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My top Five brain clogs as I come to grips with 2024

1. Maestro – Sorry haters – I loved it

A) Carey Mulligan – Scary good. Clear a spot for the tall gold man.
B) Sarah Silverman – Should get a supporting nomination.. 
C) Bradley Cooper – Disappeared in the role. Plus, he wrote it, directed it, and played the lead.
D) I like movies about guys with large noses. 

Final word; It’s not a bio-pic. Not a birth-to-death saga. It’s like a great piece of music, it takes you lots of places, but not directly. It’s an honest-to-god film about how artists create and how it impacts their personal lives.

2. This week’s excerpt from Florida Hustle

(LOLA FAMOSA, ASPIRING AMERICAN DREAM PYRAMID MOGUL VISITS HER VERY FASTIDIOUS DRUG DEALER)

Stepping forward, Dio waved the baggies in Lola’s direction. She raised her paper bag, and in a halting, slow-motion pas de deux, they made the exchange.

Dio tore open Lola’s bag, pulling out a dark bottle of some kind of cleaning product. He looked closely at the label.

“Toilet Magic,” he whispered. “Very cool.”

“That should handle the rust stain in your bathroom,” Lola assured him. “But we really need to talk.”

“You talk.” Dio skittered toward a tiny cabinet next to his kitchenette sink. “I gotta get the scrub brush.”

Lola watched as Dio, knees on the wet floor, rummaged around in the cabinet, tossing out sponges, rags and a bottle of Clorox.

“Right now, you buy retail,” Lola said. “If you’d make an investment of say - two, twenty-five - I could bring you in as a level two and you’d get your product at half-price. Then, when you bring in another level two, a cash bonus comes to you from every sale.

“Are you saying...?” Dio swiveled, looking up toward Lola. “I’m saying that for a small initial investment...”

“No! I heard you. What you’re saying if I’m part of your crew, I get my shit wholesale and sell retail. And if I bring in another dude, I get a cut of his action. Right?”

“In a very basic way, yeah, that’s how American Dream works.”

“Damn girl. Sounds a lot like my business.”

Dio lifted the bottle of Toilet Magic up toward the tiny chandelier above his head, staring hard at the glowing, honey-colored liquid inside.

“You sure this shit ain’t illegal?”

3. What’s up with my famous wife?

Look for Eugenie Bondurant in a small role in the upcoming comedy, Summer Camp, with Kathy Bates, Diane Keaton, and other luminaries. And she just wrapped a role in the indie feature, School Duel.

She is happy the SAG strike is over and actors and other film creatives will be getting legitimate royalties from streaming services. 

Image of Eugenie Bondurant

4. A sample from my upcoming (and still unnamed) novel: 

(RONALD ARMSTRONG, KNOWN AS TRIP, VISITS THE HOME OF AN 85-YEAR-OLD RETIRED MOBSTER WHO IS LOOKING TO HIRE A DRIVER/BODYGUARD)

Trip rapped firmly on the front door. After waiting several minutes without hearing a voice or any sound from inside the house, Trip thought maybe he’d come to the wrong address. He was reaching into his back pocket for the notes he had taken during the brief phone call that morning when a voice from behind the door startled him.

“Show me your hands!” The voice was raspy, but resonant, the words clearly an order. Trip stepped back and raised his empty hands, his eyes focused on the metal peephole.

The door eased open, but Trip saw no one. The room behind the door was dark and his host had apparently stepped deeper in the shadows.

“Get in. Now!” The voice barked. “An open door is just asking for trouble.”

Trip stepped inside.

“Just over there,” the voice instructed. “That big chair.”

The house held a stink of mold and cigar smoke. Trip thought the windows likely hadn’t been opened in a long time.

A few shafts of light, penetrating through holes in the heavy maroon curtains, helped Trip find his way to an overstuffed chair separated from a massive couch by a dark coffee table. A stork-like figure, wearing what Trip thought might be a shroud, crumpled slowly onto the couch. With a moan, the old man leaned over, switching on a table lamp and Trip finally got a good look at Charlie Wall.

Old, thought Trip. Like seriously old. His face was long and flat like the back-side of a shovel, his chin, neck and cheeks dotted with spikes of gray hair. His nose, swollen now and lined with narrow, blue veins, had clearly once been regal and aristocratic.

For this noontime job interview, the old man wore a thin, paisley bathrobe, his bone-thin calves exposed above a pair of fuzzy house slippers.

Looking around at the room, Trip saw stacks of yellowed newspapers stacked against most of the walls. The papers on the coffee table were still white. Must be today’s Tribune, Trip thought.

Turning back, he saw Charlie giving him a slow, foot-to-head look.

“You’re a big boy,” he said finally. “Ever used a gun?”

5. What I’m reading right now

Lauren Groff's The Vaster Wilds

6. And finally, your moment of Groucho:

A quote from Groucho Marx

Always remember: Paul does not
want to buy your house for cash!!

An image of Paul Wilborn

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