Sunday, February 28, 2016

Love

A woman on my Joan Crawford Facebook page just posted the below photo of a hanging that her girlfriend had had custom-made for her.



I responded: "Man, that is beautiful and SPECIAL!! I wish someone had ever given such a thing to me. Whatever happens in the future, you'll always remember what this woman did for you!"
 
I do wish a lover had ever given such a thing to me. A painting, a kitten, a car. Something. I am utterly bereft.
 
 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Human Hands - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

 
 


 

I've been talking to the wall and it's been answering me
Oh darling, how I miss you
I'm just the mere shadow of my former selfishness
I crave the silhouette of your kiss
With only the blue light of the TV on
Lip reading threats and false alarms
There's a boy somewhere holding hands with himself
And a girl in a window on the Reeperbahn
Whenever I put my foot in my mouth and you begin to doubt
That it's you that I'm dreaming about
Do I have to draw you a diagram?
All I ever want is just to fall into your human hands
With the kings and queens of the dance hall craze
Checkmate in three moves in your heyday
But the girls don't listen to your line anymore
Now you're part of someone else
On the factory floor you still say: "Where's the action?"
Now you manufacture happiness
And get sold on the cheap for someone's satisfaction
Whenever I put my foot in my mouth and you begin to doubt
That it's you that I'm dreaming about
Do I have to draw you a diagram?
All I ever want is just to fall into your human hands
All you toy soldiers and scaremongers
Are you living in this world? Sometimes, I wonder
In between saying you've seen too much and saying you've seen it all before
Tighter and tighter I hold you tightly
You know I love you more than slightly
Although I've never said it like this before
Whenever I put my foot in my mouth and you begin to doubt
That it's you that I'm dreaming about
Do I have to draw you a diagram?
All I ever want is just to fall into your human hands
All I ever want is just to fall into your human hands
 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rolling Stones: Time Is On My Side

Donald Trump song-list at appearance in Nevada, 2/22/16 (in order; thanks to C-Span):
 
Tiny Dancer
You Can't Always Get What You Want
I Want You Back
Heart of Stone
Uptown Girl
Time Is On My Side
Right Now (Van Halen)
You Can't Always Get What You Want (reprise)
Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera)
Rocket Man
Let's Spend the Night Together
 
 

Poetry vs. Instruction Manual

Prior to the Republican South Carolina primary last Saturday, CNN hosted two Town Halls with Rubio/Cruz/Carson on Wednesday and Trump/Bush/Kasich on Thursday.

I watched both evenings (albeit with the TV on in the background while I worked on my Joan Crawford website at the kitchen table in the adjoining room).

Rubio was flowing, Kasich was flowing, and, surprisingly, even Bush seemed to be flowing. I liked listening to all of them. On the other hand, when Trump came on, I found him not so inspiring, purely speech-wise. Because I support Trump, I wanted to be inspired by what he was saying, but I wasn't.

But that was OK.

Listening to Rubio reminded me of listening to Barack Obama back in 2008. Very pretty. I'm 50 now, and I was 42 back in 2008, so I'd been around a while and thus wasn't blindly inspired either year. Back in '08, I voted for Hillary in the primary and for McCain in the general election. I wondered then what Obama brought to the table. He hadn't personally accomplished anything up to that point. Sarah Palin, the Republican VP, had, in fact, more credits on her resume. Obama's sole power lay in his ability to speak well, his glibness. Pretty, but meaningless.

Rubio, same exact thing. He sounds good, but he's accomplished nothing.

At the CNN Town Halls I listened to last week, Rubio's prose was close to poetic. Bush and Kasich were very good prose. Trump...an instruction manual.

But Trump has actually created thousands of jobs. Trump would actually be better at negotiating trade deals with China, Japan, Mexico. Trump would actually be better at confronting tough international foes like Putin and ISIS. Trump would actually be better at rebuilding our infrastructure. Trump would actually be better at negotiating health-care/pharmaceutical deals across state borders for the cheapest rates.

Unlike Cruz and Rubio, he's not a religious nut with no real-world experience. Unlike Clinton and Sanders, he's actually created jobs and built things and negotiated internationally.

Frankly, I now want a plain-spoken Instruction Manual (with a hint of poetry). I've been cruising on poems alone for 50 years now, to absolutely no avail.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Early-voted in Texas today for...


 
 
The Texas primary is March 1; early voting through February 26.
 
A side-note: Back in the summer, a few weeks after Trump first announced his candidacy, I bought the above bumpersticker from eBay for a few dollars, kind of as a lark. Not being that serious about liking Trump as a candidate, remembering his first wife Ivana's calling him "The Donald" back in the '80s, etc.
 
Since then, though, this sticker has come to be a bit more representative of my ACTUAL feelings (plus an aspiration), not just a joke.
 
