Archive for the ‘Woman Warriors’ Category

Anaïs Nin November: Elect the process of becoming

November 6, 2012


via.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

(Anaïs Nin. D. H. Lawrence : An Unprofessional Study. 1932.)

This is a challenge breathtaking in scope. Wanting to change is so much easier than actually having the courage of the deed. I think it is a thing that happens by degrees, so that you look at yourself one day and realize you are totally different than the person you had been six months or a year or a decade ago. Where we elect the state of stasis and suffer that kind of death is where we mistake sameness for security, security for happiness, happiness for living. I wanted for very long to stay hidden, because I thought there was safety in that.


Ibid.

It is not just about a rut. It’s more like a trench, and the longer you stay in it, the more likely you’ll be hit by a Howitzer if you try darting topside. You have to climb with calculation, sometimes big leaps to get over a tough, deeply rooted, scrabbly stretch, sometimes taking ages of care to navigate your foot to a safe path. I have no idea what waits at the top. It might not be happiness. But how much better to see the whole field and enter the battle than to cower at the bottom of the trench?

To elect to “become” is to elect to risk. Risk is frightening because, whether it pays off in your estimation or disappoints you horribly, it guarantees one certain result: change.

Anaïs Nin November: Inaugural edition feat. harsh self-audits

November 1, 2012


Well, hell and goddamn, a month for the O.G. navel-gazer. It’s difficult not to admire a woman who lived with such spontaneity combined with introspection, a kind of fearless but reflective courage uncharacteristic of the time. Kind of a startling oversight that this Anaïs Nin November hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps she is too good of an example of the merciless self-audit, and I become shamed by my own inability to look unflinching in to the abyss the way she did. Or the sex talk. Does that make me uncomfortable? Not sure. If it does, like, okay, but why all the breasts and vaginas then, if the talky talk is a problem? Where are my lines?

So… Sorry? Spilled milk. And impetus for improvement.

Here we go: first entry in Anaïs Nin November.


Via modfetish on the tumblr.

What I like best about myself is my audacity,
my courage. The ways I have found to be true to
myself without causing too much pain or damage.


Ibid.

What I hate so much is my vanity, my need to shine,
my need of applause and my sentimentality.


Ibid.

I would like to be harder. I cannot make a joke, make fun
of anyone, without feeling regrets.

I can’t relate to any of this because I’m perfect and I adore myself. What is this bitch on about? Excuse me now, I have dust in my eyes and I don’t want to talk about it.

Movie Millisecond: Happy Thanksgiving Thursday from Wednesday

November 24, 2011

Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993).


Wednesday: You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now, my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides; you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d’oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, “Do not trust the Pilgrims … especially Sarah Miller.”

Amanda: Gary, she’s changing the words!

Wednesday: … And for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.

edit 11/24/11: Several months ago I screencapped the hell out of a gorgeous, HD version of AFV with subtitles. Then my desktop hard drive crashed. I’ve been limping along on the strength of my laptop as I attempt to reconstruct the desktop with the help of others, but I hadn’t realized the breadth of my little tragedy until I went to put together my hotly anticipated Wednesday Thanksgiving post and brokenheartely remembered that batch of files hadn’t been transferred on to my external hard drive (which I frequently updated as a backup to both systems in the face of just such an eventuality as this). Sad. I’m sad about this.

Movie Millisecond: This way to the monkeyhouse

October 28, 2011

Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938).

Girls of Summer: Heather Ryan, Miss July 1967

October 21, 2011


Photographed by Bill Figge and Ed de Long.

So, it’s still in the 80’s in my little pocket of the universe— that’s around 30 to you metric friendohs — and I say that calls for one last Girl of Summer. (Don’t call it an Indian Summer; call it Global Warming’s Brief and Only Benefit.)

The lovely and talented Heather Ryan was Playboy‘s Miss July 1967. She is an all-around smashing girl and I’m super-psyched to finally finish the write-up on her. Whatch’all know about unusal pets? Cause this strawberry blonde here’s ’bout to change the game.



Says Heather, I don’t think there’s anything unusual about owning an ocelot, but people always stare when we go walking together.”

(“Call of the Wild.” Playboy, July 1967.)

Not so sure it’s the ocelot they’re double-taking on.

