Monday, January 29, 2007

Let us be grateful

to people who make us happy;

they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.

- Marcel Proust

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Or A (melting) Pot To Piss In

"The American poor are incomparably more lucky than those in Asia and Africa and the Middle East who die by the hundreds in the streets. The American poor live better than the average citizen in many an underdeveloped country. They are better off in important ways than the rich of a hundred years ago and royalty of the Dark Ages. But poverty is not measured by history. It is measured by the standards of a man's own community. If most of America is well-fed, the man who can't find three meals a day for his family is poor. If most of America has modern weather-proof housing, the man whose home is leaky and has no piped water is poor. If most of America has enough medical care to stay alive until age seventy, the man who can't afford to live beyond age fifty-five is poor. Such a man is poor statistically. But he is poor in a more damaging way; he is a failure in his neighbor's eye and in his own."

"In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America" by Ben H. Bagdikian

This is just one perspective among many, but I am touched by the undeniable truth of these lines:

"...poverty is not measured by history. It is measured by the standards of a man's own community.
...he is poor in a more damaging way; he is a failure in his neighbor's eye and in his own."

Not everyone can keep up with the Jonses. Not everyone even wants to. A poor person can feel like the richest muther around, so long as value is given to an affluence that isn't an inventory of material wealth.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mother of Invention

Just a little idea I had.

Chocolate positively screaming my name this evening. It is giving me a headache. It offers me understanding of junkies. It will devour my face soon, unless I bite it first.

Smashing into Neon Lights in Their Stonedness

In fourth grade, my mother chaperoned Katie Mesirow and me to a BeeGees concert. As the pot smoke filled the arena, mom proclaimed to us that it was alright if she inhaled the smoke already hanging in the air. I don't think she and Prez. Clinton would have seen eye-to-eye, though she probably would have dated him, given her attraction to powerful men. This reminds me of a time in '76, when Warren Beatty hit on her at the Democratic National Convention in New York. She didn't know who he was, and was, sadly, married to my first step-father at the time. It's a shame, really (I'm tempted to insert a cheap joke about splendor in the grass). Do you know what Beatty looked like in the era of Bicentennial? Ever see 'Shampoo'? She should have slept with him; my step-father was a piece of work.

Oh look, I just found a pic of him on the internet. Here he is, hard at work on the campaign trail. That would be c. '79. You know, there are some similarities between the two men (requisite 70s side-burns, pointy features, angularity, smile lines, a generally ferrety look), minus a lot of hair.

Anyway, my mother was no stoner, unlike her baby sister and her best friend. Those two lit up in front of me nearly every time we were together - in the house, in the car, bird-watching out in the country. They were both school-teachers, by the way. Although this behavior led to no similar activity of my own, it is amazing to me that both women, who were major forces shaping my ethical sensibilities (believe me, they were tough), thought nothing of constantly breaking the law in my presence. Of course, in Oregon it's only a misdemeanor.

It did bite them in the ass once. When asked by another adult if they were smokers, to which they honestly replied 'no' (because of course she meant nicotine), this six-year-old chimed in, "But what about those 'funny' cigarettes you smoke?"

Is there a point to this? No. Is there a point to flare-legged white and tan plaid polyester pants? I wore those, you know, with my forest green ribbed turtleneck, and bangs mercilessly cropped, an ear or two constantly poking out of baby fine stick straight hair. Was there a point to Betsy Ross quilts (seriously, remember how red white and blue the culture was in 1976?) and lemon yellow tulip wallpaper? Was there a point to shag rugs? Eve cigarettes, with the floribundant pseudo-Mucha iconography? I could go on.

Then came the disco incarnation of the Brothers Gibb, and that era was over, and a new one dawning. I think I was reminded of all this recently when introducing two friends at a party. I mentioned what they had in common, younger sisters with Downs Syndrome. After comparing notes, Lauren remarked on the sad hilarity of little Leah's favorite song, "Let's Get Retarded."

Brian replied, "Well Karen's is the BeeGees' Tragedy, so there you go."

I don't make this shit up.

