Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

Prepared for New Year's Eve, i.e., having champagne and food in the fridge. I don't think I've spent a New Year's Eve with a person or group since the Millennium with my friend Sherrie. That was a pleasant New Year's Eve.

I think my best, though, was the next year, when I got a computer for Christmas from my mom and spent New Year's Eve starting the first screenplay I ever wrote (and finished that spring). The worst was probably 1997, when a male apartment neighbor and I (both equally lonely) tried to act like we were having a good time together, lighting some fireworks in an empty lot next door and then making out desultorily afterwards. (Normally, shooting off fireworks and making out should be fun, but...not when you're both faking it.)

I still remember Bill Clinton's memories of New Year's Eves, as he wrote about in his autobiography "My Life." He said that, as a youth, he used to spend the evenings alone, thinking about the past year and the year to come... And, as he wrote, wasn't he an oddball for doing so... Not at all, Bill!

Christmas Canisters!

One of the gifts I got for Christmas that I especially liked was this set of glass canisters. (I didn't particularly want the Christmas ladybug oven-timer, but, as it turned out, it looks kinda cute sitting right there.)
 
I dunno -- in the past, I'd thought canisters were for housewives with huge kitchens and contained only flour and sugar and cookies and such. I liked how they looked, but I didn't think they were for me and whatever tiny kitchen came with whatever apartment. Plus, I'd always been rather poor and kitchen canisters were never even near anything that I wanted or needed for someone to get me as a gift.
 
This year, though, I have pretty much everything I want (well, except for a car), and so I asked for these. Still something that I would have thought too "extravagant" to buy for myself, but very pleasing for a gift! My spaghetti and rice used to sit in their packages in the fridge; the popcorn, in a re-used plastic container in a cabinet above my stove. I like how this looks. Makes me feel kinda homey and put-together, kitchen-wise.
 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Boy and His 50-Year-Old Aunt

When I arrived at my brother's for Christmas, my 10-year-old nephew was alone in the backyard with football gloves on and his dog Blaze bounding around him.

After I took my gifts inside, he asked me if I would play catch with him. I said OK, then after throwing a few spirals, asked him what he'd been doing before I'd arrived:

"Was someone playing with you earlier, or were you just a 'lonely boy in his backyard' throwing up a ball to himself and his dog?!"

I was kidding, but 10-year-old nephew replied, deadpan: "Just a lonely boy in his backyard."

"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

My Christmas was pleasant, so I hate to bring up shit, but... but...

On Christmas Day, which I spent over at my brother's house, my 13-year-old nephew had been feeling sickly for a few hours, missing Christmas dinner. An hour or so later, he was up and about. At which point my brother suggested that he drink some water to help clear out his stomach. A reasonable suggestion. But my nephew felt well unto himself and didn't want any water.

The exchange went on for several go-rounds:

"Drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"You need to drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"Go DRINK SOME WATER."
"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

I just happened to break up the exchange at this point, asking what pill the kid had taken earlier to make him feel better, which ended it.

The whole exchange did, though, remind me of something ugly when I was 12.

My parents were watching TV in the living room, and I was watching TV in my bedroom. My dad came in to see what I was doing. I was both watching TV AND writing in my diary.

My dad told me that I couldn't both watch TV and write at the same time. "DAD, I CAN watch TV AND write," I said. "No, you can't," he said. "OK," I said. After he left, I kept the TV on and kept writing.

A few minutes later, he was back. I was still writing AND watching TV. Outraged, he grabbed me by my hair and dragged me down the hallway to the living room.

Listening to my nephew and my brother gave me a hint of this potential for humiliation. It scared me to hear. My dad constantly treated me in an ugly, sadistic way; my brother, as far as I know, has not treated his sons that way. Yet, I heard my brother tending toward that in the way he was talking to his son this time.

I'm glad my nephew stood up to his dad about not wanting any water. I'm glad that I stood up to my dad about being capable of watching TV and writing at the same time. Though being dragged down the hall by my hair afterwards was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

My dad visits this blog every day. And so I say to you, Dad: FOR SHAME. Are you proud of how you treated a 12-year-old girl over and over again?


Elvis Presley - Trying To Get To You - Sun Recording 78

Recorded at Sun Studio, September 1954.
 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I'm Waiting For The Day (Pet Sounds, 1966)

This meant something completely different to me several years ago when I was in the throes of a new love. (I took it quite literally then.) But I just listened to it again tonight -- I still love this song, and it still makes me feel happy, even when it's not referring to anyone in particular in my life.

I especially like the triumphant fade-out:

You didn't think that I could sit around and let him work
You didn't think that I could sit around and let him take you...
 
 

"I will not let people devour me." -- Joan Crawford


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas With The Rat Pack

This is my idea of a GREAT Christmas soundtrack.
Nobody else that I know thinks the same. Certainly not the family that I'm about to spend Christmas around! :)
 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Skyline

Views of the NYC skyline from Weehawken, NJ.
 
 
 

All lives are valuable?

I've been having political conversations with a guy at work recently, during which he just revealed that he thinks "every life is precious." Ah...I absolutely cannot agree. Probably 99% of humans are born and die for no reason at all. (Not trying to be unnecessarily harsh, just honest.)

