rose from Julie’s image was lush and lovely, but what moved me most was the effortlessness of her moonwalk. Why don’t cantors do that anymore? I have no doubt that Jews would return to the flock by the thousands if visual signs of devotion like James Brown-style knee drops were restored to the cantor’s repertoire.

When the service ended, I decompressed by working my way through my Netflix queue, this time watching a movie called “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.”  It was thoroughly mind-blowing, the rare Holocaust themed movie that understates it all and maybe because of that, hits with more emotional power.

English: High priest offering a sacrifice of a...

That night, I dreamt feverishly.  Vivid images of the temple’s website flashed against the inside of my skull.  Rather than a view of the chapel, the sanctuary cam showed a promotional video for the temple.  A dozen Nazi soldiers from “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” did a skillfully choreographed motorcycle dance to the music of Regina Spector.    I swear.