Sunny Goodge Street

Let me be clear that although there are a couple of songs I absolutely love (this one and Wear Your Love Like Heaven), my favorite recordings are not his versions. I am not really a Donovan fan, though he penned some good lyrics from time to time. Too Hurdy-Gurdy. Any comparisons that have been made to Dylan are, of course, ridiculous. Shame on you people.

Nonetheless, as I was stealing a lyric for a title of another post, I decided to post the words for this tune. Amazingly, after comparing four websites, I came up with no agreement on two of the lines. I'm posting it as I've heard Judy Collins sing it since I was knee high.

On the firefly platform of sunny Goodge Street
Violent hash-smokers shook a chocolate machine
Involved in an eating scene
Smashing into neon lights* in their stonedness**
Smearing their eyes on the crazy coke*** goddess
Listening to sounds of Mingus mellow fantastic.
"My, my", they sigh.

In dull house rooms with coloured lights swinging
Strange music boxes sadly tinkling
Drink in the sun shining all around you.
"My, my", they sigh.

The magician, he sparkles in satin and velvet,
You gaze at his splendour with eyes you've not used yet.
I tell you his name is Love, Love, Love.
"My, my", they sigh.
"My, my", so high.
"My, my" they sigh.

- Donovan Leitch, 1965

(here's where I give you the multiple alternate lyrics, since I can find no authoritative version:

* streets/lights - either works.
** stillness/stonedness - are the still lights (or streets) being disrupte, or are stoners disrupting because they are smashed. again, either is possible. i prefer the stonedness.
*** kerb/kali/coke ok, so a kerb is a curb, but whats a kerb goddess? not quite so poetical as Kali, who is a goddess and apropos to the Hindu-obsessed 60s. coke is thematically a relevant choice, though it became much more popular and available in the 70s.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Things My Boyfriend Says"

This is an interesting find, especially given my post yesterday. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Few Things Men Have Said to Me

"You have eyes like a wild horse."

In a note: "You were very pleasant. Coffee?"

"You have this innoncence... You're so pure it's almost perverse."

"I can't sleep with you; it's a respect thing."

"Are you smuggling raisins?"

"Colin, what exactly is my job?" "When the production assistant shows up with a mattress strapped to the hood of the car, you'll get the bigger picture."

"I dig your spirituality."

"You have not to speak to me like this."

"Myopic girls always have the most beautiful expressions."

"You're seeing a very sad side of Herb tonight."

"I know that when you speak, the truth is never too far."

"You're like a breast of fresh air." (that was a Freudian slip)

"Crazy's not at home."

"Stay away from Captain Crazy."

"Mmm, mmm, I knows flavor when I sees it. Step a little wider, Baby."

"You wouldn't last 30 days in my house." But that's a whole other story...

Willing Suspension of Disbelief (for the moment)

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tome. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Aliced laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

The title, however, comes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817).

"In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. "

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beware of False Profits

Oh Christ, they can't actually mean this. TC is the new JC? Remember what happened to the Beatles albums in the Bible Belt when John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus?

In the Doghouse

I am writing you from under the covers. On either side of me sleep two big black dogs, who not only have me positively wedged between them, but are pulling the blankets down and across me, straight-jacket style. It's a little slice of heaven, I tells ya. They're going to have to use the jaws of life to get me out of here.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Think of Them

I was so relieved to realize today that my particular brand of band-aids, which is not Band-Aids, is "not tested on animals." I am all about cruelty-free, especially because I know just how painful it can be to rip off one of those adhesive strips. Now, imagine if you're a bunny.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Nominee for Quotation of the Year

The recent boyfriend wrapping up a debate with his girlfriend on using condoms, for which she was lobbying:

"We're not throwing caution to the wind, we're genuinely pretending to try!"

My Peeps!

This makes me feel an odd sense of home-town pride. Whereas Portland citizenry cannot be anywhere near as poor foul-weather drivers as Angelenos (for one, the former are just too polite), there really isn't a lot of snow/ice time up there in the city. Of course anyone who grew up in Oregon should have some clue, as the rest of this Cascade Mountain range state has plenty of frozen precipitation.

Also, I'm pretty sure I know the area this was filmed in, and it's much steeper than the video suggets.

