Thursday, September 18, 2014


Marching slowly toward normalcy. (Well, if "normalcy" means being wanted and appreciated, that is! For me, that's been an ABNORMAL state for years!)

Work: Today, the only other editor gave his two weeks' notice. Making me the SENIOR EDITOR after only 6 months! Kind of scary, because we've been super-busy almost constantly the whole time I've been here, but exciting, too. All eyes will be on me to see how I can handle the new load, and... I know for a fact that I CAN handle it. I'm a really good editor and writer; I'm also fast and efficient and organized. I look forward to the challenge. My boss says she's going to hire a temp editor to help me out; I also look forward to training this person. Though I've been at this job only 6 months, I have a good feel for it and know what needs to be emphasized. (Unlike when I started, when my co-editor, who had been there for 2 years, kind of left me to my own devices. I'm a big believer in house style, for instance, as was the long-time editor before the one who's quitting now--the latter, though, was pretty laissez-faire about that!) Another thing: The guy who's leaving has an office with a coveted WINDOW! I WANT IT! :)

My boss said laughingly this afternoon, "You better not go anywhere!" No way! :)

"And I looked at this face with the sun in the west..."

In honor of Greta Garbo's September 18 birthday, here's Joan Crawford on her Garbo crush. Recorded April 1973 at NYC's Town Hall. Crawford's Garbo story starts at 5:34. (I used to put this clip on many a mix tape...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lohan Halloween 2013

I haven't really thought about Lindsay Lohan for YEARS now, other than thinking the collagen injections looked terrible and that the light had gone out of her eyes (thanks a lot, Sam Ronson).
I came across these by accident on the web today, which flashed me back to when she was constantly doing interesting, often rough-edged and mildly disturbing, photo shoots. 2006-2008 or so? I had SUCH the crush on her then! :)  I don't any more, but, still, these "Carrie" Halloween photos from last year kind of made me smile --- nice to see that she hasn't lost her dark sense of humor.


Proclaimers say YES!

"We beg for a piece of what's already ours..." I'm such a nerd--I'm extremely interested in seeing what's going to happen Thursday when Scotland goes to the polls to vote on its independence.

The potential "YES" voters are purists/Romantics --- of COURSE Scotland should vote for its independence after all of these centuries of struggling for self-representation! On the other hand, the "NO" supporters logically argue that separating from England and the UK would mean a downturn in economic/political power for Scotland globally. Which it decidedly will.

I'm with the Romantics on this one. Rule yourselves, folks. Your soul is all you have.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Adrian Peterson Reinstated. Why?

The Minnesota Vikings decided today to reinstate running back Adrian Peterson, who had been suspended for 1 game after facing child-abuse charges in Texas for "spanking" his 4-year-old son with a "switch" this summer

When I first heard that Peterson had "spanked" his son and was facing legal charges for it and had been suspended from the Vikings, I didn't quite know what to think: Had he indeed just swatted the little boy a couple of times on his bottom? Was today's PC culture now up in arms for THAT? Was there just a witch hunt going on in the wake of Ray Rice's knocking his wife out?

Then I heard on the "Mike & Mike" ESPN2 show this morning that there were photos out there that many outlets weren't releasing. I found a couple of them online.

These aren't "swats" on the butt, or a "spanking." These are the work of a sadist DRAWING BLOOD from a 4-year-old child. Again and again and again. This makes me sick in a way that the Ray Rice video did not.
My own father hit my mother and threatened her with a gun on more than several occasions. There was also ongoing humiliation like dumping a serving of mashed potatoes on her head, belittling her for her clothing or for coming home late from THE DENTIST, etc. There was a constant state of tension and eggshell-walking at our house when I was growing up. What was going to set Daddy off? The abuse was psychological as well as physical.
When I saw the video of Ray Rice and his now-wife Janae in the hotel, before/during/after the elevator, I saw her cuff him before they entered the elevator, I saw him cuff her inside the elevator, I saw her lunge at him, I saw him punch her, I saw her fall and hit her head on the elevator railing, which knocked her out. Rice was far bigger and stronger and of course he crossed the line when he PUNCHED her. (For the same reason that boxers' fists are classified as lethal weapons and thus those guys can't go around getting in bar fights, however provoked, muscled pro athletes obviously can't be allowed to go around hitting anyone, much less women... however provoked.) 
I wish my own mother had been a feisty fireball with my father and hit him over the head a few times with a frying pan. Or something. Anything. Instead, she just sat there and took it for years. It was never a fair fight. My mother is 5'1'' tall and passive. Janae Rice, not so much. From the video, it looked as if the two were GOING AT EACH OTHER, not that she was merely the humiliated, passive victim of his "systematic" violence. It seemed a fairER fight.

