Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank You For Your Service...unless..

As I get older I seem to accumulate a hell of a lot of pet peeves that seem to affect or bother no one else other than me. That’s why if there was ever a position that opened up to replace Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, I’d be a good fit; but that’s a previous post. This post is about is thanking you for your service.

Growing up I don’t believe I had ever heard the phrase, “Thank you for your service,” until maybe a few years ago when some of us started to question why again were we fighting people in Iraq. It seemed to be the catch all phrase given by a grateful nation to the less than half of 1 percent of the country’s population that was actually doing the fighting in the Middle East. It seemed it was the right thing to say when you couldn’t really explain why so many people were coming back without a limb, or a functional mind or even their lives.

Many people say that we fight them over there so that we don’t have to fight them over here. But the point of fact is we don’t fight “them” anywhere. We sit at home or drive our SUV’s to the mall or big box store to get our giant flat screen TVs to watch the “game” or the newest disposable computer to watch our porn over the net and then complain about the price of gas or levels of taxation. We are left then only with the ability to offer disingenuous platitudes of, “Thank you for your service,” to the extreme minority that actually do fight.

Why do I call it disingenuous, because of people like Rick Perry?



Governor Perry says that, regardless of whether it affects military effectiveness or not, if you don’t fit into his version of what armed forces personnel should be like, then you are a detriment to the country and its core beliefs. He equates openly gay soldiers with the lack of prayer in schools. It’s sort of like saying that women’s suffrage movement and their right to vote was responsible for the Great Depression. One really has nothing to do with the other but he doesn’t see it that way nor, I believe, do many other people.

So when Perry says, “Thank you for your service,” does he only mean it when he’s referring to straight people, Christian people, white people? I don’t know. My guess is that he doesn’t mean it to any people and that it’s just something to say without having to get into finding out about the person he’s saying to, or figuring out how he can make things better for that person. He says it and uses it like so many of us say it and use it now as a euphemism for convenience.

And that’s my pet peeve.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Champ

I have nothing to say.

Except maybe, if you haven't seen the HBO documentary Thrilla in Manilla then maybe you should and then you'll know why.

"Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" 

                                                  - Howard Cosell

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Occupy Philly

Damn, Angela Davis civil-rights activist and icon of the 70's was at the Occupy Philly protests over the weekend and I wasn't.

Now I know this is 2011 and not 1968, which was probably the watershed year or the benchmark for all protests, but still Angela Davis was there and I didn't know. I was busy being domesticated, comfortable and warm. When did I become so old and sedate?



There would have been a time when just mention that anyone was shouting something against someone and I would have been there. I might not have been on the right side, or any side, but I would have been there witnessing people standing up for what they believed were their needs, their wants, their rights. But those days I guess maybe slowly drifting away as I become more and more settled, middle-class and bougie.

Anyway, I was at the protests in Philadelphia about  4 weeks ago when they first started. I was trying to figure out what they were about and why it was that I could no longer find the nerve or the energy to fight "the man" with them. I remember standing behind one of the placards that the protestors would hold up now and again when someone pulled out his camera and motioned me to lift up my arm, maybe Black Panther style, and show my defiance for authority. I just laughed and walked away. I had my own pictures to take. Plus if I was going to get a beat down by the police like they do in other cities, I'd prefer to get it done in New York where the money from the law-suit would be a hell of a lot more.
Police Commissioner Ramsey looks on at the protestors
  
Occupy Philly marches around City Hall

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We'll see....

I actually think that this is one of those Arabian Night stories that Scheherazade told her husband but I can't find the actual tale so here is the Charlie Wilson version of it.



Muammar Gaddafi
Wait a minute! Young Muammar was just 27 when he became the head of state for the 3rd largest country in Africa with the largest oil reserves on the continent? Now I know my life has been a waste. But let's move onto what this piece is about…

I hate it when people jump to conclusions especially when all the evidence isn’t in yet. I hate it most when that jumping is done by me because it shows my own levels of fallibility and hidden bigotry, but this is one case where I’m not afraid to state my point of view and let the chips fall where they fall mainly because no one would even care what I say. Not even the FBI or Homeland Security, or whoever is responsible for reading this stuff and finding hidden clues and plots would take much notice of me. They’d just call me a stupid bastard, curse that people like me exist and move on to somebody much more interesting. So I’ll say it here, Gaddafi was murdered.