Here goes, this is hilarious:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

About Global Warming

Pulling a bit of a flip-flop - changing weather patterns, and all that. What it amounts to in LA is chilly weather (frost on the cars in the a.m.), and SNOW in Malibu (that's plain bizarre). That's right, they've closed Kanan Dume Road, and there are accidents abounding.

Whatever will Barbie and Ken do?

Speaking of cold...

He, On The Other Hand, Is THE GREATEST!

"I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark. "

Happy 65th to Muhammad Ali, née Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., aka The Louisville Lip, aka The Greatest. Known for The Thrilla in Manila, Rope-a-Dope, Rumble in the Jungle, 'floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, 'picking the round,' The Golden Age of Boxing, one of my very favorite movies, which you must see, "When We Were Kings," and Ali Rap.

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

Ali, you were born so close in date to another King.

"The man said, 'We don't serve Negroes,'
I said, 'I don't eat them either.'
They shouted, 'Boy, get out!'
I looked at my gold medal and thought,
'This thing ain't worth nothin'-
it can't even get me a hamburger!' "

Did you know he also got in the ring with tooth decay?

"I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world. "

"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

"You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned?
Wait till I whup
George Foreman's behind.
I done something new for this fight,
I have rassled an alligator!
I done tussled with a whale!
I done handcuffed lightning
Throwed thunder in jail!
Only last week I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone,
Hospitalized a brick!
I'm so mean I make medicine sick!"

You don't even have to like boxing to love this man.

Objects in Mirror

are (loser)

than they appear.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Posting Secrets

I didn't tell you, but a few weekends ago, a very handsome man bought me flowers at the Farmers' Market. This weekend, I bought myself some and pretended they were from you.

Monday, January 15, 2007


"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”

- Coretta Scott King

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Faux Toes

I've asked before, but can someone please tell me why Blogger is not in the mood to upload images amymore? It is seriously impeding my posting. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with file size, either.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kitty Tai Chi

or Kung Pow! Kitty, if you prefer.

That 70s Show!

Do you remember that period in the 70s where every sitcom had someone falling into quicksand? I'd like someone to do a book/timeline of comedic conventions. You know, the apex of -
pie in the face
taped line down the center of the bedroom as sibling conflict resolution
too many suds in the washer
Don't Slam the Front door or the Souffle will Fall!

Got any to add? Doesn't have to be that decade.

Till then, here's a cool site on comedic conventions that some wise soul passed on to me. Am I reading it right, or did they omit lewdness and poop?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


This post is seriously overdue. Some time ago, Steve tagged me to write something like, "things about me that you might find wierd" (let's just start with my resistance to that word, which I never really know how to spell anymore, though once upon a time it was no issue at all, because it never looks right anymore. Blame the car accident, Blame old age, I don't know). He guessed correctly, that I am not usually up for that particular sort of bloggery, but since he's nice and the topic is interesting, I'll bite.

I think I was meant to limit it to six, but that seems unlikely.

Why or what about me is wierd? (Have you read my blog?)

1) I pick at my face. This has been discussed, I do believe, in a long treatment of Narcissism, which might actually be the only viable type for the personality disorder, as it is quite difficult to treat. Anyway, that's (and I have it on good authority) not my problem, but torturing my face in front of the mirror when I'm stressed or repressing something (like, anger maybe?), is. Also, if there are angry people around me, I break out in excema. Not usually a problem these days, but it was chronic and fairly severe until I left home at age eighteen. Last major bout came when I was being positively tortured by my French boss on the blockbuster movie I worked on in 2000. Recently, I got a small patch over my right eye when I went home for Christmas. Imagine that.

