Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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

Joan Crawford at a 1938 polo match in LA


At kids' pick-up soccer games you never want...

... a rah-rah Mom playing goalie and whooping constantly and inserting herself into the game.
... a weirdly passive/aggressive Dad inserting himself into the game.

I initially thought the Mom spunky until a couple of kids got nicked with a ball and doubled over in tears -- wherein the Mom repeatedly stopped the game to run over and administer to the crying WEENIE, oops, "child."

I initially thought the Dad a positive influence on his son until he took over the game with his fancy head/foot-work. (Congrats, 40-year-old Dad -- you just out-maneuvered a bunch of 8-year-olds!)

Does every damn thing have to be ruined by stupid adults? The kids were doing fine to begin with and were cute to watch --- until you creeps took over.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oklahoma was never like this

Paul McCartney is often fey and self-conscious (stop mugging for the camera and playing with your hair, man!), but... How cute and attractive is he here! :)  Paul makes me happy.


"Another Grey Morning" from the JT album

Not for me, but for SS.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meet the Whigs!

One of these freaks is my brother! ;p
 

Joan Crawford on the set of "Mildred Pierce"


She's a stud.

On the Sedona set of "Johnny Guitar," October 1953

 


Couples

I've never known a couple that was better than the initial two individuals. A lot of times, what I've witnessed happening is that one or the other ends up kow-towing to the other's neuroses. With good intentions, because they love them and want to make them happy. And it keeps the peace. And yet, such reinforcing of neuroses is, to me, sick.

No, I won't give examples here! I've gotten in enough trouble here as it is!

Well, OK, I'll give you one example. (Because it's from a completely random person in my life, it's not going to cause any brouhaha!) 20 years ago, I was in a very inspiring writers' group that met every two weeks in a local restaurant for about 3 years before we disbanded. At one point, one of the guys in the group got married and had a kid. And then apparently his wife got suspicious about where he was going for hours on end every two weeks. And so she insisted on attending one of the writers' group meetings. WITH THE BABY. Which was fine at the very beginning, since she just sat there dumbly while we all talked about our writing, until the baby started fussing. She took the baby out of the room to begin with. But then came back in and SHOVED THE CRYING BABY AT THE GUY and left the room!

WHAT THE FUCK?!

I can see getting mad at a mate who insists on going bar-hopping or to a strip club. I can even see, if you're extremely suspicious, not believing that it's really a WRITERS' GROUP that your mate is going off to every two weeks. BUT... Once you're THERE at the writers' group and see that everyone is, indeed, talking about writing? And then making a scene with the baby?

I've witnessed this kind of thing at least 5 times. It's bizarre to me. I know that everyone in a relationship must put up with the peccadillos of the other. But to this extent? Because you're THAT desperate for companionship?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Motivation

 
What's going to get me out of my one-room apartment quicker than anything...
 
I just bought this shower curtain on eBay for an exorbitant price. So exorbitant was the price but so excited was I by the image that I had to call two conservative office-ladies over to my computer to come look at it and give me buying advice. They both know I'm really into Joan, but I expected both of them, when they saw how much it was and knowing that I was a temp with no money, to say, "No, that's not really worth it." Their reactions instead: "That's REALLY beautiful!" "That's YOU."  "If I were younger and single and saw a Scarlett O'Hara shower curtain for that price, I'd buy it." They tipped me over the edge! :)
 
(p.s. It's Joan Crawford as painted by "sad-eyed-waif" artist Margaret Keane; JC had this same painting on the wall behind her couch in NYC. This works for me on many a level!) :)
 
And it's waaaay too good for a bathroom in a one-room apartment.
 
(Someone also pointed out to me that I could hang it on my wall... That's a GREAT idea!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can't make up my fuckin' mind!

One calendar is the norm. I decided to allow myself two (thinking optimistically: one for the home, one for the office). And now I can't delete one of these three!
 
Old Hollywood: Because I feel I'll be going to LA in 2014. And I like especially the old "Hollywoodland" sign from 1923 and the Hollywood Bowl silhouette from 1926. And the '40s street shots are kinda cool, though I'm not that interested in '40s H'wood.
 
NYC in B/W: The view from the Chelsea Hotel, the library lion, the arc of the Central Park trees.
 
NYC in color: The color verve of Times Square and the above-shot of the skyline.
 
I sat there for 45 minutes trying to pick two. And I could not! (Though, upon just reading my above descriptions, I'd probably delete the NYC color --- but Times Square! and the pretty approach to the Battery... and snowy Central Park...)
 
Yeah, yeah. Who the fuck cares. What calendar I pick does not determine my future... But I so want to FEEL my two 2014 calendars! ;p
 
 



Good Times Coming / Feel the Sun

I loved this song from the second I heard it; from the 1986 McCartney "Press to Play" album, which I bought as an actual album when it first came out. (Where is that album, physically, now? I think in a crate at my mom's house.) Every single other song on the album is not so good (!), which I just rediscovered on iTunes; but this one has such a good, happy, hopeful vibe that I've remembered for the past 27 years... Glad to officially add to my repertoire of musical "likes" upon downloading it to my iPod just now.