Yes I know most people will say, “So what?” and, “He deserved it,” and maybe a few other things, but that isn’t really my argument. After all that man did say that he was going to go down like a martyr and not be paraded about like a rat in a cage like Mubarak or strung like up like a dog as Saddam was. He was going to save that last bullet for himself and let Allah and Libya be praised. No, what troubles me is that from the video after the man is captured; he’s taken out back unarmed and fairly stable where he takes one to the temple and all his captors can say is, “whoops…not our fault.” Then they prop him up in a meat locker for all to come and gawk at and take pictures with like good ole boy whites in the South did whenever there was a lynch party for a nigger. And these people are now our friends… my friends?

Okay sure you can say the same thing happened to Mussolini in the ‘40s and things turned out alright for Italy and its relationship with the rest of the world but my fear is that Libya is less like Italy and more like Afghanistan but with oil. The stuff that made Gaddafi a corrupt despot to begin with. So take it from me 10 or 15 years from now… well I don’t know. I guess... we’ll see.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Philly Outfest 2011

I had always heard that once you got a bunch of gays or lesbians in large group there will always be some sort of trouble breaking out, but I had never seen it. I thought that was just one of those urban myths that hear about like the existence of Big Foot, or alligators living on the sewers of New York City, or Herman Cain having a chance in hell of becoming President.

You can imagine my surprise when at the Philly Outfest this year not only did I witness gang loads of police rushing into places that I was unable to follow them into, but I saw fights break out between girls on a day that was supposed to celebrating peace and love for all.

The whole purpose of National Coming Out Day is more than an excuse to shake your money maker in public and show those who are lesbian gay bi-sexual trans-gender people, but that the LGBT community is one that consists of people that you know, that you do business with, that are members of your own family. It's a recognition that they are us and that we are you.

October 11th was chosen for NCOD because that was the date of the second demonstration and march in Washington DC in 1986 for lesbian and gay rights which really is a misnomer because those rights are really no different form the rights that many non-gays and lesbians already have.

Anyway, in Philadelphia this day is celebrated as the Philly Outfest, a block party that is always held on the Sunday closest to the 11th in what is known as the Gayborhood. They say that it's the largest event of this kind in the world and that close to 40,000 people attended this year. But you know what people say and what things really are can be two different things.

Here now are some pictures from last Sunday's events.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Audition Piece

Since Andy Rooney has retired from the TV show 60 Minutes I thought I'd give people a chance to see what or who could be a replacement for him and fill in the last 5 minutes of the show.

So the death certificate for Steve Jobs is in and according to many of the news outlets the cause of death was respiratory arrest.

Excuse me, but what the hell is respiratory arrest? Are they saying that the man just stopped breathing so I he died? Even I know when someone stops breathing he or she dies. In fact I would even bet that Dr. Conrad Murray, and I use the title loosely, would know that if someone stopped breathing they are probably dead and that it was time to hide the evidence...quickly.

And another thing, whats up with that woman Margie Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church tweeting that she was going to demonstrate and picket Mr. Job's funeral because he taught, "his neighbors to sin." I mean fine if that is what she really believes but did she really have to tweet it from an iPhone?

I think sometimes I really don't understand what's going on.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The GOP Orlando Debates


Is it too early to start thinking about politics and the next presidential elections? I don't think so, nor do I think do the Republicans since they are already debating each other to find who will be the nominee in a race that finds the President becoming more and more vulnerable to defeat next year.

So yesterday I watched the Orlando GOP debates on Youtube, or at least the Foxnews highlight clips of it. There was one clip where former senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum was responding to a question from a gay soldier serving somewhere in Iraq. I tried to find the original footage from Fox but for some reason it was taken down. I wonder why?



I actually don't care what the answer was or would be from Santorum because it's pretty much predictable, but really, someone in the audience is booing a member of the armed forces who risking is life and limb for his country and no one says anything?