Ray Rice's initial penalty was 2 games. Weeks later, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced new penalties for domestic violence: First offense, 6 games' suspension; second offense, lifetime ban. (OK. So the NFL ridiculously thinks smoking pot is the greater of evils, handing out entire-year suspensions to some players for a decidedly NON-performance-enhancing, NON-violent recreational drug.) Then the Rice inside-the-elevator video is released and Goodell and the Ravens freak out at public reaction and all of a sudden Rice is "indefinitely" banned. (1) What happened to the new 6 games' suspension rule? (2) As many have pointed out, exactly WHAT did Goodell and the Ravens think had happened in the elevator to begin with, even before seeing the video?

Roger Goodell seems like a completely clueless idiot. After seeing his series of utterly inept decisions, I looked him up on Wikipedia... Sure 'nuff: Son of a Senator, son of privilege, etc. etc. Completely clueless about the "real world," incapable of reaching intelligent decisions on his own, instead relying solely on public opinion. Pot-smoking is the worst of "Evils" if people tell you it is. Punching your wife, eh. 2 games, since no one's that upset about it. Oh wait, they're a little upset. Let's make it 6 games. Oh, unless there's a video of it... then FREAK OUT! The 6-game rule, not good enough! What about beating your 4-year-old child bloody? Oh, one game should do.
Goodell, completely devoid of a moral compass, needs to go.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

February 11, 1963, London

I've mentioned this before, but... it's a wildly important date and place: Sylvia Plath killed herself around 4 a.m. at 23 Fitzroy Road in London merely hours before the Beatles started recording their very first album at 10 a.m. at 3 Abbey Road, about a mile away. I do believe in karma, kismet, whatever it's called. There was some force there at that time.

89-1/2 B Rainey St. (Austin, Texas)

When I lived in this 1930s duplex from 1991 to 1994, I was able to finally finish my Bachelor's degree in English, but I also lost 4 cats in only 3 years. Frances, my very first cat ever, that my friend and I had rescued from a shelter 2 years earlier, disappeared. Daughter-o-Frances, Toonces, got run over in front of me while I watched. Katie Scarlett, a Christmas present from my best friend... I found her dead body in my front yard when I got home from work, run over. A last, nameless kitty had feline leukemia and died only a few weeks after a friend gave her to me.

Every cat I had there was cursed.

And I was cursed, too. Every love failing as quickly as the cats.

There's "bad luck" and then there's a ridiculous amount of bad things happening.

I'm watching "Dead Files" on the Travel Channel right now, and learning about so-called "dead zones." I wonder if I was living in one at that time.

In my entire life, I have only had one spirit visitation, and it took place at this house. I had gone to sleep, drunk, after hours of mentally bemoaning the loss of my first lover. I was awakened at maybe 3 or 4 in the morning by something that made me sit straight up in bed. Something wanted to "get inside me." This wasn't leftover drunkenness, nothing like it. I sat up, horrified, and turned on every light in my place. I kept the lights on, and stayed awake until the daylight.

I know that Rainey Street since the early 1990s has been developed into bars and high-rises. Is there still some sort of bad spirit, there, I wonder? I post this exact address in case anyone out there ever searches for it and wonders if there was a particularly bad vibe there.

Friday, September 12, 2014


On September 11, 2001, I was newly a freelance editor, working from home for the first time, and also new to Internet love/feuds. When I woke up late-morning that Tuesday, my first impulse was to immediately get online to see what the then-object of my love/hate had written about me on our mutual Joan Crawford message boards.

Instead, online I discovered this (and immediately got off the computer and stayed in front of the TV for the rest of the day):

Tonight I've been watching the History Channel's and MSNBC's hours-long recaps of coverage. 13 years later, I still get goosebumps just from seeing the faces of the people gathered around Times Square watching the scroll bearing the news... not to mention seeing the people jumping out of the buildings themselves, seeing the people running down the streets while the soot and detritus from the buildings chased them. Eerie and frightening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Death by a Thousand Cuts (or not)

"Death by a thousand cuts," "creeping normality," plus the apocryphal anecdote about the frog placed in a pot of lukewarm water that just sits there as the temperature is raised until it is boiled to death (whereas, if its INITIALLY placed in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out)...

I like my job so much at the moment. It is, truly, the best job I've ever had. I'm intellectually challenged by both the work that I'm doing and the very smart, rational people I'm around. The 2-1/2 hours of bus-commuting each day are draining as heck (not quite "hell"), but, after 6 months, I still wake up each morning excited about going to work.

Aside from being innately satisfied by the work I'm doing and the people I'm around, there's also the more shallow case of... After 7 years in what I had perceived as "the wilderness," I'm right now RIGHT BACK UP to the career point where I would have been had I simply stayed the course with the publishing company that I worked for from 1998 to 2006. That company was doing multiple rounds of layoffs at that time; I had been laid off, then brought back, twice. I finally left in late '06 of my own accord, thinking it quite the right time to Try New Things, given the utter instability of my then-current workplace. Despite my subsequent years of struggle, my decision to leave the company at that time was actually a good one: Within months of my own leaving out of pique, more than three-quarters of my co-workers were also laid off. I was a frog who jumped out of the pot.

