Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What Comes With a Fox

The last stanza of a Ted Hughes poem, "Epiphany" (after a man had given him a fox-cub in the London subway and Hughes was contemplating whether or not to take it home--he decided "no," because he was afraid that his wife, Sylvia Plath, would get mad at him):

...If I had grasped that whatever comes with a fox
Is what tests a marriage and proves it a marriage--
I would not have failed the test. Would you have failed it?
But I failed. Our marriage had failed.

While I love Sylvia Plath as the better, and much more profound, poet, Ted Hughes breaks my heart. He's the only poet that I've ever cried over when reading.

Polar Express Lesson o' Life

I've been freaking out over the past month over whether or not I should move to New York City, as I've long been talking about. Now the moment is here---I quit a job I hated and have just received a couple of thousand in "retirement" pay (which I should keep in account, if only I were an ant instead of a grasshopper)... Despite the logic, I've been praying for the past month---"God, give me a sign! I can't make up my mind!"

There's been no sign from "Our Lord" whatsoever...hah! But this Christmas weekend, I watched, 'cause of my nephew, "Polar Express" (and I hate kids' movies)----aside from the funny, cool song "Hot Chocolate," there was also the message that spoke to me: "Get on the train." You'll never know unless you get on the train. I'm scared.

And then another thing on PBS showing over the past couple of weeks: The Mormons who first came from England and then risked everything to travel across the west to Utah---they froze, they starved...

All that's going to happen to me is that my cat will be very uncomfortable during the 10 or so hours that it takes her to get situated from Austin to New York City. For me, there's "Craig's List" and there are 5 or so people I know already in NYC. I'll find a place to live, I'll find a job. Still... I'm scared... But... "GET ON THE TRAIN." Can I do it?

I see London, I see France...

My nephew Townes is now 4 years old and for the past 2 years he's really liked me best of all the family members. I can't lie...I love it! Our family usually gets together en masse (uh, that's about 5 of us) about 6 times a year (holidays and peoples' birthdays), and every single time at the holiday/birthday dinner table, Townes always says, "I want to sit next to Aunt Steffi." And everyone then has to rearrange themselves to accommodate me and Townes!

This Christmas, things were the usual at dinner. But the funniest thing of all happened at the end of the Christmas holiday, as Townes's parents (my brother and sis-in-law) were packing their presents, and kids, up to head back to Austin... They had changed their one-year-old into his PJs (so he could be deposited into bed as soon as they got home after the drive), and then were starting to change Townes...

He and I have this thing: He's shy about people seeing him in his underwear, so every time I catch him in it, I have to chant, "I see London, I see France, I see Townes's underpants!" Usually he'll giggle and go hide... But this time, oh my goodness! After he'd taken off his clothes before getting into his PJs I did my "underpants" chant; he at first giggled shyly and then (!)... stripped off his underwear and said "You don't see my underpants!" And then he ran over to me on the couch like a cackling naked-baby-maniac and ran away, then ran back, then ran away... laughing naked-baby-maniacally the whole time!

His mama finally got his PJs on him, but not before he got to show off a little bit for his auntie! ;p

Though the Christmas weekend was actually full of some annoying kid-drama (acting up/parent punishing and me having to parentally tell Townes at one point: "Don't be dramatic, just eat your dinner" and "No, honey, I don't want to play; I'm reading"), it was also quite cool to hear Townes's own mom refer to him at one point, jokingly, as my "surrogate son."

I think I'm way too self-centered to ever have a kid (I'd always be saying, "Not right now, honey, I'm reading"), but... I also like how little kids' minds work and think I'd spend lots of time talking to them once they got old enough to talk (I'm scared of babies)... For instance: This weekend, Townes was doing comparisons: "What do you like better, my shirt or your shirt?" He had a cool dragon/snake thing going on on his shirt and I only had a plain red hooded sweatshirt on, so I picked HIS shirt. Then he started looking around the room for other comparisons: "Spiderman or Black Spiderman"...until it got to "Which do you like better, a ball or...a ball?" I loved that moment, offering him, straight-faced: "A ball." He got it. ;p

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sundae Girl '75

Circa 1975 (when I was around 10) I got an incredible amount of attention for being cute and for having long blonde hair.

There was the 20-something guy at my dad's Air Force office who said--seriously--that I was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. (Perhaps influenced by my cracking up whenever he'd turn his eyelids inside out just for me...) My grandma would always compare me favorably to her other grandkids: "Why can't you be as neat and well-behaved as Stephanie?" (Yikes! I apologize to the other grandkids.) And then there were a couple of weird incidents, typified most by this one time at a local Dairy Queen by my house: It was a block away and I was allowed, at age 10, to go there alone once a week or so, where I'd always order a cherry sundae. One time I went there, got my sundae, and was eating it at a table by myself, as I always did, trying to be mature.

A man was sitting across the room with his wife and two kids--- and then went up to the counter and insisted on buying me an ice-cream cone... Now, I was already clearly eating ice-cream and didn't need any more; I told the Dairy Queen woman who brought me the cone that I was already OK, but she explained the man across the room... I looked at him, he looked at me... I kept eating my personally purchased sundae, with the cone just sitting there on the table. (What in the hell was his wife thinking?) Finally, I finished my sundae and took the cone and left, while smiling at the man on the way out... Then threw it away on the way home 'cause it seemed so weird.

WHAT was that all about?? Well, I think I know what it was all about, but to that extent? A guy with his FAMILY with him? And when the kid already had her ice-cream?!

A lot of ten-year-olds feel awkward and gawky, but I never did at that point, thanks to the Air Force and Ice Cream men. (I definitely felt awkward and gawky in high school, and beyond, but how I was treated at age 10 has stayed with me. Age 10! Even when I'm feeling like shit nowadays, I keep hearing "That's the prettiest girl that I've ever seen.")

Sunday, December 17, 2006


"Her character was chatoyant, like a cat's eyes, candid and then suddenly bleached and desolate...."

Fuck the Ignorant Rich

Years ago I was reading Anais Nin's diaries and at one point came across (paraphrased) "Alas, I am so poor. I must go to Paris." At the time, my friend Kathy and I were laughing about what our equivalent would be: "Alas, I am so poor, I must go sit on my front porch."

Which reminded me, today, of an essay by Tad Friend in this week's "New Yorker": Something about his family being so poor, that is until his dad was offered the presidency of Swarthmore College... I'm completely stunned by the ridiculousness of this guy's definition of "poor." And this from a liberal-magazine writer. There are people out there making less than $8.00 an hour and living 4 to a two-bedroom apartment and juggling their bills every month and having to eat fast food and rice while their electricity has been turned off, you idiotic asshole complaining about your Smith-graduate mother's decorating taste in your 15-room mansion. I'm completely repulsed by the ignorance.

And then there was the reality show of a couple of years ago. About designer Tommy Hilfiger's teenaged daughter and friend. At one point all were at the daddy's estate in the Bahamas or someplace, looking over a gorgeous sunset. And Tommy's daughter opined: "We must have done something really good in a past life to deserve this." (This is why I hate Hinduism.) You didn't do anything to deserve anything, you spoiled, rich shits! Your daddy earned the money! He worked the system and he earned the money, and good for him, but don't sit there and say there's something profound and spiritual about why your family now has money!

In the past two US presidential elections (2000 and 2004), a point has been made by Democrats and Republicans alike: "This is not about class warfare." Why has a living wage for the working poor become "class warfare"? Creepy, creepy corporate propaganda.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm tellin' ya...

Please---I'm telling/begging everyone... just sit there and LOOK at Lindsay Lohan's face for a while. And she's 20! (To be 20 and to look like that is insane.) I can't even imagine her at 30, much less 40, and what she'll have done by then.

