Archive for September, 2010

Stop: Cappy-time!

September 30, 2010

Updates might be spotty the next few days: the Cappy is about to be in town in, like, an hour on that aforementioned leave and I will be trying to spend as much time as possible with my brother from another mother before the Army steals him away again.


This is an outtake from a shoot for a poster that came free with an X-Files comic book that the Cappy and I both had in high school. HMS Dorkytimes, ahoy!

For a four-eyed loner who spent most of my childhood in the back of moving vans with headphones and a comic, and my school days trying to stay under the radar, I am ridiculously lucky to have such great, great friends as an adult. The past few weeks have made me more aware of that than ever.

I’ll try to squeeze in or schedule my Daily Batmans and some fun stuff in the next few days, but I plan to be mainly absent. Catch you on the flip!

Daily Batman: Accidentally on purpose

September 30, 2010


via RinEatsZombies on the deviantart.

A lady is one who never shows her underwear unintentionally.

(Lillian Day.)

Around ten, eleven years ago my friendohs Big Ben, Master Beatie, and I used to have Commando Fridays. I think it was Fridays. In case you’re not conversant with the term, “commando” means skipping on skivvies. Obviously, I’d wear jeans or long shorts on these Commando Fridays — this wasn’t something we did from a skank/mimbo (male bimbo) perspective, it was just a little freedom fighting Downtown. I haven’t gone without wearing underwear in a really, really long time. It’s such a secret and rebellious transgression. Huh. Something to put on the to-do list?

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Steve Martin’s tour ideas leaked

September 30, 2010

Girls like a boy who plays music.


via buzzfeed. Click to enlarge.

If you love Steve Martin and you know it, clap your hands. An O.G. Unlikely G from Way Back.

Movie Moment: Bonnie and Clyde

September 30, 2010

Promised a Movie Moment yesterday on Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967), and here it is. The night that I first saw this film is one of those instances that really stands, clear, head and shoulders above others in my mind. I was a sophomore in high school and my father and I had got takeout Chinese food and rented Bonnie and Clyde some weekend when my mother was doing some church lady thing (now I’m a church lady, too … time marches on). As an already solid gold Daddy’s Girl, when my father told me it was “a very important movie,” and that “you will love it,” I was set with anticipation. Also, I really like Chinese food.


I had already read, a few years earlier, a good-sized, detailed book about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker that I’d picked up at a thrift store. Lots of pictures, reprints of Bonnie’s poems, the whole nine. But what I saw was not what I remembered reading. I was surprised at the many deviations in the screenplay from the true accounts of their partnership and crimes that I’d read, yet I found the movie so absorbing and excellent, such a blend of glamour and grit, that I didn’t mind the liberties at all. I was totally taken with it — especially Faye Dunaway and her costumes and styling. Dad warned me to look away at the end, but of course I didn’t, and I gaped at the dancing corpses. This, I knew, was accurate, but to see it on the screen brought the unbelievably vivid violence of it to a shocking level that my imagination had not reached when I only read about their deaths. I thought then, and think now, that it’s one of the best movies ever made.

But not everyone shares my view. Especially initially, some critics outspokenly hated Bonnie and Clyde:

It is a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cutups in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

(“Movie Review: Bonnie and Clyde.” Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times. 14 April 1967.)



Such ridiculous, camp-tinctured travesties of the kind of people these desperados were and of the way people lived in the dusty Southwest back in those barren years might be passed off as candidly commercial movie comedy, nothing more, if the film weren’t reddened with blotches of violence of the most grisly sort.

(Ibid.)

Oh, noes. Violence. That has no place in a movie.


Arthur Penn, the aggressive director, has evidently gone out of his way to splash the comedy holdups with smears of vivid blood as astonished people are machine-gunned. And he has staged the terminal scene of the ambuscading and killing of Barrow and Bonnie by a posse of policemen with as much noise and gore as is in the climax of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

This blending of farce with brutal killings is as pointless as it is lacking in taste, since it makes no valid commentary upon the already travestied truth.

(Ibid.)


“As pointless as it is lacking in taste because it makes no valid commentary on the already travestied truth.” Let’s explore that criticism, shall we?

According to statements made by [posse members] Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn:
“Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns … There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren’t taking any chances.”

(the wiki.)