I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, these TEA Party people scare me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The End of Summer

I've never been a lover of Autumn leaves. To me it just means more shit to sweep up and get rid of from your yard, and then watch and curse as the unswept leaves from the neighbor's yard are blown into yours.

Well the Fall hasn't come yet and Summer is still officially here so I don't have to worry about that stuff right now. But it feels like Summer has gone and I...miss it already.

What now?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2001

There are some people alive still who can say what it was they were doing or thinking or how they felt when they heard about President Kennedy being shot or the attack on Pearl Harbor or Roosevelt dying, Franklin that is not Teddy. Even though if you are one of the ones who can remember when Teddy Roosevelt died then God bless you and I hope you have many more years. I however, will be one of those who will always remember 911, although perhaps not with the same intensity that I thought I would have. 

I remember that Tuesday being one of those ordinary days where the sky was clear and blue with small puffy white clouds. The  air was clean and the temperature pleasant. It was the kind of day that you wish you always had but take for granted when you do by just going about your business. I had dropped off the Ex at the bus station in Mount laurel to catch the 7 o’clock to New York. He was working a show in New York and had to get back to do that week’s performances.  I went on to Philadelphia and work and what was to be a missed afternoon dental appointment and perhaps not such an ordinary day.

It was shortly after 9am when my sister called me from my parent’s home in Tampa and told me that one of the towers at the World Trade Center had been struck by a jet plane.” Tragic” I thought and I was sure that a lot of people would have been hurt but I had work to do and why was she calling me? She called me again about 15 minutes later and told me that the second tower had been hit. “Terrorism” I thought to myself. Yeah there’s a stroke of genius, but I didn’t say anything to her other than to thank her and then hang up.

Getting up from my desk, I walked over to windows by my supervisor’s desk to see if she was listening to her radio. From the 15th floor if you look towards Jersey you can see the Federal court buildings as they sit on Independence Mall. If you look south, you can see Philadelphia International Airport about 4 or 5 miles away and see the planes take off and land. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except for my supervisor who was running about with a frazzled look with hands waving in the air asking, “Is this End of Days?”  I hoped it wasn’t since knowing that she was a Christian there would probably be a special place in Hell reserved for her and with my luck I’d be sitting right beside her.
I went back to my desk and there was a voicemail from the Ex. He said that something was going on and that he might need my help. I called his cell phone back, several times, but the lines were busy or down or something. I couldn’t reach him. “How do I fix this?” I thought.
Minutes passed and my sister called me again and said that the one of the towers had collapsed. “You’re insane!” I almost screamed. It was getting to me. Everyone knew that the World Trade Center and many other buildings were built to withstand plane crashes. My God, I knew the World Trade Center; I had worked for Spear Leeds across the street from it. Each tower was almost as wide as a city block. But she said that she had seen it on the TV. How could I really argue with her? She could either believe me or her lying eyes. I really didn’t have anything to stand on.
I got up again and walked over to the windows and stared out. Everything still looked clear and beautiful, but people started to talk about the Pentagon being hit behind me. The pentagon? Don’t they have tanks or anti-aircraft artillery defending that place? My brain was being torn apart. I went back to my desk. There was another voicemail from the Ex. His bus had been turned around prevented from entering Manhattan and he needed me to pick him up. Pick him up from where Hoboken, Mount Laurel or was he coming into Philly? Why couldn’t he call me on my cell? Why couldn’t he leave a message that was worth a damn?  I called him again, but I still couldn’t get through. I called mutual friends of ours in Philly but no one had heard from him. I knew he was safe, just as I knew I was safe and would continue to be so. But I was starting to worry.
My sister called again and said that the second tower had fallen and that was all the news she could give me since she was getting ready to catch her flight to Philly. “I don’t know where you think you’re flying to but it won’t be Philadelphia. The airport has been shut down. ” I said. She said she would call the airlines and see what was up. After the nationwide shutdown of all aviation she was able to get a flight booked on the upcoming Saturday which of course was cancelled due Hurricane Gabrielle landing in Florida. I don’t think she was able to get back north until the following Wednesday.
At about 11:00, 11:30, the directors and the assistant vice-presidents started to run around our floor. The buzz now was that some place in the middle of Pennsylvania that no one had ever heard of before had been attacked and the question was when were they going to strike Philadelphia and which buildings? “What were they going to do?” someone asked, maybe it was me maybe it wasn’t. “Hem,” and then a little bit of, “Haw,” was the answer. Just then someone from security came up and said that the Mayor’s Office had declared that the city was being closed and that the building management had decided to evacuate the all 31 floors of the building. I didn’t have to hear that twice or listen for confirmation from the bosses. I think I was down on the street in less than 3 minutes. “Where to now?” I thought.
I crossed the street turned the block and went to the Greyhound station to see if the Ex was there, but all I saw was a crowded mass of faceless people acting frustrated and scared. He wasn’t there. Maybe he was at the store of a friend of ours over on Sansome Street I thought and started to walk over in that direction. “This is silly…think clearly!” I thought after getting half way there. I turned around walked to the train station through streets that seemed to be eerily void of traffic for that time of day.
At the station no one slid their tickets through the turnstiles as police ushered everyone freely through the gates in an orderly manner. And once I found a seat on the train I noticed a man pointing out from the news paper that it was World Peace Day or something. Funny, in a kind of a French existentialist way.
Suffice it to say, I got back to Jersey and drove to Mount Laurel and picked up the Ex. He had been waiting there about an hour he said. We didn’t hug or kiss or thank God because… that’s just not my way. Like the old Sure commercial says, “Never let them see you sweat,” has always been motto. Instead we just drove to my house watched the news together for a bit and then I went to sleep by myself. I always go to sleep when something troubles me. I suppose my body must assume that when I wake up everything will be alright.
It’s strange how I don’t really remember how I spent my birthday less than 2 weeks ago, but I do remember almost every detail of that day in September 10 years ago, except for the fear and the confusion and the uncertainty that I kept to myself that I thought that I would never lose. However, I did lose them, just like I lost the Ex and the other people in my life and the other things that I came to know.
I guess Forrest's momma was right, “Life is like a box of chocolates...”

