Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Visibly Queer" at the Trump White House

The Washington Post ran this June 17, with the head "A teacher's decision to be 'visibly queer' in his photo with President Trump."…/a-teachers-decision-to-b…/…

Rhode Island's Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos had been invited to the White House to pose for a photo with the President. He wanted his fancy black fan--denoting his "visible queerness"--to be in the picture.

What terrible indignation was Trump about to inflict on both the nation and the LGBTQRFDABC community????

Exact excerpts from the Post:

“I was definitely nervous,” Giannopoulos said. “I didn’t know what the reaction would be.”

No one seemed to notice as he passed through security, he recalled. But Trump spotted the fan shortly after the teachers were led into the Oval Office.

“He said I had good style.”

Giannopoulos grew more confident then — enough that when an aide asked him to put the fan away for his private photo, he raised a small protest.

“I said, ‘I was hoping to pose with this,’ ” he said. “They said, ‘No — just put it away.’ ”

He did, for a minute. But before the shutter snapped, Giannopoulos asked the president if he minded.

“He said, sure.” So the fan came out, the ensemble was complete, “and the rest is history,” Giannopoulos said.

Monday, June 19, 2017

4513-1/2 Avenue B

Saw this ad on Craigslist/Austin today. I lived here for 9 months in 1989. When the rent was $310 per month. Today, it's $1295!

I visited the US Inflation Calculator:
At 97.5% inflation, that apartment should rent for $611 today.

RE the apartment: The bottom part is boarded over today, but back in 1989, it was an open garage area, and kittens were born there! (Nine little black, glossy kittens, to a stray that Hannah had found at the animal shelter. Hannah named the stray "Lilith." And within a few weeks after her kittens were born, she disappeared. After 6 weeks, we put up signs in the Hyde Park neighborhood: "Free black kittens!" We gave all of them away in a day, except for one, "Mr. Crusty," the runt of the litter. Who turned out to be a girl, and my beloved "Frances," my first cat.)

Looking at the Craigslist pics: The owners have barely done anything to it. I still see the same one AC window unit! As for the claim that this is a "2-bedroom" apartment... No... There's a tiny front room that the one AC unit never reached. You couldn't go in there in the summer because it was stifling. And the "bathroom" was a 5 X 5 room with only a stand-up shower. It was cute for $310 back when I was 23. It might be cute today for $611. But for $1295??? What sucker would ever pay that??? Oh... Californians. 25-year-old techies from wherever, trying to "experience Austin." News for ya: Austin, and its charmingly "weird" funkiness, was something to experience circa 1974 to 1994. Today, it's merely trendy and generic and expensive, its past reputation available to the highest bidder. No soul.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who the hell are you?

A Facebook friend of mine posted this earlier. I usually kind of mock these things, also kind of interested. I'm pretty barren, people-wise, but pretty good about quitting jobs, flying, karaoke, ice-skating, horse-riding, being punched (though the latter is person-related, I suppose)...

🍼Children.......................... 0
🐱Pets right now................0
🚑Surgeries....................... 0
Tattoos........................... 1 (Leo symbol on right shoulder; San Francisco, 28th birthday, 1993)
💎Piercings........................2 (ears; Fort Worth Ridgmar Mall pagoda, 1983)
🏹Shot a
Quit a job........................yes (all the time, prior to 2008 market crash; now I'm uber-cautious. Never been fired, though.)
📺Ever been on TV............yes (Austin local in '90s re my opinion on smoking on campus: PRO)
🌅Been to an island...........Manhattan! Oh, and Galveston.
Flown on a plane............ yes (to Germany, NYC, San Fran)
Furthest destination.........Germany
🚙Driven across country......yes (TX to GA, TX to CA)
🦄Hit a unicorn...................???? Never!
😢Someone cried over you....I don't think so
Fallen in love................... too many times sans reciprocation (boo-hoo)
🚑Rode in an ambulance...... no
💰Visited Las
🎤Sang karaoke....................yes
🎿Been water
Ice skating......................... yes
🚲Rode on a motorcycle?.....yes
🐴Rode a horse.....................yes
💪Been punched?.................yes (a crappy kid in 4th grade, in my stomach)
🥕Nude gardening?..............hell no (fear of bugs, plus just too fey)
🏨Stayed in a hospital..........once, aged 5 (false appendix alert)
🚔Rode in the back of a police car....yes, once
🍕 Pineapple on your pizza .....hell no

Copy and paste. Change with your answers, or just use mine. Have fun!