2) I like to make fun of French people. Truthfully, I've had very dear Gallic friends, and even a boyfriend or two. But the cultural group as a whole? Sitting ducks. This isn't so much wierd as it is increasingly unoriginal and mundane on my part. Everyone mocks the French, even the Simpsons. But by "French people," what I really mean to say is Parisians, and I'll poke at pretty much anyone who thinks that he or they are the cultural epicenter of the universe, and I can tell you that after working there for four months, they absolutely do. This may come as a bit of projection and touch of hypocrisy from an American, but when was the last time you saw an ad in a subway station here that said we were the most signicant source of high culture? And I'll cop to great literature, music, theater, and painting positively pouring out of France until the mid-20th C, but what have you done for me, lately? Have you heard any French Pop you could tolerate past the third bar? Furthermore, they think people who smile a lot are stupid, which is why they often find Americans a bit dim. Sometimes I love their cinema, yet why does every other film have to be about how tormenting, great and acceptable cheating on your lover is? Furthermore, what's with all the angst? You have one of the highest standards of living in the world - try smiling once in a while, and chuck all that black out of your oh-so-chic chifforobes! Oh, sorry, I meant armoire. Huckleberry nailed another detestable trait when he rebutted an old military proverb: "Hope is not a course of action... Unless you're French." I will not mention WWII. I'm biting my tongue. But Christ, look at the Danish, they had more sack in one wooden clog... and they were, well, Danish.

I also mock the Flemish, but that's another story.


a) You stress me out when you don't recycle. I mean it.

b) I don't like throwing anything away.

c) I think that pissing, crapping and throwing dioxin laden paper products into fresh, clean running water is proof positive that we are absolute barbarians. Shall we touch on the "contributions" of industry? What other animal routinely sullies a life giving resource? And not only are we running out of it, people, but there are corporate interest buying up the rights to it. To water. But then, they are patenting DNA, body parts, and seeds, so I guess I should just relax.

4) "Little People" unnerve me. There was a two month period a couple of years ago when I couldn't turn a corner, enter a bank or look at a motion picture without encountering a dwarf or midget. The strangest moment came while watching a white female dwarf brawling with her massive muscle-bound Afrincan-American boyfriend as they walked out of The Old Spaghetti Factory and on down Sunset Blvd. I sincerely apologize for any provocation I've given by mention of their race. I couldn't care less about it, but the scene was very odd, like a more up to date Fellini or Breughel or Bosch or Mike. They got quite physical with each other. While she was doing most of the striking, he kept trying to pull her in close, either to pacify or control. I remember back in '99 there was a Little Person's convention in Portland. I asked the environment lawyer I was sleeping with what he thought it would be like to be the activities director for such an event. I can't recall what he said, but I offered that were I in charge there would surely be short stories, haiku and "Limbo, Little People!"

I am so going to hell for this. How low can you go?

5) I am an ardent student of metaphysics, and believe quite a lot in many things a psychiatrist would term, "magical thinking." This, apparently, is common amongst people who grew up in stressful or uncontrolled circumstances. I'm sure that's true, but I have experienced all kinds of "strange" and "coincidental" things in my life. I also have a deep interest and love for science, and think that our knowledge of the "physical" world simply has to catch up with all the really odd and currently inexplicable things that really are real. So yes, I can tell you an embarassing amount about astrology: 80% of the time I can guess your sun sign, and when I'm wrong, my guess is usually somewhere prominent in your chart. I do not think there are only twelve personalities in the world, and if you'd ever cracked a book, you'd know that no one is suggesting that. Some people like to give the argument that astrology becomes self-fulfilling prophecy via the power of suggestion. When was anything ever that easy? Tell me that I'm going to keep my room clean, and watch me not do it. If it were true, there would be no midnight oreo stuffers, compulsive gamblers or nail-biters. I read and listen to works by Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Joseph Campbell, C.G. Jung, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, Robert Bly, Robert Johnson, Marion Woodman, Barbara G. Walker, et. al., because they make me feel good about being alive, something I haven't always felt. I have significant dreams that come true, I am now starting to routinely "ask" the world to send things my way, and my wishes are granted, sometimes within the hour, sometimes in a month. I pray, I meditate, I talk to my inner child. My ex-fiance and I used to have the same dreams on the same nights when we were not sleeping in the same bed. We had complete conversations with each other, which we could recount the next day, and with startling sameness. I have never seen a ghost (well I thought I did once when I was twelve, but not at all convinced), been abducted by aliens, nor have I any inkling of past lives, but I concur with this admonition to old Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I believe that we are, as human beings, trying to evolve into a state of love and away from a state of fear. I believe war doesn't solve anything, but I don't think protesting helps, because that is layering on more war consciousness. I believe in asking and living in peace instead. I believe in ripple effects. I believe in "loving allowance for all beings in their own time," mindful speech, killing the Buddha you meet on the road, that whatever happens, we have all agreed upon it maybe unconsciously in advance, and that in any case, it must be met with integrity, an open heart and forgiveness. I believe you and I are not only children of God, we are God, and we'd really better start acting like it, so I'll try to once and for all stop picking at my face. Still, having said all this, I am completely open to the idea that it's all load of hogwash. But you'll have to empirically prove it, and you can't. I love you anyway.

