I was just searching for a picture of the Mobile Public Library, for my reply to a comment, but could not find one. Still, while browsing I discovered this current photo of my hometown–and couldn’t resist posting it. Mobile is the second largest city in Alabama. It’s also Alabama’s thriving seaport. And it’s known as the Port City, the Azalea City, and the Mother of the Mystics (because it is where Mardi Gras began). And though I live in Pensacola, Florida–Mobile, Alabama is my true home, and always will be.
Archive for February, 2011
Occasionally, when I see an unusually beautiful woman on TV or in a movie, I Google-up photos of her, to get a better look. Last night, I watched an episode of The Twilight Zone, which featured Suzanne Lloyd. (Through Googling, I learned that she is/was Harold Lloyd’s granddaughter–which is significant because Harold Lloyd (to me) was one of the three funniest silent-film actors ever (the other two being Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton)!) Well, I had to see more of Suzanne Lloyd! And I came across this photo, a still from the episode (Perchance to Dream) itself.
And as I explored further, I discovered a blog dedicated entirely to The Twilight Zone! This fellow blogger, Craig, in his post featuring Suzanne Lloyd, writes about his acquiring a personally- autographed picture of her. In reading this, I was reminded of my own autographed-picture collection–and of a piece I’d written on the subject. Like the poem featured in the previous post, this short memoir was also included in my writers’ group’s monthly newsletter–though much earlier (August, 2009).
I just checked the Internet, and found that Oksana Baiul is still figure-skating and making public appearances. And sixteen years after writing her, I’m still pissed!
In the syndicated TV-listings supplement of the Mobile Press Register there was a column for viewers’ questions. An active-military man, angry about something Faith Daniels had said, requested her studio address. And the columnist provided it! So I wrote her. I didn’t care about politics at that age–I asked this beautiful anchorwoman for an autographed picture. And she sent me one, the autograph personally addressed to me! So began a hobby.
I ordered Christensen’s Ultimate Movie, TV, Rock ‘N’ Roll & Celebrity Address Directory, and got busy writing other beautiful celebrities. Most didn’t reply (probably because I couldn’t afford to include an SASE with each letter)–but many did. I figured out how to tell photocopied autographs from authentic ones. And I kept the authentic ones. I ended up with a whole album of them. Just some examples: Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Babcock, Rene Russo, Judi Dench, Eugenie Grunwald, Eva Marton, Deborah Raffin, Jacqueline Bisset, Kate Bush, Cokie Roberts, Stephanie Zimbalist, and Julianne Moore!
But there was one, Oksana Baiul, who wasn’t in the book. I had to write the International Olympic Committee, for that one. She had recently won the Gold Medal, and I was enraptured with her–so much that I included a one-of-a-kind postcard from a Ukranian pen pal.
Big mistake. Of all the celebrities I wrote, Oksana Baiul was the only one for whom I included a personal gift. She never sent me an autographed picture–never even returned the postcard.
And this is why, sixteen years later, I’m still pissed–not as much at Oksana Baiul as myself! I cannot even recall the name of the Ukranian pen pal (just one of fifty lovely girls worldwide, with whom I corresponded at the time). But I sacrificed the one-of-a-kind postcard she’d sent me, for an autographed picture of some celebrity. As Mark Twain said, “It’s too bad youth is wasted on the young!”
I go through phases with music–and in recent years, I’ve especially been listening to motion-picture soundtracks/filmscores. In most cases (as with the aforementioned Inception) I get the music, after seeing the movie. But sometimes I get it before seeing the film. I haven’t seen The Dark Knight yet. But I purchased the CD of the filmscore at Barnes & Noble, right after the movie was released. It was just sitting on the new-release rack, and I sampled it at one of those headphone stations–and was shocked at its powerful beauty! This was one of the best filmscores I’d ever heard in my life–and it still is! I don’t how many times I’ve listened to it, and how many times I’ll listen to it again! If you haven’t bought the CD already, I highly recommend The Dark Knight: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Music Composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (2008) (UPC 0 9362-49860-0 3)!
After listening to this filmscore, for three years, I finally attempted (and completed) a music-impression poem inspired by it. And like this, the poem was also included in my writers’ group’s monthly newsletter–though much more recently.