The lawmen then opened fire, killing Barrow and Parker while shooting a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. Barrow was killed instantly by [an] initial head shot, but Parker had a moment to reflect; Hinton reported hearing her scream as she realized Barrow was dead before the shooting at her began in earnest. The officers emptied the specially ordered automatic rifles, as well as other rifles, shotguns and pistols at the car, and any one of many wounds would have been fatal to either of the fugitives.

(Ibid.)



Officially, the tally in Parish coroner Dr. J. L. Wade’s 1934 report listed seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow’s body and twenty-six on Parker’s, including several headshots on each, and one that had snapped Barrow’s spinal column. So numerous were the bullet holes that undertaker C. F. “Boots” Bailey would have difficulty embalming the bodies because they wouldn’t contain the embalming fluid.

(Ibid.)

So … maybe that outburst of unthinkable retributive violence on the side of the law had a little something to do with the film’s objectionably grisly ending? Just a very, very belated thought for the late Mr. Crowther, who I must add with real respect was an esteemed and important critic in his time — pretty much until this review. All the cool kids stopped listening to him and assumed he was part of the stuffy establishment, and his reputation suffered. I think he really was not ready for this picture, is all.

Contrary to how he comes off in the review owing to our modern hindsight, Bosley Crowther had a very open mind, wrote against HUAC as curtailing art and freethinking, a brave and dangerous thing to do in the 1950s, and praised films with strong social content while disdaining jingoism and oversimplification of political ideas. Mr. Crowther insisted on the relevancy of foreign film to English-speaking audiences and did great things for the careers of some of my favorite overseas directors, including Fellini, Bergman, and Roberto Rossellini. That — to me — pitch-perfect mix of braggadocio and embellishment, expositorily satirical idealism, and vérité in Bonnie and Clyde, together with the innovative cinematic discourse which has been cited as ushering in a new era in Hollywood, just seems to have put him over the edge.




In any case, Bosley Crowther was not the only reviewer who found himself initially less than thrilled by Bonnie and Clyde.

Beatty, playing the lead, does a capable job, within the limits of his familiar, insolent, couldn’t-care-less manner, of making Barrow the amiable varmint he thought himself to be. Barrow fancied himself something of a latterday Robin Hood, robbing only banks that were foreclosing on poor farmers and eventually turning into a kind of folk hero. But Faye Dunaway’s Sunday-social prettiness is at variance with any known information about Bonnie Parker.

(“Cinema: Low-Down Hoedown.” Time. 25 August 1967.)


Variety disagreed with Time‘s slight of Faye Dunaway, saying

Like the film itself, the performances are mostly erratic. Beatty is believable at times, but his characterization lacks any consistency. Miss Dunaway is a knockout as Bonnie Parker, registers with deep sensitivity in the love scenes, and conveys believability to her role.

(“Film: Bonnie and Clyde.” Kaufman, David. Variety. 9 Aug 1967.)


Overall, however, Mr. Kaufman pans the film, saying,

Warren Beatty’s initial effort as a producer incongruously couples comedy with crime … Conceptually, the film leaves much to be desired, because killings and the backdrop of the Depression are scarcely material for a bundle of laughs. … This inconsistency of direction is the most obvious fault of Bonnie and Clyde, which has some good ingredients, although they are not meshed together well. … Arthur Penn’s direction is uneven, at times catching a brooding, arresting quality, but often changing pace at a tempo that is jarring.

(Ibid.)

Fortunately, not everyone agreed, and more and more people began to “get” the picture. By the time Oscar season rolled around, Bonnie and Clyde received an impressive ten Academy Award nominations and secured two wins. Burnett Guffey received the Oscar for Best Cinematography and Estelle Parsons won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Blanche, Clyde’s sister-in-law. The other nominations included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Actor (Beatty), Best Supprting Actor (both Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard), Best Original Story and Screenplay, and Best Costume Design.


1967 was a banner year for films — some of the movies to which Bonnie and Clyde lost the Oscar were Coolhand Luke, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, The Graduate, and In the Heat of the Night. I said goddamn; what a year.

Modern critical reception of Bonnie and Clyde places it in the category of top films in Hollywood history, a landmark picture not only in the business and art of making movies, but also in the career of director Arthur Penn, whose death yesterday prompted this Movie Moment.



Bonnie and Clyde developed the aesthetic that marked Penn’s high-visibility period: slyly accented, harmonica-hootin’, harvest-gold-patchwork Americana; ever-poised violence; and an open invitation to apply the story as a flexible allegory for the issues of the day.

