Friday, August 31, 2007

My first repost...

...and it is because I am too damn upset and unhappy to tell you why it fits my mood tonight, except to say I have been having a discussion with a friend who is far wiser and far more realistic than I am. He essentially has made it clear -- as has much other evidence -- that I need to ditch some basic beliefs and desires pronto if I am to survive.

Enough of that. Here's a "blast from the past," with only a few minor emendations and corrections:


For some reason, I've been thinking about one of my favorite movies. It's a black-and-white epic written and directed by the brilliant and sly Russ Meyer, who has too long been dismissed as nothing more than a maker of porn films by those who have never watched any of them. There is a level of humor, insight into the complex psychology of the sexes and social commentary in all of Meyer's movies that escapes those mesmerized by the sight of heaving female flesh.

PARENTHETICAL NOTE FROM TODAY: In fact, Meyer seems to have had a better understanding of the rare and wonderful status women have than most men do. He understood, as I didn't and still do not, that the rule book of life stretches to accommodate women, and shrinks for men. Women have a freedom to hurt men forever denied to men who hurt women. We are insensitive dogs; they are "doing whatt's best for themselves."

In 1965 (the same year when three other Meyer productions (Mondo Topless, Mud Honey and Motor Psycho) were released), he made the classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a film almost impossible to describe. The authoritative online film guide couldn't manage, and even Meyer's own synopsis ("The story of a new breed of superwomen emerging out of the ruthlessness of our times. We are introduced to three buxom Go-Go girls: Varla, Rosie, and Billie, wildly dancing the Watusi before the leers, jeers and lecherous come-ons of their drooling all-male audience. The violence, implicit in the girls' tease, is quickly moved out of the microcosmic bar into the outside world as they literally let go of themselves, embarking on a wild, violent, deadly journey of vengeance on all men.") doesn't tell the whole story.

And neither will I. One part of the film has always struck close to home: the relationship between the murderous, self-absorbed and (to use a classic Meyer-ism) buxotic "Varla" and pathetic loser "Kirk." While trying to find the fortune hidden away by his crippled (and demented) father in their isolated desert home, Varla first seduces and then tries to kill Kirk...

When Varla asks why Kirk insists on sticking around ever after her destructive intentions are clear, he utters the words that might as well be etched on my gravestone:

"Because you're a beautiful animal, and I'm weak...I want you."

In the end, Varla is vanquished and Kirk survives, but it's clearly a hollow victory for him. One knows instinctively that he will spend the rest of his miserable, lonely existence mourning Varla.

This is something most women, and a few men, don't understand: whether the instrument of seduction is a stunning body or what seems to be a sweet, loving personality, there are a lot of men who will risk everything and, in essence, ignore reality, for a woman who has penetrated their hearts.

It's not all sex in many cases, though I wonder what else might have drawn Kirk to Varla's flame.

My own "Varla" -- who should have had the name of one of the other female leads -- is not possessed of Tura Satana's more visible assets. Nor, so far as I know, does she have a penchant for violence and dispensing weak men with karate chops. I consider it unlikely, probably impossible, for her to end up crushed under the wheels of a Jeep as Varla did, either. On the contrary, I think she will survive and thrive. Her weapons are far more subtle, if no less dangerous to the male of the species.

Regardless of what she has done since dispensing with me, I can repeat Kirk's words, and mean them:

You're a beautiful animal, and I'm weak...I want you.

Sometimes, I wish I was more like "Martin Bormann" in Meyer's Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, satisfied with a quick romp in a casket with the even-more buxotic "Eufala Roop."

But I'm not. And I miss the "beautiful animal" who once claimed to be mine....

How I wish Russ Meyer could have directed my life!

A totally random photo...

...and even now I'm not sure why I took it...

Too many...

...spoil the cement....

Here's hoping my inspiration for photos like this is feelin' much better today....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stay off the highways...

...especially Los Angeles highways.

Starting this Saturday, Mexican trucks will have free access to all highways in the United States. You may all now turn toward Washington, DC and say "Gracias, Senor Jorge Bush" for that.

Oh, his trained seals at the Department of Transportation have "certified" that all the Mexican trucks will be perfectly safe. They'll be inspected, and the drivers will have to follow all the rules.

Hell, it'll be every bit as safe as Chinese pet food, toothpaste and toys!

We're supposed to love this, amigos. By putting American truck drivers and trucking companies out of work, we'll all pay lower prices for our goods.

This is called a "pilot program" dealing with a mere 100 Mexican companies. At least for the first week or so. Of course that doesn't mean 100 independent operators with single rigs; if these 100 have an average fleet as small as 50 rigs each, that means there will be 5000 trucks, most of which are not maintained to the same standards we insist on here, are driven by untrained drivers.

Since we can't sue the government, the cost of the carnage we can expect on the roads will be borne by individuals and insurance companies. Our insurance companies.

And then there's the latest bonehead order given the Los Angeles Police Department by the pro-illegal losers in the city council. California's vehicle code mandates that cars driven by unlicensed drivers -- most of whom are illegals -- are to be impounded.

Not any longer. The cops are now directed to write the miscreant a ticket, see that the car is safely parked, and hand the keys back to Senor Illegal Driver.

The two council members who were most vocal in favor of this new "policy" -- my own district's Janice Hahn, who will pander to any group if she thinks there's a vote in it, and one Jose Huizar -- both claim this law is "unfair to the poor and the undocumented."

So now you can break the law if you're poor and/or already a lawbreaker.

Between the illegal drivers in LA and the incoming dangerous rash of Mexican truckers*, it's time to give up driving, folks.

* Which already began some time ago. For the past six months or more, I've seen Mexican-registered big rigs in the LA area, despite the "official" 20-miles-from-the-border limit.

Flex THIS, baby!

Since it's hotter than the hinges of hell here in SoCal, the state energy system is trying to cut back on our electricity consumption. Some ad agency came up with an insipid slogan -- "flex your power" -- and now "flex alerts" are called when we are about to burn more juice than we receive.

I don't mind. Relatively, I'm a minimal consumer anyway. No lights on during the day, no air conditioning, and I'd rather do laundry at night because it's cooler.

But I do get a jolt -- so to speak -- out of the ways in which we are all supposed to "go green," and the ways in which the energy providers and other companies are dealing with it.

If we are all good little junior-Gores and Gore-ettes, we can reduce the hell out of water, electricity and natural-gas consumption, simply by turning stuff off and being a bit warmer than we might ideally like. But if we do that, the rates will go up because we're not using enough for the providers to make their happy profits. On the other hand, if we keep on frittering away the resources, the rates will go up to punish us.

Volkswagen has just announced that they will buy "carbon credits" for every new car they sell. This makes no sense on several levels. First, of course, all "carbon credits" really do is make paper-pushers wealthy. I recently saw a list of ten wealthy "green" entrepreneurs; no surprise that a carbon-offset seller is among 'em. He may in fact have been the richest of the bunch. Over the last few years, he's piled up more than $30 million for his noble efforts.

Forget creating better systems. Just go straight into selling indulgences to those with guilty consciences.

Besides, Volkswagens are about as environmentally friendly as any car on the market. All of them get decent gas mileage -- except the SUV -- and the diesels are phenomenal.

If Cadillac wanted to ease the guilt of Escalade buyers -- who, if the ones I've seen are representative, have more to feel guilty about than burning vast quantities of dinosaur juice -- that'd make sense.

But I digress.

We're "flexing our power" today, and probably through the weekend if the weather forecasts are accurate. It's supposed to make us feel like good, caring citizens.

I bet every government office in the region is burning up electricity as fast as it can. Wouldn't want the politicians and bureaucrats to have to endure a taste of reality, would we?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another day...

...zooms down the old Porcelain Speedway.

Weather-wise, it was quite nice. Despite the heat inland, a strong breeze off the ocean kept things relatively cool here. And the late-afternoon clouds were pretty. Won't be that way tomorrow, though...

For me, not so swell a day.