As with all my music-impression poems, the words have nothing to do with the music–I just wrote down the images it evoked, as I listened to it. So the text for this piece has nothing to do with with the movie at all (it couldn’t, since I still haven’t seen it). Yet I’d like to share it, for your curiosity, if not enjoyment. (Note: The metal that makes the white man crazy was the term the Sioux used for gold–and this can be found in one of my favorite books of all time, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, as told through John G. Neihardt (Flaming Rainbow) (originally published in 1932–ISBN 0-671-80381-6).)
Filmscore of The Dark Knight: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
A turbine grinds sand into power, making coal obsolete for all but diamond manufacture. Yet the rock-that-made-the-white-woman-crazy now enables light-speed travel. And the next True Sioux wears the metal-that-made-the-white-man-crazy ’round his waist. Planetary perfection gleams from her naked hips, as she spins through her new house. And when the wrecker’s ball busts it a century later, I see her for the first time. Sharks flee sea lions who’ve seen them first. A dog flees me, as I chase it back into its yard. For might becomes fright when confronted. An Argentine rancher rides into the sunrise, and I go to sleep for the day. A stallion grazes gracefully on the milk-that-became-grass. A porchlight splits darkness into columns that smash upon the concrete, blocking the front door. They wave from a carousel, as I approach the separate universe we call Heaven. For ghosts don’t haunt us, we haunt them. Yet they don’t mind. A crystal doorknob finds me, along the street. And I pick it up, and carry it home. Bees emerge from an old drum, to pollinate the passionflowers of age. A herd of helicopters lifts off, its pilots armed to recover da Vinci’s stolen sketches–as the sword-wielding thieves fight to the last woman, arguing where to sell them. My chest tightens, as I read my own fiction from the future. Her pregnant morning is my dream of what I could do to revive our dying evening. Bison trample the ground of those who slaughtered them for fun, in my television-mind I cannot completely escape–having lived in the eye of the motion-picture box since birth. But if I cast it into a dumpster, I’ll simply buy another. Perhaps, however, I can weaken its intrusion by writing before it while its eye is shut. Obviously so. For the bison now trample the air or the water instead. Such is the power of words.
Just a follow-up to this: The weather here has changed dramatically, in the last several days–uncannily so! It’s still been sunny, but temperatures have shot-up into the high 70’s, possibly low 80’s–I have my air conditioner running right now! In fact, yesterday I had to get a flattop, at the lowest setting, just to cool down (I’m hotheaded anyway)–and may have to alter that to a buzz cut, at the lowest setting, (my typical summer style) in the next few days!
And though I love this change, I cannot help but feel somewhat guilty (although I realize it’s an invalid guilt)–since it’s still so cold in the Northeast, and the Midwest is just recovering from blizzard conditions.
I also cannot help but question this sudden change–even here in Northwest Florida, it seems unseasonably warm, for February. Or maybe it isn’t–maybe this is how it always was before last winter’s record-breaking cold.
Is Earth naturally entering a warm phase? I believe so–though, as aforementioned, we cannot know how much (if at all) we humans are aggravating it. Yet whether one believes in this global warming, or not, one cannot help but realize something major is going on in Earth’s atmosphere.
On a lighter note–I joked to my barber yesterday, after getting my lowest-setting flattop, “Now, watch it get cold again!”
Everyone has a different idea of what’s funny–a different sense of humor. Mine can be dark, raunchy, clean, etc.–depending on how clever the source of amusement is.
Regarding books, the two funniest novels I’ve ever read are J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But the funniest book I’ve ever read, overall, is this one: The Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes. This is a compilation of jokes told among members of the Friars Club, “the most prestigious entertainment organization in the world.” It is edited/compiled by H. Aaron Cohl, with an introduction by Alan King. The ISBN of this 1997 publication is: 1-884822-63-D. I recommend this book for any adult–it has “over 2,000 one-liners, straight lines, stories, gags, roasts, ribs, and put-downs,” and the range of humor is amazing–dark, raunchy, clean, etc., but all very clever!
I’ve read this book once–now I’m reading it again, this time marking the funniest jokes (to me), for quick reference. Let me share my favorite, in the first segment (categories under the letter, A):
This young lady walks into a pet store to buy a parrot. The guy behind the counter says that he only has one and that it’s a real “smart-ass” with a vulgar vocabulary and rude temperament.
The woman says, “That’s okay, I know how to handle smart-asses like that, I want the parrot anyhow.”
So the woman gets the bird home, puts it in her room, and starts to get ready for bed. Just as she gets her slacks off the parrot says: “Awk…nice legs, baby!”