Andy Warhol Diaries Excerpt

Before I was shot [June 1968], I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there---I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it's the way things happen to you in life that's unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television---you don't feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it's all television.

Jailhouse Rock/Saturday Night Fever

I had a GREAT day Saturday!!

#1: Though one of my reasons for getting this new apartment was its pool, I'd been wary of going to it primarily because of the gang of skanky guys that like to hang out there and party sometimes. (The same bunch that live in the 2nd-floor apartment overlooking my small backyard---also preventing me from ever sitting out there.) So, even though I've been here for 2 months, I'd still never been swimming. But Saturday, I woke up about 10am, just CRAVING some pool and sun...The mailroom's next to the pool, so I did a test run outside to get the mail and peek at who was out at the pool... Nobody!! I changed into my swimsuit as fast as I could (before any "gang o' skanks" could ruin anything) and got out there...

Nobody but me at first! I got to splash around and get some sun while I caught up on a New Yorker I'd saved from August 2015: "....The longer I stayed, the more I sensed that my fellow attendees [at a League of the South meeting] occupied a parallel universe in which [they think] Donald Trump is going to be President." HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! So that was Simple Pleasure #1! :)

I was out there for 2 hours, and the only other people who showed up were one very pale red-haired, bearded hipster guy who covered his face the whole time he was lying there (only about 1/2-hr); a grandma showing her 8-yr-old around the pool (they circled the pool once, then sat on the edge splashing their feet only for about 15 mins, then went back upstairs); and a 30-ish black woman who sat in the shallow end looking at her phone--- and who brought a single wine-glass and a small bottle of wine with her! (That seemed like a nice, interestingly classy thing to do; I personally would not have risked bringing a nice glass out to the pool, but the fact that she had brought it made me think she might be an interesting person.)

Not a single thing at the pool for 2 whole hours got on my nerves! A miracle! :)

#2: Austin's Paramount Theater has a "Summer Classic Film Series" every year. In the "olden days" (pre-10 years ago, I suppose), I used to eagerly mark up the theater's supplement of their summer films, highlighting which 10 or so I planned on seeing. In a REALLY good year, I'd go twice or three times all summer. In a regular good year, I'd go see at least SOMETHING. And always appreciated the experience --- it's the one nice theater left in Austin, built in 1917; an evocative place for film-seeing.

Well, this year, I sought out a supplement for the first time in years, while at work. For an "activity," I marked up what I'd feel like seeing, while negatively thinking "Oh, I'll probably never go."

Then Saturday morning, I woke up thinking---gasp!--- "What the hell? The theater is right on the busline to downtown... no worries about parking... this time you don't HAVE TO take the bus; you're doing it out of nostalgia... You are completely FREE and can do whatever you want today...TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING FUN!"

So I did: A double feature of "Jailhouse Rock" (60th anniversary, 1957) and "Saturday Night Fever" (40th anniversary, 1977). I had goosebumps much of the time at how extraordinarily talented and beautiful Elvis and Travolta were.(AND: Not a single person in the audience at the movies got on my nerves! Another miracle!)

"Jailhouse" wasn't much of a movie, but seeing Elvis perform the title song and "You're So Square" (and watching his early acting efforts) was exciting. I kept imagining what a teen Elvis fan going to see the film in 1957 with her friends must have been like. I felt like applauding after the title-song performance (see video below), but the audience, while friendly, was rather subdued and didn't clap much, so I held back.