6) I have an almost perverse lack of aversion to dirt and germs. I will let the dog lick my face, and I pick things I've dropped up off the floor, possibly even the sidewalk, and eat them anyway. Maybe I rinse them first. I am quite healthy most of the time and expect to be that way until I die.

7) I am a closet exhibitionist.

8) I love to sing and can have quite a nice voice, but public singing has always terrified me to the point that I used always to fake singing poorly. Then the phobia became an actual inability to sing in front of people. My voice often closes off so that I can't sing. I have absolutely no idea why or where this aversion began, except that in elementary school other kids were teased and cut down for thinking they were good singers, even when they were. This is probably linked to a more general fear of "showing off." (see oddity #7) It always annoyed me when my mother would sing, and she had quite a trained voice, but to me it always sounded too rarefied, too affected. My friend Joe and I sometimes sing karaoke in his basement, and it really is one of the very best things I do for myself. Even the very vibrations in your chest feel therapeutic. That, and Joe is very encouraging. Thank you, you're a good friend.

I just wrote a list of songs that I can sing, and think I sing well. Except that it made me feel ill, just writing it, so I deleted it. You see? Wierd.

9) Except that it's WEIRD.

10) Having to wind up extension cords or garden hoses used to make me want to slit someone's throat. Now I find it vaguely irritating enough that occaisionally I get the impulse to thrash about, but I never day. Instead, I usually trip over it as I walk away from the mess.

11) I love really schmaltzy music from the 70s. I'm not kidding about this. Like, Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds. Like, Poco, Player, and Firefall. I know, Mike. I know.

12) White Chocolate gets me bothered. It's not chocolate, so stop calling it that.

13) Besides talking, laughing, crying and removing pictures off the wall in my sleep, I have also been known to rub my belly and smile. I've caught me doing it. Sometimes I even tell myself jokes as I doze.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This is what I believe

That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.

- D.H. Lawrence

Monday, January 08, 2007

One-Seventh of the Deadlies

Here is a favorite cinematic memory from my childhood, in two parts. Thank you, Paul Lynde and Agnes Moorehead.

He's Gone

I've been led to understand that scent is the strongest memory trigger. Smells can resurrect moments for me that I scarcely knew even existed. Conversely, I have chased after and clung to aromas that renewed feeling and memory for times and people that were fugitive. What strong emotion can be held in the weft of a lover's shirt, pressing them closer to you, until their perfume finally fades away.

Has anyone ever tried to create a recording device for the facsimile of scent? We have archived sound and sight, but beyond the labors of the perfumier, which in my experience is something quite different, we have no record to trigger our olfactory sense and the mental and emotional experience that follows.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Little Pony

When I was maybe four, my father realized my every girl's dream: he bought me a horsey.

My parents were at the Pendleton Round-Up (which, if you've never heard of it, is quite the ado), enjoying the shows and competitions. My mother was something of a horse woman herself. When I was small she had a Pinto, the same one she had used when she led groups of juvy teenagers around the Three Sisters Wilderness. They rode the kids around in circles in those mountains until they were certain they couldn't find their way out, then led them into the summer camps where they did rehabilitative work.

At the rodeo, my parents were separated for some period of time, one long enough that my impulsive Papa purchased a wild Mustang. At their reconnection, he was excited to tell her that he'd, "bought a pony for the kids."

I couldn't honestly tell you that this was an atypical behavior on my father's part, but I'm not sorry for it, either. It's too amusing. Anyway, my always practical and common-sensical mater berated the fool. For what were they to do with the animal? Where to house it? And who on earth did he imagine would be busting that bronc?

He found a farmer who was willing to take the horse away, for one hundred dollars. That my father paid him.

Monday, January 01, 2007