(“Anthology takes a tour of the Bonnie and Clyde director’s America.” Pinkerton, Nick. The Village Voice. 12 Nov 2008.)


Going back to my own reflections at the beginning of this entry, when I saw the film again in college (after which I regularly re-watch it now), I was able to crystallize exactly why the changes in the screenplay from how the real-life story played out so imperturbed me.

The accuracy of the facts being related is not as important as the yarn being spun, and that yarn needs to be by turns a little soft-focus with family, a little jump the crick in a jalopy while banjos play, a little sexy and simultaneously innocent, teeming with tinfoil chicken and mishaps and stolen laughs besides stolen money, in order for the juxtaposition with the sharp reality of the consequences of that story’s heroes’ actions. Not just at the end, but throughout the film there are these jarring standoffs and murders that shoot the child’s balloon of the idea of what’s happening right out of the sky and back in to the reality of what is happening — and its inevitable conclusion.


Besides that most of the changes between the real story and the script make the tale tighter and better solidify characterization, the embellishments and inflated sense of ego in the main characters and in the cinematic discourse with which we are presented are important to the overall type of story being told. The grand Depression-era myth of the infamous lovers, robbers, and murderers Bonnie and Clyde, as Beatty and Penn have conceived and shot it, is more like the story that Clyde Barrow would have told to cellmates in prison. This is Bonnie and Clyde, so far as we can tell, as they saw themselves, something like folk heroes flying by the seat of their pants, living a ruthless dream and getting real scars from it. This version is a compelling and archetypal campfire story, like the epic outlaw poem that Bonnie Parker wrote about them while they were on the road, “The Trail’s End” (later renamed “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by the press), excerpts from which I’d like to use to end this very long — but I think justly so — entry.



They don’t think they’re too smart or desperate,
They know that the law always wins;
They’ve been shot at before,
But they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.



Some day they'll go down together;
They'll bury them side by side;
To few it'll be grief —
To the law a relief —
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.

(“The Trail’s End.” Parker, Bonnie. April 1933.)

R.I.P. again to Arthur Penn, who had the courage to make this fantastic piece of cinema his way and received just due for it within his lifetime. May we all be so brave, visionary, and fortunate.

All screencaps via the wonderful screenmusings collection.

Daily Batman: Laughter and tears, frustration and exhaustion

September 29, 2010


Photographed by Nicolas Silberfaden.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

(Kurt Vonnegut.)

Shared the Batgirl photograph in this series in July and thought it was a goodly time for the Catwoman shot. I had a little bit of a weepy day, just kind of processing recent events which I’ve of course been dodging because it involves difficult introspection about Big Shit vis-a-vis life and death. But my chin’s back up and I look forward to a lot of laughter tomorrow as the Cappy comes in to town on a use-it-or-lose-it leave for a Very Special Episode of “How E. Got Her Groove Back.”

Special thanks again to Gordon Fraser for the heads-up on the article from which the pictures come.

R.I.P., Arthur Penn

September 29, 2010


via movingimagesource.us.

Just got word that seminal director Arthur Penn (The Miracle Worker, Alice’s Restaurant, Little Big Man) has died today. Yesterday was his 88th birthday.

I’m working up a Movie Moment post on his arguably most famous and important film, Bonnie and Clyde (1967), to appear later today or tomorrow. For right now, R.I.P. to an amazing and visionary talent, and condolences to his family and many, many friends and colleagues.

Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day: Young Marlon Brando

September 29, 2010

Been a while since we’ve had a Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day around here and I thought I’d look to remedy that right about now.

Like fellow rebel-imaged hottie James Dean*, Marlon Brando was a complex cat who looked damned fine deviating from the norm.


Credit.**

“Acting is the least mysterious of all crafts. Whenever we want something from somebody or when we want to hide something or pretend, we’re acting. Most people do it all day long.”
(Interview in the New York Times. July 2, 2004.)

Girls like a boy who plays music.

This picture ain’t just whistlin’ dixie. Marlon Brando holds several patents for drumhead tensioning. That links to one, but the patent office issued others between December 2002 and November 2004.


Marlon Brando: Pussy Magnet.

Girls like a boy who reads.

“With women, I’ve got a long bamboo pole with a leather loop on the end. I slip the loop around their necks so they can’t get away or come too close. Like catching snakes.”