Me, for instance: I'm 50, and during my time on this planet, I've written some poetry and created a Joan Crawford website. The poetry has reached maybe 200 people, while the Joan information has reached several million. If I were to die today, my "legacy" would be that I helped to rescue Joan Crawford from the false "Mommie Dearest" image. (A "legacy" that would fade within 5 or so years. Every Joan Crawford photo that I've already posted on "The Best of Everything" has already been re-posted extensively on Pinterest, etc.)

At  50: All things fade away. For sure, most of my emotions and loves. But what might remain online is the intellectual, aesthetic exploration of childhood heroes such Joan Crawford...

Merry Fucking Christmas

Well, the "Fucking" is being dramatic. As is, I suppose, the "Merry."

After work today, I stopped off at the local Dollar Store to buy some cheap wrapping paper and whatever else. When I got up to check-out with 6 items, the register clerk suddenly put the "CLOSED" sign up on her conveyor belt. I looked over at the 2nd register open: Two shoppers there, with at least 40 items in their baskets, which would take a long fucking time. I called out loudly to my clerk: "'Scuse me! If you're leaving, can you ask someone else to come up and help?"

My clerk muttered to herself, then took the "Closed" sign down. So I was still in.

When I got up to the register, the clerk rang me up. I said "Thanks" when I paid... Only, the woman just rang me up and then left my 6 items lying there! And then she walked away from the register! Now, when I was 20 -- and this did happen to me once when I was 20 -- I would not have said much. This time, though, at 50, I YELLED at the woman as she walked away: "EXCUSE ME, MA'AM! You're not REALLY going to NOT bag up my stuff, are you??"

Had this mercy-hire by Dollar Store been black, she would have, indeed, left my stuff lying there without bagging it up. In this case, though, the 60-ish white woman seemed to be rather mentally ill and indecisive: As she'd re-opened the check-out when I'd first asked, she also came back and bagged up my fucking few purchases. Wordlessly.

Was I mean for yelling? God, I felt so. However, in actuality, even if you work at the Dollar Store, you don't close up a line with only one other person standing there; and you don't NOT put your customer's purchases in a bag. Fucking ridiculous.

Karma allegedly kicked me in the ass, though, once I walked home to my apartment a few minutes later. Where I discovered that my red Christmas bow purchased from the same Dollar Store a few weeks earlier and taped to my front door had been torn down. Not just "blown off by the wind" --- Some of the strong tape and the top part of the bow were still there: Someone had ripped the thing off the door! The rest of the bow nowhere to be found.

What the fuck? And I'd come home in broad daylight. Who the hell would tear off a Christmas bow from a door on a 2nd-floor apartment during the day? Oh, other than the kids now on Christmas vacation running around... (I've never lived in a Section 8 complex before, which is exactly what this feels like, what with all the screaming kids and the black guy below me yelling at all hours. It's a fucking mess.)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Who's the Fascist?

From Wikipedia's "Fascism" entry: "Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials."
[Pauley, Bruce F. 2003. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century, p. 117; Payne, Stanley G. 1996. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945, p. 220]


I was searching for definitions of the word because of the onslaught of media outlets calling Trump a "fascist" because he'd called for a temporary moratorium on Muslims entering the U.S. until our officials "figure out what's going on" (i.e., get some control of our extremely porous borders).

Trump was exaggerating, as usual, but--as usual--he also had an overall good point: We need to better vet those who enter our country. (Similarly, Trump's summer comments about Mexico's sending us "rapists and murderers" were in direct response to Kate Steinle's San Francisco murder by an undocumented Mexican who had been deported from the U.S. 5 TIMES already. San Francisco is a "sanctuary city," one of 31 in the U.S. which do not enforce federal immigration laws.)

I don't see anything "Fascist" about Trump's opinions. "Sloppily expressed," yes. "Fascist" or "racist" -- I don't think so.

On Chris Matthews' MSNBC show tonight, Matthews and one other guest also called Trump a fascist because he'd earlier called for the deportation of those in the country illegally. ILLEGALLY. I'm honestly puzzled by why calling for enforcement of the nation's laws is now considered "fascist."

This Wikipedia definition made me pause: "Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials." This didn't sound like Trump. What it sounded like, in fact, was what I've seen going on in the media recently REGARDING Trump. If someone attempts to express an opinion not endorsed by a very small, elite group, he's vilified. And not only is HE vilified, but his supporters are, as well. I don't know how many times I've heard condescendingly on various news programs that if I support Trump, I must be an "uneducated blue-collar male." (I have a Master's degree, I'm a woman and a feminist, I have a white-collar scientific editing job.)

So, who ARE these people calling Trump a fascist (while themselves "pursuing policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media")? According to FEC stats, 96% of professors at Ivy League schools who contributed to a presidential campaign in 2012 contributed to Obama. According to FEC stats, 95% of NEA members who contributed to a presidential campaign in 2012 did so to Obama. According to a 5/6/14 Washington Post article, 7% of journalists consider themselves Republicans.

Who, then, is "pursuing policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media"?

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Manson Says

 
"I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me, but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you."