Well, the woman isn’t gonna take such abuse so she takes the bird out of the cage and puts it in the freezer for three minutes. While the parrot’s in the freezer, he becomes real sure that this was the wrong thing to say, and is making a large mental note about saying that again.
The next night, again the woman is getting ready for bed. This time the parrot knows not to say anything about her legs, but after she removes her blouse, and then her bra, the parrot just can’t resist any longer. He blurts out, “Awk…great tits, baby, let’s see ya shake um.”
Once again the woman gets upset and she decides that instead of three minutes in the freezer, she is going to keep the parrot in for five minutes. This time the parrot has lots of time to think. Remorse gives way to desperation, and finally to anger.
Finally, the woman opens the freezer door, takes out the near frozen parrot and says, “Well, have you learned your lesson?”
The parrot, still shivering and barely able to speak, says, “Awk, yea, yea, sure, sure, but I have just one question.”
The woman says, “Yes?”
The parrot says, “Awk…what did the turkey do, ask for a blow job?”
An obversation has been made, in the past, that my blog has no photos. One reason is that I’m not a photographer, so I have no photos of my own to display (for exceptional photos, taken by a professional photographer, check out my niece-in-law, Jess’s, website). Another is that I really haven’t figured out how to post photos–until now! The two photos above would have gone with two previous posts (each highlighted below each photo).
And this one (above) is not relevant to my blog (until now, of course)–I’m just showing this woman because she’s too hot to hide! This is/was Kasey Rogers. She was one of the actresses (there were two) who played Larry Tate‘s wife, Louise, on the TV series, Bewitched. As much as Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) turned me on, as a kid, Kasey Rogers turned me on a hell of a lot more!
Rejection by a member of the opposite sex is something about which you can do nothing. But rejection by a publisher (thanks to the Internet) is something about which you can do something: You can publish your rejected submission online! This piece of mine I first submitted to a literary anthology in 2008, by which it was rejected. Last October, I submitted it to a different literary anthology, which also (I found out a few days ago) rejected it. In neither case was I informed as to why it was rejected. But I strongly suspect the reason is the format of the submission itself. In my cover letter to the prose editor of the literary anthology which most recently rejected it, I wrote: “…This is definitely not a conventional submission; everything is as it was exactly written on a typewriter, so misspellings and other errors are intended to be printed as they are. Still, I chose this piece because it captures the moment, in 2007, when I began writing again…” I went on to state that I realized how difficult it would be to publish it exactly as it was, and would certainly understand if it were not accepted. And I do understand: Even the title, untititled, is an unintentional misspelling! Nevertheless, this piece is important to me, and I feel it’s been homeless long enough! So I present it here, reproduced in its entirety (sans my surname, of course):
He sits naked at the typewriter after showering, stopping hair-drops from falling into the keys by wiping them away. This is the first note of fiction in several years. He uses the machine that belonged to his brother. It is all he has, now that the computer has died and the word processors have broken. He notices he has misspelled “untitled,” and softly laughs.
This evening he will go to Bennigan’s to dine and drink with a singles group. The women are older, but he’s used to that–he’s always attracted older women more. He cites an unusual maturity on his part, but doubts this hypothesis, thinking there must be something else, some more Freudian reason.
This writing is awful, he thinks, but taps on. If I don’t resume now, he sighs, when will I resume fiction?
Dinner with the Singletons went well–he met John, Joan, Karen, Bill, and Lucille, among others. But the one glass of Guiness was $6.00. The unemployed 41-year-old resolves not to purchase alcohol at a restaurant again–he could have bought a 6-pack of Guiness at Wal-Mart for the same price. He considers checking his spelling of this beer’s name, buthas no time to call some supermarket about it. Damn, I miss my word processsor! he thinks. Then I could go back and put a space between “but” and “has!” He reminds himself of Chaplin’s character in “City Lights,” a tramp attempting to live like a gentleman. Next Friday the Singletons meet at Crabs–more expensive than Bennigan’s. Forget it, for now, he plans, and decides not to RSVP yet, if at all. The coffee sits in the pot, and he’ll drink it now–while listening to the “Greatest” of Duran Duran. I’m rambling, he realizes, It’s better for people to wonder why I didn’t write than to wonder why I did.