For one thing, I do agree with Trump that we should tighten our border to the south to prevent people from sneaking in. The way he said it at the time, I thought was a bit harsh (the "not giving us their best people" comment), but I agreed with him on principle. The aftermath of his statements re the border, though, was more shocking to me: Companies like Macy's cancelling their orders for his products; NBC and Univision cancelling his Miss Universe pageant. The man paid a great financial price for stating his opinion candidly. And he didn't back down, even in the face of losing millions.
 
Then came the "showdown" with the PC-beloved Univision host Jorge Ramos at a Trump press conference: Ramos stood up out of turn and asked his question over and over again, disrupting the conference. Trump told him he hadn't been called on. Ramos was escorted out, and later invited back in to ask his question -- when he'd been called on. Here, too, I admired Trump for standing his intellectual ground.
 
Then came silly things like "Rick Perry's wearing glasses just to try to look smart" and "Jeb is low energy." Well, I'd thought EXACTLY that that was the reason why Perry was suddenly wearing glasses. And I'd thought EXACTLY that "Jeb!" was the most enervated, believing-nothing of candidates. ("Low energy" was a mild way of putting what I felt about "Jeb!")
 
Then came my boss at work asking me why I liked Trump: "Do you really want someone like that representing our country?" After a bit of reflection... Why, yes, yes I do -- very much so! What part of standing up to Putin, making tough trade deals, re-building our infrastructure, and penalizing US companies for exporting jobs DOESN'T sound very good?
 
Still later, at the recent South Carolina debate, Trump went off on "Jeb!" for supporting brother George W. for his idiotic decision to invade Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11) on the false charge of harboring "weapons of mass destruction" -- and thus ensuring the destabilization of the entire region. Would ANY other Republican ever say this truth in public? Hell, no. (Even Hillary Clinton wouldn't admit as much.)
 
I admire the man's honesty and bravery completely.
 
p.s. Oh yeah, "the aspiration": Months ago, I said that if Trump got his party's nomination, I would finally buy a car again just so I could put this bumpersticker on it. I sold my car when I moved to NYC in 2007; even though I came back to Austin in 2010, I haven't had a car since. I now live on a bus line that takes me straight to work. I save a lot of money by not owning a car, etc. HOWEVER... You give up a lot of free will by not having your own car: idiotic bus drivers, idiotic passengers, idiotic Metro system not sticking to their stated schedules, etc. On the other hand, even when you have your own car, you're then stuck in idiotic traffic and have to deal with idiotic fellow drivers on the road. (But at least you can come and go when you want.) I'm still on the fence about getting a car again. I don't 100% NEED one. But I do think I WANT one on which to display my "THE DONALD" sticker in a city of what-will-be Hillary fans, 2016.
 
Plus, I think any adult should be as self-sufficient as possible. My bitching about bus drivers/passengers/system is easily avoidable if I get my own car. And, having my own car -- like having my degrees -- prohibits the easy judgment of shallow people... who judge people on whether they have cars or degrees. Reminds me of Hillary taking on the "Clinton" last name in the '90s, after being "Hillary Rodham" for so long, and of Obama finally wearing the flag pin on his lapel --- if it means so fucking much to you and so little to me... pffffft. Whatever. Here's my new name, here's my new pin, here's my new degree, here's my new car.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Trump vs. The Pope

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel." ---Pope Francis in Mexico today when asked about Donald Trump.

Pictured below: The wall surrounding the Vatican.

As soon as Pope Francis is willing to tear down the wall surrounding his own sanctuary, then I'll be willing to admit that a wall prohibiting economic marauders from coming into the US is a bad idea.

As Donald Trump has said: "Do we have a country, or don't we?"

The Pope is good in the abstract, but not so much when it comes to his own protective walls. I call BULLSHIT on the Pope.
 
 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Feeling Good (Julie London, 1965)

Nina Simone, Julie London, Audra Mae... All singers and interpreters of this song. Yet today a mere producer, Avicii, claims credit for Audra Mae's latest version -- it took me link after link to even find out who sang the latest version of this song featured in the current Volvo ad.

 I call BULLSHIT on Avicii.

 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lucius - Turn It Around [Official Video]

I don't have a car; I can't hear new songs!
And so I must discover them via cable TV ads! This initially for Samsung Galaxy...

"She's looking through the wrong end of the telescope..."
 


She felt comatose waiting for this thing to grow
She's impatient 'cause she wants it now and so it shows
She can't be bothered by the ties that bind her
She's united when it strangles everything it holds
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end of the telescope
 
Turn it around, turn it around
 
She closed the door with the intention of not looking back
But missed her step because she didn't have a steady track
She can't be bothered by the mistakes she has made
She's forgetting that's what guides you to the rightful path
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end of the telescope

 Turn it around, turn it around
 
As suspected back at home it grew out of control
Well, that can happen when you leave things to a little girl
So now she's left without an option at hand
She better tend to it or she won't have another chance
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end of the telescope

 Turn it around, turn it around
 
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end
She's looking through the wrong end of the telescope

 Turn it around, turn it around

Friday, February 12, 2016

Joan Crawford candid, mid-1940s.