*For more accounts of this day and its consequences, please visit The Neon Lounge for a list of bloggers who have dedicated their time and efforts in recounting their stories.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Philly Naked Bike Ride 2011

Waiting for the Philly Naked Bike Ride
This thing is getting bigger and bigger.

I swear, I swear, next year I'm going to ride...But that would mean I would have to buy a bike and that would seem a little silly to pay whatever they cost, just ride one day out of the year and maybe even chicken out at the last minute. That's what the guy in the picture did, well he obviously didn't chicken out but then again he has some balls on him... I don't. That is to say in the emotional, spiritual way I don't have those kind of balls and not the physical way. Although if we had to measure up, I might not have the; but I'm beginning to digress.

The point is, next year watch out Philly the old man is coming through.

Maybe.
Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride 2011





Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No one knows Anything

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.
Ecclesiastes


I don’t really do religion, I have a rather agnostic approach to it. I don’t know who God is and I’ve never met Jesus and from what I’ve been told about Islam, it seems like it makes a lot of sense but unlike other people, I don’t know enough to say yes or no to it or Buddhism or any other organized religion; so I’m ignorant enough to say that I don’t know what God is and what he, she or it wants and I’m arrogant enough to be comfortable in admitting it.

I do believe in a sort of energy, a force of nature, perhaps a God, but it’s not the type of God that most people talk about who sits down and decides if good or evil happens to specific people because of whether they drink or swear excessively or washed their sweet ass on the third Saturday of a leap year. I believe in a force that is responsible for everything that happens in the universe from now until the end of time but isn’t be interested in the minutiae of life. My type of God wouldn’t be interested in when life starts or ends or anything that happens in between because my type of God would know, if it‘s possible to know, that nothing ever dies, it just transforms into something else. My type of God would know things like the same water that Julius Caesar pissed into the Tiber River centuries ago is the same water that someone will be drinking from their water supply a thousand years from now because nothing ever goes away and none of it is important.

So I was surprised last Thursday when I found out that radio evangelist Harold Camping stated that he had predicted that the world was going to end on May 21st 2011 at 6pm (EDT I guess) from passages and dates he had read in the bible. Imagine my further surprise when at 8:30pm on Saturday I realized that either I had missed the Rapture and bad times were ahead for me, or as usual the American press had gotten it’s priorities wrong and reported on something that should have been ignored 10 days before it was even spoken of.