I especially like the second part, "Feel the Sun," which is segued into at 3:27.

"All the beauty, all the pain
Will it ever be the same again..."

p.s. Though this came out in '86, six years after John Lennon's death, hearing this beautiful song (and, also recently, the whole 1978 "London Town" album) pisses me off when I think of John's ongoing derogatory comments about Paul in the late '70s and in 1980, as in: Paul was busy pumping out kids and pumping out music, that kind of thing. Insinuating that he himself was somehow "deeper" because he'd withdrawn. When in fact, Lennon was having a hard time conceiving either a child or much music, and he was having problems with his marriage. He was dried up. He could have admitted that and didn't have to be a bitch toward the much more naturally fecund Paul about it.

I say that as someone who worshipped Lennon as a teenager -- I discovered the Beatles at 15 in 1980, in the summer before Lennon was shot. After hearing "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper" and the White Album, Lennon was definitely my favorite Beatle because of his musical soulfulness and honesty; and I typed up the words to his solo songs like "Working Class Hero" and "God" and hung them on my high school walls. In my teenaged angst, Paul was dismissively "pleasant"; John was somehow "TRUE"...

Solo, the true measure of each man came out. John's "Plastic Ono Band" in 1970 and "Imagine" in 1971 were intense, as was his 1974 "Walls and Bridges." But they were all about his own neuroses and psychological problems. Initially brave psychologically to sing about said neuroses, but by the time 1980's "Double Fantasy" came out after a 5-year absence, Lennon was clearly tapped out creatively. Apparently, all his intellectual/creative energy had gone into stabilizing his marriage. A huge effort that he blatantly tried to sell to the rock press as being some sort of "artistic dream union." When in fact, I think he was just trying to re-create, re-live his art-college buddy Stu Sutcliffe's leaving the Beatles to be with his artist-girlfriend Astrid in Germany in the early 1960s while the band was in Hamburg. What Sutcliffe did to Lennon (unintentionally), Lennon tried (intentionally) to do to Paul.

Only... the artistic bond between John/Yoko wasn't as organic as the bond between Stu/Astrid. John and Yoko's work never meshed, though he continued to, annoyingly, try to pretend that it did until the very end.

And Paul wasn't nearly as weak psychologically upon being left as Lennon had been in the early '60s. McCartney was, on the surface, more fluid and willing to bend. But he wasn't any less talented or egotistical. And he was much more musically, creatively driven, with a deep, true unpretentiously creative core that I don't think Lennon, too reliant on the image rather than reality of Yoko as his muse, had.



Happiness is...

 
 
... first real cold front comin' this evening and 4 new sweatshirts to choose from! ;p
 
Last year was a depressing non-new-sweatshirt year, alternating between two old standbys (maroon and dark green)... but this year -- Got my burnt-orange Longhorns sweatshirt for Saturdays, my blue Cowboys sweatshirt for Sundays, and my happy red and pink sweatshirts for all the other times. I'm set! :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Humble

Ha! I've tried it for the past few years and am now officially sick of it.

Here's the thing:

There's nothing wrong with being a secretary. Except for the dumb-speak of fellow secretaries in the office ("Thank yewwww!"). And the condescension of the bosses (until you make it clear to them that you have a Master's in English and can discuss anything with them at or above their level).

There's nothing wrong with taking a bus for transportation. Except for the thugs who yell at the top of their lungs about who they're busy fucking and how they just got their "old lady" pregnant again so she could get more government aid while the thugs are in jail. Except for the state hospital guys up front jacking off in front of everyone. Except for the homeless guys/gals who reek and, like the hookers with their johns, constantly talk "I ain't gonna lie!" nonsense at the top of their lungs.

There's nothing wrong with living in a one-room apartment. Except for the 20-year-old neighbors around you blasting their music or having loud sex or stomping home in your shared hallway at 3am or running a buzz-saw in the adjoining backyard all day.

Hey, if I could be a secretary, take a bus, and live in a one-room apartment -- all in a vacuum -- I'd have no problem with that.

In reality, though: I'm sick of pretending to be humble and that the utter idiocy of the people I've been around for the past 3 years is OK. None of this dumb bullshit has been OK. I've just been too lazy/tired to try to get back out of it. I need to get off my ass.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Paul McCartney's "London Town" (1978)

Paul in Times Square Wednesday!

(John Lennon's birthday, BTW.)
 
I could've been there, man! :)  (Used to work in the Morgan Stanley building, right next to the flashing Hershey store -- could've popped right down for my lunch break!)
 
I found these pix on the UK Daily Mail site -- where commenters were giving Paul (in the photo below WALKING back to his nearby hotel with wife Nancy Shevell) shit for DYING HIS HAIR BROWN! ("You're 71, Paul, be real," etc.)  
 
