Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Let It Shine

For some reason that I don't even remember now, this was one of the first singles that I ever requested my parents buy for me, at age 10 in 1975, to play on my plugged-in portable turntable (the kind where you adjusted a widget to play either 45s or 33s) -- Olivia Newton-John's "Let It Shine":

Adult Milestones

A 40-something/family-man coworker returned from a 2-week vacation today and we were chatting about where he'd just been, plus the fact that the new car that's he'd ordered months ago was finally going to be ready later this week. He mentioned that it would be the first entirely brand new car that he'd ever owned.

"That means you're officially an adult now!" I said.

(I've NEVER had a brand new car. I still don't have ANY car, much less a new one, after 4 years back from NYC, but when I used to own cars (from '81 to '07), all of them were either hand-me-downs from my father or mother, or else used cars.)

He laughed and agreed: You're not a real adult until you get your first brand-new car!

But then I had to point out to him: Oh wait... This isn't YOUR first Adult Milestone, by any means! You have a wife, you have a child, you have a house... AND you have chickens!

Now I, on the other hand... of the same age as this man... have utterly FAILED at reaching every single one of said "Adult Milestones"! No wife/child/house/car/chickens. Damn.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stop Crying Wolf.

When the Trayvon Martin shooting story first broke in 2012, my first reaction was the result of exactly what I'd, trustingly, been fed by MSNBC and CNN, complete with photos of what looked like a 12-year-old child (Martin from years earlier): "Oh my god! That poor little kid! And he was just carrying Skittles and a tea!"

Well, as it turned out, that "child" was 17, over 6 feet tall, and he'd bloodied the nose and back of the head of his neighborhood-watch pursuer before Zimmerman finally shot him once in self defense, to get Martin off of him. (Hospital records documented Zimmerman's bloody nose and the injuries on the back of his head.)

In other words, what I'd first been told by a couple of media outlets -- that a "vigilante" had randomly shot an innocent junior-high-age kid carrying a bag of candy -- was completely false.

A couple of days ago, when the Michael Brown shooting story first broke, I was immediately more wary.

According to the first thing I saw on CNN, an interview with Brown's friend who had been walking with him when the police pulled up: "We were just walking along. Big Mike was a gentle giant! He had his hands up! The man just shot him when he was running away!"

That indeed sounds terrible! What kind of monster shoots a Gentle Giant while he's running away?!

From the friend's tale, the two young men were simply "strolling" in the middle of the street when a cop car pulled up and told them to get out of the street. Big Mike didn't like that and started arguing. The Wicked Cop then tried to pull him into the squad car. Big Mike started running. And so the Wicked Cop shot him multiple times.

Just from that alone: When a cop tells you to get out of the middle of the street, then get out of the middle of the street. Cops are annoying assholes sometimes. I can think of 3 occasions in my 49 years when I personally thought I was stopped unfairly:

One: Middle of the day, I was frequently switching lanes (with blinker) while driving my Ford Pinto down Guadalupe in Austin. Cop car thought I was switching lanes too much and pulled me over. I guess my Ford Pinto with multiple bumperstickers looked poor and weird. The cop came to my window, asked me what my hurry was. When I explained, "No hurry, just trying to pass slow people; I thought I was using my blinker. Was I speeding?" he let me off with not even a warning.

Two: 4am at an Austin lake after being out clubbing all night, after doing mushrooms for the first time. Me, a fellow white-girl co-ed, and two older Middle Eastern grad students. I was wading knee-deep in the lake, "feeling the one-ness of the universe" after the mushrooms, when the cop car pulled up and shined his brights on us. One officer got out and came over to me, still in the water, and asked what we were all doing... I told him something about how pretty the lake was. He and his partner conferred and then drove off.