There are lots of things in life that I learn by inference, by reading the tea leaves, so to speak. I have to go by gut reactions. And today, I learned something that distresses me greatly. Not unexpected, and nothing I could do anything about, but unpleasant all the same.

The end of each day is a small death. Some days, the death is larger. Today, dreams I should not have entertained, should have rejected as foolish, impossible and ultimately unsatisfying, have ended.

It's almost dark now. A long night lies ahead.

News you can...

...get all choked up about, as society continues to crumble.

Let's start by clicking on the link to listen to the opening minute or so of yesterday's John & Ken show on KFI radio here in L.A. This little musical segment is the best wrapup of the Larry Craig mess I've heard; it seems host John Kobylt and news reader Terri Rae Elmer thought so, too.

Compared to that, the news that Elvira Arellano, the illegal whose pro-border-jumpers crusade was rudely interrupted by a well-deserved deportation, is asking the Mexican government to give her a diplomatic visa so she can return to the US as a "peace and justice ambassador" is pretty tame stuff. According to the Associated Press, she said "What I'm asking for is a diplomatic visa so that I can be an ambassador for peace and justice because I'm not a terrorist and the United States can't continue treating undocumented migrants as terrorists."

Of course she said this in Spanish, as she can't speak English....

The clear solution is: send her to Idaho. Or Massachusetts, both of which raise and nurture the morally obtuse.

In other news, John Edwards thinks Americans need to get rid of their SUVs. All Americans except politicians, that is.

And finally, Jorge Bush made a quick trip back to New Orleans to let the people there know he still cares about what Hurricane Katrina did to them two years ago. This time, he did not say, "Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job."

See? He's still capable of learning....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Everybody's crazy...

...but three people -- Lisa Nowak, Larry Craig and Michael Vick -- are crazier than damn near anyone right now.

Nowak is the naughty astro-nutty who seems to have been bent on laying some severe pain on one Colleen Shipman, a supposed rival for the affections of another astronaut, and drove dman near cross-country equipped with pepper spray, BB pistol and folding knife. And diapers, too, so she didn't have to stop for nature's call on the highway.

In the courtroom, Nowak's lawyers are planning to lay down the "temporary insanity" bit to see if the judge will buy into it. They're claiming that she had "no one to talk to," "marital problems" -- cheating on hubby is a sure way to cure those, no? -- and this was just a "one-time thing."

I don't necessarily think jail time is going to do Nowak any good, but someone needs to tell her to grow the hell up. A lot of people have similar problems; some do find a friend to confide in, some drink, some roll up in a ball for a few months with the blinds closed. What most of us don't do is set off down the road with weapons to confront the one we feel wronged us.

And then there's Larry Craig, a senator from Idaho, who was arrested after bending down to pick up a bar of soap piece of paper in a men's restroom in Minneapolis and acting in a suspiciously "gay" way in front of a cop.

Craig says he's "not gay." Big deal; he'd say that whether he is or isn't. The whole deal reeks of entrapment to me. Or maybe he does get his kicks from trying for some action in a public john; who the hell cares?

Of course Craig is now Mr Evil in D.C. As if he is the first -- or 51st -- to get caught in a "scandalous" position. Remember Barney Frank? All he did was pay a male hooker, get him a job in Frank's office and invite him to move in, from which cushy apartment ol' Barn's boy-toy ran a little business for call-boys.

But Frank is from Massachusetts, Home of the Kennedys, where the morality of elected officials counts for little, and not Idaho, which is Nowhere.

Actually, Craig needs to be told to grow up, too. If he needs to resign to maintain the so-called "probity" of senators and members of Congress, then so do a large number of others, whose sense of shame should be far deeper if they had any shame at all.

Finally, there's Michael Vick, dog-killer and apparent kingpin of an illicit dogfighting/gambling enterprise. He laid down a guilty plea -- minus the insanity defense or Craig's later claims that he was "coerced" to cop out to nasty behavior and was "misunderstood" -- but he made sure the entire universe knew he "found Jesus" while waiting for the ax to fall and his big-time NFL contract to be yanked.

Jesus always shows up in the period between the time you get caught and the time the punishment is handed out, you know.

Might work for Nowak and Craig, too.

Can I have a three-way "A-men?"

PARENTHETICAL SHUT-THE-HECK-UP-LARRY QUOTE: "I don't go around anywhere hitting men up, and by God if I did I sure wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho!"

So there was this eclipse...

...which was beautiful...

But it reminded me that there is only so much you can do with a cheap inexpensive digital camera.

Monday, August 27, 2007

In about five hours...

...the eclipse begins.

If the fog doesn't roll in, I'll be out taking pictures. Better for my insomnia than lying in bed thinking about things and people I shouldn't think about.

I'll use my "longer" lens, and control the exposure better than this...

Couldn't get the nice reflection on the ocean without over-exposing the moon.

Romantic? Not for me.

It's something to do to get through another night.

Lynch mob?

Here in Los Angeles, one Jack McClellan, described as a "self-professed pedophile," has been harassed for the better part of a month by the media and others who managed to convince a court to issue restraining orders keeping him away from any place where children gather.

What's wrong with that? If I caught this guy -- or any other -- getting inappropriate with little girls (or boys), I'd call the police and beat the living bejeebers out of him while I waited for them to arrive.

The problem is this: he has no record of activity as a pedophile. No arrests. No convictions.

He did have a website in which he supposedly indulged his "passion." I've never seen it (and don't want to) so can't tell you what was on it.

There's no doubt the man is a major sicko, but he hasn't done anything yet.

I don't know what to think. Abusing children is one of the most heinous crimes I can think of, and I would have no problem inflicting condign punishment on him if he did anything out of line.

But the baying hounds who are after him bother me. This gets perilously close to Orwellian "thoughtcrime." If he so much as touched a child, I'd be all for throwing his perverted ass behind bars, preferably in a jail full of loving fathers who have no aversion to bloodshed.

I'm not comfortable with punishing McClellan or anyone else for what he or she thinks as opposed to what they do.

Now, the radio pitbulls who have been on him loud and long are trying to pin the murder of a child in Washington State on him. It's all speculation.

I'm confused. My own feelings about the sanctity of children are fighting with my feelings about the sanctity of the law.

The whole thing just seems wrong.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Car parts...

A few tidbits from the show...

A '41 Dodge, customized...

I think this was a pre-war Pontiac, but whatever it is, "Wild Thing's" owner digs flames! Note the tail lights, an intricate bit of metal-working....

The '59 Buick's nose...

And the rear fender of a '60s Chrysler 300...

Here endeth the car photos. Until the next show....

Car shows, part #10,987,355

...more cool stuff.

The Great American Hot Rod: '31 Ford roadster body and frame, Dodge "Hemi" engine, lots of TLC...

A rare '40 Mercury convertible. Candy-apple red paint, a padded white top, a full-race "flathead" V8...this is, if you'll pardon the expression, the whole enchilada, Kustom-wise...

Talking about "low and slow," gotta love this early-'50s Chevy Suburban given the full lowrider treatment. It probably wouldn't be much fun when all eight seats are full, as it can barely get up a driveway without scraping its bottom with only the driver on board...

Finally, a near-stock '58 T-Bird. If you love chrome and convertibles, this one's for you...

Next: a final wrap-up.

Car shows, part #10,987,354

I always enjoy the "mild" customs, especially when they are based on somewhat unusual cars. Same goes for "stockers," which make a nice contrast to the custom jobs.

This '49 Mercury has had the treatment in approved '50s style. Chopped roof, "bullet" spotlights, dechromed and painted in "primer-look" satin black, as if it's waiting for that coat of Kandy-Apple Red. You can't see them, but it has '59 Cadillac tail lights...

Imagine this '51 Chevy painted a vile pea-soup green from sun visor to rear fender skirts, and you'd have a good idea of what my '50 Chevy looked like...

What else would you do with a '53 Willys Aero-Ace but yank out the cast-iron lump under the hood and drop in a Chevy V-8? Paint it bright orange, I guess...

I love '59 Buicks. They look cool when left original, but a good paint job really perks 'em up...

One more set of photos to follow. Maybe two, but no more than that. Maybe.