[Heather] currently resides at her family’s Glendale home, on the brink of the canyon: “It’s pretty desolate out there, but we’re lucky that we have no close neighbors, because the ocelot often screams at night.”

(Ibid.)

No couch potatoes looking for a BJ and a Blockbuster night need apply:

“I am,” she says, “fascinated by adventure, and I suppose it pervades most of my tastes. I like actors like Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Steve McQueen, because they usually portray men who are as untamed as my ocelot.”

(Ibid.)



Speed-loving Heather admits to driving her 1966 Mustang faster on occasion than the law prescribes.

(Ibid.)

Attagirl. Speaking of which, the most terrible Mustang experience befell me this week.

I was running a bit late on my way to work. I headed on to the freeway with a newish Mustang ahead of me. The guy crawled down the ramp and inched his way through the merge, then continued to torture me by poking around in the middle lane, keeping me from getting in to the leftmost, fastest lane.

I was totally shocked. You’re in a Mustang, man! You do not drive a Mustang in the middle lane! Somewhere in Germany, the Cappy just felt a pang in his heart and shook his head, and he didn’t know why: now you know, brother. A guy was driving a Mustang in the middle lane at about 60 mph. I know. It was a scandal.



Though she hasn’t had much exposure to the psychedelics-freedom-love movement currently the kick among West Coast youth, Heather recently witnessed a mass “love-in” at Elysian Park.

(Ibid.)


“I’d never seen such a crew — everybody walking about and presenting the most unlikely gifts, like fruits and flowers, to each other.”

(Ibid.)

But she was not much in to the hippie scene, particularly the men —


TURN-OFFS: Men with long hair, and the unnaturalness of women today.

(“Playmate Data Sheet.” Playboy. July 1967.)

Totally agree. I don’t like long hair on men … sorry long-haired friends, it’s just a personal preference. No long hair, no skinny jeans. Spread the word.

As for Ms. Ryan’s dislike of the “unnaturalness” of women, who can argue with that? Besides girdles and foam butts, there was already plastic surgery and ubiquitous hairpieces. Of course, the problem has only gotten worse. I can only imagine what Ms. Ryan thinks of some of today’s Playboy centerfolds.


Number one favorite shot with a bullet.

AMBITIONS: A legal secretary or model, or perhaps I’ll enter a biological institute and become a laboratory assistant and transcriber.

(Ibid.)

Ms. Ryan did not fulfill those ambitions …

…Because she totally exceeded them. Get it, girl! A wildlife biologist, Ms. Ryan is a published author and has lead all-female eco-tours. Taxidermy is her hobby. In the Playboy article, she mentions enjoying hunting quail and rabbit, so it’s kind of a natural progression.

Ms. Ryan also mentions, when asked what she thinks is a great read, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury’s little masterpiece is one of my top favoritest books of all time, too. I just re-read it last weekend, as I like to read it every year around Halloween. Synchronicity! One of these years when I’ve sufficiently expiated my sins of ignorance to Mr. Auden, I will have to have a “Something Wicked” October.

There are many books I read at special times of year, but Something Wicked is one which I never fail to get toe-curling excited about in my anticipation. The descriptions are gorgeous, the writing crackles and terrifies and moves you — I adore all Bradbury, but I put Something Wicked in the most special, highest place.


Click above to scope the original Playboy article scans; there are pictures included in the spread that are not in this post, so give those a spin!

Cover model Venita Wolfe was photographed by Mario Casilli, who shot the following month’s centerfold: the lovely and talented sweetheart DeDe Lind.

Daily Batman: All the news that’s fit to meh!

October 20, 2011

So the big news of the world from the NY Comic-Con is this whole Avengers movie dealie. (Because, you know, The Dark Knight Rises is so passe).


photograph by brainybrimstone on the flickr.

Aw, geez, man. Here’s the thing: I don’t like the Avengers. I haven’t seen a single one of their setup movies. Not even the Iron Man flicks, and that’s in direct violation of a personal blood oath I made to Robert Downey, Jr. in the 1990s. (Chances Are, Heart and Souls, Only You? — totally irrestible.) I can’t help it: I just don’t care about the danged Avengers. On the plus side, I can finally see the viewpoint of all those good but non-dorky friends whose sphincters clench when I start in on Batman.

Daily Batman: the irretrievably lost world inside

October 19, 2011



The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

(Schopenhauer.)