Why bother? No one knows anything!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just one more thing Monsieur...

It's been a while and there's really no good excuse for not writing, so....

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Everybody has heard about Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn by now. You know, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who is an economist, lawyer, politician and member of the French Socialist Party and was accused of sexually assaulting a young hotel staff worker in New York City. Well apparently he's going to be let out on a million dollar cash bail. He will have to submit all his travel documents to the Court and be under house arrest in New York in an apartment that his wife will rent for him at whatever the costs in addition to the $200,000 per month that they will have to pay for security for the home detention dictated by the Court. He will also have to post a further bond of $5 million more just to insure that he doesn't flee the city.

Now my question would be, well apart from the "I wonder if he came from the blow job on the face or in her mouth," but that maybe just my own sordid little issue and I really do believe in being innocent until proven otherwise; but my question would be is, how much money do these bastards make for being socialists?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Where I Live

I have a flickr account. I have the free one and not the pro one which costs whatever it costs because I don’t really take that many pictures that need to be published and even fewer of them that I want to pay for. Recently I added a few pictures that I had taken at home to that account and tried to add them to the map program they have there. When I clicked the approximate location of where I assumed the house to be and the town Snow Hill NJ came up and I thought ,“Where the fuck is Snow Hill?” Well let me tell you.

I live in the Borough of Lawnside in New Jersey, which means that we are less than 4 square miles in size with a population of less than 5000 people. Actually I think we have about 2500 people with a mayor and 6 councilmen and 5 policemen of which 2 are part-timers. We had a police captain but he was put away for conspiracy and auto insurance fraud and I’m not sure if he was ever replaced. But we probably don’t need a police captain since apart from the murder last year at the Wayne Bryant Community Center when a teenager was shot and the petty drug sales that people do at the Exxon gas station; it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood.

Mark Bryant has been the mayor for at least the last 20 years and maybe longer than that. He lives in Cherry Hill but his girlfriend had a house here so I guess that keeps him qualified to be mayor. For a time I thought that Lawnside would have had to go Arab style, revolt and throw him out but this is South Jersey, we don't do that here. The mayor's brother, former state senator Wayne Bryant does have a house here. The house was worth between $7 and $10 million during the good times when everyone else’s homes cost about $150,000. But Wayne hasn’t been around much since his conviction on corruption and fraud charges. He is staying elsewhere for the next few years, benefit of the state.

Peter Mott House
Anyway, Lawnside was incorporated in 1926 making it the first independently self-governing African American community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It was formed by the merger of 2 areas of land bought by abolitionists and freed slaves in the in the early 19th century known as Free Haven and Snow Hill. In fact Peter Mott, an African American farmer from Maryland, built his house in the 1840’s in Snow Hill. It’s about 3 blocks from where I live and was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad to help runaway slaves on their way north and freedom.

So that’s where Snow Hill is. It's not just a forgotten spot on a Google map, it’s where I live.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Of Thee I Sing

Marion Anderson
Speaking of Black history Month, when Luther Vandross died a bunch of us at work looked at the pictures of all those who attended the funeral or memorial service.

Of course all the usual suspects were there, the ones with names that you never forget: Quincy, Michael, Diana et al, at least I guess they were there because in actuality I did forget who did show up except for one big and fat woman who seemed stressed in all the wrong places with strange clothing that no one could recognize. Arnessia, a co-worker asked me who I thought it was. I said, “Next” as in the most obvious person next to die. It was about 5 minutes later when someone said that the unknown lady was Aretha.

Looking back I think I might have been a little callous in my assessments.

Aretha Franklin, who knew then that she would be invited to the Inauguration of the 1st black President of the United States or there would even be a 1st black President of the United States. Who knew then that more people would talk about her hat rather than the historical significance of her singing, “My country tis of thee,” on the steps of the Capitol. The same song that Martin Luther King had quoted from over 40 years earlier further down the Mall on the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, “Sweet land of liberty.” The same song that Marion Anderson had sung, but without the Anderson changes, at the Lincoln Memorial 70 years before after being invited by Mrs. Roosevelt to sing there when she had been refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall because of her race, “of thee I sing.” Who knew that she would become part of a historic moment that had come full circle?