Three: Coming home circa 4am from a friend's house party in the west hills of Austin, I was lost. At some point on some road, some asshole in a sports car pulled up at the light next to me. After which we proceeded to RACE! He beat me, but I was overjoyed to see him get pulled over by the police a mile or so later. Only problem for me was: According to the police, while they had him stopped, they had apparently also "signaled" to me to pull over. I didn't see any such signals, so I drove on, laughing at the poor sucker who got pulled over. Well, a couple of minutes later, there were police on MY tail as I was trying to find my way back to town. When I pulled over, 4 or 5 cop cars soon joined us. 4 in the morning, 10 cops all standing around getting off on watching my sobriety tests... I passed all the tests, but got a ticket for speeding.

OK... see the difference there in the very RUDIMENTARY behavior when stopped by the police? I may have thought the cops were acting like assholes, but did I act like an asshole and attack them either verbally or physically? No, I did not. Lesson to those in the "Black Community" who are obviously teaching their kids that the police are "to be confronted": You've been teaching your kids wrong. When you teach your kids to ATTACK the police over minor slights, then -- surprise! -- the police might just attack in response.

All of the above thoughts were PRIOR to my learning via a televised video that the "Gentle Giant, Big Mike" had, minutes before being stopped by the officer, stolen some cigarillos from a local convenience store, shoving the owner when he tried to stop him from walking out.

When the officer stopped the walking pair re their jaywalking, is it inconceivable that "Big Mike" was feeling guilty about what he had just stolen and was afraid of getting busted for that?  Is it inconceivable that he behaved aggressively in an attempt to avoid arrest?

Initial autopsy reports show that Mike Brown was shot 6 times IN THE FRONT. His friend lied when he said that Brown was shot in the back. And his friend lied when he said that he and Brown had simply been walking along innocently (failing to mention that Brown had just stolen something).

MSNBC and CNN have pondered tonight: "Why aren't people believing the witnesses?" Well, because the witnesses have clearly LIED. Brown wasn't simply "an 18-year-old BOY" just moseying-on-down-the-street but rather, a 6'4" thug who'd just robbed a store and was extremely anxious to get away from a cop who had just caught him.

A side-note: How many young black men were just shot in Chicago alone last week by other young black men? 90% of black homicides in this country last year were committed by black males. This dwarfs anything, ANYTHING, that ANY police officer might have done to the "Black Community." Most sane people are completely aware of these statistics. Why aren't black people out on the streets of Chicago protesting? Clean up your own backyard, folks.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Joan Crawford, 1941

"She was the perfect image of the movie star and, as such, largely the creation of her own indomitable will. She had, of course, very remarkable material to work with: a quick native intelligence, tremendous animal vitality, a lovely figure and, above all, her face, that extraordinary sculptural construction of lines and planes, finely chiseled like the mask of some classical divinity from fifth-century Greece. It caught the light superbly, so that you could photograph her from any angle, and the face moved beautifully...." -- George Cukor, first published in the New York Times 5/22/77 and later read at her Los Angeles tribute, 6/24/77.

Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney, 1974)

When you were young and your heart was an open book...

Tug of War (Paul McCartney, 1983)

We expected more.

Tomorrow (Paul McCartney, 1971)

Holding hands we both abandon sorrow.

Monday, August 11, 2014

For my birthday on Monday...

...I went out for dinner on Sunday with Mother, Brother, His Wife, The Nephews. 100% fine with me. My mom called me on Monday, though, asking if I was OK about going to work and being alone on my ACTUAL birthday... Yeah, I said, I'm OK. If Jesus Christ, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln can handle it, I'm sure I can, too! :)

Robin Williams in "Dead Poets Society"

I will never forget this "Barbaric Yawp" scene.

From "The Fisher King" (1991)

One of the most profound films I've ever seen. Here, Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl, and Amanda Plummer.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams making me cry in "Dead Poets Society," "The Fisher King," and "Good Will Hunting" is what I'll remember most about him.

