Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Off to Africa

Returning September 10.  Until then, please enjoy a picture of our luggage.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's a Matter of Size

It is difficult getting down the sidewalks of New York. Surely. East side West side, all around the town.

But just when you thought you got used to all the horrors, the tourists walking arm in arm in three generations of familial fear and hubris, the guys with the pants halfway down their legs walking side-to-side, as if they are crabs, barely budging forward and proud of their style-over-efficiency, or the poor elderly slobs, male and female, who simply stop at corners and stand there, lost, you have to face the leather and not so leather goods.

It’s these purses. Why are they so huge? These women, they are very thin because of all the walking they do carrying bags that weigh fifty pounds. It’s amazing exercise…but this is the problem: the bag, made of hide or vinyl or brilliant cloth and certainly lots of coated metal rings and straps flapping it all together, is the size of an entire adult female torso or my desk. And how does a woman counterbalance this sucker slung up on her right shoulder in order to fly forward? She uses her left arm as a pendulum swing. Her horizontal diameter now becomes as long as her vertical.

And let’s not forget about the torque.  Just as the Scrambler, that cheap thrill ride of youthful carnivals, was a heavy car at the end of a pole moving briskly, forces are felt. Strong ones. To a walking woman, with a purse the size of Dothan, Alabama, this torque acts strongly against her will to walk straight. So with that left arm still flailing, the Mt. Zion bag pulling and heaving, the forward moving vector is disturbed into sideways motion, and though the female will is strong, it cannot help our lugging doyenne from forming a repeating S-curve in her gait so that she carves out most of the sidewalk. The S-curve is the body stabilizer.

I see it every day. But tonight, a tall woman with very short, soft hair with a bright white top on and black slacks hugging her ass so I could see that the bottom of her left cheek had a much greater divot than the right, was walking in such an aggressive S-curve, with such a mace of a bag, that as people approached her, they could not help but either block her way (since she was taking up all ways) or get pulled right into her centripetal field much like a leaf into a whirlpool. She looked like a young David Bowie, this possible waitress, possible high fashion model. Her aggressive anger was kind of thrilling and made me want to pick a fight with myself (okay, with her). As small Hispanic men got in her way she crossly dressed them down with a LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING. She was a bruiser. She wanted it all. She wanted to fight and she had the purse-boulder to give her the force she needed to do it.

This was the most extreme example of the purse-planet that I have witnessed. Parlaying the effects of her bag physics into a weapon and pretending the problem of this mammals-colliding-on-earth experience as she boinked and weaved was caused by the inconsideration of others, is certainly something one could accept as a sad, sideways case of convenient dissociative fugue. But that requires compassion. And who are we? Jesus? She was anger justified for no reason. Maybe from history. I wanted to ask her if she was an incest survivor or simply had a bad shift at the Stardust Diner. I did not. She trundled south. I went east. I was glad to be rid of her.

We all have to get somewhere. Why can’t we just be efficient about it? Keep a slim profile and if we are loaded down with a locker-sized amount of personal belongings, maybe assume some responsibility?

On another note: what the fuck are in these huge bags and why do women want them? Aren’t women disadvantaged enough competing against the other sex, with their inferior muscle mass and shorter legs? Why add a camel hump of consumer goods in a dead cow bag to force you into a frightening, manic S-curve of a walk that tries to scoop up all comers? The straightest distance between two points is a straight line. Ladies, it is time for emancipation: Get rid of that purse-town, and everything in it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Box, at Sundance 2013: Why not!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old Sperm

A recent study in Scandinavia has made a connection between older sperm and children with Autism (and possibly Schizophrenia).  As men get older, the mutations in their sperm increase. This gives rise to autism and other developmental disease. It is not from momma. It’s from grizzled dear OLD dad.

This is fine and all---but what is causing all these mutations?  Is it simply age? Or is it the result of the increasing amount of time spent on a toxic planet? Do the children of old daddies in Papau New Guinea have an increased risk for brain development problems?