As almost everyone knows, Aretha has been ill recently but I saw a tribute to her a few weekends ago on the Grammy Awards ceremony and I thought she looked good. Although getting sick is one hell of a way to lose weight. How many of those Grammys does she have anyway? I guess when you are recognized as the Queen of Soul all the facts and the figures, which one can find elsewhere, don’t really matter as long as she can express our sadnesses and still bring joy and peace and redemption to her listeners.

I hope things turn out well for her and us. I really do.

Aretha Franklin


Aretha Franklin Tribute (Live at Grammy Awards 2011)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Cover of the US release of the first I, Claudius DVD.
Damn it. I don’t know how I’m going to work this into Black History Month, but here goes. The revolution will not be televised.

Speaking of TV, one of my all time favorite television shows was and maybe always will be is I Claudius. Now you can have your HBO’s Rome or Gladiator or anything else you want, but they don’t really compare to Claudius. This show was true genius.

It's the story of a twitching, stuttering crippled idiot of a boy who kept records of his family where everyone was expected to succeed in life except him. It tells the story of The Divine Augustus and his wife the Lady Livia and how Claudius was able to endure everything from childhood to maturity, from deception and intrigue to an adulteress wife Messalina and become the fourth Roman Emperor.

I think there maybe only 6 or 8 episodes in the entire series and it was done by the BBC in the mid 70’s, which means of course there was no money put into it and sometimes it shows. But being based on a story by Robert Graves written in the 30’s, what it lacks in production values is more than compensated for by good storytelling and acting done by performers who, if they are still alive, carry a few Sirs or Dames in front of their names now.I won’t tell you about who conspired or killed or slept with whom to get the man or woman or position that they wanted or needed, but I will say that for every move portrayed in the show, if there was no back up by the Praetorian Guard or the army, then it was doomed to failure. The military was always in charge and this is what I learned about Mediterranean politics.

It’s kind of like in ’52 when Col. Nasser overthrew the Muhammad Ali dynasty and deposed King Farouk in Egypt. He had the military behind him to back him up and become the second President of country. Anwar Sadat, who although may have been just a junior officer under Nasser, rose to become Vice-President and then President when Nasser died in 1970. When Sadat was assassinated 11 years later he was succeeded by his Vice-President Hosni Mubarak who was a also the former Air Chief Marshall in the Egyptian air force. Now the military is directly in charge of Egypt’s state of affairs since the resignation of Mr. Mubarak and the military will determine the process of democratization for the country during the next few months. The revolution will not be televised.
MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
I’m not talking about the kabuki street theatre that we all have seen being played out in the public squares and the streets of Cairo. I’m not talking about the chants and the slogans shouted by the crowds as they mull about calling this one a crook and that one a despot or a terrorist. I’m not talking about the well place placards written for the benefit of France 24, or Sky News, or CNN where people are rioting one day and the ladies are sweeping the streets the next.

I’m talking about the real movers and shakers behind the palace or barrack walls, the ones with the stars on their epaulets and the braids on their chests. The ones who have been in charge since before Cleopatra and Akhenaten before her will decide will decide what will happen in the future and they won’t show you how it’s to be done because the revolution will not be televised.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Piece of my Childhood Gone

I think that I been able to go to the movies by myself since I was 8 or 9. There was that brief stint during my 20's when I wouldn't be seen dead without someone by my side, but now I'm back to where I was before. If no one will go to see something with me, I'll lose no sweat off of my nuts and just go by myself. Maybe I'm that way because of the movies that I used to see.....Bond, James Bond.

You see back when I was a kid, you had to be a millionaire's son, or damn close to one, to have a video machine, so I saw all my old movies in second run theatres. I would go to the local theatre or not tell my parents and catch a bus out of town to see a double billing of something or other. Some times I would be lucky enough to see some white girl shake her naked and well shaped pink nippled titties on the screen for all of 5 seconds in a movie that I would completely forget the name of after leaving.  Other times I'd be lucky to see a Thunderball and Dr. No special and see what real adventure was about.

