Recent Outage

Someone asked for ideas for the list?s listlessness,
and the ~Recent Outage~.

Okay I?ll bite.  

Was there an Outage??? :->
- ----

I had a favorite restaurant in L.A. [actually it was
in the Valley- much to the owners shame]. The classy
old guy who ran it had a dream and he held on to it
like a kid going down his first big hill on his new
Christmas bike. I went there for years and give him
credit for awakening my theretofore groggy pallet. I?d
spend my last 10 bucks on a shrimp, tomato, ~corn
mushroom~ omelet, and he?d fill my empty glass with
the last of last night?s 200 dollar Pauillac, for
free. Sometimes Mexico City hookers with see-through
moo-moos would be sipping Crystal on the patio,
waiting for their gangsters to wake up at the hotel
next door, and I?d try to smile innocently and
knowingly at them- as if to say, ~Yes. Life is
complicated, and I?m doing the best I can too~. 

Anyway. My friend got tired of trying to sell 4 star
cuisine to a Hamburger Hamlet crowd. He lost interest
and was there less and less on Sundays [the only day I
could afford the brunch]. His second wife [I realized
later] started using the restaurant as a proving
ground for her latest snip or tuck as she flitted from
table to table trying to pronounce new French words
and trying to get people excited about baby salmon.
Life was a food magazine cover to her. If it looked
good on her coffee table and impressed others, she?d
eat it. 

It took me a while to notice. The Beurre Blac had
become melted butter. The fresh, hand-picked herbs and
eatable flowers had become parsley or cilantro.
Ironically, now that the MO was full-blown-pretense
and Artifice, the restaurant had a brief boom before
collapsing under the weight of absurd food costs and
an extremely gender-neutral staff that thought working
there meant entrée into the crème de le crème
[literally, if you know what I mean]. 

What does this have to do with Harp-l, you ask? Just
that something has changed here too. If I had to
pinpoint it I?d say it?s become too concrete. Too
literal. You?re not sautéing the onions long enough
before adding the cream. No savoir faire. If I had to
get really specific I?d hazard that we?ve had one too
many school marm lectures about etiquette- from the
original owners second wife, if you will. It?s a fine
line between barring some drunk from  writing 20
paragraphs about the 60?s or ~The Blues~, and posting
a warning-treatise on morality every time you don?t
like the direction of the thread. All I know is that
Michael P. never did that kind of stuff. He jumped in,
to ~re-direct~ after we were opening beer bottles on
each other?s heads, but not when we were wearing brown
shoes with blue suits. The man knew how to make an
omelet. He knew that expression without imagination
will be as interesting to read as an amp schematic
[Opps]. Actually I think someone has taken Mike
hostage and he's tied-up and drugged in some Venice
basement [are there basements in Venice???]

But I?ve had bad theories before. I once thought The
Ironman was trying to take over the List with
Coast-To-Coast. I thought Otto had moved to Hamburg
and was taking an English course- which we were the
homework for. Maybe there IS no administrator, and
instead some guy whose parents wouldn?t give him a
full name is pulling the strings from his windowless
office in the Desert [possibly connected with
suppressed spacecraft sightings in the area]. Maybe
some secretary for a ~Reformation~ Chromatic is making
her move to finally wield some REAL power.

All I know is that the list went the same way as the
Soviets and my friend in LA: got over-defined and too
ridged. All the old regulars, in a desire to save the
status quo, started turning each other in for civic
violations; ~You call THIS Steak Tartar !?~- - -
~Heads will roll!~. ~Bob Dylan does NOT play
harmonica, because he does not, intentionally,
tongueblock!~. Every one was ready to get huffy, on a

All this not to disparage the people working hard to
maintain the List. On the contrary. It?s just that
sometimes the waiters think they can run the
restaurant. And no matter how hard the loyal old
Maitre? D tries to keep ~the old ways~, we soon find
ourselves following trends- in the stead of Truth. The
truth is, no matter how pretentious and snobby the
waiter is- he doesn?t know what makes the Veal chop
worth 35 bucks. 

And please don?t let them- or the beautiful hostess
with the satin, inviting cleavage- cook or design the
menu. The place ends up looking like an Interior
Designer?s first semester project. Origami napkins.
Fish nets on the wall for no reason.

Not that I blame the ~Staff~, mind you. No more than I
blame having too many harmonica players in the
audience for a bad concert. 

Put it this way: too many rules about how we express
~harmonica related subject matter~ , designed by
well-meaning wannabe 
harmonica players- is eventually going to suck all the
air out of a room. No spontaneity, no creativity. No
free exchange of ideas. Not to mention a good debate,
serious inquiry or an original thought. The list has
turned into, despite it?s best efforts to the
contrary, a group of bureaucratic watchdogs- as likely
to turn you in for an infraction, as they are to buy
you a beer. 

Examples: No negative reviews. Nothing un-PC. ~If you
don?t have something nice to say, don?t say anything
at all~. Well- - - How many different ways can you say
that Kim Wilson is great but gets boring after an
hour? We have a LCD effect going on, where it is
easier to say that some mediocre hustler is fantastic,
than it is to discuss techniques for acquiring

But I wouldn?t want to run on or mix my metaphors, so
I?ll be shuffling off into the sunset.


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