December 8, 1980

Every year, I remember. I was 15 on December 8, 1980; had just "discovered" Lennon's music the summer before.

My parents had always had a shitty, hate-filled relationship and I'd been forced to be around that low-level cruddiness all my life up until then...but December 8, 1980, was the first time I ever felt deeply, profoundly sad on my own. At the time, at 15, I didn't know how I would ever get over that feeling.
 
 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Junior Brown - Broke Down South Of Dallas


Holy War

When I was growing up in the '70s, I only knew intellectually, from books, about the wars between the religions. The Christian Crusades in the Middle Ages. The Muslim Jihad. I thought those days were long (and I mean LONG -- many hundreds of years) over. Not so. Aside from 9/11, which I thought was anomalous (and based purely on a left-over grievance from the creation of Israel), I haven't had to think at all about Muslims attacking me.

What with Paris and San Bernardino, though...ugh... The latter co-assassin a Middle Eastern radical Muslim state employee who'd been working among the co-workers he ultimately killed... I've never even thought of the concept of a "Holy War" before. That term formerly seemed extremely outdated and too-intense and not even applicable to anything going on today. But...but... I'm not even a practicing Christian, but I'm getting pissed off. At the constant documented random beheadings and stonings documented overseas. Which is terrible enough. But then you come HERE, to the Western world, to do your shit? ENOUGH, ALREADY. I don't give a fuck what you do or blow up in your own part of the world, but... don't come to the US and think you can pull off the same shit. SICK OF IT. You want a fucking old-school war between Christians and Muslims, like circa 1000? OK, then. Just wait. We've technologically developed just a little bit more than you have.

As a college student in the '80s, I debated intellectually over the morality of dropping The Bomb on Hiroshima... Easy to judge 40 years later. What about in the heat of the moment, though? Now is "The Heat of the Moment." I'm all for crushing the opposition. By whatever means necessary.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

I just volunteered for my first Presidential campaign since 1984!

In 1984, when I was 19 and eligible to vote for the first time, I was a freshman at UT and worked excitedly for the Gary Hart campaign: Vice President of "Students with Hart" on campus, even a driver in Hart's official motorcade when he came to Austin (pollster Pat Caddell was in my back seat). I became a bit politically disillusioned upon attending the Young Democrats group meetings on the UT campus -- the majority of students in attendance that political season were for Hart, but the "lifers" finagled the campus endorsement for Mondale.

Since then, here's who I've voted for in the main Presidential election:

1984: Mondale (non-excited)
1988: Dukakis (non-excited)
1992: Clinton (excited!)
1996: Perot (protest vote against Clinton's sucking up to Defense interests; would have voted for Clinton had the election been forecast to be close)
2000: Gore (I voted for Republican McCain in the primaries)
2004: Kerry
2008: McCain (I voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the primaries)
2012: Obama

In 2016, I'm supporting Donald Trump. AND volunteering for him.

Why Trump?

Because illegal immigration is a problem. When Trump pointed out the problem, he was vilified by the media as being "anti-immigrant." When in fact, he'd just noted the need for border control for ILLEGAL (not "legal") immigrants. (As has also been pointed out since then: The United States immigration policy is more liberal than that of most other countries, including Mexico's.)

Because Trump blustered against corporations taking their jobs outside the USA and threatened to penalize those that did so. (I say "blustered" because it's not clear that a President could actually stem the flow of US jobs to foreign sources...but, as an editor who lost a job to outsourcing 10 years ago, I'm grateful to him for pointing out the problem.)

Because Trump is utterly independent. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush who stand for nothing and who are backed by corporate moguls make me sick.

Because Trump was sane enough to decry the idiocy of Bush's post 9/11 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, pointing out, correctly, that Hussein did NOT have "weapons of mass destruction" and that, had Hussein remained in power, he would have kept a lid on Islamic terrorists like ISIS now operating freely out of the country.

Because, over the summer, when I argued with my boss about Trump, she said, "Do you really want someone like that dealing with foreign leaders?" And when I thought about it for just one second, I came up with: "YES! Yes... A tough, extremely competent sonofabitch is EXACTLY who I want dealing with foreign leaders like Putin, et al. And EXACTLY who I want negotiating trade deals for our country."


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Beach Boys - Never Learn Not To Love - 1968

This is the reconfiguration of the "Cease to Exist" song written by Charles Manson (see previous entry below).  Performed here on TV by the incredibly passive Dennis Wilson and the Beach Boys. (Manson initially gave the song to his friend Wilson; Wilson re-did the thing generically in an attempt to sell it commercially -- and deleted Manson's sole song-writing credit.)
 

Charles Manson "Cease to Exist" (1967)

Manson played "Cease to Exist" for Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who turned it into "Never Learn Not to Love" the next year. See the above for Wilson's crappier, more generic version of the song.
 
 

We'll just see about this...

Your love horoscope for December 2, 2015 
 
 Something's going to make you a very happy person today. You have long desired that a special person in your life would make a firmer commitment to you. Now it seems that this is precisely what they intend. You will find that although they often seem very quiet and reflective, once they give their word, they will do their utmost to keep it.