I am amazed at how long I've found this woman extremely cool, extremely cool-looking, and, as I've recently realized, extremely meaningful to my life. Since 1987, to be exact (when I was 22 -- I'm now 50). Crawford (because she was so hot when I first saw her in 1932's "Grand Hotel") started out as a gateway drug to figuring out I was gay. Once I figured that out, she, based on her childhood and professional history, morphed into a representative for SURVIVAL despite all odds. Her stunning looks masked all of the EFFORT going on behind the scenes. The woman, as a Hollywood contemporary (Cukor? I can't find the source now) once said, "worked like a Trojan." And I think it was Cukor who also said that Joan, despite all odds, "refused to be a loser."
 
I similarly refuse.
 
When I was a kid, my father tried to bully me into being a subservient female; my mother, a much more positive influence via her stability, tried to convince me that secretarial work was the key...
 
Nah. I always knew that I was better than that. (Ironically, most parents try to build up their kids --- mine, on the other hand, tried to keep me at, or below, their level. I didn't think that was odd until I grew up and met kids at college whose parents were actually rooting for them to succeed! And -- shocker! -- actually giving them both financial and emotional support... Wow! Parents actually supporting their kids!)
 
I'm now, at 50, doing what I like on a mid-level. I like my current editing job a lot, and I'm grateful for it. I'm alone and sometimes lonely, but I am not stifled in either my personal or my professional life.
 
 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

9 years ago today...

On February 11, 2007, I picked up and left for New York City. My only connection there a lady on Craig's List who said she had a room to rent.

What an experience those 3 years spent in NYC were! I've been back in Austin for 6 years now (since 2010)... I barely remember anything from these 6 years other than emotional and financial pain and crawling back amid great bland surroundings.

The 3 years in NYC (from 2007 to 2010), on the other hand--while also obviously financially painful--were simultaneously greatly beautiful and INTERESTING. I was completely, of my own volition, thrown into an utterly different environment... One that I'd experienced vicariously via movies and magazines, but never known on my own...

The result was: NYC was nothing like the movies or magazines. In fact, I was greatly dismayed by magazines like "New York" that published issues like "Reasons to Love New York City," which seemed to me more like small-town boosterism. ("You're NEW YORK! What're you so defensive about??")

What I miss most about New York: Seeing Joan Crawford movies at the Chelsea Cinema and at other cinemas around town. Getting to see the Klimt exhibit at the Neue Gallerie on the East Side (during a brutally cold November day). The walk from Joan Crawford's apartment on the East Side straight across to John Lennon's Dakota on the West Side. Hanging out reading a book on a bench one sunny afternoon at Aaron Burr's mansion in Washington Heights. Hanging out at Union Square for lunch during my 8-month tenure at a publishing company a couple of blocks away; seeing a bluegrass band at Union Square on a weekend, with a subdued Gilbert Gottfried right next to me. While taking a smoke-break on the sidewalk, seeing Elvis Costello walk by with his twins in a carriage. The utterly stunning view of the NYC skyline once I'd moved to Weehawken across the Hudson (only a 2-minute walk away), and how inspiring the view was...

So much in only 3 years... The ugly struggles with the first 3 roommates that I had in New York, then the utter relief at finally being able to get my own place, the beautiful place in Weehawken, where my Gracie-cat died April 15, 2009... I remember it so distinctly because it was "Tax Day" and because Sandra was in town, visiting her Sugar Daddy at a Cancer Center and asking me to come visit her in her hotel; I, disgustingly, internally wished for Gracie to die before Sandra arrived, so I could spend time with her in town... I fought on the phone with Sandra on the night Gracie died. When I woke up the next day, Gracie, who'd been wasting away gradually since mid-January, was dead on my kitchen mat.

That was traumatic. My first 2 years in New York were interesting. After Gracie died in early 2009, though, and after I began contact with Sandra in late 2008, things deteriorated. My heart wasn't in it. I was grieving for Gracie, who had been with me since 2000 (and who had been a good-luck charm in my life as a whole since her arrival), and I was TIRED of struggling for EVERYTHING.

Funny, what started out as a search for a New Beginning and a New Horizon with truly earnest and honest goals based on true admiration for the city and its possibilities turned into grieving for an old crush from a poetry class in 1987.

February 11, 2007, was warm and foggy. The taxi driver was curious about why I was going to New York City. It was so warm, he drove with his windows open. At the Austin airport, Gracie escaped from her carrier when an airport employee opened it to check for contraband. The same employee then chased after her and brought her back, so the trauma was lessened.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 06, 2016

"Seven Bridges Road" The Eagles

 
 

EAGLES ~ "LYIN' EYES" 1977

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

Here's the song:
 
 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Rod Stewart - You're in My Heart

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

Cotillion Photo

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