Sunday, February 7, 2010

Melissa Lee Hates Gary Kaminsky

Quick shift: It's RRSP season, and time for some portfolio planning. Yeah, academics own stocks: give someone a $100,000 SSHRC grant and they can buy-write 'til tenure. So I've moved away from the life of T. Mann to dig around other interests: my band of LEAPS. Now that Amanda Lang's on at 4:30, I can watch Fast Money and the L\OE. And Fast Money is percolating. It's getting hot, and it's getting ugly.

This has nothing to do with Canadian literature, but has anyone noticed the raw vitriolic hatred popping the liquid crystal diodes of TV puppetry whenever Melissa Lee and Gary Kaminsky are with a scent's distance of each other. The garlicky Kaminsky and his onion-everything bagels are now well under Lee's skin. Lee, a fair Harvard grad. with the emotional depth of a plastic spoon, just wants to stab this man with vituperative lyrics--Hit 'Em Up, maybe--'til his silk ties unravel. You can see it plain as Najarian's black-pepper border braid. ML's a mean robot of a person, and she ain't used to the rugged individualist-Sammy Glick. At Harvard the circumsized ones all wore Zegna and wintered in West Palm. GK was there, but he was eating Strub's kosher pickles.

It's amazing how Lee--the most glib personality on TV--reacts to Kaminsky--the clear winner of the global ego contest once contested by Peter Schiff, and Charlie Gasparino. But Kaminsky's just clobbered them with grammar (like PS and CG, his favourite pronoun is the royal we) and his almost-unbelievable conviction in determinism. It's like Nostradamus lives in GK's mezuzah. While Schiff and Gasparino--both huge pricks--are guys who'd grunt their displeasure if, while behind you in line, you ordered a rye and delayed them unduly by asking to have it sliced, Kaminsky seems like the kind of person who'd hit you with his boat. While I can't be sure...well, Christ, I am sure that if GK were behind me at an advanced green, he'd lean on the horn as soon as the verdant photon packet hit his retinae. And probably a second before.

Last week I was moved to knee-slapping joy when Kaminsky launched himself onto Fast Money via telephone to congratulate everyone for their prescience re: Lloyd Blankfein's sub-$100 million bonus (it turned out to be $9 million in stock). As Kaminsky rambled on, praising "we" and "us" for the guess, Lee's ocular fluid dipped below the freezing point. Finally, enough: "Gary, that was your call." Right. He said "We," didn't he? He is "We."

The man had been on earlier in the week pounding the table re: Lloyd's bonus. In fact, it was almost as if he'd read it in a burning bush. No one else really offered an opinion, and Kaminsky made it clear that he owned the call. Then he had the balls to come back for a curtain call? Even Tim Seymour's hair shifted uncomfortably on that one.

Karen Finerman, the Jewish WASP of the panel, seems almost horrified by Kaminsky--as if he's crawled out of the shtetl thrusting a huge salami sandwich at her. You see, pre-Kaminsky, Finerman was Fast Money's token Jew. I know, odd for a Wall Street-focussed show. But, like Shawn Green, Finerman was the Jew who'd play on Yom Kippur. So no one really knew or cared. But Kaminsky's changed the whole dynamic of the show. Just watch. If he's there long enough, he'll elicit the Jew out of Finerman, start asking her how her seder was, and she'll flip. Though she always looks like she's dying, Finerman's reactions to Kaminsky are shocking: if she sniffed any louder as he passed by, I'd be tempted to look for an arm band. Maybe red and white with a funny equilateral cross bent at right angles. There are some things that you just know: GK eats pickled herring in the green room, offers Finerman a chunk and some horseradish, and Finerman's memories of Beverly Hills cheder just come rushing back in horrible Semitic technicolour.

The rest of the guys: Najarian's too caught up in FCX to care. Adami's transparent--you can see his jaw tightening. He could go Rickles at any moment. Terranova's the same way, but he's a classic narcissist: as long as GK stays away, Joe's happy with his Clinique pocket compact and Glitzy Glam emergency survival kit.

Oh...Jeff Macke. If Jeff Macke were around, we could really have some fun. Before he was spanked off the set, non-disclosure clause in hand, Macke was the resident cynic/comic/human being. Everyone else was courtesy of Ann Taylor and the Vineyard, but Macke was a guy who'd eat a hot dog and like it. Macke would lose money, then talk about it. GK sticks his finger down his throat pre-show just to get those stories swirling toward the Hudson in cast-iron pipes. As good as Adami can be, he's slippery as hell. Macke was honest as pine. Macke vs. Kaminsky vs. Ratigan, and--Unclie Miltie or no Uncle Miltie--you'd have a Friar's Club Roast. A Berle-Stang showdown that'd have me waiting for Joe E. Lewis to smack someone.

Just wait for the bloodshed. It's coming.

As for my RRSP: I think I'm going to buy SU and sell the Jan '11 $34s.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Michael Ondaatje Is A Prick; He Deserves Bulldog Coffee

There's a coffee house in Toronto called the Bulldog Cafe. They make great coffee. The coffee is excellent; only don't ask for coffee. Ask for a latte or a Cafe Americano.

It's a great place to sit and get treated like shit. I went in there a month ago and ordered a coffee. I don't know the history of the coffee bean; I have no idea what happens to coffee when you release its essential elements and add hot milk. But I have a friend whose avowed homosexuality keeps him anchored to Church Street despite the impossibility of finding parking for his Lexus SC430 (his summer car) and his Lexus RX350 (his winter car).

Last month that friend and I went to the Bulldog to have a drink and maybe talk for an hour. It was an experience only few TTC riders'll ever have. I ordered a latte and tried to pay with a twenty. The guy behind the counter looked at me like I'd just vacuum-aborted octuplets in his revolving door. "Don't you have any change?" He asked/spit. The bill was $8.74. I didn't know that I had to travel with a coin purse just to avoid merchants thumbing a quarter and a thin zinc cent.

"No, sorry," I told him.

Then he thrust the latte at me. I thought that I was going to have to catch it. It's the first time that I've ever had someone say, "Here!" and simultaneously hand me a scalding drink.

So I sat down with my friend, and we talked. It took about ten minutes to finish the latte. Then we got the eye. The guy looked at us and said, "Well, this isn't a library." Really? Then how'd you explain the guy in the corner using a copy of Green Grass, Running Water to give himself papercuts on his glans?

I said to my friend, "Let's get the hell out of here." And as we got up to leave, someone yelled at us: "Clean up your cups!"

What the fuck? What kind of antebellum plantation did we wander onto? At any moment there was a risk that we'd be asked-told to tote dat barge or lift dat bale. I told my friend to run if he didn't have time for a brief middle passage. And he's a skin doctor who was on a lunch break, so clients would be upset if he turned up, say, three months from now in South Carolina. To the counter help: Clean up your own goddamn cups. You own the place. You've got people working for you; though I know that they'd rather be watching Friends episodes streamed on Ninjavideo.

Then something happened that made it all worthwhile: Michael Ondaatje walked in. No one recognized him, but I'd seen him in that suit a hundred times. He walked to the register and said, "Give me a coffee."

"Aren't you going to say the magic word?"

And then Ondaatje just walked out. Turned around and walked out. Later that day I saw him in a Pizza Pizza on Wellesley. Ondaatje's the kind of guy who needs his ego stroked. And maybe his balls too; I don't know. Though I've heard stories.
All Posts On This Site Are Intended As Juvenalian Satire. If They Veer Into Horatian Satire, That's OK Too. Just, Please, Don't Take Them Too Seriously. PhD Students Can't Afford Libel Suits. CUPE Doesn't Cover Court Costs.
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