Car shows, part #10,987,353 the local lowrider car club sponsored a show at the park this morning.

I've seen most of the cars before, but there are always new ones. This hot rod, based on a 30s-vintage Ford, was built in Japan. I would guess you could buy all of Idaho for the same money, though that wouldn't be as much fun...

Almost directly across for that one was this "rat rod," a mixture of scrap parts which was built locally and probably cost the owner enough to buy a Yugo in running condition...

The inside is as "ratty" as the outside. Note the gas pedal, which suggests you wouldn't want to drive barefoot. You'd either get burned, or get tetanus...

The were some fine restorations as well. This 1950 Studebaker Champion coupe was the sweetest of the bunch...

The guy who owns it -- and did the restoration work -- is the son of the Stude's original owner...

Naturally, I have plenty of pictures. A few more will appear anon....

When horoscopes attack, #763...

...or, deconstructing what my free -- and worth every penny -- astrological forecast said this morning:

Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 19)

Your weekend began with concrete plans, but they probably fell to the wayside as you lost direction.

No kidding, buckaroo. It was screeching-halt time here. Score one for the "astrologer."

Now you can again see a clear path toward your goal,

Says who? Did I win the lottery? Nope. Did someone actually send me a check? Nix. Did anyone in my orbit suddenly develop a massive case of the do-rights? Nuh-uh.

...but your destination may be beyond your current reach. This isn't about failure; there is no reason for discouragement.

Not sure how I'm going to come up with a longer reach; maybe the Japanese are doing something clever with microchip-equipped plastic arms. It might have more to do with reality, and that's not very damn encouraging.

Instead, consider that you may have set your sights very high and it could take you longer to get there.

How long? Right now, I'm guessing the dirt nap comes first, baby.

Sheesh. I'm going back to fortune cookies....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Three pix from today... random as they can be. So random are they, I can't even think of much to say about 'em....

I dunno why I do this stuff...

...but here's one more video, this one calculated to ease all fears that our edyoukashunonel peeps ain't doin' no good at what them spozed ta do.

No more YouTubery for a while. Promise.

Unless some new little gem like this comes along.

Just because others beat me to it... this guy who sent me the link, and this dude who posted the video, doesn't mean I don't want everyone to look, listen and take to heart what Ted Nugent is saying.

I would be happy to see those who are supposedly "in charge" of this nation show half the moral courage, common sense and honesty Nugent not only talks about, but lives by.

Not that I expect it to happen. Politicians are too chocked up on their power, greed and authority drugs for an outbreak of reality to touch them.

Thank goodness there are still a few like Nugent willing to defend their rights. We need more like him.

If I was in charge, "I don't like repeat offenders...I like dead offenders" would be carved over every judge's bench in the land.

Friday, August 24, 2007

She never sang this to me...

...because it was a reality she couldn't deal with, but my man Frank Sinatra did, and I'm diggin' it again tonight. The combination of Frank's voice and Harold Arlen's tune and lyrics is perfect....

My mama done tol' me, when I was in knee-pants
My mama done tol' me, son

A woman'll sweet talk
and give ya the big eye, but when the sweet talkin's done
a woman's a two-face, a worrisome thing
who'll leave ya to sing
the blues in the night

Now the rain's a-fallin', hear the train a-callin, "Whooee!"
(My mama done tol' me)
Hear dat lonesome whistle
blowin' 'cross the trestle, "Whooee!"
(My mama done tol' me)
A-whooee-ah-whooee ol' clickety-clack's echoin' back the blues in the night

The evenin' breeze will start the trees to cryin'
and the moon will hide its light
when you get the blues in the night

Take my word, that mockingbird'll sing the saddest kind of song,
he knows things are wrong, and he's so right

From Natchez to Mobile, from Memphis to St. Joe,
Wherever the four winds they might blow
I been in some big towns an' heard me some big talk,
But there is one thing I know

A woman's a two-face, a worrisome thing
Who'll leave ya to sing

the blues in the night

My mama was right, there's blues
in the night.

I'm not as much of a jerk as some people think...

...although I'm not especially pleased with my mood right now.

Most of the time, I don't harbor vengeful thoughts about anyone. Not Fidel Castro, who is rumored to have been reduced to room temperature in the last day or so; not Michael Vick, dog-killer; not even Jorge Bush, thanks to whom Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean and Gil Hernandez are unjustly imprisoned.

I'm perfectly happy to see nature take its course with each of the above, and scores of others like them. Nothing to do with me.

But I am wishing for some payback-time for a select few individuals, and that makes me angry at myself. In the normal way of things, that is unacceptable. I am more a lover than an angry, vengeful bastard.

To be more precise, I guess I'm angry with God, whomever/whatever God may be. And I'm angry with those who, in school, church and, later, shul, taught me the precepts I try to live by. I'm not saying I always succeed; but I try, damnit.

In particular, it seems incredibly lame to have a system in which "the sun shines equally on the righteous and unrighteous."

I say what I mean, and mean what I say. When I make a promise, you can take it, if not to the bank, at least to heart. And, fool that I am, I expect others to do the same.

I really, really want to take a rip at a couple of people right now, Jim.

For the record, I am awful at "getting over it." It may be the thing I'm worst at doing. And knowing that those who have taken advantage of me thrive fills me not with pleasure, but anger.

I know very damn well that if the roles had been reversed, I would be a pariah, a typical heartless, out-for-one-thing male. But since I was on the receiving end, that's perfectly fine, and I should "get over it."

I haven't gotten over it, fellow babies. And at this stage, I'm beginning to fear I never will.

If you knew the whole story -- which only four people (those involved, plus one very close friend) know, and they ain't talkin' -- you might understand. But part of my training tells me I don't open up with guns blazing on people who might be hurt. So you're not likely to know.

And I must admit if those involved wanted to come back into my life, they'd find that the promises I made are still in effect.

Not that it's any more likely to happen than a lottery win or a sudden nomination for the Nobel Prize.

It's not good to learn that what you prize about yourself makes you a freekin' chump.

There's a dichotomy here I can't reconcile.

All I can think is that I need some serious Jim Beam therapy.

And if God wants my attention, he/she/it better damn well show me that there is a reward for being honorable. Otherwise, I may just remain a bitter, soulless, self-centered creep. It works for others, you know.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


So Lindsay Lohan pleaded guilty to drunk-driving charges -- for the second of two arrests -- plus a possession of a small amount of toot. Being an "actress," she did a good job of acting contrite.

And she got one day in jail. Plus 10 days of "community service."

I'm not a big fan of sending people off to the cooler indiscriminately. I don't think it does a whole hell of a lot of good.

But let's face it. If you or I got pulled over and blew a 0.12 on the ol' Breathalyzer and had some blow (even less than a half-gram), do you think we would have gotten 24 hours in the slam?

Not bloody likely, friends and neighbors.

Lohan has done two stints in rehab, which clearly didn't take. Another one is coming up.

She's sorry, though. Really, really sorry.

And she'll carry the heavy scars of least for the next 11 days.

I don't much give a damn if she wrecks her own life. That's her choice. But too many boozed-up and coked-up people manage to hurt others when they get behind the wheel.

Hey, she's a Star. She wouldn't do that, would she?

Not unless she decides to.

The girl needs a major dose of whup-ass, which the state clearly doesn't not intend to administer. Too bad her parents never gave her one (or more) when they could.

PARENTHETICAL JUSTICE-IS-SERVED UPDATE: Headline news from Associated Press: "Nicole Richie was released from jail Thursday after serving 82 minutes of a four-day sentence for driving under the influence of drugs."

If you do the crime, you gotta do the time, right?

Misplaced martyrdom

Some misguided people are making a fuss over the case of one Elvira Arellano, an illegal who sought "sanctuary" in a Chicago-area church and was deported after she came to Los Angeles to speak out against our immigration laws.

According to a story in USA Today, she was given a warm welcome yesterday by the Mexican Senate, who asked their president to send a protest note to Washington over her "unjust" treatment.