As for "Saturday Night Fever": The audience was slightly bigger than for the earlier part of the double feature, and much more into it: Applauding especially at the opening sequence (to "Stayin' Alive"), Travolta's solo dance at the disco (to "You Should Be Dancing"), and the closing credits. The movie itself was fantastic! I'd seen it many times on TV, but never at the theater... The acting and characters were great; the writing (Norman Wexler) was especially great --- every single scene was tight and memorable and emotionally evocative, even the minor scenes like Tony and Stephanie going for coffee and trying to talk about "Romeo and Juliet," or Tony telling her about the Verrazano Bridge... And Travolta's acting was, upon this millionth view, one of the best performances I've ever seen. Seriously. His eyes are so expressive: Steely when belligerent, sparkly when teasing, soft and dumb when embarrassed or tender. Aside from his physical attributes, it was amazing to watch his eyes and face.

So yeah: Definitely a Great Day! See below videos for a taste (suggest full-screen).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1953. Joan Crawford on the set of "Torch Song."

'Night, Andy

Andy Warhol's grave, live-streamed 24/7.

Below: 10:58pm 6/16/17. (As Warhol might have written: "Some regular people came by to see me.")

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bay City Rollers - Maybe I'm a Fool to Love You

1975; performed below in '77.

What an Adult Does on a Saturday

Normally, I just lie around on a Saturday or Sunday. Whether from a hangover the night before or just a general desire to slouch around.

This past Saturday, though, I woke up at 8:30am, and immediately thought of the mysteries of the credit union that I joined last summer when they gave me the loan for a car that I hadn't had for the past 10 years. (They were very kind to do so.)

At the time I got the car loan, I also received a debit card and (secured) credit card to the bank. I've belonged to another generic big-name bank since I was a kid (1983), where I have all of my work checks deposited. (The same corporate motherfuckers who declined my request for a car loan within 20 seconds online.)

So I didn't quite know what to do with the new gifts that the new credit union had given me. I tried using the debit card once, months ago, and it didn't work, so I just gave up.

Recently, though, I've been remembering that charging even minor things on a credit card will build up your credit rating. I need a credit rating. The credit union had given me a credit card, but after a year, I'd forgotten how to activate it, forgotten any pin they'd given me, etc.

Anyway, I woke up relatively early on Saturday and suddenly had a desire to get EVERYTHING STRAIGHTENED OUT. (There are many Mysteries of Life: Love, you can't figure out. But banking, there are rules in place for, and people in place whose job is to help you... This is true of the majority of things in life.)

Sat politely in the waiting area for 45 minutes. Got it all straightened out. Charged a sandwich on my newly functional credit card on the way out.

Went in to work for a few hours after, earned some overtime.

When I got home, I also did something I'm proud of: Made a big ol' salad! Every few months, I'll buy some lettuce-accoutrements from the grocery store; then they usually rot in the fridge. One week ago, I'd bought a packaged Hearts-of-Romaine lettuce, plus some radishes. Hopeful, as always. Except this time I actually made a damn salad and ate it!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

None of these turned out how I wanted them to...

The exposures were all by accident, none reflecting exactly how cool my new lava lamp looks in my fireplace. I love my new lava lamp.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Lava Lamp

As a kid, I rarely saw lava lamps --- maybe a couple of times at Spencer's at the mall, or when I spent the night at the house of a friend who had cool parents. A couple of years ago, trying to relive my youth, I bought a lava lamp from eBay; it turned out to be a mere 12 inches tall, made in China, and within 6 months, I couldn't distinguish the liquid from the wax. Just recently, though, figured out that eBay has the OLD-SCHOOL lava lamps, 17 inches tall... Many are going for $75 or more, but I found one for $40-something. Pictured below, the good vintage one (right) next to the chintzy one. My camera takes terrible pictures, but my new "real" vintage lava lamp is the interesting thing that I remembered.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Bay City Rollers: Don't Worry Baby (1976 remake of Beach Boys)

For others

The eyes of others have surprised
me with their concern

Not personal, but I learn
what hope can be, seeing

looks meant for others

There are eyes like my mother's
but with love.