Mr. Brando’s legally wedded snakes:

  • Anna Kashfi (1957–1959)
  • Movita Castaneda (1960–1962)
  • Tarita Teriipia (1962–1972)


    “He gave us our freedom. … When Marlon dies, everybody moves up one.”

    (Jack Nicholson, on Brando’s import in the history of actors.)

    Mr. Brando passed away on July 1, 2004 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of respiratory failure from pulminary fibrosis, brought on by numerous causes. R.I.P.

    I promise to revisit Marlon Brando another Hot Man Bein’ Hot etc day because I’ve got loads more pictures.








    *On October 1, my Complete James Dean DVD box set arrives, along with an Audrey set. Anticipaaation.
    **All pictures via fuckyeahmarlonbrando on the tumblr, a beautiful must for Brando fans.

  • Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Replace fear

    September 28, 2010


    City Hall Square, Copenhagen, Denmark. via unicornology on the tumblr.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I very much need to develop this skill. I resolve to work harder on this.

    Movie Millisecond: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

    September 28, 2010

    Because the last entry put me in mind of Russ Meyer, this Movie Millisecond comes from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970).


    via One movie, one day on the tumblr.

    Groovy.

    Girls of Summer: Yvette Vickers, Miss July 1959

    September 28, 2010

    edit 5/3/11: Welcome, Yvette Vickers fans! For those unfamiliar with the site who are just swinging by to take a gander at Ms. Vickers’ Playboy spread, a quick heads-up — clicking on any picture enlarges it. Have fun!


    Photographed by the one and only Russ Meyer.

    I know it isn’t technically seasonally appropriate anymore, but as it’s going to hit 99, Fahrenheit, where I am today, and as I did not get around to all my saved up Girls of Summer, and as I promised to cover Ms. Vickers when discussing Fifty Foot Woman, I figured you wouldn’t mind if I made the summer a little more endless around here.

    Ms. Vickers’ spread appeared after her part as Honey Parker in Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and some other delightful B-flicks, but the Playboy write-up does not report this and focuses instead on her early love of coffeehouses and the bohemian lifestyle. It’s an interesting glimpse at her life outside of stardom, especially given that she was sort of stuck in these roles as a sexy blonde starlet which belied her active intellect and charming, offbeat personal interests. Of course, there was a lot of that going around back then: ask Ms. Monroe and Ms. Tate, right?


    When [Playboy] spied Yvette Vickers at a small table in Hollywood’s Cosmo Alley, that question became an affirmative, exclamatory statement. Yvette — though possibly a mite more attractive than most — is representative of the girls who inhabit the beat coffee houses of Hollywood.

    (“Beat Playmate.” Playboy, July 1959.)


    She’s interested in serious acting, ballet, the poetry of Dylan Thomas, classical music (“Prokofiev drives me out of my skull!”). She has strong opinions and is more than a bit of a rebel, frowning prettily on conformity. She is also reckless and uninhibited enough to race a Jag in the desert for kicks.

    (Ibid.)

    Right on! Big ups to Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf, “The March of the Three Oranges”) and dragging Jags! And of course, mad props to going ungently into the night with Dylan Thomas.


    She confesses to being “somewhat of a nut” about health food: she’s often to be seen stowing away vitamins and minerals at an “organic food restaurant” called The Aware Inn.

    (Ibid.)

    So for 1959, she was well ahead of the health food curve. Don’t you love how “organic food restaurant” is in scare quotes? It’s cute. This write-up just tickles me. I think it is really cool and neat that Yvette Vickers was a beatnik.

    It’s not a total surprise — Ms. Vickers was raised by two jazz musicians, Charlie and Iola Vedder (she went by Maria), with whom Yvette traveled the country and also recorded. They later settled in Los Angeles, where Ms. Vickers attended Catholic high school. (You know we Catholic girls start much too late!) Before catching the acting bug, she took classes at UCLA to become a writer. She then earned her B.A. in Theater Arts.

    Films in which Ms. Vickers appeared include Reform School Girl, Shortcut to Hell, Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, Attack of the Giant Leeches, and Beach Party (she played “Blonde Yoga Girl — recall our previous discussion of the AIP beach flicks?). She also had small roles in Sunset Blvd and Hud, but you know I’m far more in love with the wonderful B-credits.