Pups and Kit-kats

Once when I was little, my parents had to go out of town and so they left our dachshund Fritz with my dad's brother Randy. During that time, Fritz got out and ran down the street and got nicked by a passing car. He wasn't seriously hurt, but my dad remembered it from that day on. Any time I wanted to spend time with my cousins years later, my dad would say, "Randy couldn't take care of Fritz, so he can't take care of my kids." OK. I do see that reasoning. (Years later when my dad was undergoing military psychiatric counseling, he wouldn't admit to being mean to his wife or kids, but WOULD say he was sorry for getting drunk and being mean to Fritz!)

When I was on my own, 20 or so, I never wanted a pet, because I'd never had a pet as an adult before and thought I was so angry I'd just be mean to it. My friend Kristine came across a Humane Society black cat who'd had 9 or 10 kittens. We lied and said the mama-cat was ours, and took all of the kittens home. They would have all been put to death if not for Kris. The runt of that litter, "Mr. Crusty" (because of the constant boogers around her eyes), turned out to be a girl-kitty that no-one wanted after everyone came and claimed the other kitties, and so she was mine. I renamed her "Frances." There was no way that I would have ever been mean to her. And since then I've never been scared of having pets.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Baby, I can drive my car

I just drove, incredibly drunk, to the Whataburger. (Don't worry, PC folk, I can drive quite well when drunk. It's like those pilots in the news years ago who claimed they could fly with an incredibly high alcohol content 'cause they were used to it. I believed them.) And while doing so, had a thought---if I moved to NYC, I could never drive my car again. I LOVE this car. The first car with a V6 engine that I've ever had, and I can GUN the thing and go as fast as I want. It feels GREAT to drive fast.

When I was in grad school in San Francisco for 2 years in the mid-'90s, one of the absolute WORST things about my whole experience there was having to put up with all of the riding-the-bus crap. The waiting, the obnoxious people sitting next to you...

One of the best feelings in the world is being able to get in your car and crank up your stereo and GO!! The power, the control... (Nothing Freudian there---sometimes "power and control" are just, you know, of a purely zoom-zoom V6 mechanical nature.) ;p

Crimes and Townes Van Zandt

Two days ago I lay in my bed for the entire day and didn't do anything but watch the Townes Van Zandt documentary two times in a row, and then Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors." (I suppose that only accounts for 6 or so out of the 24 hours...Oh, quit being such an anal fuck! I had cable the rest of the time...) ;p

Van Zandt has such an Austin connection, and my 4-year-old nephew is named after him (by parents who are independent-minded but not truly free-spirited), so I was paying especial attention. While I admired his work (as presented in the film), I didn't LOVE it, and I didn't particularly like him or want to be like him, but I UNDERSTOOD him and his dilemma about wanting/needing to give up everything for his vision, just to SEE. One story told that struck home: Townes wanted to see what it felt like to fall from 4 stories up. So, while at a party, he leaned backwards over a balcony, intending to see how it felt to fall...up until the point of falling. But then he realized...he wouldn't know how it felt to fall until he actually fell. And so he let go.

I can't go that far, but I deeply admire those who can...

As for "Crimes and Misdemeanors": Much safer. Allen couches even the worst of human nature in neutral tones, as I'm sure some of the worst of human nature must be couched in. A profound movie. Allen's been making shitty movies lately, for the most part, but then again I just saw his "Match Point," which was stylishly and perfectly made. Though the theme was "Crimes" but dumbed down several notches, without the intellectual layers of the former. The point of both: Life is nothing but Dumb Luck. I agree.

Storms of Life

I'm gearing up to move to NYC in February, but right now am listening to Randy Travis' album "Storms of Life," and know somehow that I'll be back in Texas to grow old. Listening to Travis now makes me homesick, even before I've left.

I had a college friend back in the '80s, with whom I'd always argue about where to go out on weekends. I wanted the punk clubs, she wanted the country places. We usually went country. While I didn't have mind-blowing times at Austin's "Dallas" or "North Forty," I did, nonetheless, like the mix of people---to me, there's never been anything more soul-deadening than a club full of shallow 20-year-olds (even when I was 20); what was cool about the country places that I went to is that there were people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, all hanging out, having beers and dancing and having a nice night out. When you get nothing but 20-somethings together, it becomes a cruel and creepy judgment-fest.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Listen to me, Babee...


Have you ever tried to have a serious conversation with God and actually gotten chills when you asked a question?

I think God's gone from me now, but I remember what it used to feel like when he/she used to be there... When love's there you don't appreciate it or recognize it. When it's gone, there's nothing you can do to get it back. You're left flailing around like an idiot, "But...but...I remember..." Remembrances ain't the real thing. When you're bereft of chills and insight is it 'cause you're supposedly mature enough to handle things on your own, or are you just forsaken?

God B/W I Want to Hold Your Hand

In memory of John Lennon: October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980.

I was 15 when he died, and I'd been a Beatles fan for maybe 6 months.

Teachers at my school thought I'd be one of the ones who killed themselves at the news of Lennon's death. I thank them for their concern. They were partially right---it hurt in an awful, weird way that I'd never even come close to experiencing before. I remember, a day or two after his death, standing outside waiting for the school-bus, then getting on it and riding along, looking out of frosted bus-windows...The sky utterly, crystalline blue, and nothing around me having anything to do with me or with anything. It was sad but it was also pure. Me removed from everything around me except for how the sky looked and how the bus-windows frosted over and how someone whose voice, via his lyrics, had spoken to me truly ("God is a concept/by which we measure our pain") was now dead and I'd never hear another thing from him again.

I was 15, and that's how I wanted to communicate. I was in love with one girl in my senior year of high school who would talk to me like that. I thought college would bring on a world of people who all talked like that (hah! no one, even professors, did). And as life has gone on, I can't find anyone else who says things in a real way. My friend Kathy for a while. And then Julie, but that's it. I'm reminded of the film "The Hours," when Meryl Streep's character talks about a moment she experienced as a young woman... How utterly intense and meaningful it was...and at that time she thought it was the beginning of a whole series of moments that would only rise and peak in intensity and profundity as years went on... But as she looks back 20 years later, realizes...THAT was the peak. Nothing since had ever equalled that, and nothing probably ever would. How do you go on after that? If you'd asked me that 5 years ago, I'd have said, "You CAN'T go on!" But now, at 41, I guess the reality of it is, "You do go on. You just trudge on." Being alive is something nice, that I personally have taken for granted. I don't have any sort of true love, but I like my 4-year-old nephew a lot (he always asks that I sit right next to him at family gatherings, which makes me feel happy). I also look forward to working on my Joan Crawford website most evenings. And I like looking at Lindsay Lohan...I think that famous people hold the place for you while you're in limbo, reminding you of the real feelings that might be waiting...

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help...

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Whistling Dixie

It cracks me up how people from the Northeast/East/San Francisco are still scared/disdainful of people from the South. People from the Midwest and "real" West (i.e., not Portland or Seattle) don't seem to have similar difficulties, probably because they've been brought up to not be snots!

When I was in grad school in San Francisco in the mid-'90s, I overheard two girls behind me on the bus: "I was offered a scholarship to the University of Texas, but I don't want to live in TEXAS!" (I suppose I should have turned around and offered her the comforting, "Austin isn't like the rest of Texas," but I didn't quite have the energy to placate her timid soul.)

And, just recently, I've come across people mocking the fact that George W. might've actually BEEN to a rodeo (this after he was quoted, a la Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest": "This ain't my first time at the rodeo."). ACTUALLY been to a rodeo?? Oh my goodness! Similarly, people online seem shocked, just shocked, that others have actually shot guns! Apparently discounting the fact that some of us were bored while growing up in the country and occasionally sat out by the pond and aimed at stuff! (I wonder, also, how many of the Easterners had parents who grew up in the country and actually had to shit in outhouses. Seems mighty strange today. But my dad, for instance, was born in 1940 to a poor family in East Texas. He grew up wearing overalls, going barefoot, and, yes, shitting in an outhouse. This reminds me of Courtney Love's statement years ago, about her and Kurt Cobain, that if your family has never been forced to apply for government cheese, you just don't get it. I'll add this: If you've never had to go to a pawn-shop...)