In the 7 years that followed, though, I was not at all sure that I'd done the right thing. The utter randomness of employment in NYC was unnerving: Yes, the market crashed in September '08, a year-and-a-half after I'd arrived. I was taking legal proofing jobs (not the most desired) at shifts (midnight to 8am) that were also not the most desired... yet even these weren't enough for sustenance. In NYC, law firms would send cars to pick you up or take you home, if it was an odd hour. One of the drivers that I had told me that, years earlier, he'd be picking up over a dozen people a night. But as of '08-09, there were maybe 2 total. I heard the same thing from co-workers on the midnight shift at the law firms where I worked -- how just a couple of years earlier, there'd be 10 other people with them called in to edit, but now, just 1 or 2...

NYC was rough, and then, unexpectedly, Austin, upon my return, was rough. There just weren't editing jobs available. I was forced to secretarial-temp, which is not at all the same thing as temping as a proofreader. The former are psychologically treated like shit; the latter are pretty much left alone.

Once I was secretarial-temping in Austin, I was exposed to weird, often mildly sadistic, behavior from bosses. One job, entering subscription information for a newspaper, I was fired from after one day because I took too many notes during my training (which indicated to the supervisor that I just wasn't "getting it"). At another job, as a receptionist, which I held for a month, both my boss and her assistant constantly belittled me for things like (a) not finding a file in the cabinet fast enough (though I'd just been there a week and didn't know how things were filed), (b) not answering a shout from down the hall fast enough (though I RAN), (c) asking the best way to exit the building when there was an actual bomb threat ("I don't KNOW! I'm NOT your supervisor!"). At another temp job, I privately told the temp agency that I requested to leave after the end of the month because of the utter disorganization of the entire group; within a day, someone in said group complained that I wasn't answering the phones quickly enough and so wanted me gone that day. (I did not argue.)

At yet another temp job, my secretarial boss wanted me to lunch precisely from 12 to 1pm, and requested that I notify her when I left and came back. One day, our mutual boss, a professor, asked me to do something for him at, oh, 11:50am. I did it, and finished at 12:30 or so. When I told my secretarial boss at 12:30 that I was now going to lunch because I'd been working on a project for our mutual boss, she expressed her disapproval of my not leaving for lunch at precisely noon. That I'd been doing something for our mutual boss didn't matter to her.

All of this irrationality was nutty and disheartening, to say the least, especially knowing how organized and efficient and REALISTIC I am. I wasn't just a goofball unable to enter subscription info into a database or locate files or figure out the best exit strategy from a building or follow lunch directions... No, some bosses just either didn't like me and/or wanted to act like sadistic assholes because that's just how they were. And because I was poor and needed the money, I had to grin and bear it. The frog in the pot as it is slowly boiled to death.

I am REALLY lucky right now with the boss I have. ONE, for a stupidly simple thing like being "allowed" to go to lunch at whatever time I choose without having to inform anyone. And, more importantly, for her recognition and support of my editing work. The editor before me at this company had been there for over 20 years, so there were some shoes to fill... When people that I've worked with have complimented my editing skills, my boss has compiled their words and passed them on to the heads of the company. I appreciate that greatly. My boss makes me feel good about myself --- not in a phony way, but in a "recognition for ACTUAL accomplishments" way.

Almost Like the Blues

This is a poem by Leonard Cohen published in The New Yorker (9/8/14). Often when I see that the magazine has published lyrics by a singer/songwriter as a "poem," I roll my eyes a bit, my first thoughts almost always, "Oh come on. Stop being lazy. And stop trying to curry favor with lazy hipsters." Etc.

But THIS! I didn't quite get goosebumps, but I did, by "I couldn't meet their glances/I was staring at my shoes," feel the big rush of exhilaration that accompanies the discovery of something surprising and revelatory.

I saw some people starving
There was murder, there was rape
Their villages were burning
They were trying to escape
I couldn't meet their glances
I was staring at my shoes
It was acid, it was tragic
It was almost like the blues

I have to die a little
Between each murderous thought
And when I'm finished thinking
I have to die a lot
There's torture and there's killing
There's all my bad reviews
The war, the children missing
Lord, it's almost like the blues

I let my heart get frozen
To keep away the rot
My father said I'm chosen
My mother said I'm not
I listened to their story
Of the Gypsies and the Jews
It was good, it wasn't boring
It was almost like the blues

There is no G-d in heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I've had the invitation
That a sinner can't refuse
And it's almost like salvation
It's almost like the blues