    Ms. Vickers was also featured in a slew of television parts, with roles on highly popular shows like Mike Hammer, Bat Masterson, the Rough Riders, The Texan, Northwest Passage, and Dragnet. In his book Stephen King: On Writing, Stephen King listed Yvette Vickers as one of his “matinee idols.”

    The photographer of this spread, Russ Meyer, has had a long and (in my book) illustrious career which must really deserve its own entry one of these days. As this is Ms. Vickers’ entry, I will wind down by saying that the lovely and talented singer, model, and actress has continued to work in the arts and keeps on rocking in the free world. You can hear Yvette on the audio commentary track of the 2007 DVD release of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and pick up her CD “Tribute to Charlie and Maria,” a jazz album she dedicated to her parents in the late 90’s — and keep your eyes peeled for her forthcoming autobiography.

    Take-two Tuesday — Daily Batman: A wild beast loosed

    September 28, 2010

    This post originally appeared on May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm.


    “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”

    — Albert Camus

    Movie Millisecond: Rushmore

    September 27, 2010

    “O.R.” they?

    Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998). I ♥ Max Fischer forever.

    Burroughs Month: Fear and the Monkey

    September 27, 2010

    Holy shit, have I ever inadvertently shortchanged the month that was supposed to belong to William S. Burroughs. And myself, because I wanted to know more about him and his work. He is going to have to get another month since September went to pieces. Let’s say November so I can put up his famously controversial Thanksgiving poem. So this’ll be the last Burroughs entry ’til November, when I positively absolutely will not allow myself to forget.


    Author’s Note: This text arranged in my New York loft, which is the converted locker room of an old YMCA. Guests have reported the presence of a ghost boy. So this is a Oui-Ja board poem taken from Dumb Instrument, a book of poems by Denton Welch, and spells and invocations from the Necronomicon, a highly secret magical text released in paperback. There is a pinch of Rimbaud, a dash of St-John Perse, an oblique reference to Toby Tyler with the Circus, and the death of his pet monkey.


    Photographed by Logan White.

    Turgid itch and the perfume of death
    On a whispering south wind
    A smell of abyss and of nothingness
    Dark Angel of the wanderers howls through the loft
    With sick smelling sleep
    Morning dream of a lost monkey
    Born and muffled under old whimsies
    With rose leaves in closed jars


    Photographed by Alexander Bergström.

    Fear and the monkey
    Sour taste of green fruit in the dawn
    The air milky and spiced with the trade winds
    White flesh was showing
    His jeans were so old
    Leg shadows by the sea


    Photographed by Anna Morosini, via feaverish.

    Morning light
    On the sky light of a little shop
    On the odor of cheap wine in the sailors’ quarter
    On the fountain sobbing in the police courtyards
    On the statue of moldy stone
    On the little boy whistling to stray dogs.


    Photographed by Kelsey Reckling, via feaverish.

    Wanderers cling to their fading home
    A lost train whistle wan and muffled
    In the loft night taste of water
    Morning light on milky flesh


    Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

    Turgid itch ghost hand
    Sad as the death of monkeys
    Thy father a falling star
    Crystal bone into thin air
    Night sky
    Dispersal and emptiness.

    — August 1978.

    (William S. Burroughs, “Fear and the Monkey,” Pearl 6 (Odense, Denmark: Fall/Winter 1978). Collected in The Burroughs File, City Lights, 1984. Published by the extraordinary RealityStudio in August 2010. Retrieved 27 Sept 2010.)


    Henry Fuesli, “Nightmare.”

    Okay, first of all, wow.

    Second. “Fear and the Monkey” is done in the cut-up style which Burroughs pioneered with his friend Brion Gysin. A lot of short-entry, quick explanations of cut-up technique will solely list Burroughs and his Dadaist inspirations as the origin of the style, but I think it’s important to mention the painter and musician Mr. Gysin because Mr. Burroughs (I think very honorably) always cites Mr. Gysin as an influence and co-creator of cut-up when asked about his use of the technique in literature. If it is important to him to insistently give co-credit, then it is important to me.


    Burroughs and Gysin.

