Monday, February 08, 2016

Choices

A key to happiness is having CHOICES. I think you're happiest when you know you have OPTIONS.

The Young are obviously happier because the future lies before them. Even if they're dirt poor, they still THINK they have choices. And they actually DO. The most important: Whom they're going to marry, where they're going to work, where they're going to live, etc. All lies before them. Even in the misery of a low-paying job, they still think/know that the current situation won't last forever. If they have a shitty lover -- that, too, can be changed. And they can move if they have nothing to keep them where they are.

The crappy part of growing older is that the choices start to shrink, partially because of your own self: You get tired of flitting about and understand that it might just be time to PICK someone and something. So you make your choices. And you are decidedly NOT free after that. With choices come intense consequences, the result of intermingling your own psyche with another's. You won't ever be the same again. For the lucky people, this is a GOOD thing. (I haven't been at all so lucky and so I'm cynical; but I've caught glimpses of what connecting feels like spiritually -- of course, I miss what I think that closeness simply MUST be like.)

Here's something from Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar," published in 1963, when she was 31 years old. Based on her experiences in New York City during an internship for "Mademoiselle" magazine when she was 20, only a few months before she first tried to kill herself:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

I first read "The Bell Jar" when I was 15 or so. I didn't pick up on this passage at all. I didn't understand it until I re-read the book for perhaps the 6th time when I found it while doing laundry in the basement of my landlords' duplex in Weehawken, New Jersey, in 2008 after I'd moved to NYC a year earlier to make a new life, only later finding a haven in Jersey...

I understood the tragedy of "The Bell Jar" completely once I was in my 40s.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

"Seven Bridges Road" The Eagles

 
 

EAGLES ~ "LYIN' EYES" 1977

God, I hated the Eagles as a kid. They were all I heard on FM radio growing up, and their studied "mellow" meant NOTHING to me whatsoever. (In '77, I was 12 and all hyped up for the Bay City Rollers and then KISS; a couple of years later, punk and New Wave hit, for which I was so grateful.)
 
Last weekend, though, CNN had a 2-hour special on the band, and I watched, just in honor of the air-waves of my youth. (Ended up ordering their Greatest Hits from Amazon! God, what a sucker I am! But I really did feel nostalgic...and for a time that wasn't even psychologically mine!)
 
I liked this story from the CNN program. Glenn Frey said that when he and the guys were out playing in LA clubs, they'd often see beautiful young women at tables with old rich guys. The old guys would go home, the beautiful women would stay to hang out with the rockers for a while...and then would "have to" go home because they were "kept." Frey described looking over at the interaction at such tables and judging a woman's eyes as "lying" as she talked to her Sugar Daddy.
 
Frey was boo-hooing, but I actually felt, for a second, his pain! :)  You'd think that Glenn Frey, of all people in the '70s, could have gotten any woman he wanted, but... according to the song, maybe he couldn't. I understood. And I like the Eagles better after hearing this story. I especially liked this line from the song: "I guess every form of refuge has its price."

Here's the song:
 
 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Rod Stewart - You're in My Heart

"You're the warmest thing I ever found..."
 

Cotillion Photo

These young women will last forever, posed like greyhounds,
trapped in the silver crust of the frame.
You can’t tell one from another, the breed is so pure.
They will never run. Each one aloft
on a frozen wave of white cotillion lace
to resemble marriage, to resemble fate.
I remember July sun pouring down
in a prickly meadow, and a garter-snake skin
laid out like fairy lingerie on a stone wall.
This was Connecticut, there would be a stone wall.
Crickets were scraping marrow from the day.
I was young; I’d been alone for weeks.
I painted the meadow morning and afternoon
trying to capture the crackling sound with my brush.
I was reading “Oedipus Rex.”
I understood neither the snake skin nor the play.
"Your life is one long night," said Oedipus
to the prophet, Oedipus, who saw nothing.
Oak trees rustled in drought. In saffron grass
small creatures skittered. There came a day
when I said to myself, “I should prefer to sleep.”
Small planets tasted dry and bitter on my tongue.
And two days later I woke. Alone in the creaking barn
at dusk, not knowing what day, what month, what year,
but feeling the haul of earth rolling on its way.
“It is not your fate that I should be your ruin,”
the prophet said. I moved my arms,
my legs, I unclenched my hands,
and stood up dizzy from the cot. What was to come
would come in its own good time
outside the frame. The moon was rising
above the hill, a shy wind gathered force,
and trees, in their black silhouettes, linked arms.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Shopping

I usually don't shop at the supermarket on Saturday evenings; in fact, I don't think I've ever, since the late '80s, when out goofing with friends. Tonight, though, stopped off on my way home from working overtime...