While I'm sometimes appalled by some things about my home state of Texas (voting Republican, for instance), one thing I really like about it, and the people here (at least, the old-school people, NOT the modern-day dumb-ass party "Dallas girls/guys"), is the general sense of non-bullshit and the taking of people as they come. For instance, I'm a gay woman and I could go to my family's annual East Texas reunion with a big butch black woman as my companion, and people would talk to her like a real person. They'd gossip like hell afterwards, of course, but they'd be genuinely interested in talking to her, and me, and finding out about us. Whereas, if I took my hypothetical Big Black Butch Lover to a cocktail party in Chelsea, we'd have an hour or so of extreme politeness about our opinions on the latest play. Followed by gossiping like hell afterwards. Which is more "real"?

Why this small-town Southern yearn for non-bullshit honesty doesn't transfer over into a larger public policy or voting trend, I don't know. My guess is that some people are sick of being told they're stupid and react accordingly against the outsiders making judgments. Here's a quote from the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, which might explain the mentality a bit: When asked why he was fighting, one regular, poor (non-slave-owning) soldier replied, "Because y'all are down here."

In news that bodes well (in an odd way---look, I'm desperate!) for the future of the South politically, I just read an interview with extremely popular country star Tim McGraw in the East-coast magazine "Vanity Fair," in which he mentioned the disparity between the classes in the US, and said that he was a populist Democrat...It's going to take some big "down-home" names like that to make being a Democrat acceptable again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Double Platinum

There was a time when I thought KISS was the most profound, evil-est band in the world. (I was 13, and "God of Thunder" was truly my idea of "EVIL" and/or profundity.) I had a very musically advanced friend in junior high who turned me on to all sorts of stuff: KISS, Angel, the Rolling Stones' "Some Girls"... When I'd spend the night at her house, we'd do "weird" stuff like stay up late to watch "Midnight Special" and read and discuss "Creem" magazine and KISS lyrics...

Around the same time my parents were divorcing. My dad would have me and my brother for the weekend and would usually take us to the mall for wont of anything better to do. One time he bought me KISS's "Hotter Than Hell" album; when I got it home, my mom was quick to disapprove: There was a naked girl with a superimposed star over her nipple on the cover! Later, though, she relaxed a bit, even going so far as making me a Gene Simmons-face birthday cake one year.

This was all in 1979 or so and the reason I bring it up now is 'cause I just bought KISS's "Double Platinum" last week and am now listening to it cranked up and getting up from the computer every other song or so to pretend like I'm singing whichever song. I always liked Side 1 the best (Strutter, Do You Love Me?, Hard Luck Woman, Calling Dr. Love, Let Me Go Rock n'Roll)... Some stuff you liked when you were a teen you're later embarrassed about, but every single song here is still standing up 25 years later... Detroit Rock City: "I've got to laugh 'cause I know I'm going to die---Why?!" That was profound to me at 14, and listening to it now at 41, it's still profound both lyrically and 'cause the song fucking ROCKS!

"You were distant, now you're nearer, I can feel your face inside the mirror..." get older and you become trained in how to talk to "adults" in the "professional" world. And all the life and excitement gets sucked out of you 'cause you're no longer supposed to say how you really feel or think. Repressing your true opinions is now "being professional." Someone that I was in love with (and respected) years ago said about the rigamarole surrounding both college and work: It's there to prove that you can jump through the hoops. I'd never thought about it like that, as a proving point. I'd always been so utterly disdainful of the falsity of it. Until I realized that I was going to be making $10 an hour and living in shitty one-bedroom apartments in shitty parts of town for the rest of my life unless I made an effort to play the game... Sounds phony of me, but in reality, living in a shitty apartment (where I had to hear my neighbors fuck and watch TV and listen to their stereo) and making $8 an hour was a damn impetus for quitting my goofing around and starting to jump through said hoops so I could get the fuck away from those loud, obnoxious people and my inability-to-buy-any-damn-thing life.

Still...KISS matters. Not today's "reality show Gene," and certainly not today's "plastic surgery Paul." Just the fact that their MUSIC still stands up and gets me pumped up after over 25 years.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election Results

Now...The thing about Fed-Ex is that he's actually sexy-looking to me! (And I'm friggin' 80% gay!) This picture looks hot 'cause they both look a little dirty. Unfortunately, there's nothing actually "dirty" or interesting about Britney. She's dumb as a post (which can be sexy, but in her case, she's just dumb and bland). Of course, K-Fed is dumb, too, but at least he's got a bit of wicked panache. That said: Good riddance on principle to the hanger-on and may Britney get back to her career instead of the boring baby stuff and weird, unfocused interviews. It's always painful to see someone once on point deteriorate so quickly!

And (sorry, no sexy/dirty accompanying picture for this one)...

CONGRATULATIONS DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I put enough exclamation marks? Lemme just say that I grew up reading the daily paper and watching the daily news---from age 4! And haven't been able to read or watch regularly since 2000 when that idiot Bush took office 'cause every time I did so I'd get profoundly depressed about whatever stupid, corrupt, nonsensical policy he was promoting. And, no, I'm not crazily liberal. I like balanced budgets; I supported the first Gulf War; I'm pro-gun and pro-death penalty. Bush, though, is an IDIOT. A complete incompetent embarrassment as a president, to his party, to America, and to the state of Texas (where I'm from).

And now, Dems, can you please raise the friggin' minimum wage immediately?! And get us the hell out of Iraq while you're at it? RE the latter: Americans still don't get it: Saddam Hussein had nothing---NOTHING---to do with 9/11. And, sorry to report, George Bush has killed more Americans in Iraq than Osama bin Laden killed by ordering the attacks in NYC on 9/11. Think about THAT for a second.

And finally...Just had to post a recent picture of my wannabe girlfriend. Also slightly "dirty," which I likey! Seriously, though, this girl is GORGEOUS! And I'm happy about having the chance to look at her for the next 30 years. All I ask is that she doesn't hook up with the newly single Federline.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Thank goodness for David's "Hell in a Handbag" blog (see the link in the right column), or I'd never discover any neat-o polls to post here. This time it's...

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 35% Conservative, 65% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

In anticipation of McCain vs. Clinton in 2008...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In Remembrance

When I was Senior in high school (1982/1983) I was in love with a girl who'd just moved to Texas from Georgia. Her "official" role in my life was "best friend," since we were both so completely in the closet that there was never any question of physicality other than the occasional brief stroking of hair, etc. In the summer after my senior (her junior) year, I went to Georgia with her and her family. I remember seeing the Gutenberg Bible at a museum. I remember, in the car with her family in a bad part of Atlanta, me reading aloud some grafitti on a wall: "'Muff Divers'---What does THAT mean?!" and her shushing me. I remember, on the road from Texas, us in a motel room with her parents; her parents ostensibly asleep and us watching "Blue Lagoon," looking for the sex scenes that we'd heard about, with the sound turned down very, very low and me wanting to touch her.

What happened was... I went to college in August '83. We exchanged emotionally heated letters for the next 2 months. In October '83, she "ran away from home" and came by bus to my Austin dorm room. I showed her around the UT campus, etc. And told her I couldn't get an apartment with her because I had a dorm contract until the Spring semester '04. By the end of the weekend, she called her dad to come get her. When I went home for Christmas that year, she'd found a new "best friend" and, though I went over to her house and we exchanged Christmas gifts, the friend was there, and everything was completely awkward.