    Cut-up is an example of aleatoricism, in which art is randomly created from other sources or by means of automatic generation. You know, found sounds, collage from old grocery lists, even the paintings Mr. Burroughs himself liked to do by firing a gun full of paint at the canvas (oh, him and his guns) — all of these fall beneath the aegis of aleatory techniques. I gave aleatoric poetry a try a few years back when I collected the subject lines of the emails in my spam box for about a year. I was not so strict that I kept in nonsense letter combinations nor drug names with 0’s and x’s, etc.; just actual phrases. It was an experiment from which I did not expect much but what emerged was a genuinely interesting collection of wordplay. I wanted badly to break from the lack of form and arrange the lines in a way that would be even more effective (some of the lines juxtaposed with surprising impact) but I felt like within the parameters of the project I’d set down that would be breaking my rules and making the work too deliberate. In any case, it was all lost in the Great Crash of 2009, which I deeply regret. Perhaps I’ll try again soon.


    via stupidandcontagious right here on the wordpress. Girls like a boy who reads.

    Anyway, that’s not cut-up. Sorry for the sidetrack. Cut-up is where you take a complete, “linear” text, and literally cut it up into short phrases, then re-arrange it. In placing and rearranging the original linear narrative into this new context, deeper messages can emerge. Form and content, langue and parole, deconstruction — etc. Pretty rad shit, in my book.

    In the 1950s, painter and writer Brion Gysin more fully developed the cut-up method after accidentally discovering it. He had placed layers of newspapers as a mat to protect a tabletop from being scratched while he cut papers with a razor blade. Upon cutting through the newspapers, Gysin noticed that the sliced layers offered interesting juxtapositions of text and image. He began deliberately cutting newspaper articles into sections, which he randomly rearranged.

    (the wiki)


    Isn’t it just?

    Gysin introduced Burroughs to the technique at the Beat Hotel. The pair later applied the technique to printed media and audio recordings in an effort to decode the material’s implicit content, hypothesizing that such a technique could be used to discover the true meaning of a given text. Burroughs also suggested cut-ups may be effective as a form of divination saying, “When you cut into the present the future leaks out.”

    (Ibid.)

    After cut-up, Burroughs started doing fold-in, but that’s for another day. A day in the lonesome November.


    Photographed by Logan White.

    “When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” I really grok that. I do believe that is my Idea For Today. Beautiful.

    Mean Girls Monday and Daily Batman: OMG, Robin

    September 27, 2010


    I think this is via thatissofetch on the tumblr.

    The Boy “Blunder.” Originally the “My parents are deaaaad” panel.

    Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Depress the door handle in the usual manner

    September 26, 2010


    via oddlyspecific.

    Just go ahead and bum that door handle right out:

  • “Door handle, did you ever stop to think about how we are all going to die and start from the moment we are born?”
  • “Door handle, Rolling Stone reports that Nickelback is back in the studio* and looking to record a new album.”
  • “There are so many doors that open automatically now. I think they work on sensors and advanced technology. Man. How does that make you feel, door handle?”
  • “Door handle, Mozart was only 35 when he died. What have you done with your life so far? Would you say you’re proud of your accomplishments?”
  • Open, sesame!





    *As far as I know, a falsehood. God is gracious.

    Movie Millisecond: À bout de souffle

    September 26, 2010

    À bout de souffle/Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960).


    via consumingourattention on the tumblr.

    Isn’t that just the way of it?

    Daily Batman: Heroes and Villains

    September 26, 2010


    by celphaneflwer on the deviantart.

    Life is not simple, and people can’t be boxed into being either heroes or villains.

    (Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn.)

    Movie Moment: That one little movie and confession — the vanity

    September 25, 2010

    The source of these screencaps is a tiny little-known film from which you’ve likely never seen stills. I will not trouble you with the title, as even the star’s name escapes me.

    So here’s how shallowly I am capable of behaving even after recovery from some serious illness, in case you get the impression from my tomboyishness or my interest in peace studies and nonprofits that I have a diminished capacity for the same cripplingly pathetic vanity that plagues us all — when they gave me the word yesterday that they were going to release me from the hospital later in the day, the very first thing I did is I called in a hair appointment. Like, literally, from my bed at the hospital I called the salon. I hadn’t washed my hair in fifteen days except for this weird dry-chem showercap full of shampoo and setting lotions that one of the nurses gave me twice. I kept brushing my bizarrely slick, pomaded hair in to this hideous half-ass poofy chignon and pinning flowers in it to distract from how filthy it was and keep myself cheerful. Then on top of this they’d told me it would be at least three to four days before I can safely shower. I have some sutures, etc., from various tubes I’d had put in for dialysis and then had jerked out waiting to close up, and getting the wounds wet I’m told is a Very Bad Thing.