My guess---the more plastic in your life, the greater your sperm mutations.
The more preservatives in your food, the greater your sperm mutations.
The more fire retardant in your couch cushions, the greater your sperm mutations.
The longer you are exposed, the greater your sperm mutations.
And they will NEVER be able to test for all this in the general population.
But you can’t ask the fire retardant lobby to back off because that’s not good for their business. Why, oh why can’t people just change what they do when they find out what they do is harmful? You use the same skill set to do so many of the same things. Just transfer across.

Poison will eventually destroy a species. It does not matter where the poison comes from. Even if the species itself makes it. 

I’m sure my sperm would give rise to nothing but a blabbering armadillo headed pants-shitter-into-eternity obsessive hand washer at this point.  Or maybe since the beginning of my time. Back in the 70s, my brother and I used to play on the bags of fertilizer outside my grandparents’ apartment in New City, New York. There was nothing else to do but watch T.V.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom. Yes.

Go see Moonrise Kingdom

The humor
The sadness
The acting
The directing
The Benjamin Britten music
The whole thing.

Listen for one of the great lines of the current era of cinema spoken by Frances McDormand to her daughter in a bathtub.

Friends, I don't want to oversell it. But this is fully up there with Rushmore, the other grand masterpiece of Wes Anderson.

Three thumbs up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Thoughts

The fight in politics and in religion and in education, all systems, is age old: the false thought of the separation between the material and what is in the mind. Which one is more important, how each are cut up and who gets what causes so many problems. It’s damn Cartesian, this split.  But Spinosa wacked that shit back. Thus the Enlightenment.  And here we are, post enlightenment, and the stupidity of the pre-Spinosa period still rages.

Making movies about disenfranchised folks when you are sitting around in your booj slacks is ultimately exploitive. Maybe. Perhaps it helps. But I am more likely to do less if I see a movie about someone downtrodden. I figure they have at least recently eaten some craft services.

Boys are without a doubt the sex symbols of today. You can barely see a hot young woman on a billboard any longer. It’s all boys. Because they can dish it out AND they can take it? A pole and a hole for everyone? I don’t know. I think young girls are feeling it.

I love coupons. For certain things.

Freedom is an illusion. Cargill owns your fat ass. Put down that soft drink. Grow avocadoes.

The coolest town, it seems, is London. Though Scranton comes close. Right?

This east coast is overrun with deer. We need more wolves.

I need a unifying theory. And Adderall?

Can we give Monsey NY back to the Munsee speaking Lenape Indians? Corn, beans and squash are more useful than suburban squalor.

If you haven’t yet read Mencken’s The Libido for the Ugly, Google and enjoy.

Give New York City back to the beavers! Bloomberg needs a pelt!

Walking really matters. Go local. Walk.

Must we?

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Transacting. It is not the same as caring.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maureen's Got a Mouth on Her