Paul has a new album out October 15 called "New." And a single with the same name was released a couple of weeks ago. The single was really bad. That said, though: I do have a huge problem with people mocking him for dying his hair! It's not like he's your grand-dad who just retired from the local shop and is now supposed to (in your mind) spend all of his free time babysitting your kids. When Paul McCartney was 25, he looked nothing like, and was doing nothing like, your now-grand-dad. When he was 45, he looked nothing like and was doing nothing like your grand-dad.
 
Same with Paul at 71: If the fucking LEGENDARY ROCK STAR wants to dye his hair brown and then strut across Fifth Avenue after an impromptu concert... Don't hold him to your grand-dad's hair (or any other aesthetic or behavioral) standards, is all I ask.
 
 
 
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I've been listening to Paul's 1978 "London Town" album for a month now. Tonight, here's "Don't Let It Bring You Down":
 

 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Planning Ahead


Just bought these for when I retire to my Vermont cabin in 2033.
 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Hermit Crab by Stephen Burt

That shell is pretty, but that shell is too small for me.

Each home is a hideout; each home is a secret; each home
is a getaway under the same hot lamp, a means
to a lateral move at low velocity.

I live in a room in the room
of a boy I barely see.

Sometimes the boy & his talkative friends raise
too-warm hands & try to set me free

& I retreat into myself, hoping they place
me back in my terrarium, & they
do, with disappointed alacrity.

Scatter patterns in sand, adnates, cancellates, gaping
whelk husks, a toy tractor-trailer, cracked
and dinged, beside the spine of a plastic tree,

the helmet-shaped shelter of a shadow cast
by a not-quite-buried wedge of pottery . . .

if I have a body that's wholly my own
then it isn't mine. For a while I was
protected by what I pretended to be.


--The New Yorker, 8/5/13

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Was hem-hawing through a back issue (8/5/13) of the New Yorker today and came across this poem, intending just to glance over just to tell myself I'd read it... The first stanza was inviting. The second stanza bunged me up: especially disliked the way-too-blatant "each home is a secret." Was prepared to yawn and flip on. But... the THIRD STANZA! "I live in a room in the room / of a boy I barely see." Experience through a scrim (either physically or metaphysically) is something seemingly simple, but I don't see it a lot; Ted Hughes does it regularly, which is one reason I like him so. For instance, in his "A Short Film" from "Birthday Letters," the ending:

And how that explosion would hurt
Is not just an idea of horror but a flash of fine sweat
Over the skin-surface, a bracing of nerves
For something that has already happened.

Hughes's overlapping of time is more complicated than what Burt is doing in his simple lines indicating overlapping physical circumstances, but the effect is similar. (The Hughes poem that most exemplifies what I'm thinking of... I can't think of! The speaker is a falconer. I can't find the darn poem anywhere!)

Anyway, Burt's 3rd stanza made me immediately get over the clunky beginning (and the follow-up 4th and 5th stanzas, which are pleasant but not magnificent -- the "disappointed" hands putting him back is interesting; I first read "disappointed" as "disappointing"-- maybe even MORE interesting, the speaker's desires dual that way, both wanting and not wanting to be engaged).

With the "Scatter patterns..." stanza, the poem takes off. I don't normally like show-offy-ness like "adnates" and "cancellates," and I still don't know what these words mean, but it doesn't matter. From here to the stunning "For a while I was protected / by what I pretended to be" end, the poem's taken on a brilliant life of its own.

I've been through a long dry stretch of limbo for the past few months. Not in psychic pain, not scrapping after jobs. (Nothing like the hell of 2 years ago.) But also a pleasure-less stretch. Burt's poem gave me a THRILL for the first time in ages. And shook something up. I read it this morning when I had nothing to do at work. And right after, left for lunch, with this in my head:

Time as tantra, as tribute, as taunt
Mantra in memory of dances not taught

Now, that's nothing but a ditty. But a ditty that's also a portal. (I walked around for the rest of the day thinking about Place and Black Holes and Hourglass and such. Which is way better than thinking about how irritatingly stupid students are...)  AKA: Burt's poem got me briefly back in touch with my soul.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Don Draper on Joan Crawford

 
 
Betty Draper walks into the bedroom, where Don is reading a paperback copy of Rona Jaffee’s The Best of Everything.
DON This is fascinating.
BETTY It’s better than the Hollywood  version.
DON It’s certainly dirtier.
BETTY Joan Crawford is not what she was.  You know, honestly, I found her eyebrows completely unnerving. Like a couple of caterpillars pasted there.  Her standing next to Suzy Parker as if they were the same species.
DON Well, some men like eyebrows, and all men like Joan Crawford.  Salvatore couldn’t stop talking about her.
 
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From this mid-century design website:
 
(This page also includes great photos of the sets of "Best of Everything" and "Torch Song.")

Your Smiling Face