No sense complaining to Jorge Bush, amigos. If he had his way, she'd be in, receiving welfare and with nothing to worry about.

He's not alone. There are reports that various members of Congress from Illinois -- including, allegedly, B. Hussein Obama -- have already tried to introduce legislation just for Senorita Arellano, granting her a free pass.

So who is this woman? She has ignored at least two deportation orders, was deported once and immediately slipped back into the US, conceived a child with an unknown father and made sure she was here for the birth so little Saul would be a citizen, and made fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

In short, she has knowingly violated a number of laws and still feels "victimized." If she had pulled those stunts in Mexico, the authorities would have buried her deep in a prison, you can be sure.

She was so hot to come here that she hasn't even bothered to learn English.

She is, in fact, a poster woman for the for the disgusting loss of values and loss of respect for laws in this country.

She'll be back in this country soon. Either because Jorge and those of a similar mindset welcome her here or because she simply walks back across the border.

I wish Emma Lazarus -- who was, by the way, a dedicated Marxist -- had never written that damn poem.

It's time to close the "Golden Door" to those who don't have the decency to pass through it legally.

There is a word for people like me...

...or, to be more precise, there are two words.

Dumb shit.

This applies particularly to my reaction to a suggestion made by a friend today. I was moaning about something unfortunate that happened, and he said "well, you can do something about that."

He has some standing in saying so. He has "done something about that" in his own town, and has done it well.

Never mind that he has a nice wife who is supportive of his every move, has three jobs, two of which pay for the third. He has actually taken the plunge to do something I consider difficult for anyone on my side of millionaire-dom.

And he told me, in concise terms, how I might do the same.

If anything, taking on this task would not make me wealthy. I might pull in survival income from it at best. And it would take all my time and then some.

It certainly wouldn't increase my desirability to the opposite sex. If anything, it would brand me as more of a weirdo than I seem now.

So why do I even give his suggestion a moment's thought, much less feel like beginning the process of seeing if I can make it happen?

Two answers: One is that I believe in the goal. The second is that if I am going to be condemned to play the role of village idiot, I might as well try to be a conspicuous village idiot, one who actually tries to do something worthwhile.

I'm not saying what it is, because it would be too embarrassing to start getting the "you-poor-fool" reactions before I even start trying to make it work.

As I told him, I have a long, long track record with lost causes. I "think big," go for the brass ring even though experience has taught me my arms are too short to actually grab it.

It's the one last cheap thrill on the way to the cemetery, and since nothing else has worked, I might as well give it a shot. It involves tasks I'm fairly good at -- mostly mindless chores -- and a fair amount of BS, which I also have demonstrated a proficiency for.

And maybe -- just maybe -- it is the one thing I might actually succeed in completing.

Since talking to him, I've already made a tentative start. In two or three years, I may even have accomplished something.

If not, what have I lost? Nothing. I have nothing left to lose.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Love is in the air...

...everywhere but here, that is.

You'd think it was springtime, the way people are getting together. Old hubbies and wifeys are gone, and now it's time to connect with new loves.

It all makes me feel rather unattractive and undesirable. With good reason; each of those who pledged love and loyalty to me felt no need to follow through for very long. I helped them through periods of pain and/or loneliness and then, when greener pastures beckoned, all that nonsense was forgotten.

Don't consider this a warning of dire consequences ahead if you're one of those who are feeling those wonderful emotions again. Most likely you have what it takes to make the deal work. A lot of people do.

I seem not to. Whatever I said, whatever I am, that made a desirable woman commit herself to me lasted only until she realized she was free to accept other invitations. My value was, at best, transitory.

Other people, those who are going through difficult times, have mentioned the necessity of living for today, of telling the ones you love that, well, you love them.

I can't do that, either.

Several people whom I love are gone. The few -- all two of them -- who are still alive to whom I might say such a thing would not be interested in my declarations. One wouldn't hear it at all; the other would, at best, offer a noncommittal reply.

But I do love them.

"I love you" is not a phrase I've ever used lightly. It's not just an expression of desire; it's a commitment, and I do not make those lightly.

So while I am delighted that some are finding themselves in fresh relationships, no such good fortune has befallen me, or seems likely to.

I love me, and I'm damned if I can understand why someone who might reciprocate eludes me.

When all about you are forming tight couples, it's a bitch to be relegated to single-ness, Jim.

Another "WTF?" moment...

...from the People's Republic of California.

This state, like others, has seen a sharp rise in the number of foreclosure actions against homeowners in the past year. Home prices are too high, and people with low(er) incomes have been snookered into taking out mortgages that offer low introductory interest rates. When the rates escalate (as they always do), these people, already stretched to pay the "teaser" rates, are, in a word, screwed.

And now the state government wants to get involved to "protect" those who are trying to live well beyond their means. The ideas range from "educational" programs to state-mandated slowdowns in foreclosure to an actual multi-billion-dollar bailout of the chumps who got in over their heads.

It's not that I have no sympathy for people who live paycheck to paycheck. I do the same. But I didn't buy a house I couldn't afford and then get mugged by sudden payment increases.

It's called reading the fine print and asking questions, boys and girls. If you don't think you can afford something, you can't.

Sure, some of the lenders were sneaky bastards. Some are paying for it now by going out of business.

But the bottom line is that a family earning $40,000 a year cannot afford a million-dollar house. It just ain't possible.

And I, who can't afford to own a house, am not happy with the prospect of the government forcing me to help pay someone else's mortgage, thank you very much.

By the same token, the federal government is thinking of ways to help the mortgage companies and the people who lend them money get through the "crisis." I say, let them fall, too. And Hillary Clinton, who thinks she should be the entire federal government, wants us to pony up even more billions for the downtrodden who were too damn dumb to exercise common sense while signing up for those crap loans.

No one got into this involuntarily. Stupidly, in the case of the home buyers who are now looking at having to revert to "renter" status -- welcome to the club -- because they wanted the American Dream, with full understanding and intention in the case of the mortgage companies.

Now, they want Uncle Sugar to bail them out.

But there is no constitutional right to home ownership.

Sadly, the current "progressive" attitude seems to be that people -- certain people, anyway -- deserve things because they want them. No matter what it costs the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A piece of my life is going away...

...a major piece, in fact, though I'm not really going to go into great detail about the whys and wherefores.

Last Saturday night, the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena finally closed its doors. This time, the shutdown appears to be final...

Built in 1925, it seated only 1200, but took up more than a half-block on Fair Oaks Ave...

The Rialto's last operator ran a chain of "art" theaters. They never made much money, so the place deteriorated over the years to a point where, despite fresh paint in the lobby, it was a rathole by the time the end came. I took a shot of the lobby through the locked glass doors, would loved to have had a final look at the "East Indian"-style auditorium...

So what did the Rialto have to do with me? We'd have to go back to a summer night in 1965, when I was taken there for the first time. What I saw and heard that night led not only to my prime avocation but also to some long-lasting friendships and experiences I would not otherwise have had.

A fire in the early 1970s destroyed a part of the Rialto's interior. After that, I never had reason to go back there. Some of the visible damage remained to the end, I'm told, but it was worse than later movie-goers knew.

Memories of those wonderful days are so vivid -- I have recordings to refresh my memory when I wish -- that I can sit and replay some wonderful evenings there in my mind.

I hope someone saves the place. Given the screw-the-old, make-way-for-the-new mentality of those in charge, I strongly doubt that will happen.

Eighty-two years isn't a bad run, I guess.

Shitweasel of the day my bank.

I finally went over to a branch staffed by humans today to find out why my deposit didn't show up. Simple. The banks' computers are down.

The computers are down. Ain't that sweet?

Not only that, their system has been down since Friday.

I don't know about you, but there is not a single business or individual on this planet who would accept a lame-ass excuse like that if I screwed up.

The little assistant-managerette was very kind about it. She explained it all very nicely and apologized profusely.

But I can't blame downed computers and offer apologies at the damned grocery store. Utility companies don't like those lines much either. And if I had the cojones to try them, I'd pay a penalty of one sort or another, you damn betcha.