The crowd was different. Usually I go on Sunday mid-mornings, when there have been hosts of families and middle-aged women.

This time, Saturday eve, there were a vast number of clearly single people, mainly 30-something bearded (being Austin) guys.

I'm usually an uptight bitch wherever I go (this take on me mainly according to others), but this evening, I felt cool and relaxed, having just gotten off work, where I'd accomplished a lot...

Springlike in Austin, 70-ish, obviously people feeling their oats.

I guess I was putting off a good vibe, because I got picked up on a couple of times! The first among the frozen vegetables: I was standing there trying to pick out the best kind of frozen corn when a guy suddenly recommended the "Tuscan Broccoli." He said he didn't usually like broccoli, but he liked THIS broccoli!

Me (sneaking a look at him: 30-ish, trendily bearded, cute): "What makes broccoli TUSCAN?"

We both examined the package together: Turned out the answer was "parmesan cheese" and "peppers."

That's just cute. Thank you, cute bearded young man.

A few minutes later, I was on the frozen dinner aisle when a woman about my age approached me: "What generic dinner do you recommend?" (!!!!)

I was puzzled by this. Apparently she'd just seen a generic cheese-enchilada dinner that I'd just placed in my cart, but I couldn't recommend it because this was the first time I'd ever bought it. I felt pressed to recommend other frozen dinners, none of which I saw her put in her cart.

But thank you for asking.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Trump: Adele and Stones fade-out

 
Watching Trump's alternative "for the vets" appearance tonight on C-SPAN in lieu of his appearance at the 7th Republican debate, I was struck by the (albeit aggressively) wistful songs that accompanied the fade-out of the event, after the speeches were over: Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" ("We could have had it all...") and the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

I've paid attention to Trump via interviews for the past 30 years of his American Life. He's actually a thoughtful person. His favorite film is "Citizen Kane" -- I fear that this may be his outcome; I HOPE that it will NOT be, but I nonetheless fear it (though I suppose his Marla Maples/ingénue days are over).
 
 

Monday, January 25, 2016

1954. Joan Crawford in "Johnny Guitar."


Public Enemy - Fight The Power (1989)


Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherfuck him and John Wayne
Cause I'm Black and I'm proud...

1989, from Public Enemy.
Back in '89, I and my white 20-something cohorts guffawed and thought NWA was so cool. Look and listen today, though, to this idiocy and see how it precluded the dumb racial politics going on today in 2016.

Quit allowing your young men to shoot each other and yourselves without consequences (other than the consequences of police reacting); quit having babies out of wedlock at a 75% rate (actually fine if you choose to do it--just don't subsequently expect the government to pay for your welfare and Medicaid); quit allowing your "representatives" to complain that you're not allowed to vote (if you're too dumb to figure out how to vote, then you don't deserve to vote). And I've had enough state jobs now to see how OVER-represented minorities are in comparison to their actual percentage of the population.

I'm sick to death of this "victim" culture, especially when the so-called "victims" are so obviously, in 2016, now responsible for the vast majority of their own sociopathy. Seems they're (and their liberal white supporters) are stuck mentally in the '50s, when blacks weren't allowed to ride at the front of buses or drink out of white water-fountains or inter-marry, etc. THAT was a worthy battle.

Today, though, "Trayvon Martin" and "Michael Brown" and "Sandra Bland" are decidedly NOT worthy battles. (Thank god for the Internet: Look up the actual FACTS about all of these cases.) I'm sick of the Crying Wolf syndrome. I'm sick of being told to feel guilty when there's nothing to feel guilty for. I'm sick of the bullshit. Fight the Power.

p.s. Elvis Presley and John Wayne were COOL, assholes. Unto themselves. Don't try to place your PC political bullshit onto them. Who gives a fuck if Elvis was racist, or if Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, for that matter. They're still of major importance to United States history and culture. Their relations to blacks were a decidedly minor part of their overall historical import, only talked about now because all of their major contributions have already been scoured over.
 
 

Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes 1956 (COLOR and STEREO)


Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock (1957)

 

Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley

"Do you gaze at your forehead and wish you had hair?"
Elvis sloppily fucking around in concert. His minions sticking up for him, claiming he's being somehow clever. (He's not being clever, he's being fucked up. I do, though, understand how ludicrous the whole "selling yourself" syndrome must have been to Elvis at this point.)
 

Downtown Train-Rod Stewart

You leave me lonely.
 

There Was Someone There Looking Out For You




I just deleted a website I'd created for someone I've been in love with since 2008.

I was torn about this -- I truly loved her art, and still do and will always. Despite her constantly personally disrespectful treatment of me, I really did, on the other hand, utterly respect her art.