It wasn't just seeing the decrepit old man running about on the screen that excited me, although I think that Sean Connery was in his mid-30's when he did those movies, it was the pace of the things, the jokes that I didn't understand, the veneer of being smarter than the other guy and the music, oh yes the music.

The film scores in a Bond movie are often simple but done in such away that punctuates and dramatizes every scene,  making the film and the audience climb into that other realm, the realm of movie magic.Much of that  music was written and orchestrated by John Barry. He suffered a heart attack and died this weekend.

As Sir George Martin said about his work,  "You could always identify John's scores. They were very dramatic. They leant themselves to the film in a way that enhanced everything. He was an extraordinary musician - very, very clever.

"Without John Barry there would be no James Bond theme, because the whole essence of that was the excitement, the drama, the orchestration."

Of course John Barry did the scores for many other movies, Born Free, Out of Africa, Indecent Proposal just to name 3 out of over 100, but it will the sounds that I heard in my childhood and the soundtrack of my dreams that I will remember him for.

If you have a minute, take a listen and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Modern Family


Alright so this is a bit of fluff and I'm a little late to the table, but I’ve noticed over the years that with the more choices on television these days I seem to watch less and less of what’s being shown. Sure there’s the stuff on HBO like True Blood and that Mormon show that I can’t remember the name of right now that I watch and then there’s Boardwalk Empire that I’m trying to warm up to, but other than those there is nothing else that I actually watch. On the networks I’ve seen maybe 20 minutes here and there of Glee and the CSI shows and fallen asleep in front of something else, that is until a few weeks ago when I found on Hulu one of the funniest shows on TV, Modern Family.

Apparently the guy who played the father from Married With Children is married to a much younger woman with a son of her own from somewhere in South America. Al, I call him Al because that was his name in the old show, has two children of his own. His daughter, a well meaning controlling shrew of a woman is married to some sort of wuss who seems to live in his own ill conceived version of "coolness" and fatherly masculinity. They have 3 children of their own, but they’re just there to move the story along.

Al also has a son who is married to another man and they have an adopted Asian girl. Of course if you’re white and gay in America the only children that you will be allowed to adopt will be a minority or a better yet a foreign minority. Let the hilarity begin. And yet in point of fact, it really does.

With this combination of characters of different people with different ages and different outlooks on life and script outlines written by the numbers you would think that the show would have been cancelled before the end of the second commercial. Except of course it wasn’t. What was presented has been show that has been well written, well paced, and reasonably well acted. The scenes are sharp, inventive and thoughtful. They make you satisfied without dumbing down to all the usual sensibilities which many shows do. Everything in this sitcom flows easily for less than thirty minutes making it seem like you just sat down in front of the TV. Well it would seem like I just sat down in front of the TV if I hadn't watched all the shows that I've seen on my laptop.

But all in all, this show is a keeper.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky...

All I wanted to do was 2 things, put up the picture of Jared Lee Loughner's mugshot, the guy from the Arizona shootings, and say that if anyone had seen this guy walking down the street at night looking the way that he looked here, they would have been justified in shooting him on sight. No court in the land would convict the shooter because if this doesn't look like crazy and dangerous, then I don't know what does.

The other thing was ask why do famous killers in the U.S. all go by 3 names like Mark David Chapman, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wayne Gacy, or John Wilkes Booth? I don't get that. In fact I believe that if someone should come up to you and say, "Hey, I'm John Jay Smith," that should give you the right to swing a bat or a two-by-four right across the left temple and save yourself and society.

Instead what I'm going to do is steal an idea from a blog written by Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Mississippi and say yes, Loughner does look like Uncle Festor, but without the charm.

I wonder if Lawyer Freeman in Mississippi can sue someone in New Jersey for stealing his stuff.

I wonder if this post too soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yes, a New Year's Resolution

I have always hated making New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions become failed resolutions and failed resolutions become another excuse for becoming disappointed with myself. So of course I have sworn never to make a New Years’ Resolution again, which means of course it’s time. Life is crazy isn’t it?