All the bank has to do is be sorry and it's home free, baby.

I suppose this would be a minor irritant if it wasn't simply the latest in an unending line of aggravations, disappointments and general pains-in-the-butt inflicted by banks, airlines, corporations and various individuals, extending back over a considerable period of time.

I'm getting paranoid, Jim. Someone is out to get me.

How long, O Lord, before one of these is one too many?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shouldn't have done it.

On my walks, I pass by a house that has stood empty for several years. Neighbors told me the story of its owner, a 100 year-old woman who is now in a nursing home. After she had to leave, her son (probably in his late 70s) had been dropping by to check on it.

Recently, I've noticed work being done to the house: new windows and doors, patching and fresh paint.

Today, I walked by and the old gentleman was out doing something to the fence. We started chatting, and I found him very interesting and remarkably friendly. We talked for a bit, and he asked if I wanted to see the inside. Expecting nothing special, I agreed.

The house was built in the mid-1930s, and is more solid than the local rocks. His father, a naval architect, designed and built it. The outside is nondescript, but the interior is remarkably original; though repainted, the originality can't be hidden.

It is the first house I've been in for many years that felt like a home. There is a warmth and honesty to the design that modern pads can't match. Just wandering through the rooms, with their large windows, was relaxing. It's an honest old house.

It is also uncommonly large for the area. Essentially, it has three stories, and more rooms than anyone without a largish family would need.

I asked why all the fixing-up, and he said he had decided to have it ready to rent out or, when the inevitable day arrives, sell. He has his own home, in a far fancier location, and wouldn't live here.

Even though I have a good idea of what the house could rent or sell for -- you don't want to know -- I somehow felt compelled to give him my card and ask that he call when/if the situation changed or resolved.

I could no more afford this place than I could come up with the loot for a penthouse in Manhattan. Not, that is, without the kind of financial boost that only a lottery win could give someone in my position.

All I know is the house seemed to be telling me I belong there, and that's a rare thing.

Besides, my 1930s-vintage painted metal dining room set, with its stainless-steel legs and trim, would fit right into the alcove next to the kitchen....

After having so many dreams crushed, this is one I can enjoy until someone else actually ends up with the place. I wouldn't even feel much sadness then, so long as the next owner doesn't tear it down to built a grotesque "McMansion."

A nice little miracle wouldn't go amiss....

Some days, the bear eats you...

...and on other days...

...the bear eats you!

The mail was late today, but -- to my absolute amazement -- a small token of gratitude from one of my clients arrived. It was the smallest of the tokens I was expecting, of course, but it was in any case enough to throw some meat at the wolves lined up, howling, in front of my door.

Or it would have been, if the stupid deposit had gone properly.

The bank computer apparently decided to hold the funds until, well, someday. The receipt shows the amount I put in, but the "available balance" and "total balance" lines were blank*.

I've lived without money for several days. One more won't hurt me.

As Lenny Bruce once said, "what the hell. I'd just piss it away on beer, anyway."

* I know what you're thinking: Why didn't I call the bank and raise hell, or go five miles through dead-stop traffic to make the deposit at a bank where humans work? Frankly, I'm too damn tired and angry to go through all that. If it doesn't show up on my balance in the morning, I'll follow through then.

Which reminds me...

...of what may have been my favorite UK picture from my trip two years ago...

I wonder if it still is?

I know I am, and I'm not even a "property...."

This ain't me...

...I have a beard, and better legs. It captures my current mood with pretty fair accuracy, though.

I didn't even take this picture. A neat guy posted it in his journal, and kindly gave me permission to filch it.

This was taken in London's Hyde Park, at the "Speakers' Corner." It was raining the one time I saw Hyde Park, and the "speakers" had all jacked it in for the day....

Waking up on the wrong side of my cage.

There's something so damn unfair about waking up with a hangover when you haven't been boozing. But that's what this morning has been like: feeling as if the inside of my head is filled with burning horsehair, distaste for anything that looks like food and of course the overwhelming desire to crawl back into the rack and sleep until a better day comes along.

But I Know My Duty. I will send off at least one of my due/overdue articles today. I've looked at the unfinished copy already -- a major feat, that -- and have determined that if I can concentrate for a couple of hours, it's salvageable.

The only influence that might undermine this is the sudden loss of all energy that has been occurring each day after the mail is delivered. If what I've been expecting for several weeks hasn't come by now, why should I think today should be any different?

It freekin' well ought to be different. I've earned every penny I haven't been paid.

I have roughly 90 minutes before that happens. Maybe I'd better get to work now, just in case.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


...all you want to do is put your head down and say: "make it stop."

That's where I am tonight.

Unfortunately, no one is listening. At least no one who can soothe away the pain.

PARENTHETICAL YEAH-I'M-A-WIMP THOUGHT: I know this makes me sound weak. No one wants to be around a weak man, right? But we are not invulnerable, and honesty is not weakness. Besides, we don't want to get into the support mechanisms some women who diss "weak" men can -- and do -- rely on, do we?

I'm too tired, too frustrated, too angry, too lonely to put words together. I've tried, turning out six entries this afternoon. Each should have been written in invisible ink, and thus was deleted.

No doubt I'll face tomorrow with more energy, if I can sleep tonight.

But I have to wonder how many more times I can jump back into the same old pit with nothing more than the same old results to show for it.

I know what people might say about this, just as I know what those more closely involved would say if they knew how much they have worn me down.

I don't care. The time comes when it's just too damn much.

Like tonight.


I think I'll stop reading newspapers, part 23,768....

So there's this Chinese couple who want to name their baby son "@" because, apparently, the Mandarin pronunciation of the "name" is roughly equivalent to "love him."

I'm not sayin' that's the only weird baby name to come down the pike recently. Usually, it's celebrities who want to lay nutball monikers on their babies -- Frank Zappa, sire to Moon Unit and Dweezil, was probably one of the first -- but it goes on everywhere these days. Some years ago, I met a woman called LaTrina; I thought naming her thus was kind of a shitty thing to do. And there was a casino in Vegas that paid a couple to name their child after the casino's web address....

It's rough enough for kids these days without saddling them with dimbulb names.

And then there's a photographer, Spencer Tunick, who wanders the world taking pictures of mass nudity in unlikely places. Can't see that there would be much money in that -- he probably lives off public (e.g. taxpayer-supported) "arts" money and foundation grants. Even as one who has a definite predilection for nudity -- female, anyway -- I find this tiring and banal. A one-trick act.

This time, he spread a bunch of unclad personages on a Swiss glacier to Make a Statement about "global warming." All that body heat probably didn't do the damn glacier any good.

Speaking of global warming: despite cloud cover, it's pretty warm here. Time to go for a walk before it gets hot....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday night is the loneliest night...

...and all that highly devoted horse dung.

This has been a week that will Live in Infamy. Despite having made elaborate plans for improvement (all of which involve busting my nalgas to do Good Stuff), I'm not holding out much hope for next week, either....

Hell, I was seriously down last night, too. I dropped a note to a friend last evening:

Getting seriously bummed. Read an obit for a guy I knew, though not well. It was the usual b.s., but at least he left a loving wife and kiddies.

If I tapped out tonight, I would just disappear. No wife, no kids, no nothing. Online people would miss me, but I'd just be gone.

Some people would be relieved, I think.

That's a heck of a note. "Survived by ex-girlfriends, creditors and editors for whom he hadn't completed all his assignments."

I was further brought down by hearing about a study done by a UC Berkeley big-dome. He did some sort of analysis of the number of partners men and women claimed to have done the Horizontal Mambo with. Men, of course, claimed more.

The prof claimed it was mathematically impossible for men to have gotten down so many more times than babes.

That's a matter of total indifference to me. I am, as in so many other instances, a dull normal, poon-wise.

After the age of 20 or thereabouts, who expects to find virgins, anyway? And who wants to go through that scene more than once?

I have never cared who came along before me. Don't want to know who has been there before, thank you.

Considering the relative ease with which one may take blood tests -- I've done it, more as a matter of courtesy than any fear that I picked up some Loathsome Disease along the way -- it's irrelevant.