When Cruelty Is Cute

Published: August 14, 2012 NYTimes 


I’d been wondering how long it would take Republicans to realize that Paul Ryan is their guy.
He’s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.
Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?
He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face.
The Young Gun and former prom king is a fan of deer hunting, catfish noodling, heavy metal and Beethoven. He’s a great dad who says the cheese, bratwurst and beer of Wisconsin flow in his veins. He’s so easy to like — except that his politics are just a teensy bit heartless.
Rush Limbaugh hails Ryan as “the last Boy Scout,” noting that the tall, slender 42-year-old is a true believer: “We now have somebody on the ticket who’s us.”
For the rest of us, at least, Ryan is not going to raise our hopes only to dash them. Unlike W., he’s not even going to make a feint at “compassionate conservatism.” Why bother with some silly scruple or toehold of conscience?
Unlike some of the right-wing ayatollahs, Ryan doesn’t threaten with moral and cultural gusts of sulfur. He seems more like a friendly guidance counselor who wants to teach us how to live, get us in shape, PowerPoint away the social safety net to make the less advantaged more self-reliant, as he makes the rich richer. Burning the village it takes to save it, so we can avoid the fiscal cliff, or as he and his fellow conservative Cassandras ominously call it, “the debt bomb.”
Like Mitt Romney, Ryan truly believes he made it on his own, so everyone else can, too. He shrugs off the advantage of starting as the white guy from an affluent family, able to breeze into a summer internship for a Wisconsin Republican senator as a college student.
Only 16 and the youngest of four when he discovered his lawyer dad dead in bed from a heart attack at 55, Ryan had to grow up fast.
The Midwestern kid was guided by what David Stockman calls “Irving Kristol’s ex-Trotskyites” turned neo-cons; Jack Kemp, the cheery supply-sider who actually cared about the disadvantaged, and by one of Kemp’s favorite authors, Russian émigré and cult leader Ayn (pronounced like swine, as she used to say) Rand.
“And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism,” Ryan said in a 2005 speech to the Atlas Society. He even gave copies of “Atlas Shrugged” to staffers at Christmas. He did not emulate Rand on everything, given that she adamantly opposed Ronald Reagan, saying, “Since he denies the right to abortion, he cannot be a defender of any rights.”
Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Life Act enshrining a fertilized egg with the definition of “personhood” and supported a bill Democrats nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have let hospitals that get federal money deny women abortions even in life-threatening circumstances.
And Rand would not have approved of Ryan’s votes in the House backing W.’s profligate spending on unwinnable wars, a bank bailout and a Medicare expansion. She would no doubt have been thrilled, however, that under the Ryan budget plan, the megarich Romney would go from paying shamefully as little as possible in taxes to virtually no taxes.
Ryan was drawn to Rand’s novels, with their rejection of “the altruist morality,” making narcissism a social virtue; her exhortation that man must not only strive for “physical values” — her heroes were hot — and self-made wealth, but a “self-made soul.” Like John Galt, who traces a dollar sign “over the desolate earth” at the end of “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand idolized the dollar. She wore a brooch shaped like a dollar sign, and a 6-foot dollar sign stood beside her coffin at her wake.
Although the Catholic Ryan told Fox News’s Brit Hume in an interview that aired Tuesday night that he “completely disagreed” with Rand’s “atheistic philosophy,” he said his interest in economics was “triggered” by her.
His long infatuation with her makes him seem even younger than he looks with his cowlick because Randism is a state of arrested adolescence, making its disciples feel like heroic teenagers atop a lofty mountain peak.
The secretive, ambiguous Romney was desperate for ideological clarity, so he outsourced his political identity to Ryan, a numbers guy whose numbers don’t add up.
This just proves that Romney will never get over his anxiety about not being conservative enough. As president, he’d still feel the need to prove himself with right-wing Supreme Court picks.
Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Horshack is Dead. I Didn't Do It

North Hollywood
Ron Pallilo (né public, Horshack) was casting for the musical
Three Men Naked from the Waist Down

I was called in to audition for “The Angry Guy” and around me were bean bags, cans, a wiffle ball bat, etc. I sang well enough for a part that was too low for my voice.

I was called back. And Horshack, wound up and wild, kept screaming at me in a strong NY accent, “Get angrier. Get angrier. Swing that bat! I want to see your anger!”

So---I got angrier.


So I slammed the wiffle bat against the audition table, not near anyone, but it caused a wave vibration through the cheap folding tables and Horshack’s diet coke went flying in the air and thudded and emptied onto the gray and stained industrial carpeting. Everyone got really upset that I had crossed some line and felt the need to protect Ron from this lunatic actor wielding a long plastic yellow bat and it was clear that I was not going to get the part, and I did not.

A helper cleaned up the soda. Ron just stared at it contemptuously.

Something about a real can of soda really getting spilled showed me off as an out-of-control loon but it was really just an accident.

This was not long after I was directed in a reality TV show by Potsie from Happy Days.

