Meaning and Nothingness

This can’t be right.

Recently one morning I looked for something on Netflix to have with my coffee. I settled on a series about the most amazing hotels in the world.

The first episode was on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. It’s an architectural engineering marvel completed in 2010. It would be wonderful to visit and admire in person. If you could empty out everyone and everything that goes on inside of it.

From the frat-boy, getting something-for-nothing competitiveness of the casino; to the slave labor of the 5000 hotel employees who make the place run; to the Instagram losers mugging in the skyline infinity pool, this place exudes toxicity.

The hotel has 2500 guest rooms and is almost always full. There are 60 restaurants on site and 53 kitchens with 400 chefs who support the hotel’s food service. The 150,00 pieces of employee uniforms are accessed using 18 industrial size dry cleaning conveyors.

The death-defying cement pond on the roof is two football fields long. A thousand tons of water make it so heavy a computerized system of 500 hydraulic jacks constantly recalibrates balance and support for the building. Think of the energy used just so vacationers can memorialize the one second of their day when they appear to be having fun.

The Gav Bucket

The hotel’s main draw is gambling. And the leisure travel class who wager are not the most eco-friendly. What happens to the garbage of a million guests per year? The shopping bags, racing forms, dry cleaning plastic? Not to mention the Mountain Dew empties and Carl’s Jr. wrappers discarded during a jackpot high?

The show pays lip service to the issue by highlighting the innovative laundry operation that cuts water consumption by 70%. But when guests are allowed to take three to five pool towels at a time, it’s kind of a wash.

The affable hosts would rather talk about the 500 pounds of flour used to bake 10,000 bread rolls each day. My guess is a half to two-thirds are completely eaten, where do the leftovers and unused go? The subject is never mentioned.

So I decided to ask my friend the internet how the Marina Bay Sands disposes of garbage. The first few pages of search results were news and videos produced by MBS marketing their commitment to the environment. This was followed by industry articles and awards echoing the same commitment.

The unifying theme was the importance of protecting the environment. You could tell that because the word “important” was used six times per sentence (with an occasional  “sustainable” thrown in for good measure).

MBS is determined to convince you of their sincerity. They even produce a Sustainability Report detailing the impact of a guest’s stay at checkout. It probably summarizes how ecologically important their visit was to the universe.

Missing in everything is the “how” or “what” to support these assertions. Except for the 60% of rolls that are digested, I still have no idea how the waste is treated.

Miss Daniels, If Your Nasty working the corner of Laguna and Waller.

I’ve always been reluctant to compost because of the gnats. Every kitchen I’ve been in that has a Gavin Newsom contraption also has bugs hovering around.

But in my new building we have a compost chute next door to my apartment. Every evening I take a degradable corn starch bag and heave my compostables down. This one small step has reduced my carbon footprint from a 7 1/2 B to a 6 AAA. The Ferragamos fit again!

I’ve also been thinking about how my new sewer parenting responsibilities affect the environment. Are there unintended consequences from the Montana Hologram Spray Paint mixing with rain water? Specifically, does glitter run-off contribute to the choking epidemic rampant in the Bodega Bay Sand Dab population?

To ease my mind I commissioned a report from EIR’s ‘r Us. If not the most thorough investigators on the planet, certainly the most cost-effective. They concluded that, although Dab asphyxiation is an important consideration, it’s not that important.

On this Earth Day we should all resolve to do our part. It’s important to me and it should be important to you. Most importantly, because it’s important. Sustainably speaking.

 

Fish puking

Guerrillas in the Midst

Stormy rocks!

After one of our many deluges this winter, I took to the streets to care for my adopted storm drain. It occurred to me that since it was my ward, I should be making it over in my image.  Aren’t we all just a little bit tired of rusted iron grates?

They should each have a color that reflects their unique lineage. It’s the kind of personal touch that will help the program gain acceptance. I, for one, am thinking of taking on a second drain and naming it “Miss Daniels, If You’re Nasty.”

No Wire Hangers!!! All dolled up.

If all the sewer parents would add their own special flare, what a festive addition to the neighborhoods it would be. It’s the kind of legally questionable, up-from-the streets spontaneity that used to give San Francisco character. Not today’s techno-cool that is dictated from some money-grubbing C-Suite.