Simply put, I want to be the last, not the first.

But right now, I'm more-or-less nothing. Neither first nor last.

I'm exposing myself to some intensive Count Basie Therapy tonight. The arrangements written for Bill's Big Band -- by Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins and Neal Hefti -- never fail to get me rockin'. Thad Jones, Frank Wess, and the rest always make me want to get out there and make some sounds.

And when The Count says "let's try it one more once!" at the end of the great Wild Bill Davis version of "April in Paris," it makes me feel ready to take the dive again.

If my love would talk to me, I'd say "let's try it one more once" to her, too.

I see her as I do myself: it doesn't matter where you've been; it matters where you're going.

Jazz can really keep you from getting your mind right, Jim.

But that's how I am.

The calm before...

...not a damn thing.

It's 85 here, the air is absolutely still, and with that big puddle only a few hundred feet away, it's not exactly dry. I have fans running, but this place is still a sweatbox.

Not as sweaty as my walk this morning. I was planning to extend past the normal four miles, but wimped out.

For a variety of reasons I will censor even before making any attempt to explain, I am in a foul mood. Wish something would come along to alleviate some of the aggravation, which bikers on their unmuffled Harleys, helicopters and noisy neighbors are not helping.

Off to the market, in an air-conditioned car.


A job for...

...the Rodent Whisperer.

Especially if he gives advice on diet...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Elderly... how I feel tonight.

A brief conversation about an element of a previous career with a friend elicited a question from her: "why don't you ever write about stuff like that?"

It's because I feel as if most rocks are younger than I am when I think about past days. I'm not terribly fond of the notion of being a museum exhibit where visitors push a button and I talk about old stuff.

Hell, I've been cast aside by the best. Why go for more?

In this particular case, the subject was animated films, which were my original "business." A movie she mentioned was the last one I worked on and, to tell you the truth, it wasn't a whole heckuva lot of fun. Lucrative, though.

Long, long ago, I wrote about meeting Frank Sinatra when I was a wee lad. Had I run into him again later, it wouldn't have meant a thing; I barely knew who he was at age eight -- though I already dug the hell out of some of his recordings -- and he paid little attention to me beyond a nice "glad to meet you" kind of adult-to-kid moment.

When I was even younger, my father took me to spend an afternoon with Stan Laurel, a sweet old man. At that point, I hadn't even seen a "Laurel and Hardy" comedy, so he was just a friendly guy with an interesting accent.

You may ask how it was that my father knew Stan. I'd have to be too open for my own taste to explain, but will direct you here for a hint of the family connection to the film biz. And even that doesn't explain the connection.

But it does explain meeting Frank. We were at Capitol Records where tracks for a UPA record were being laid down. Sinatra was there for an album of his own being recorded in yet another studio.

Later, quite without paternal assistance, I met Orson Welles. I did a little work on a TV show he was planning -- I don't recall it lasting long -- and the initial results weren't too wonderful.

A day or so later, I received a "this is Orson Welles" call at work. Bypassing the middleman, he asked me to drop by and talk the problem over with him. Since I had already found a solution, the rest was an afternoon of fascinating conversation.

But that's all old stuff. Means nothing, now.

I'd rather be known for what I've done instead of who I know/knew. I've listened to reminiscences from others, and they always come across as sad, eulogies for people who have passed their prime and have little to look forward to.

Am I one of those? I know a lot of people have relegated me to the past, but I feel ready to do new things still.

I regret not having been able to talk music with Frank, or films with Stan and Orson.

I hope some people will one day regret that they didn't spend enough time with me. But I'm too much of a realist to think my departure will leave any void in anyone's life.

And that's all I have to say about this stuff....

The best Elvis...

...will be chosen at Graceland tonight. There are 10 finalists, the majority Americans...none, alas, from Japan.

This one's Chinese, but that was the best the image search could find...

But it does give me one last opportunity to put the remains of an English-to-Japanese-to-Engrish translation of one of The King's hits up for you.

You won't hear it in Memphis tonight. That's for damn sure!

After now my baby leaving me to me, when the new place lives, you found:
As the hotel of unrequited love is lonesome, in the edge.
There is I, therefore loneliness, I very am lonely,
As for me the extent which I can die it is lonely.

However and that is congested always, still it can find the room
For the hearted sweetheart who with gloom shouts there and is broken
And lonely Ohio state so be a very loneliness,
Lonely Ohio state so as for them it is possible to die.

Damage of [hotsupu] of the bell continues to make flow with black, the front person in charge who wears the clothes.
With lonesome sort very long those do not return under any condition
And there are those, therefore loneliness, Ohio state very it is lonely,
You pray in order those is and therefore loneliness to die.

So when your baby goes away and you have the story which it should call
Exactly as walking is lonesome at the hotel of unrequited love carry,
Although loneliness and is I am lonely,
As for us the extent which we can die it is lonely.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A final Elvis post...

...for all those would-be blue suede shoe-wearers in Tokyo....






As re-translated by google...

It is the nothin pursuit dog which is not and is not.
Cryin usual
It is the nothin pursuit dog which is not and is not.
Cryin usual
It is good, the rabbit is not caught under any condition
And it is not my friend

It meant that they are classified high well
It was good, that exactly was lie
Obtaining you obtained and the they high meant that it is classified
It was good, that exactly was lie
It is good, the rabbit is not caught under any condition
And it is not my friend

It is the nothin pursuit dog which is not and is not.
Cryin usual
It is the nothin pursuit dog which is not and is not.
Cryin usual
It is good, the rabbit is not caught under any condition
And it is not my friend

It meant that they are classified high well
It was good, that exactly was lie
Obtaining you obtained and the they high meant that it is classified
It was good, that exactly was lie
It is good, the rabbit is not caught under any condition
And it is not my friend

I'm sure all y'all figured out which Elvis hit this is...even if the English translations is a bit, well, unclear....

Elvis's big "30"... in 30 years since he tapped out.

I always like the early -- that is, pre-Las Vegas/pre-drugs Elvis. I mean, the guy rocked when he was young.

I'll even forgive him this...

You have to wonder if Nixon had the slightest idea who Elvis Presley was. I'm sure RMN was hip to Lawrence Welk, anyway.

PARENTHETICAL SHAKING-OF-HEAD NOTE: Did I just use the word "hip" in the same sentence with "Nixon?"

It's said that Elvis is the second-most financially successful Dead Celebrity. His estate pulls in something like $40 million a year, counting licensing deals and ticket-and-trinket sales at Graceland.

The richest Defunct Star is somebody called Kurt Cobain. All I know about him is that he probably should not have owned a shotgun....

Of course the jury is out as to whether Elvis is really room temperature yet. You can go here to see where he's been lately.

None of this matters. I liked Elvis when I was young. I liked his music, even liked his dumb movies.

And I'm sorry he fell prey to the abusive behavior that has claimed too many performers.

But imagine what a void would have existed if there had been no Elvis. Thousands of Japanese dudes wouldn't be wandering around in white-and-gold leisure suits and pompadour wigs karaoke-ing it up to "Heartbreak Hotel"....

When memories hurt.

"This is for you," she said. Her voice was warm as a meadow in spring, so soft that it could rest gently on a soap bubble....

It wasn't for me then. And it definitely isn't for me now.

Usually, I appreciate having a pretty decent memory. But sometimes I wish I could erase the whole damn thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No go

My big drive up the coast tomorrow is now off.

In a sense, I'm relieved. Four days of that particular scene is three more than I can take. It would have set me back some serious money, too, even though major expenses would have been covered.

But I am also furious. Once again, it's a tale of promises, agreements and simple do-right behavior gone wrong. I bitterly resent the actions -- or, better, inactions -- of fuckweasels having so much influence over what I can and can't do.

Still, it frees me from having D. constantly yammering about stories we could do that are virtually impossible to sell, take more time than they are worth (at least for me; as photographer, he's done in a couple of hours) or simply bore me to tears.

But I would have loved to get out of here for the weekend.