It is sad to watch the sitcom stars of your youth directing questionable productions in the San Fernando Valley. I did have a crush on Potsie, the loveable dork, when I was a kid. As an adult actor on set in a Von’s parking lot in Sherman Oaks, acting like a mugger, all I could focus on between takes were the deep lines in the back of Potsie’s neck and I thought, “This California sun does a number on people. I am going to make sure I stay inside as much as possible.” He did set me up with some agent meetings. He was kind.

Is it easier to be a has-been or a never-was? I don’t know. But that kind of competition sure is something they should do on reality TV. Produce it in Van Nuys. Hand out wiffle ball bats…

I also had a crush on Mrs. Kotter. She was my type. I was a bi-kid.

Rest in Peace Ron Palillo. Sorry I spilled your soft drink. But I have to say, you did kind of overreact after steering me into a froth and then made it all about you. But I do wish you were still alive. Because, you know, death is beat.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Cool and the Sentimental

The Monkey brain: Our big frontal lobe. Cagey and clever and eventually smart enough to land a vehicle on Mars. It is also vain. It is self serving. It does not like others that much. And if so, mostly to play with.

The Cow brain:  Our middle brain, that we share with most mammals, is very emotional, goes on instinct. Is warm, often responds intuitively. Often needs to feel included, depending on the mammal.

The Lizard brain: The brain stem that we share with the lower orders. Mostly responds to immediate stimulus. Fearful, reactive. Alone. Sociopathic.

Enough on that…now my pet peeve:

Why are Westerners so hell bent on being rational and cool in so much of we do, and then when we want to get close, we PRETEND it, often in sentimental tones? It’s rife.
I hate sentiment, not so much because it is aesthetically wobbly, though it is, but because it is based in fear, replacing what could be the real thing. It is monkey/lizard when it would be better off cow. 

Good Ol' Brazil

What I don’t understand is this idea by the Right that a functioning government takes away freedom. What on earth would they want to do with your freedom?

Surely, the government wants to tax you, since you are doing business on their soil, and this is pesky. But this is not a freedom killer.

If I have to choose between corporations making most decisions for me, who only have shareholders’ interest at heart, and a messy government, which actually does have the populace’s interest at heart, because a successful, functioning populace fuels that very same government, well, I’ll take the government.

I once sat at a dinner and this violent prepper-conservative went on and on about how Obama is a socialist who truly hates America and wants to see it destroyed. It was a scary display of loathing and righteous attack. I could only see his thumping as the projection of pure paranoia. Something must have happened to him that was so traumatizing, he had to place it upon a man, a party, something that scares him.

This terror of government, the folks who bring you water, highways, regulate your cheap electricity, try-as-they-might to give you affordable healthcare throughout your life, protect you as best they can from terrorists, wage all sorts of negotiations with hundreds of countries around the globe in your best interest, why would you want to dismantle that? So you can pay less taxes and spend that extra money on pizza pockets and corn syrup based soft drinks? (Two representative examples of what corporations want to give you.)

Friends, there is a cult of greed in this country. And it causes inflation, greater and greater class divisions and uneven distribution of education and health care. This is the formula Brazil used to live by.  But even Brazil has given it up.  Can we not, at least, be as forward thinking as Brazil?

It is easy to acknowledge that lazy people do not do their fair share and this can make one wince at anything collective. But if you really look at the numbers, there really aren’t that many lazy people. My fair shake to the Right Wingers---I am all for gathering up the lazy people and sterilizing them or forcing them into compulsory homosexuality with no possibility of parole. Why continue the generational malaise? But starving them to death by feeding them poisonous corporate foods, killing them with your corporate prisons, your lack of health care (because corporations want to make money off the sick more than they want to help them) and horrendous schools that teach nothing but test taking skills (because corporations only believe in math and knowable processes), wouldn’t it truly be more humane to just snip out their gonads? And the government can pay for it.

A vote for Romney-Ryan is a vote for 1950s Brazil.

The economy still isn’t great. But maybe that’s what happens when you hit a certain density of population and you run out of the best stolen land.