And if I’m arrested? There’s hope on the horizon. Mark Leno has been on my events mailing list since the 70’s.

We need to keep that hushed up until after the mayoral election when I’ll be expecting a full pardon. Especially after my attorney makes a sizeable “campaign donation” under my alias, Peregrine Dennison IV.

Mover and shaker. Of the spray can.

The Joy of Man’s Desiring

Ecce homo, you homo.

I blame my financial problems on Lucille Ball. When I was sick as a child I would lie on the couch and watch I Love Lucy reruns. For Lucy, money was just an obstacle to be dealt with at some point. It was not the most important thing in life. Ideas were.

America was sympathetic to her financial struggles. I was captivated by her imagination and optimism. If she needed a deep freezer for a side of beef, it would be delivered and installed before ever thinking about how she’d pay for it.

Adopting her nonchalant attitude has created many hills and valleys in my life. After the abuses of the 1970’s, my credit score was in Death Valley. When I received an unsolicited charge card from Bergdorf Goodman in 1981 it was completely unexpected.

Bergies was the nation’s most exclusive retailer and Jackie’s favorite store. I fantasized she’d put up one of her watches as collateral, how else could I have gotten the account? I didn’t get to New York often and they only did one catalog a year but I was still able to max out the account with a major purchase every now and then

Detail of the hand painted silk.

San Francisco’s most exclusive retailer at the time was Wilkes Bashford where my friend Cass worked. She was Wilkes’ left nut for years and, at times, his right one too. She swung both ways.

We were in Paris once and she snuck me into a Jean-Paul Gaultier show. The models paraded around in such exaggerated slouches, the backs of their heads were practically sliding down their cracks. It was the mid-90’s and the anti-smoking campaign was at its most rabid. M. Gaultier pointedly made each model puff away on a Camel as they strutted. It was quite dramatic.

I knew the collections created press and brand recognition for the designers. But I wondered why merchandise in stores was rarely as bizarre as what was in the shows.

Cass said it was artistic license, over-emphasizing what the couturier was thinking for the season. Whether it was color palette, shoulder padding or a key accessory, it was exploited to the point of absurdity on the models. The same design elements would be on both runway and rack, just in varying degrees.

This year’s conclave of Jesi return to the stage to see who will wear the thorns.

In the late 80’s we both were working in New York and met for tea in The Palm Court at the Plaza. As we finished Cass said, “let’s go next door and march through Bergdorf’s.”

Bergdorf Goodman is a holy experience and, like most religions, you either get it or you don’t. They’re so ahead of the game you come across items you’ve never seen before and wonder if you even like them.  They linger in your mind, haunt you until you buy them based only on gut feeling. Talk about a leap of faith.

Such was the case with a $1500 Swiss blanket I wanted to show Cass. It was one of a half-dozen uniquely hand painted ones in the home department.  They reminded me of art in a Phillip Johnson lobby: abstract. splashy and colorful set against the clean modern lines of the building.

Cass was supportive but noncommittal. She knew it was a matter of conviction and ultimately up to me. So I bought it, came to truly love it but could never find the right place for it. Until Palm Springs when I realized it belonged on the wall where Phil would have wanted it.

Last week I rehung it as the backdrop for my Porno Jesus Portrait. The artwork is from the same junk store gallery, Finders Keepers, in Fort Wayne where I bought my naive winterscape. I gaze at it often thinking about who painted it, why they painted it and what the hell was going through their mind.

Butt Crack Jesus confers with Gun Control Jesus backstage. GCJ’s slogan: shoot cum not guns.

Working with the painting put me in the mood for a real-time redeemer in the flesh. On Sunday I took off for Golden Gate Park and the 39th Annual Hunky Jesus Contest. This year’s winner was a little Puerto Rican pepperpot who won over the crowd by tossing rolls of paper towels. Who says we don’t have an inspirational President?

After a taxing week of interior decoration, it was great being outdoors on a beautiful, sunny day. Spiritual (but not carnal) congress was achieved and I feel I can carry on for another year.

Here’s hoping the Easter Bunny didn’t shit in your basket.

Easter in San Francisco