In the next year, she came to Austin once, with the above-mentioned "friend." Turned out my friend had stolen a large amount of tapes from the mall record store where she worked in Fort Worth and wanted to re-sell them in Austin. Trying to be helpful, I took her to an independent record store; they ended up reporting her to the Fort Worth company and she got into legal trouble. Her dad made amends. (The two things I remember most about this visit: I was a huge Beatles fan, and a Paul McCartney interview had just come out in "Playboy," which I had sitting on my coffee table when G. and The Friend showed up. The Friend was "shocked" to see a "Playboy." G. pointed out the "Paul McCartney" on the cover. The other thing: As the three of us were crossing the street to the Austin record store, the crossing signal started to blink "Don't Cross." G. and her friend were engrossed in conversation, not paying attention to the signal or to me, so they walked on. I saw the blinking sign and, too cautiously perhaps, didn't cross when they did and watched them walk on. They didn't even notice that I wasn't with them. I didn't want to acknowledge the symbolism, but it was exactly a sign of how we turned out.)

I had one later awkward phone conversation with her in the spring of '87. She'd moved back to Georgia with her parents. Her Friend was still back in our mutual home-town; her mother was dying of cancer and she couldn't leave her. G. had done her math--- I was supposed to be nearing college graduation at that point, so could I come out to Georgia... In fact, I'd been goofing around and was nowhere near graduation and couldn't move. (Not that it was my own personal qualities that G. needed with her---it was just...anyone. And her first choice wasn't available.)

The end of the story: G. died unexpectedly of heart/lung failure in 1988. Her friend was with her (her own mom having died in the meantime). I found out G. died when I called her parents' house during Thanksgiving of '88. "Hi, is G. there?" I said brightly. To her father's huge pause. No one had bothered to tell me.

She and I both loved the Beatles. And Frances Farmer. (The movie "Frances" had just come out in '83. We both related. And had matching T-shirts made: "Frances Lives.") We'd both read "Clockwork Orange" and liked to toss around vocabulary particular to the movie, like "groody yarbles." We both dressed weird for small-town Texas and were asked by convenience-store clerks if we were "from here." In the early '80s, there wasn't any real hair-gel on the market that we could find, so she once put a ton of Vaseline in her hair and showed up at the K-Mart where I worked to show off her new "do." It, of course, didn't wash out for weeks. Once when I spent the night at her house (her parents out of town), she was brushing my hair; it was a hot night and the windows and doors were open. She said "What would people think if they saw us." We decided we didn't care. Another night over at her house, I stood over a floor air-conditioner vent---as it blew up my dorky nightgown, I said "I feel just like Marilyn Monroe!" She laughed like I was really witty. Another time she came over to my house when I was in the middle of awful, vomit-inducing cramps; the second she walked in, the pain completely lifted. We also tried exploring various religions together. Her parents, strict Baptists, definitely didn't approve of Unitarians, so we had to lie about the Sunday morning we unsuccessfully drove around Fort Worth trying to find that church...

I don't think I've ever been as close to anyone since then. Yet she completely blew me off, and to this day I have no explanation for it. People talk about your parents affecting every aspect of your subsequent life... I believe that, but I also think G. affected mine just as extremely. As the years have passed, I've realized that she was an opportunist and didn't really love me (once, when her dad found cigarettes in her car, she told him they were mine... She, me, and another acquaintance of hers all smoked; the cigs were the other girl's. Her rationale for blaming me was that her parents LIKED the other girl, so she didn't want to cause any trouble on that front...!! I also have the suspicion that she told her family that I somehow instigated her coming to Austin to sell the tapes...)

For many years after her death, on occasion when I'd be feeling particularly low, she'd appear to me in my dreams; whatever the scenario or however brief her appearance, I'd wake up feeling better about my situation... She hasn't appeared recently...Maybe because I've been thinking more realistically about some of the shitty ways that she acted! Dammit. (And, maybe after watching all of those "haunting" shows on TV, I didn't want to strain her spirit energy by boo-hoo-ing to her about how miserable I was!) ;p

Happy Birthday, Ginny, October 11. With love.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Feeling Good and Bruised All Over

I'm currently getting together a Julie London website for its debut October 18. One amusing thing has been reading/transcribing all of the liner notes from her albums. For instance, from 1965's "Feeling Good": "Julie London bruises easily. Placed in juxtaposition with, say, a shaggy-dog vocal quartet from England, singing a song based on three wrong chords, she is apt to turn purple all over." Now, I like the Beatles a lot and am grateful in general for the British Invasion's toppling of smarmy early-60s US singers' hegemony on public attention when they absolutely had nothing left to say. (Funny that Elvis couldn't manage the same feat. He was too in awe of the entertainment powers-that-were and wanted to be like THEM.)

It was an odd statement for the liner-note guy to make, since this is the album where Julie for the first time gets kind of slurry and beatnik-y, what with her versions of "King of the Road" and "Watermelon Man" and "Feeling Good" and "Summertime" and her lesbicly-inclined "Hello Dolly"...I love her. Lots of singers try to be sexy, but she IS sexy, in everything from her initial mid-50s purist vocal/jazz albums to her latter-day late-60s albums like "Yummy Yummy Yummy."

In an aside, I'm also wondering: When is someone going to come blow away all of the idiotic hip-hop/group-dance songs/videos so au courant? Every time I turn on MTV, it's like watching a Broadway musical. Generic, controlled-to-the-core, no real feeling---choreographed dancing is never sexy, regardless of the amount of official ass and heavy breathing. Wonder if those hip-hop studs know how gayly "Chorus Line" they're being, while thinking they're so cool...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rock and Roll Over

Did anyone around here ever dress as KISS when they were kids? I was always Gene Simmons. For makeup, we smeared toothpaste on our faces and sprinkled baby powder on top of that. And drew in the black parts with magic marker. And recruited our little brothers to be Peter.

Gene currently has a new reality show on A&E. While it's fun now to watch him act like the 50-year-old Jewish man that he is---kvetching to his limo driver about hitting every pothole and such---the show itself, despite his wry, funny kids and wife Shannon Tweed, is kind of dull. Most of each week's scenarios are obviously set up: "See Gene and his son compete at a driving test"; "See Gene and Shannon go to a health spa"; etc. I'm reminded of the late, great Osbournes show: Ozzy and Sharon simply WERE. When they were throwing meat into their neighbors' yard, it obviously wasn't a set-up. I miss that.

The death-knell of reality TV is already tolling, and generic shows like Gene's, "Hogan Knows Best," and the billionth season of "Real World" are prime examples. RE the latter: Long gone are the days when uncategorizable kids from different backgrounds would sit around and talk about stuff, a la what me and my friends did in college dorm rooms. Nowadays there's just a stereotypical stud, a hot blonde girl, a Proud Black Woman (or Angry Black Man), a gay guy, a neurotic/artsy girl... and they all aren't particularly bright enough to talk about "ideas" or anything, but just go out and get fucked up. Whoever thought drinking and whoring would be boring. Congratulations, New Gen---you've made it extremely boring.

How Evil Are You?

62%!! Now, how did this happen? It's not like I would ever spit in someone's drink or corrupt a minor! And, besides, what's so "evil" about not remembering the night before? Or about shooting a gun (ya damn lib'rals!)---I wasn't aiming at anyone... OK, Choirboy, take the test yerself! In the meantime, I'll be reading up on Elizabeth of Bathory...tryin' to LEARN somethin'!

You Are 62% Evil

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You're a loser, baby

I was just talking today at work with a girl (well, she's 25) who has been putting out a literary magazine for the past year or so. I griped 'cause the thing costs $5, it's 26 pages, and it took me only 15 minutes to read. (And the stuff therein is decent, but kind of tired: for instance, half of the pages were devoted to a story about a lonely girl in a small town who makes friends with a new boy/James Dean-like character who likes to go driving around and act "unconventional" by exploring abandoned buildings, etc.)