I should have known. Every time the pleasure/pain ratio approaches parity, something goes wrong.

Now I can only hope someone else does something to piss me off. I need to explode at somebody. And those whom I would most like to rant at have their voice-mail systems turned on.

Guess I can shampoo the carpets this weekend....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When you come to the end of an imperfect day...

...all you can do is heave a sign, be glad it's over, and hope tomorrow is better.

The wispy clouds that have drifted overhead all day have fled eastward, and appear to be solidifying as they go. Once again, the desert may get rain we need here...

In about 18 hours, I'll have to decide whether I'll be heading out of town on Thursday. As always these days, the go/no go decision has to be based on things beyond my control. Doesn't matter if I want to leave; in fact, I'm extremely neutral about that. But I should go, and if I do not it'll be because I was forced to cancel out.

I had a few aggravating moments today, but won't bore you with them.

For more than two years, I've had a strong feeling that what I want doesn't much matter. Like a leaf in a rushing stream, I'm being carried along until I finally sink.

It's a feeling I've never gotten used to, and never will.

Some people can cope with that, can tell themselves that everything happens for the best, or at least for a reason. Not me.

To hell with it. I think I'll go read myself to sleep.

This day is over, and good riddance to it.

I was waiting for this!

According to ABC News, one of the Rutgers University basketball players who was dissed by Don Imus is determined to "get her good name back." And, no doubt, enjoy a whopping payday.

Kia Vaughn, star center for the Rutgers Women's Basketball team, has filed a lawsuit against Imus for libel, slander, and defamation -- the first civil suit to be filed against the former radio host. Vaughn is asking for monetary damages of an unspecified amount.

"This is a lawsuit in order to restore the good name and reputation of my client, Kia Vaughn," said her attorney, Richard Ancowitz, in an exclusive interview with the ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

The suit names Imus individually, but is also against MSNBC, NBC Universal, CBS Radio, CBS Corporation, Viacom Inc, Westwood One Radio and Imus producer Bernard McGuirk.

Once again, I must insert a caveat that I consider Imus despicable. He's a crude jerk, to put it mildly. I also consider him boring, unlistenable and very possibly brain-damaged.

But I wonder how the hell Vaughn's shyster can prove "damages." Was she a sweet young virgin who never in her life said a harsh word about anyone else? Has she had to go into seclusion since Imus made his reprehensible comments about the whole team? He did not, after all, single her out for special mention.

Actually, I doubt he'll have to "prove" anything. Either he manages to pick a jury predisposed to feel sorry for the poor waif or Imus's lawyers decide a settlement beats a trial.

I have never met anyone who didn't have something offensive said about them at one time or another. Sometimes directly to their face, sometimes on the radio, or on TV or in print.

Ah, America. We have led the world in embracing the pathetic concept of "hate crimes" (as if the same crime committed against someone who doesn't belong to a "protected class" isn't equally bad), "hate speech" and Green Therapy for all that ails you.

If anyone wants to buy my "good name" -- which, we are told, is more valuable than worldly goods -- a couple million ought to do it.

I hope this suit is thrown out before it goes to trial. Kia Vaughn better hope so, too. If she persists, she will no longer be someone who stood tall when insulted; she'll be just another whiny greedhead trying to cash in after her 15 minutes of fame are up.


...rolling in at 11:30 on a warm (79-degree) morning....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Biting my tongue...

...figuratively, at least. I don't use my tongue to type. Even though it might be more efficient than the three or four fingers I normally use....

No, I'm holding back because what I want to say would be offensive as hell. That wouldn't bother me if it offended those it should offend. But since I don't know the identities of everyone who reads this -- just some, thank you Sitemeter -- I can't be sure those I'm most angry with are bothering to check out my words.

Basically, the issue is this: I read (or know of) journals where women constantly complain that men are creeps, jerks, two-timers, losers, manipulators, and on and on and on.

One the other hand, I know all too well that men -- including at least one whom I initially considered a likely rakehell and womanizer -- are being severely damaged by women who use men's affections as temporary palliatives while they wait for the next victim to come along.

Men, I can say from a lifetime of being one, are chumps. We are far more honest than the female of the species is willing to admit. At some point, we find a woman who brings our dreams and desires to life, and we offer ourselves up to her. And when we do, it's unconditional.

Not every man acts this way. Just more of us than women think.

I've been there. Boy, have I. I put myself on the line and got righteously stomped for it. The truly sick part of the deal is this: though burned, I would walk right back into the same freekin' fire. With the same woman/women.

I have come to the conclusion that modern men are more into the mate-for-life bit than women.

But I'm not the sole example. I know of several other dudes who went down the same path, and had their heads (so to speak) handed to them in a way roughly similar to what I experienced.

Don't think of this as some kind of weird male-bonding, woman-hating rap. If the guys I'm thinking of were competing against me for the same woman, I'd do all I could to see that they ended up sleeping with the fishes. I'm not going to "bond" with a guy who's looking to get where I wanna be; it's every dog for himself.

But I still hurt when I see other men going through the same painful experiences I've had. Knowing that a fair number of chicas happily rant on, without being challenged, about what swine we are makes it worse.

I'll say right here that if you are a woman and you want to tell me that you are different, that you are faithful, honest and trustworthy, it's not necessary. I suspect you are as you represent yourself. I've met some.

But there are plenty of sharkettes out there just waiting to bite.

And, with some exceptions, we males are ready to accept the word of said sharkettes if they decide to come back for another bite that it won't hurt next time. Men are more forgiving than many women think.

God knows there are two women whom I would welcome back with open arms and a trusting heart, even though that seems a recipe for sheer disaster.

Just can't help myself.

I'm willing to bet, in the cases I am most familiar with, that other guys would do the same, act the same.

What it comes down to is that the rules have changed and we haven't gotten the word yet.

Men, as I said before, are chumps. And, until the excrement hits the rotary ventilation device, we enjoy it.

In my life, I have proposed marriage to three women. One accepted, and did things that made me regret it. Either of the other two would find the offer still open if they returned. Which they won't.

I see other poor bastards in the same position, and I feel for them.

Guess I didn't hold back as much as I intended to when I started this screed. Sorry 'bout that.

Just remember, ladies, that this doesn't necessarily apply to you. Unless it does.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Do you like Frank Sinatra?"

This was a surprise question, coming as it did from the employee of a service that dropped a car off to me this last week. About all I could do was stutter a bit and say "who doesn't?"

It turns out he asked because the car he left me has a satellite radio receiver and, lo and behold, there is a "Sinatra Channel." Being a fan himself, he had set it on the dial....

At first, I kinda dug it. The initial cuts were from some of my favorite sessions. Then, it got weird.

Part of the time, it is hosted by someone who seems to be Sinatra's granddaughter. Lots of dim patter about keeping the memory of "the greatest entertainer in history" alive, and then some tunes.

Not all, I hasten to add, featuring ol' Blue Eyes himself. Some were from people I suspect he did not -- or would not -- particularly care for. Not all singers are good, even when backed up by fine bands.

Yes, there were some Nat Cole sides, some from Tony Bennett, even Linda Ronstadt from her great sessions singing standards backed by the best in arrangements (from Nelson Riddle, who did a lot of fantastic work with Frank as well) and top musicians.

And not all Sinatra is good. Some of his last recordings made me cringe when I first heard them, and still do. The voice was going, and his producers were feeding him some awful material to sing. There were some hack pop things from the 60s and 70s that probably wowed the citizens in Vegas and even a couple of not-so inspiring unreleased tunes, such as Frank singing the forgettable theme song to a forgettable move (which, alas, I once saw) called "They Came to Cordura."

Nonetheless, the "Sinatra Channel" was playing them all.

It got to be a real letdown, Jim.

Finally, I shut it off.

When you have to fill a 24/7/365 block of airspace, you can't be all that selective. Pound on a theme long enough, and the magic is seriously depleted.

I'll stick to regular but controlled doses of Sinatra, thank you.

So much for satellite radio. Thank goodness there's a CD changer in the system too.

"Мы вас похороним!"