    Related anecdote.*

    Also, they didn’t have to do it, but since I was already in there getting all kinds of stuff done anyways, I had them switch my boobs around, too, so I have to heal from that procedure as well. I just needed a change, you know?

    So, yes, the first thing I did on hearing I was going to be sprung was call up my stylist and tell her I desperately needed a wash and blow out. When I was fidgeting, waiting on the paperwork and worrying about whether someone was going to snatch up my freedom on some flimsy whim and stall my discharge, keeping me away from my dear kidlet and my own bed and toilet yet another night, I was secretly mainly fretting over whether I’d be out in time to keep that all-important hair appointment. In the mouth of recovery from death, I was mortified and primarily motivated by my hair. Oh, the vanity.

    Looks really good, though. I keep touching it and stroking it like it is a pet from which I’ve been separated. My god, the vanity. I’m about thirteen years old, I think. I can only laugh at myself.

    On the e. coli thing, I checked in to it, and I guess it’s okay and not uncommon to have a little e. coli. I guess it will go away? The More You Know.





    *Related to this still, my mother and I invented a game during my stay called Saddest Stripper. We tried to top each other with descriptions of sad strippers — e.g., vertical caesarean scars, visible scurvy, leaky dead eye. I thought I won with my vivid description of a foaming syphilitic with a full head and neck-cage collar thing, but Mom swept when she thoughtfully said, “One leg and an IV.” Horrible, horrible joke but for some reason it really worked. Perhaps because of all the time I’d just spent on IV, it was the idea of dragging the single leg and the IV about the stage in a g-string while attempting to bump and grind that slayed us. I hope none of that offends any sad stripper readers; sorry. Also, glancing over the brief list I gave, it looks like the attributes I best remember us naming are those a stripper might share with a pirate. Intriguing.

    Daily Batman: We all act like dicks, sometimes

    September 25, 2010


    via comicallyvintage on the tumblr.

    I’m going to give Batman a little leeway on this one. In his defense, the dude is under a lot of stress. I’ve seen Superman be a way bigger dick, way more often.

    Fight Club Friday: Some of it is my blood, yeah

    September 24, 2010

    Friday night’s all right for fighting.

    I’ve been unable to write lately because I’ve been in the hospital. Several hospitals. My liver and kidneys got sick of my crap and spontaneously agreed to stage a coup and attempt to abdicate; I had no idea they felt so strongly about disliking mashups, but I’ve promised to consider their opinions in the future. Looking back, it seems like such a silly thing to argue over. I think they feel the same. Anyway, I was jammed out to San Francisco for a bit, where the nicest cabal you can possibly imagine of highly intellectual medical overlords who are so smart and powerful that they get to swap people’s body parts around actually met up and voted to toss me a new liver so I could continue to be the body that rocks the party.


    Kristen McMenamy by Francois Nars

    Preparations began for the transplant to ensue, but it all went on unbeknownst to me since I was mainly out like a trout for quite a couple days there and was pretty much wholly at the mercy of a luckily kind system — things went well for me, what with me spending my life being a good citizen E and paying in to this health care system and all. I do not know how it would have gone otherwise, but I thank God, truly, that from the moment I finally checked myself in to the hospital two weeks ago, until today at 1:30 when they released me, I’ve been taken care of with world-class speed, compassion, and totality.


    via b&wtf on the tumblr

    See, I’d just thought I had flu or food poisoning or something for a few days at the beginning so I had been woefully barfing it out and collapsing in exhaustion at home and figuring on waiting until the weekend’s end to go see my regular doc; when I couldn’t stop throwing up and finally threw in the towel and agreed to go to a quasi-emergency room several Sundays ago, they all freaked out when I got there and said my liver was failing, which I knew must be true when I couldn’t really wake up for about three or four days and came around in SF and realized I’d basically almost died. I mean, I know that with Lost having ended, I would have at least died with my curiosity satisfied on that front, but I was kind of hoping to see how the mysteries of the rest of life shook out, watch my kid grow up; you know, sentimental shit like that.