That said: If she disrespects me personally, I cannot be linked to her in any way. I think her art is (usually) great, I think her poetry is (usually) great. But, for my own sanity, I will not be a party to anything about her.

I'm Not There Looking Out For You (well, I am in Soul). Good Luck, Honey; meet you in the next life, if there is another.

To Move or Not To Move

RE "To Move From My Apartment Complex at the End of August":

80%: Black guy downstairs constantly yelling at his wife, or yelling on the phone, or yelling outside, or just yelling. I have to listen to him every day.

10%: Three or four families with kids live here. Two of the families have 2-3 little kids living in the apartments, who are constantly shrieking and running around in the parking lot, up-and-down the walkways in front of apartments, etc. The third/fourth families have 12/13-year-old boys who like to ride scooters and scream/play both in the walkways and in the street on the east side of my bedroom.

5%: The motorcycle guy that I have to hear come home and leave every time.

5%: The people thumping up and down the stairs next to my apartment, and the traffic on the busy North Loop.

When I first moved into my apartment a year ago, it was in response to a Craigslist ad to sublet an apartment "with no adjoining walls!" and with the deposit already paid. Sounded great. A small, funky (70s-built) complex, about 24 units, close to my work and shops. 790-sq-ft (a vast improvement over the one-room apartment I'd been living in upon my return from NYC and while temping).

I've lived in Austin since 1983 (with 2 years in San Fran and 3 years in NYC), and have lived in many different types of quarters: student housing, efficiencies, duplexes, garage apartments, mass and small apartments, a house...

I've never, ever been in a place with kids running around and screaming. Nor have I ever lived in a place with a neighbor constantly yelling. I've been in a couple of places with loud music, which were obnoxious, and which I moved from. No loud music at my current place. But the guy yelling...

I've wondered: Am I racist? The man yelling is black. The kids running around are Hispanic. While at former apartments in my younger years, I didn't like the loud music from young white guys, here the noise is specifically generated from the blacks below me and the Hispanics elsewhere in the apartment building. While white-boy-noise is obnoxious, it's also a result of living in super-cheap student apartments. At 50, and living in slightly more expensive apartments (my 2-bedroom, for instance), I was hoping for a better-behaved clientele. Not so. I'd left the obnoxious white-frat-boys but gained loud minority-family-drama on the same exact level of annoyance. Don't like either. I'm not 20 or 30 or even 40 -- don't feel like I should have to put up with any of the bullshit. Especially since I'm gainfully employed as an Editor.

There's something about it: I'm 50, a Master's degree, 17 years of experience as an editor... yet why am I still forced economically to live around a young Hispanic family of 5 stuffed into a 2-bedroom apartment, or a constantly arguing, loud black couple, for instance? (I wouldn't mind living around any type of group if they weren't so stereotypically obnoxious.)

RE "Not to Move":

It's just a pain in the ass to move. And who knows if I'll land in a better apartment. Wherever I move could have equally crappy neighbors -- it's not as if you can ask before moving in: "Um, are there any loud blacks or a bunch of screaming Hispanic kids here?"

VERDICT: Spend a couple of hundred more per month and MOVE. (This means "no car" -- and getting a car is also important to my psyche after 7 years without one upon moving to New York in 2007. But now there's a choice to be made: Either live around less riff-raff, or travel to work around less riff-raff. I can't afford both. Side-note: Why is it that I can't afford both?)

p.s. Let me present this post in another way: Say I were a black woman with a Master's degree and a job as an editor, forced to live in a primarily white trailer park with screaming white kids and a loud, abusive white man screaming next door. Most PC-folk would be horrified by this. And what black woman with a Master's degree would ever be forced to live around such boors in such an environment?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Simon & Garfunkel - Fakin' It (1967)


When she goes, she's gone
If she stays, she stays here
The girl does what she wants to do
She knows what she wants to do
And I know I'm fakin' it
I'm not really makin' it

I'm such a dubious soul
And a walk in the garden wears me down
Tangled in the fallen vines
Pickin' up the punch lines
I've just been fakin' it
Not really makin' it

Is there any danger?
No, no, not really, just lean on me
Takin' time to treat
Your friendly neighbors honestly
I've just been fakin' it, fakin' it
Not really makin' it
This feeling of fakin' it
I still haven't shaken it

Prior to this lifetime
I surely was a tailor, look at me
I own the tailor's face and hands
I am the tailor's face and hands
I know I'm fakin' it, fakin' it
I'm not really makin' it
This feeling of fakin' it
I still haven't shaken it, shaken it
I know I'm fakin' it
I'm not really makin' it