After that conversation, the two of us started exchanging "pleasantries" about what's going on with ourselves... The "girl" broke up with her girlfriend a few months ago and is now living at home with her parents, who are not charging her for any rent or bills. Yet, all of her money is somehow gone this month. (I know for a fact that she makes about $5000 less than I do a year; but then I live by myself and pay every single thing by myself and only occasionally have to go to a pawn shop for a loan...) I asked her what in the hell she was spending her money on, since she had no rent or utilities to pay. "Well, I'm still paying for the dog-food." (She and her ex still share dogs.) And: "My therapy is pretty expensive." And: "I'm paying $100 a month for yoga." (She doesn't actually go to yoga, but keeps up a membership just in case.) After all of this, I kept looking at her like she was nuts, so she finally said, "I'm actually just waiting for someone to take care of things for me."

I found this whole thing rather repulsive. For one, the "girl" had been cheating on her girlfriend while living with her, but is still now sleeping with her (oh, and paying for dog-food). And then, spending most of your monthly salary on therapy is just ridiculous. And THEN: "I just want someone to take care of things for me"??? All the while this girl's done up like a "hip" granola-slash-post-punk chick, and talks like a feminist, yet constantly says to me whenever we meet infrequently in the break room, "I can't believe you just said that! You're so opinionated!" (And, really, I don't try to shock, and most people don't think I'm so very shocking.) Seriously, she might as well just get married (to a home-owning man) immediately and start wearing appliques on her sweatshirts!

Which also reminds me of a guy I know who blogs online (in his mid-30s) who quits his job every few months (blaming, every time, his "cunt" boss who never seems to understand him or promote him after 2 days), then runs home to his enabling, weak-ass boyfriend, asking him to support him while he tries to "find himself" and continues to complain about why he's only offered close-to-minimum-wage jobs... (Um, because you don't stick to anything more than 3 months so you never move up?)

Jesus...I was born in '65. I'm in no way part of the "Great Generation" (or whatever the fuck Tom Brokaw was calling WWII-era folks a few years ago). I don't believe one should live on bread and water and/or sacrifice every personal desire for The Greater Good. HOWEVER: What is with the above-mentioned losers? I don't believe I've ever in my life come across two specimens more completely slug-like and repugnant. (Even some other repugnant people I've known have actually held down jobs and supported themselves, for pete's sake.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

...Well, not me, which is why I want to move not to Minneapolis but to New York City, where I'm sure my general surly countenance and general approval for honking your car-horn when the jerk in front of you won't move would be a, not necessarily "welcome" but at least apropos, addition to the city-scape.

My problem is, I'm lazy. It's a pain in the ass to try to find another job and to plan a move (and, at 41, to have to ask my mother for thousands of dollars that I don't have saved so I can pay first/last/deposit on the rent, not to mention the moving van). And I'm kind of used to living in an 850-square-foot house with a yard for $825 a month, as opposed to the 450-square-foot one-room studio with annoyingly loud neighbors for $1500 that I'd be sure to find myself in in Manhattan. The "being 41" definitely comes into play here, too: When you're 21, you don't know any better: It's just "an experience" to live in a shit-hole with obnoxious neighbors, etc. At 41, you've already been there and definitely don't see the glamour in it.

But on the plus site of NYC: For one thing, it has Joan movies showing constantly. At the Chelsea, at the MoMA, in Queens, wherever. And it has drag shows. With interesting drag queens, as opposed to schticky drag queens doing tired old fag jokes. And it's got history; I've been there 3 times, and everywhere I look is something that I've either read about or seen in a movie. (Not that "seen in a movie" is a plus just on the surface, but rather that it's interesting to see something and have 3 or 8 or 12 other connotations pop up in your head.) And it's got energy; maybe I was just hyped up the few times I was there because I was new---a distinct possibility. But I also felt a definite, palpable non-sluggish, non-"I've settled" quality to the town.

I live in Austin, and it's a perfectly pleasant, pretty, liberal college-town, gay-friendly and all that. But there's nothing going on here. Nothing. There's the constantly hyped "music scene" (with no particularly innovative or interesting bands) and there are poetry readings and a small theater scene (with no particularly innovative or interesting poets or shows). There's the "gay scene" (with plenty of generic preppy men or club boys and few non-butch lesbians in sight). I drive to work every day to a generic office building, head out to lunch every day in lunch-time generic office-worker traffic, head home again... All without SEEING anything interesting or different. The local weekly "alternative" paper touts the same minor performers with some Austin connection (like Doug Sahm, Charlie Sexton) that they've been talking about for 25 years... I feel like screaming from the inanity of it all. I could see myself retiring in Austin 20 years from now, but right now it's driving me mad.

At least New York City's not inane. And that's not a given just because it's a famed metropolis---I lived in San Francisco, also called a "world-class city," for 2 years in the '90s, and it was EXTREMELY inane, just as dead artistically as Austin is now. I guess I fear that I'll go to NYC and discover that the everyday, petty annoyances (like loud neighbors and stereotypical gay boys and PC lesbians) will be just the same as in Austin, and that I've wasted a whole lot of time, energy, and money for nothing! (But, screw the people---the buildings there are just so pretty!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Elizabeth of Bathory and Frances of Farmer

OK, I'm not a greedy person. All I had was ideas for 4, just 4, screenplays that I really wanted to see done in my lifetime. By ME, of course. One of which was the story of Elizabeth of Bathory, the insanely depraved medieval Romanian countess who sexually tortured virgins and bathed in their blood in order to keep herself youthful. And now I see the below July 30 article in Variety:

Slovaks wrap pricey epic
Helmer Jakubisko's 'Bathory' budget topped $13 mil


Slovakia has just wrapped its biggest-budgeted feature ever, an epic by local standards. It's the Gothic historic tale of Elizabeth of Bathory, a notorious countess of Renaissance Europe whom helmer Juraj Jakubisko says has been unfairly maligned by legend.

She was said to bathe in the blood of virgins, but Jakubisko maintains she was simply a powerful woman who got caught up in the politics of men.

The Slovak helmer, known to the local media as "the Fellini of Eastern Europe" and a man who favors white suits and broad-brimmed black hats, has set a new high-water mark for productions in the cash-strapped Central European country with "Bathory."

The $13.3 million shoot, which stretched over the last year, outgunned that of Jan Sverak's Czech World War II romancer "Dark Blue World," in part by incorporating battle scenes from the Turks' invasion of Renaissance Europe.

"We couldn't pass up the Turkish wars," said Jakubisko. "They significantly influenced that time."
... [Well, of COURSE they did!]

Aaaaargh. My idea, my idea! I'm feeling so tense I might just have to go scare me up some virgins... This film should be interesting (!) but one thing annoys me: "Jakubisko maintains she was simply a powerful woman who got caught up in the politics of men." ... Please. The woman was rich and powerful, yes, and she pretty much had leeway to do exactly what she felt like doing. From what I've read, I sincerely doubt that ANY of her evil-doing was the result of getting "caught up in the politics of men." That's either an incredibly PC statement from the Tom-Wolfe-ishly clad director, or an incredibly sexist one. ("Bad men are responsible for women's downfalls" or..."Bad men are responsible for women's downfalls.") Stupid however you look at it. How about: Some women are just evil and mean, and let's explore that psychology in-depth? Nah... battle scenes from the Turkish wars are probably better. And I'm sure that Liz just took up with those girls 'cause it was such a turn-on for her back-from-the-wars boyfriend!

Oh well. I still have 3 film ideas left. One is: Frances Farmer's life with lover Jean Ratcliffe post-asylum. In Farmer's 1972 autobiography "Will There Really Be A Morning?" it's clear that she didn't actually have a lobotomy or a male rescuer as the '82 film fictionalized, but that she was still a mess anyway, yet ended up finding occasional moments of peace in Indianapolis (of all places), where she hosted a local film show and lived with/emotionally abused her younger female "companion" while battling both the bottle and ex-husbands and stalkers that kept turning up... I see this as being a real Summer Blockbuster. (And how cool would it be to have the 25-years-older Jessica Lange star in this one, as well?)