He took Mylanta, and is giving it an hour to work on his stomach. He rented “Saw III” from the Movie Cube at Albertsons, and plans to watch it tonight–tomorrow if it’s too horrible. “Saw II” was not as good as “Saw,” of course, so he expects little from this third installment. But there’s nothing else to watch that he hasn’t already seen. He considers nightmares from this, yet not seriously–his nightmares are almost never prompted by films, and they are rare, anyway. The last nightmare he had was that the electrical cord of his bedside lamp wrapped around his neck, by invisible hands. Instead, most of his dreams are fantastic, beautiful epics in which he can fly like a hawk and swim like a dolphin. Sometimes they involve beautiful women, but he’s ambivalent about these–it hurts to dream of love, then wake up alone. Now he will attempt to solve the first cryptogram for the day, before retiring, and possibly finish “Saw III.” He’s learned that, if you begin a horror film, you must watch it to the end, else it will haunt you more. You must have closure.
When should he replace this sheet? There is no bottom margin, and he’s likely to run off the page.
‘Who was that hot actress who played “Christine” on “Coach?” I’ll remember when I forget. But I woke up with that “Johnny Angel” song of hers, in which she sings “Other fellows call me up for a date. But I just sit and wait, I’d rather concentrate on Johnny Angel…” When I was a kid, I thought she sang “constipate,” and pictured her sitting on the toilet. Now that image annoys me again, as much as the song!
‘And “How I tinkle when he passes by”!’
I still can’t remember her name, but faces last forever. My best writing has always been in first person. And I need to stick with a style, whatever it be. I put away my Manhattan door poster last night. It fell on its own, as they all do, by the hand of humidity. On September 11, the World Trade Center disappeared; by yesterday, October 7, the last piece of double-sided tape had come undone, and the poster lay on the living-room floor.
I went ahead and bought the Kiri Te Kanawa CD at Barnes & Noble, that I had ordered. I am not in the mood for it right now–too pastoral. But I knew I’d want it later, and they would have shipped it back had I not purchased it. When I got home, I rummaged through all of my brother, Mike’s, records–because the CD material was released before he died. Mike was homosexual, so of course he didn’t buy music of women for their charm. Yet I cannot recall how many CD’s I’ve bought for this reason. Sex sells, even for the most sophisticated things. I once wrote, in my journal, that Kiri Te Kanawa was the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father was Samoan, and her mother British, so she’s both Mongoloid and Caucasoid; maybe this is the primary reason for her beauty, maybe not. She’s getting older now, yet still remains lovely–I would be honored just to meet her.
My coffee cup celebrates the 100th anniversary of Century, Florida, which was established in 1901. My great-great-grandpa, Mark–a Civil War veteran–sold the land to the Alger-Sullivan Company, which built a lumber mill there. My great-grandpa, Wade, continued the ____ legacy in Century, and my Grandpa ____ was born and raised there. The Historical District still stands, after Ivan, I hear. There is a ____ Street and a ____ Lane. And the house in which Grandpa Mark lived is a photo spot. Every year, members of my family gather in front of it, as they did in 1906. I have that picture, as well as many taken later. I’m in 1 or 2 of them, towering over everyone else. Not everybody’s house gets to be a landmark.
I resumed smoking in June, after at least 13 years. The violent, agonizing cough is what stopped me. I had my last cigarette September 4. While I smoked, I didn’t drink coffee, because nicotine is enough of a stimulant. Now I’m glad to return to coffee, and to that cup.
For those of you who, like me, are single and have no Valentine, I invite you to check out my singles group, Singletons! I’ve mentioned it before–particularly here. Though I’ve done some maturing since I wrote the highlighted posts, I’m still the youngest member of my Singletons chapter–and the women still insist I’m too young to date! I no longer pursue them (I’ve given up)–I just go to our Friday dinners (at different restaurants) for fellowship with men and women, and I usually have a reasonably enjoyable time. Nevertheless, it would be great to have some other guests my age (44) or younger! And Singletons (at least the Pensacola chapter) is in need of more potential members, anyway–simply because its longtime membership is getting older (i.e. though we’re not vampires, we need new blood)! This is a group of plainspoken, unassuming people who enjoy great food and good fun! The Singletons website is http://www.singletons.us. At the site, click-on the location nearest you, and get the latest info on that chapter (note: you must RSVP for dinners). I wish there were chapters all over the country (and internationally, for that matter), but the ones listed are all that remain. If you reside in the Pensacola area, tell them Scott referred you. If you don’t–tell them Scott referred you (hopefully that chapter won’t have another Scott either)!