    Right about the time I woke up in the City and started trying to piece shit together, my own organs rethought throwing the doors open to a stranger and began to make a slow, halting comeback over the last 14-15 days. The cabal agreed that this was great news and I would rock the party much better and perhaps longer with my O.G. body parts in tact, as long as they promised to stay put and eat their vegetables this time. They took me off their too-cool-to-quit-school list, but it did remind me to harangue everyone I know about becoming an organ donor. I’ve been one since 2001. (Blows on fingernails.) No big deal. Be a hero, dudes. Anyway, Promoetheus, your liver is safe again — for now. See you after breakfast. Yeah, I just called myself a harpy. The analogy got away from me in a hurry.

    I was bounced back to a hospital in my home town as things improved, which is when the deep boredom set in, but my friends and family were incredible and visited with me for hours every day. Their support in both San Francisco, which for a lot of my stay I was mainly unaware, and back here at home played a huge part in my being able to cheerfully and ably plow through the bizarre obstacle course I’ve been running this past half-month. Also, I’ve never thought hospital food was that bad. I kind of dug it and knew all the servers’ names.

    Every morning, I woke up early, put on mascara and lipstick, and pinned flowers from my bouquets in my hair. I joked with the phlebotomists and the transporters and the nurses, and walked all over the hospital, getting off at floors and halls in which I did not belong and striding around confidently in my gown like I had every reason to be doing what I was. Once, in an elevator, an old man and his wife told me if I was trying to break out, I needed to change clothes. I agreed I was pretty conspicuous. I would wear one gown the proper way and use a second gown as a sort of robe. They gave me non-skid hospital socks but Panda Eraser collects those so I stashed those in my bag to take home and sported my busted-ass flip-flops all over the place. The trick in the hospital, like anywhere, was to act as though you were completely authorized to be doing everything you did at all times.

    Don’t take this to mean I was a rebel. I actually went out of my way to be the best little patient ever. I did everything they told me and more, smiled and thanked everyone by name, and assured nurse after nurse repeatedly that I was a “tough stick” and they were doing a great job trying to lay that IV line. From a glance at my arms, I am afraid I look just like the lifelong chasers I was puzzling over in discussing Mr. Burroughs two weeks ago. Tough stick means I apparently have dodgy veins. To say a lot of people took a stab at me is to put it lightly. My track marks are freaky. I ended up with some IVs in some really weird places because every time they placed one in a usual spot, something would happen and my body would duck and dive out of it and chaos would ensue. My bruises pose a puzzle to anyone who looks at me. See? I’m so not cut out to be a heroin addict.

    All in all, I got pretty in to the swing of things, hospital-routine-wise, and I actually don’t know what I’ll do when I wake up tomorrow at 5 a.m. and there is no one there to weigh me and suck my blood and count my heartbeats. It’s like, it’s cool to send me home and all, but it’s my blood, dudes, remember? That stuff you have positively not been able to get enough of for two weeks now? You’re turning your back on it now, after all that obsession? You loved that shit. Is this how it ends? No takers? I bet people around here aren’t even going to get excited when I pee. No applause, no saving my urine in cups, no measuring it, no nothing — seriously? I’m just not sure how I’ll feel special.

    I guess what I’m saying is, if there are any vampires out there who like watersports and don’t mind a love object who needs a lot of rest, holla.

    I was finally sprung this afternoon. I have a lot of catching up to do, but the experience — as genuinely grueling, unexpected, and unwelcome as it was — certainly gave me a lot to contemplate. I’d been considering shutting things down around here because my original plan had been a yearlong self-audit and that’s been up for a few weeks now, but my incredibly long amounts of time to do nothing but think in a hospital bed made me realize my audit will never end and I have so much more left to think about that I couldn’t possibly quit now.

    I look forward to a continuing future of malarkey, shenanigans, tomfoolery, jacknapery and maybe even a little monkey shines. Inexpressibly glad to be back and please join me!



    addendum: Right before I signed the paperwork to go, one of my many, many doctors was chatting with me and handed me a stack of reports from my many, many blood draws and urine cultures, and casually commented, “Oh, and you have e. coli.” Now, I overlooked this at the time in favor of being outside for more than 30 seconds in a row as soon as possible and not even strapped to a gurney to boot, but it’s beginning to, you might say, “nag” at me. Isn’t e. coli kind of … pretty bad? I don’t pretend to be a medical expert but I seem to remember everything I’ve ever heard about e. coli being pretty bad. I’ll be looking that up now.