The other two...Oh, they involve Joan. One's completely written, by the way, for any of you agents out there. Give this kid a break!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glenn and the Girdle

Upon reading the news of Hollywood legend Glenn Ford's death at age 90 Wednesday, I'm reminded of a story about Ford and Joan that I came across last year, from a 2004 bio of Ford that I can't seem to find the name of now:

The Ford-Crawford friendship was indeed a bit more intimate than either star admitted publicly at the time. "Joan and I had a brief affair," Glenn admits today. "It was never serious, but we did enjoy each other's company for a while. One evening up in her bedroom, we had a bottle of champagne, and she said 'You can make love to me if you can get my girdle off.' So I began struggling to remove this stubborn, rubber foundation garment. It was so tight, it took quite a while. She wouldn't move, wouldn't help me at all. Finally, it came
off...almost threw me across the room!" The Crawford fling burned out quickly. "She was too powerful for me to be in love with," Glenn says. "She was very much sufficient unto herself."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not Fade Away

Wow. A few weeks ago, I wrote about liking The Knack as a kid, and flirting with drummer Bruce Gary at a show once. Just found out Gary just died of lymphoma, at age 55.

And, earlier this month, Knack lead singer Doug Fieger was operated on for a brain tumor.

And in July, THE Sharona was noted as battling cancer...

I won't go on about "mortality" etc., but...People die. I'm 41 now, and it just actually hit home in the past year or so that the same thing was going to happen to me. Before, as a younger person, the idea of aging and death was always pretty abstract, despite my knowing people who had died, and actually being at a friend's mother's deathbed and witnessing how horrible (decidedly NON-peaceful) it was. I understood the fact of death intellectually, but never quite FELT what it meant... There's a world of difference between being 35 and being 41.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lesbian Lerv

OK, I'm primarily lesbian (about 80/20 girl-leaning), so I can say this (whereas you straight people just CAN'T... without making yourselves look like you're from Alabama):

Both Jackie and Mimi from Bravo's "Workout" are creepy, depressing lesbians.

RE Jackie: #1: Don't call women "Sweetie," Honey, 'cause it's as annoying when you do that as when some fat-ass sheriff from "Cannonball Run 3" does it. Girls hate it from guys, and girls hate it from wannabe-guys. #2: Don't see other women (and go into public restrooms to make out with other women, especially on-camera) and then wonder why your girlfriend of 4 years is so hostile toward you. #3: Most importantly, don't sermonize. Whenever anyone goes on (and on) about what a "strong, sexual woman" she is, she's usually anything but. #4: Your hair looks like Pee-Wee Herman's hair on steroids. I KNOW that gay boys everywhere are now wearing that tuft of hair up front and you're just expanding upon all look stupid!!!!

RE Mimi: #1: I would say "Don't bite," but, hey, Jackie seemed to have liked it off-camera. #2: The woman didn't call you on purpose that weekend and then she made it a point to date around on-camera AND talk badly about you... But still--you seemed like you had nothing at all going on and had to rely completely on Jackie for your amusement...

All of this was painful to watch. "Fitness Guru" Jackie is 37, gal-pal Mimi is 27, and the two seemed like slow-witted 16-year-old alternative school lesbians with their "philosophies" of relationships. I had a similarly retarded "relationship" when I first came out: I was 23 and my first girlfriend was a 36-year-old "club post-kid." I at first thought she'd be mature, despite her constant clubbing proclivities...but no, turned out she was an ex-con (bank robbery) who had a fetish for underage punk club girls. At 23, and at blonde, and at college every day, I was too old, and too non-Goth, and too squarely goal-oriented for her. So I went through months of getting weird phone-calls from girls she'd been lining up, then having her tell me I was crazy for thinking anything about said calls. Ugh.

The whole TV-thing between Jackie and Mimi reminded me of exactly the same mind-trip: Jackie thinking she's butch by doing her thang out with other women, then wondering why Mimi is acting so "crazy." Except Jackie's no loser ex-bank robber, so what's her excuse for acting like that? She's allegedly such the "trainer to the stars," with her own business, and should therefore be a little more self-confident, ya think? (Not to mention being a little bored with dating around in her late '30s...)

Anyway, no I didn't like Mimi either. A lazy, complaining, monkey-faced brat. But when I saw her website I liked her a little more.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Our steak and martinis is draft beer with wienies

Someone told me recently she'd never heard of George Jones! (Egads, woman, have you been living in Brooklyn all your life?!) Above are George and wife Tammy Wynette doing one of my favorite songs...

And here's George solo a few years later (after Tammy'd left him) doing the song he's probably most known for:

My favorite male singer. Pure soul. (Before "soulful" was defined only as "black." It's actually a Southern thing.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Like a Virgin

A couple of months ago, a 25-year-old co-worker was in my cube looking at the Joan pictures I had up. "She looks like a drag queen," said the attempting-to-be-brash co-worker. "No, drag queens look like HER," responded I, the older, unshockable Yoda figure in this scenario.

Seriously. Without Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and Tallulah Bankhead and Mae West, there would have been no drag queens, because there would have been no strong, outre women worth imitating. Which reminds me---If women weren't falling down on the job today when it comes to public displays of glamour and wit, there'd still be no need for drag queens. There's obviously a huge psychological/aesthetic gap out there that needs filling, which men dressed as women have been stepping into. As if we were back in Shakespearean days, before women were allowed to appear on stage and men had to play their roles.

(And don't say, "What about Madonna?" I've never heard the woman say one witty thing. And she's now completely subdued since she's been married. Real divas don't retire and/or make nice for their husbands.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Whatever Lindsay Wants

This photo of LL posted on the PerezHilton gossip site today struck me as oddly similar (in an "alternate universe" sort of way) to the 1961 Julie London album cover for "Whatever Julie Wants."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The toast of New York

She's a hit! Click here to read the New York Times' review or here to read the review of Kiki and Herb's "Alive on Broadway," playing through September 10.

(In the "betcha didn't know" department: According to the Times: "...Kiki danced in burlesque nightclubs with Maya Angelou; she and Herb were supposed to have performed the theme song for Mel Gibson’s Holocaust series on television until his arrest for drunk driving put an end to the project..." And according to TheaterMania: Kiki is "a woman who could be the love child of Wayne Newton and Joan Crawford." That's all I need to know!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hi Sexy Bitches!

Think my gorgeous girlfriend, "Project Runway"'s Laura Bennett, was born chi-chi? Think again, Sexies (more on that in a sec)!

Check out her For Sale page on the Bravo site listing her favorites: Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Eagles, and...Brooks and Dunn. I kid thee not. Which reminds me, briefly, of my own high-school days. I graduated from a Texas high school in '83 (I was born in '65); Laura B. was born 2 years earlier in Metairie, Louisiana, and moved to Houston as a kid, where I'm assuming she graduated in '81 or so. Reading "Stones, Zep, Eagles" reminded me completely of the "older chicks" I knew in high school who were into "rock, man." Not insinuating that Laura B. was a stoner, but... come on. No Honor Society girls or cheerleaders or rich girls in her grade were into Led Zeppelin or the Stones! And those of us just a year or two younger were discovering punk and new wave. The woman was/is a rock chick! (As for the "Brooks and Dunn"... Well, I have my George Jones; I'll let her have her '90s "kick-ass" Republican country duo. While still muttering, "Ick.")

It's a funny dividing line between musical tastes that occurred right around then: Punk and new wave had barely broken in Texas in the early '80s---no radio station played any of it, except for the occasional Cars or Blondie hit. There was ONE alternative radio show in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, appropriately titled "The Rock'n'Roll Alternative," on an album-rock station, which came on for, I think, one sole hour, maybe two, at midnight on Sundays. I had to pretend to be asleep from 10 to 12, then get up and crouch in the dark beside my stereo speaker, volume turned to minus one or something, to listen to it. That's where I first heard U2, the Ramones, Eurythmics... In the meantime, all of the old-school ROCK CHICKS were still listening to the past-their-primes Stones and Led Zep! (I'm surprised Laura B. didn't list ZZ Top as one of her faves...THAT, Sexies, would be downright embarrassing, though, so I'm glad she showed a little restraint.)