After a friend reported that he couldn't find a copy of the notorious image from 1960 of Soviet headman Nikita Khruschev banging his shoe on his desk while speechifying at the United Nations, I decided to have a look at what else he found.

History is indeed being rewritten. People are debating as to whether the image ever existed. Some are trying to prove that the incident never took place.

Having been around in 1960, I recall seeing "film at 11" (or whenever TV network news came on) of Mr K doing his thing with that brogan of his.

But when you search for an image of the Big Commie, what you get are the warm and fuzzy shots, like this one...

I mean, he's right there with his buddyroo Dr Castro who, along with Che Guevara, is one of the heroes of a certain subspecies of American loons.

I may be old, but the mind still works, and I remember the shoe incident as clearly as I remember JFK being showered with undeserved praise after he caved in to the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I also remember hearing about -- even in school -- Khruschev's famous comment to the West from 1956, which even google is forced to translate as "We will bury you!" That statement, too, is being sanitized and "explained" by a new generation that doesn't understand how divided and tense the world was in those days.

Funny thing. The world is in a similar state of crisis now, only with three combatants -- militant Islam, the USA and the non-Soviet Russians -- but instead of actually taking real, serious steps to protect ourselves against the worst, we have a president who thinks Mr K's spiritual heir, Vladimir Putin, is a "good guy." I'm just waiting for him to say "Pootie, you're doin' a heckuva job."

I'm not really a retread Cold War militarist, believe me. I do, however, believe in being ready to protect ourselves against enemies. And both militant Islamists and the current Russian leadership are enemies.

But in our own current politically correct and highly partisan government, we have no one capable of leading. It's more important to "talk" to the rabid dogs on the planet, more important to be "reasonable" and not safe, to be statesmanlike in the face of genuine threats. As too often happens, we assume our enemies think like we do and play by the same rules we do.

And of course those in power are the first to want to sanitize history to fit their own agendas.

Khruschev did say "Мы вас похороним!" and he did pound his shoe in anger at the UN. Even if, as some suggest, the latter act was premeditated, it remains an iconic example of the man's (and his regime's) crudity and temperament.

Putin is slicker. He snookered Bush and, so far as I can tell, all our elected so-called leaders. But the Teflon Red is just as eager to bury us, and just as capable of crude and murderous actions.

As some philosophical type didn't say (but should have): those who attempt to rewrite history are doomed to repeat it.

Volunteerism... not for me.

Some well-meaning people have suggested I could lose da bloos if I went out and Gave My Time for A Good Cause. I imagine they're thinking of homeless shelters, church programs and stuff like that.

Nuh-uh. Not this boy.

It's not as if I've never done that. Years ago I spent a summer volunteering as a tutor in a federal feel-good/eat-up-tax-dollars program. No money, but the satisfaction of Helping sort of thing. The paid administrators (as big a bunch of equal-opportunity screwups as you could ever hope to meet) made it next to impossible to actually help anyone. In fact, the goal seemed to be to have a building with fancy offices in it for people whose enthusiasm for drinking from the public trough far exceeded their abilities.

Feeling used and useless after that experience, I tried other forms of volunteer work at various times. I always got into conflicts; I wanted to do things, while those in charge wanted to plan to do things and talk to the press.

And of course I have done more than my share of involuntary volunteer work, the kind where you expect pay but don't get any, and are told you should simply take away the satisfaction of A Job Well Done.

Like most people, I've given a fair amount of help to individuals. Too often, I've felt I put in far more than I got back. That's un-Christian of me, I guess, but then I'm not a Christian. So there.

My model for volunteers I did not want to emulate comes from newspapers and TV. You know the kind: "Ms Liz Poontweent is seen handing a 100% synthetic-fiber blanket to little Esteban Torres, age 3, at the annual Blankets for Babies dinner and charity auction held at the Imsorich Country Club last night...."

Between past experiences and a need to scuffle to stay above water these days, I'm not feeling charitable at all.

Let's get right to the point: what I need is for someone to take me on as a volunteer project. I have a good idea of who and what the ideal candidate for this rewarding position would be, and can supply a list of necessary qualifications and duties (not exactly difficult or unpleasant ones at that) to interested applicants.

Who knows? It could become a full-time gig for the right person.

Might even convince me to attempt Good Deeds again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A man of few words...

...that would be me tonight.

Nothing bad happened today, and that's Good, I suppose. But nothing good happened, and that's definitely Bad.

I'm still seething about yesterday, so spent much of the day avoiding any thoughts of work.

Instead, I talked at length with my musician buddy R. and did a little design work in one of my avocational fields as a favor to someone else.

Some of my neighbors spent the afternoon drinking (heavily) out by the pool. Noisy, especially when they cranked up the boom-box, which was tuned to what bills itself as a "jazz" radio station. What I heard was some not-so-good blues and a bunch of "fusion" stuff that owed more to rap and bad hip-hop than jazz.

L.A. used to have a decent jazz station -- hard to believe a town this size could only support one -- until it was sold and the new owners went all-classical. It wasn't perfect, of course, as sometimes it would go into spasms where too much second-rate stuff was played (my idea of hell would be spending eternity listening to David Sanborn, Michael Franks, Kenny G. and their ilk) but then they'd dump the wimpy soprano-sax and "soft jazz" stuff and lay down some Basie, Ella or Charlie Parker and keep me tuned in.

I dug some of the commercials they played, too. Someone must have believed their listening area was centered in what used to be called South-Central (I knew dozens of people who listened in the "white" parts of town, too), and so had plenty of commercials for the Baldwin Hills Motel ("Your home away from home, for those special afternoons and evenings...") and Mr Jim's Bar-B-Q, which I later learned (while living in the 'hood only blocks away from it) was a damn fine rib joint.

Jesus, how do I get off on these tangents?

Anyway, my neighbors help keep me sober. They're all nice people, but I get uncomfortable being around those who are plastered by noon and keep beering it up through the evenings. I'll bet I was like them some years ago when I was lushing it up. Ugh.

Still, facing long, lonely evenings with a clear head isn't exactly wonderful. Especially with no jazz station to listen to. I could use some swinging sounds right about now....

And that was today as seen through my eyes.

I've put down more words than I thought I could. So it's time to stop.

Friday, August 10, 2007


...even though I didn't really do anything today.

And it's not because I got next to no sleep last night, waking up (for some unknown reason) roughly every 15 minutes. I finally gave up and crawled out of the rack at 4:00.

I'm tired, I suspect, simply because I didn't do anything.

In many instances -- today would have been one of them if things had worked out -- I have to be both a reporter/observer and something of an entertainer. I go out and almost inevitably do something strenuous (and on occasion, slightly dangerous) in front of interested strangers.

When I finish my little turn on "stage," I must talk to the bystanders, seem enthusiastic even if I have just had a rotten time, never getting comfortable in my environment and -- it happens -- scaring the bejeebers out of myself.

Even when the planets are in alignment and I impress the hell out of me and the "audience," what I immediately wish to do is find a corner and write pages of notes while the experience is fresh. I want to do that every time, frankly. That's what I'm there for.

Instead, I get to answer those "what's it like out there?" questions, make nice to whoever made the whole thing possible and assure him (almost inevitably a "him") that I haven't had as much fun since the last time I got...well..for a long time, let's say.

The reason I mention this is that I realized something on the angry drive home this morning: it wasn't so much that I was angry at D. for screwing up and wasting my day as I was coming down harshly from having unconsciously prepared myself in advance for the experience.

I've never been aware of it before, but before I get to whatever place this happens, I start sharpening my nerve endings, concentrating on the task ahead, and preparing myself to do my thing in public. I wouldn't be surprised if my vision and hearing improve slightly; I know I sense more of what's going on around me.

Ninety-nine times out of 100, I do the thing, then sit back and relax after. I feel tired, but not that tired.

Getting ready and then not doing it is even more tiring.

D'you suppose this is how a bullfighter feels if that oversize chunk o' beef he's to face keels over before it even gets out of the gate?

Probably not. But I'm exhausted anyway.

And I'm still pig-biting mad.