Plus, when I was in grad school in San Francisco in '93/'94, I worked at the Alexandria theater on Geary Street in the Richmond District to make extra money on weekends. One day Robin Williams came in with a female companion to see "Braveheart." He was small, wearing a baseball cap, incognito, ducking out halfway through the show to use the bathroom.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Surprising Things

(1) My boss told me Wednesday that she liked having me around because I was "low maintenance." (!)  This after I've gotten very high-strung with her at least twice! As in, when some article comes in at the last minute, due tomorrow, I have NOT been saying, "Yes, ma'am, I'll get it done right away!" I've been more like, "GOOD LORD! WHY do they give us this stuff at the last second?!" I think she must be either a very calm Cancer or Taurus, because she has not freaked out when I've inadvertently freaked out. She's understood my freaking out, and also understood that I would indeed get the unreasonable task done on time, after I'd finished my venting (i.e., necessary Leo showboating before getting down to business). Wow. I'm extremely grateful. This kind of psychological understanding is necessary in any relation.

(2) RE my past posting here about a woman on my morning bus to work that I had found attractive and been curious about. I'd labeled her "The Plath Girl," and then it turned out that she was curating a WWI exhibit back in February that MY MOTHER had contributed to... and that the woman had been over to my mother's house! 6 months later... I was on the same bus Wednesday, this time coming home. A 20-something hipster with beard and plaid shirt sat behind me, and after a minute or so he actually tapped me on my shoulder: "Do you know someone named J--- (the first name of the "Plath Girl")? Are you related to her? You look JUST like her."

My initial reaction was thinking the guy was weird and then, "Hmmmm? No. Don't know her." And then after thinking about it more, I turned around: "Do you mean J---? Who's a museum curator?"

Yes, yes indeed! We then went on and on about how odd The Universe is! :)

(3) Oh yeah, an addendum... at the bus-stop today, a Middle Eastern guy came over and asked my name and then kissed my hand when I told him. (His own name sounded like "Saman/Salmon," so I asked him to spell it: "Simon" ---ohhh.) He was having a problem: He was 25 minutes late for work, his friend hadn't picked him up like she was supposed to, so he had to take the bus. I hadn't been come on to by a Middle Eastern man since the '80s when I was a college student (what I liked about these graduate students when I knew them as an undergrad: They were very intellectual and very intense and very political. Very hard-core HONEST).  This man, in his 30s, was missing a tooth, yet I found his hand-kissing a bit attractive -- Aggressive Chivalry, I guess you'd call it. No, I'm not going to sleep with a toothless Middle Eastern man rendered from a bus stop. Just saying that the behavior, given the right setting, can indeed be attractive. :)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The "girl" at the left...

Marla and I never even smoked a cigarette together. We were neighbors when we were in 6th-9th grades in the late '70s, and during that time, we put on several neighborhood "Grease" and "Kiss" shows. (I was Danny and Gene Simmons; she was Sandy and Ace Frehley.) And otherwise just hung out with everyone else in the summers, playing softball, running relay races. Though whenever it came time to pick teams for softball, Marla's older sister and other grown-ups would weirdly insist, "Stephanie and Marla can't be on the same team." Why was that? Were they threatened by our goofy synchronicity?
Before our "synchronicity" was obvious and disturbing to other people, Marla and I ran around for years as kids. Riding horses (she was fearless, and I always rode behind her), tormenting our little brothers, getting into feuds with the kids across the highway, going to church camp together, lying out on her family's trampoline topless...
By 9th grade, my mother forbade me from hanging around Marla, though she lived next door. Something about my giving my mother dirty looks, which of course were Marla's fault (!).
The picture below disturbs me because Marla was attractive when she was a 12-to-14-year-old. When we went to summer camp together as kids, the older-teen-boy counselors in the camp were all looking at HER and ignoring me. (Even the one counselor who gave us a quiz on whose birthday it was that June day... I got "Paul McCartney" right, but... I still didn't get the boy!) When we both were in high school, me a sophomore and she a freshman, all the boys were asking HER for dates...
That she turned out looking like the below-left is disturbing to me. Do people just give up?