Alright, re the "Sexies" thing: I saw the season finale of "The Simple Life" over the weekend, along with a couple of previous SL shows in re-runs. And am now hooked on calling people "Sexies" or "Sexy Bitches" or simply "Bitches" just in passing. Whatever.

That finale was, to me, a sign that Dada is retardedly alive and well in the 21st century. The look on Nicole's face when she saw the fake Paris. Nicole threatening to out the fake Paris, then instead making the fake Paris serve her drinks and toast, and then call a press conference to announce she was pregnant with Marc Anthony's child. The real Paris hearing from her publicist about the press conference and high-tailing it over to the 90-year-old couple's house where the current "Simple Life" episode was being filmed. The 90-year-old couple's faces when they saw the second Paris at their door. I don't care how made up this all was. It was one of the most fucking hilarious things I've ever seen in my life!

I'm especially a new fan of the poker-faced, newly gamin (as opposed to her former "gypsy ho") Nicole Richie, who delivers the most outrageous lines completely deadpan, whether she's teaching kids in a Christian family to yell curse-words in their front yard, or asking a straight-laced bake-shop for a cake shaped like a vagina ("it's a lesbian wedding"), or seeing the wife of whatever family off at the door with, "I'll take care of the kids. And your husband." Not to mention asking one parent, as she's about to embark on helping the kids with an art project: "So, should they pose for the paintings with their clothes on or off?"

Some reality shows, regardless of how obviously cheesy, try to nonetheless play it wholesome: "The Girls Next Door" (featuring Hefner's 3 live-in hos) and "Flavor of Love" (featuring girls competing for the unlikely prize of ...making it with Flava Flav) are examples of the most meaningless, mind-deadening stuff that STILL tries, on-camera, to present its subjects as "just your average folks," when it's obvious that, however cute or entertaining, everyone's just plain stupid...and ho-ish. What I like about "The Simple Life" is that Nicole especially doesn't make any effort at pretending to be "good people." Maybe she's great and sensitive in her own private life, but on camera, she's gleefully, anarchically amoral----which is very refreshing.

Monday, August 14, 2006


For the past few days, VH1 has been playing "Tupac Shakur: Resurrection," which I just watched for the first time. His account of being stopped for jaywalking in the Bay Area differed, oh, just slightly from my own. (He questioned the officer, put up a fight, got his face smashed against the sidewalk, got arrested, et al. I, on the other hand, back when I was in grad school in San Fran in the mid-'90s, also got stopped for the same "violation," but just nodded and took the ticket. I didn't pay it, 'cause it was utterly stupid, but did, nonetheless, just accept the ticket at the time.)

Now, which is the better response? I kind of admire the overt "this is utter bullshit" physical response of Tupac, yet also see it as unnecessarily confrontational over a minor detail. It's a given that the police are going to act like assholes on occasion---the profession, by its very nature, attracts some control-freaks and sadists. Yet, behind their assholish behavior is an incredibly vast power-structure that will back them up and cause YOU, the even-minor offender, much more trouble than it's ultimately worth. Is it playing Uncle Tom to simply take a ticket quietly?

It also cracked me up that Tupac was shocked, just SHOCKED, when, for a completely different offense, he was later in prison and a guard called him "nigger." Tupac complained loudly about the racial slur and---SURPRISE!---nobody cared! (He laughed at himself and his own response in a later interview.) Made me think what a little political flower he'd been raised as to not have grasped the idea much earlier that guys in prison---inmates and guards both---were rough, non-PC, customers. And wonder if that's why he was killed---he'd been used to mouthing off with no consequences, other than verbal; and finally perhaps found himself in over his head with actual sociopathic people who reacted physically to being "disrespected."

Also made me think of the constant barrage of stereotypical bullshit that both gay people and women have to put up with on a nearly daily basis---and we, for the most part, put up with it, assimilationists that most of us are or want to be. It's MUCH easier that way. Women who are murdered are most often killed by their husbands or boyfriends, for instance. I don't know the stats on gay people killed by straight people; but there's constantly some story in the news about a gay or trans person beaten or killed by a straight guy (or team of straight guys) who was usually, the poor dear, "uncomfortable with his sexuality."

I'm torn. At what point is the bullshit and prejudice too much to take? (At what point, for instance, do we gay people realize that our society's not allowing gay marriage is exactly the same as our society of 50 years ago not allowing "marriage between the races" in some states? At what point do we stand up and say "don't ask, don't tell" in the military is ludicrous and horribly prejudicial? I always remember: The people who don't want to accept gays in the military today are the same people who didn't want to accept women in the military and who didn't want to accept blacks in the military. And before that, what was the problem? The poor whites who didn't own property and couldn't pay their poll tax?)

The sadistic, paranoid assholes will always think of SOMETHING to be terribly fearful of. And their preferred fear-state lasts just as long as the masochists (we) are willing to put up with it for the sake of a polite co-existence. At what point, though, does merely "accepting the ticket" become unacceptable?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

The gun that will keep us together

Happy Birthday to Me! (Well, the 11th. I'm up late.) Sharing this illustrious date: Hulk Hogan, Jerry Falwell, Alex Haley, Mike Douglas (who also died today), and..David's man!

My birthday horoscopes:

Rob Brezsny: "A few weeks ago, eight-year-old Harrison Vonderau was playing golf with his dad on a course in Cleveland when he shot a hole-in-one. Father and son experienced an even more shocking delight 20 minutes later when the boy scored yet another hole-in-one. It was an almost unbelievable accomplishment for anyone, let alone a kid. Harrison is your role model for the coming week, Leo. I predict that a young part of you--either your inner child or your inner teenager--will score an unlikely and spectacular coup, the equivalent of two holes-in-one." "You may be feeling extra dreamy today, STEPHANIE. Your mood may be fluctuating all over the place and somehow does not know where to stop. It may be hard to muster other people to share in your boisterous nature. Trying to get people to jump on the bandwagon of excitement may be much like pulling teeth. Perhaps there is something going on with them and their emotions that you are simply not noticing. Pay attention."

Yeah, yeah. What I really want from my "inner teenager" on this day, week, month, year is... OK. Lindsay Lohan. Please. No, I mean it unironically...PLEASE!! Although---and why can't I simply be soft and womanly and accepting---her insane desire to go to Iraq ("with Hillary" I first heard; my first question: "Duff or Clinton?") might prove to be both a logistical and psychological barrier. Still, since I'm from Texas, I'm sure I could teach her to shoot straighter than that so-called "security" man. Really. My daddy shot armadillos in our front yard, after all, and let me take aim at frogs out by our pond.

I think Lindsay and I could really bond over that "crazy Daddy" thing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The bomb that will keep us together

I work for a publishing company and we have a pretty stressful and busy year coming up. Today we had a group meeting about some "restructuring" of a few management positions. OK. I'm low enough down on the totem poll that none of the higher-ups' change-ups really affects me. What was funny/interesting though, was an e-mail sent to the whole group later that day by one of the "higher-ups"; in it, he expressed his excitement about the upcoming work challenges and confidence in how we'll all pull quoting THE SMITHS!: "If it's not love, then it's the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together..." (And he actually got every single "bomb" in there!)

My first reactions were, "I love this 50-year-old Pakistani man! Yet...How in the hell does he know the Smiths??" And then, snottily, "It's not 'the bomb,' it's 'the bond'..." (After about 4 online lyric searches, I discovered it really is "the bomb"---Not only do I feel anal, I'm also now one of those goofballs who mis-hears song lyrics.)

I e-mailed him back with my own take on Smiths-style bonding and the upcoming workload: "If a ten-ton truck crashes into us, to die by your side, the pleasure the privilege is mine..." And he wrote back: "Perfect." My new boyfriend. My new Pakistani-manfriend.