One day you’re making $1.50 above minimum wage cleaning somebody’s office, the next day you’ve become the focus of world attention when someone else decides to fly a plane into the building where you work. One day you are considered as scum of the earth and not fit to be in decent society for the rest of your life, the next day the government decides that the costs of incarceration and medical care are a bit much and that perhaps time served and probation might not be such a bad idea after all. I guess all I’m trying to say is that nothing is permanent nothing is written in stone. In fact the only really prominent thing that was ever written in stone was the Ten Commandments and even that was destroyed in a fit of rage by some crazy old Jew, or should I say Israelite?

Last year I didn’t allow myself to really go out in public, I was feeling a little Rubenesque shall we say. It wasn’t that I was covered in rolls of fat, or at least none that I will openly admit to. But there was, there is, a way that my body moves that makes me feel uncomfortable. The rhythm is off. I plod rather than stride. I grasp rather than stretch. My center of balance no longer makes me feel balanced and I am put off by it. It makes me feel old.

A few years ago I remember seeing Danté, a massage therapist on the beach at Fire Island. He was naked and moving about and stretching himself into all sorts of poses like a gazelle in heat, that is if a gazelle in heat is an elegant sight because Danté certainly was. This year I want to do that. I am going to take up yoga and I’m going to learn to stretch and breathe and move in a way that will keep me safe.

I say safe because after 7 or maybe 10 years of being accident free, the week before Christmas I’m walking a block away from my house crossing the street when I feel that old familiar feeling of my legs giving way from under me. But instead of finding my balance and adjusting myself quickly, I suddenly saw both my ankles at level with my head as I left the ground and waited for that inevitable thud to my lower back as my backside hit the street. I can still feel the sweat of embarrassment that I felt as I hoped no one that I knew had seen me and scurried away knowing that if I was better shape I might have been able to have avoided the mishap.

So there it is, it may be a little late so sue me. My first resolution in years is to take up yoga and if you should see me on the beach stretching like a mutha and you enjoy it, then feel free to come over and tap me on the ass and say, “Good job.” I know it will make me happy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Obituaries Needed

I wonder why we only remember certain people when they’re dead. I wonder why we can’t honor them when their career has waned a little and nothing is going on with them but they are still here for us to tell them that we appreciated what they did for us.

By now everybody has heard that Teena Marie is dead. Of course I was saddened that she should die so young with so much left to contribute to the music world and I should say something about how she had an affect over my adolescence but to be honest I was never really a fan of hers. Yes she did "Behind the Groove" which would blow your mind and make you go without underwear so you could shake money maker on the dance floor, but it wasn’t the singing that I liked. It was the bass and the beat and the arrangements that moved me. It was more Rick James than Lady T, more Funk than R&B. But that was still no excuse for me to wait until she died just to say,”Hey.”

Today Gerry Rafferty also died. I sort of wish that I had bought his music and supported his efforts and said that he meant something to me, but I had never heard of him or his group The Stealers. They played "Stuck in the Middle with You," as the background music for one of the sickest and best movie scenes ever shot until today and for that I will always be grateful. If you have the time take click on this link and you’ll see what I mean and maybe we'll say so long and farewell together.

A few months ago I was in a friend’s car and he was playing a copy of Lionel Richie’s latest album. I laughed telling him that Ritchie was so yesterday and out of date and he told me that Lionel Ritchie may not have been as relevant as he used to be but he still was a phenomenal talent that should be recognized and respected. He was right of course.

I remember when the singer was at the top of his game when he was in The Commodores and after. He was king of the world and dancing on the ceiling and proving to everyone. He was doing R&B and Country, writing songs not just for himself but Kenny Rogers and other artists and was breaking all sorts of records and winning all sorts of awards…Well he would have been except for that small detail of Michael Jackson and his “Thriller” album kicking everyone to the curb and leaving nothing but dust and crumbs behind.

But Lionel Ritchie still wrote and still performed and still produced, and even though I may have been a little too young and inexperienced to realize what he was writing about at the time I do now. And even though I will probably still not buy his new music or pay to see him perform, I recognize him as a significant part of my life and salute him before the obits are needed by just saying, ”Hey,” and, "Good job."

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