I'm just glad I decided against sending him the first quote I had in mind, also from "Ask," and more in line with my current uninspired mindset: "Spending warm summer days indoors...Writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg..." Not to mention "I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now...In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die..." The "dying by your side" sounds much more team-spirited!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

That, my friend, is the rock and roll

My very first concert, 1978. My mom insisted on attending the show with my friend and me; my mom and I also wore matching terrycloth shirts. (Alas, I can't blame her for the latter; I thought the idea was kind of grown-up at the time.) This was, necessarily, in my pre-groupie days, since it's hard to be a groupie with your mom along. Well, no, I take that back. I've heard stories about mother/daughter acts. But, um, my mom wasn't that kind of mom. It is hard, though, to be a groupie while wearing a terrycloth shirt.

Actually, Mom was probably wise to insist on chaperoning. Those were some mighty tight spandex pants. And some audacious chorus-line kicks at the end there.

Getting the Knack

When I was 14, I got to kiss 2 members of The Knack, who, in 1979 or so, had big hits with "My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't," and played a local Dallas college's auditorium. My friend's mother was cool and she drove us to the show and made herself scarce for a few hours while waiting to pick us up after. (My mother was not cool and I had to sneak out of the house with a verboten tube-top hidden beneath a button-down shirt.)

Once on the college campus, I immediately made friends with a college-boy selling programs. I let him stroke my ass and he then gave me and my friend backstage passes. It was that easy! (Funny, in high school and my first years of college I wore a size 3 jean---I thought my butt was terribly flat, as did my girl-friends, but guys were constantly commenting and trying to grab. This being the era of Cheryl Tiegs, not J-Lo.)

Despite the ass-stroking, I was a completely dorky (albeit blonde tube-topped) 14-year-old and at home had spent hours making up a poster-board (complete with glued-on glitter) that read "We Want Doug Backstage!!" "Doug" was "Doug Feiger," the lead singer. When my friend and I held up the sign during the show, people behind us told us to put it down. (Yikes. "Where's your Knack Spirit, People?!") But the band photographers came out front and took our picture.

After the show, we did go backstage. I recognized the bass player, Prescott Niles, and asked if I could kiss him. He laughed and said sure. We puckered up and smacked chastely on the lips. Then I recognized the guitar player, Berton Averre, and asked if I could kiss him. He laughed and said sure. He slipped me a bit of tongue. Then I saw lead-singer Doug sitting in a corner with his girlfriend, THE "Sharona" of "My Sharona." They both signed my program, Sharona writing something like "To the little girls."

Then my friend said her mother was waiting, so we'd better leave. And we did. (Sorry, no orgies or general debauchery to report!) We both kept our backstage-pass stickers on our jeans and wore them to school the next day. Since The Knack, despite their 2 hits, wasn't very well-known in my small school (Styx and Boston were the big bands then), most people were somewhat puzzled by what those patches on our jeans represented. To me, at the time, they represented very devout emotional/intellectual feeling! Despite my home-made "Doug" poster insinuating sluttiness, I more accurately really, really loved the energy of The Knack and knew every word of every song on their first album by heart. The ass-patting was weird; the "kissing strangers" was also weird. And simultaneously triumphant. I was constantly aware that everything that was happening to me I'd be bragging about later; I was also amazed at the "power" I had that let me meet my idols, just based on my blonde hair and my 14-year-old skinny butt. And amazed at how bold I had been acting---I'd never really behaved in an overtly sexual way prior to this time.

In the next couple of years, I went on to buy the group's second and third albums---"But the Little Girls Understand" and...I can't remember the third's title now. By the late-'80s, The Knack had completely faded from the public eye, but were trying to make a comeback. In '89 or so, they played a small rock club, the Back Room, in Austin. I went to see them there and by chance made eye contact with and flirted for a couple of minutes in between sets with the drummer, Bruce, the one band member that I hadn't talked to 10 years ago. I guess I hadn't developed my groupie skills in 10 years--- a drunken orgy STILL didn't ensue!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Remember: They're not "dolls," they're "action figures." And this isn't a "diary," but a...

Welcome to my new blog. My name's Stephanie, I'm the creator of The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia website, and I'm a maniacal Joan Crawford fan. If that sounds like an introduction at an AA meeting, that's not so far from the truth--I spend an inordinate amount of time talking and thinking and writing about Joan Crawford...surely this blog won't help the addiction any, although its sole focus won't be Joan. I am, after all, a woman of diverse interests, i.e.: What's the deal with Lindsay Lohan? (I'm about to turn 41, so it feels bordering on pervy to think a 20-year-old's hot, but...I just love that demure young lady's face!) And, Isn't Laura Bennett on "Project Runway" hot? (There, see---my age range! my diversity!)

The picture to the left is of Joan Crawford in 1963, when she was around 58. When I recently flew to San Francisco to see Ann Blyth (Joan's co-star in "Mildred Pierce") do a Q&A at the Castro Theater after a "Mildred" showing, some of us Joan nuts were discussing how old Joan would have to be before we wouldn't want to sleep with her. (Well, let me be more accurate: A couple of us bi women were having this discussion, while the gay men we were with kept diplomatically silent.) My own personal cut-off point would be around '63/64---don't tell me that she does not look astoundingly good in this picture! (That gun-metal hair is just the excitingly borderline extreme icing on the cake.) Time to start a new category? GILF. As in "Grandmas I'd Like to..." Oh wait. For me, Joan at 58 is still in the "MILF" range. Some kid blogger* will have to anoint her a GILF. Not that Joan Crawford is anyone's GRANDMA, g-ddammit. As Lindsay would say.

I remain shocked, shocked I tell you, that my boss, also a classic movie fan, does not find Joan attractive; but then, his idea of a beautiful woman is...Winona Ryder. I told him that liking Ryder's looks is like thinking Oliver Twist is really dreamy. And I wonder why my job evaluations hover in the mediocre range...

*Speaking of "kids": I'm obviously getting old and (fire)crotchety, but some "teen people" have been getting on every one of my nerves lately. Freshest in my mind is my recent foray to the public swimming pool in my neighborhood last Sunday. Normally there are dozens of tweens and teens there splashing around, acting silly. (Even the gangsta-wannabes with their low-slung knee-length swimtrunks eventually get too busy with goofy cannonballs and water up their noses to do too much posturing.) In the five years that I've been going to this pool summers, it's always been a completely relaxed and nice vibe there. This past weekend, though, a particular trio of 16-year-old girls showed up... Wearing exactly the same style of bikinis, with their hair in exactly the same pony-tails, shrieking at the top of their lungs about who was dating who and who was a bitch and how they just last night were having some sort of grenadine cocktails from their parents' bar... At one point, one of the girls stood by the pool and started performing an extended series of cheerleader moves for her two "admiring" friends. (I put "admiring" in quotes 'cause I remember how high school was, at least for me---insecure little people smiling and nodding their approval at even the most idiotic of displays, as long as the person doing the displaying was part of the "in-crowd.")

I was surprised by how extremely irritated I was by these girls. Maybe because they triggered bad high-school memories, maybe just because they were overtly phony, never for a second dropping their poses---never once did they just JUMP into the water (as opposed to carefully lowering themselves into it to avoid getting their hair wet) and have a splash-fight or anything, and never once did I hear them say anything even remotely interesting or funny or bright or wicked. (Maybe if they'd SNUCK those drinks from the parents' bar(s)...But no, apparently the parents just served 'em up. Not wicked, just boringly rich and blase.) I realize that it's part of the "social contract" that one tries not to listen in to, much less judge, other people's public conversations, but in this case---since they were intentionally being so very loud---I couldn't help it. And was surprisingly depressed by their utter vapidity. Being around them kind of ruined my afternoon.

Yes, this coming from someone who just said she liked Lindsay Lohan!