I’ve been mourning the loss of a very close childhood friend. She was very literally the first friend I ever had. Because we moved quite far apart, in the last several years, our contact has been social networking and phone calls on each other’s birthdays (my lucky number, 22, is owing to her birthday of February 22nd). I do have to give her a wry thumbs-up because it was very clever to die of breast cancer in October so that we’d all remember every year to donate and walk and light candles and the like, but I can’t say I have been much of a fan of the actual passing.


In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight….
Not people die but worlds die in them.

(Yevgeny Yevtushenko, People.)

My friend had time to say goodbye to her sons, her husband, her sister and her parents, and to all of the rest of us who loved her. But what I have been struggling with is the loss of that world inside her: a world whose first gasps I was lucky enough to share with her, a world whose confident, feet-found orbit was still only just beginning. I feel so bitter and helpless about it. I didn’t realize how badly I’d been repressing it until I went to her funeral at our old church several hours away (alone, which was a terrible mistake). I didn’t weep or make a spectacle, but I didn’t stop crying. It was like I couldn’t.

Afterward, a very nice, very short woman came up and began gently asking me about my friend, and I explained that we’d known each other since we were very, very young, and had even gone to school together off and on. Turns out the woman was one of my kindergarten teachers. The nice one. Still nice, after all these years. I’ll explain that another day.

The point is — horrible. Bitterness. Anger. Grief. But not so much anger that I wish to assuage it by some sort of strike back; that would not at all comfort me, because I’m not down to facts just yet. I’m not ready to slap on a pink-ribboned tank top and run any marathons to make things better for others, because I don’t give a shit about all that yet. That is for sure.

I feel like a lost and selfish monster, surrounded by all this breast cancer awareness promotional material and not even up to the point of resentment of the disease; ergo, mystified by the idea of embracing that activism to trump my grief. I don’t like to feel that way. And I like to do all kinds of charity malarkey. I really do. I’ve donated this month already in the name of another friend’s mother, who beat it two years ago.

But this new thing — I am just not ready to even think of my friend’s death in terms of what killed her. That seems objective to the point of frightening. But I should strive for it? Right? How do you get to there?

Talk nerdy to me — it’s Wednesday: Mad Math edition

October 19, 2011

It’s important to get hands-on with arithmetic lessons.

So besides going back to school for some masochistic post-grad-work (I couldn’t stay away forever), I’ve also been teaching mathematics to below-level fourth and fifth graders. I really like it. But it’s kept me busy. These are students who dislike math and need new ways to connect with their material: I’m trying to use a lot of concrete examples.

Anyone had a disconnect with math in their youth and recall lessons which resonated more strongly than the ol’ drill and kill? I’ve got ideas of my own but, with these scamps, I can’t have enough.

Fight Club Friday: So old school that she’s bringing back consumption

September 30, 2011


Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999).

I can’t believe that I’m even raising the issue of immunizations in this public venue, because I know it’s like setting a loaded pistol on the table, but I have been feeling very, very strong Ways about a Thing that happened to me recently and this is my journal, and other than posting up my old Playboy paraphernelia, venting is what my journal is here for. I need to share. If it makes you hate me, then, well … we must henceforth agree to disagree on this matter and remain friends in all other ways. Also, you’re an idiot.

Last week, I had a tuberculosis test and clearance performed by my doctor to satisfy the requirements of a new job. (Result: I am not consumptive. Huzzah.) During that same week, I had a training in a nearby city to which several of my new colleagues and I drove together. In the car, I innocently remarked that I was waiting for the results of my TB test but joked that I was probably in the clear since I hadn’t visited Dickensian London lately.

One of my new colleagues — let’s call her Annette, although that is not her name — then snorted, folded her arms, and said, “I haven’t done that. I don’t believe in immunizations. They can’t make us get them.”

I chuckled nervously and said, “Pretty sure you have to do it in order to work with kids in this state. And it’s not an immunization, technically; it’s just a test for tuberculosis.”

“Tom [not her husband’s name] and I haven’t immunized any of the kids,” she said, because why should she respond to the logical thing I had just said? “You know that those shots cause autism, right?”


TB ward. My grandmother’s twin died in one of these.

This was the wrong thing to say to me because I’m close to several children with autism spectrum disorders and their mothers, and I do not personally know a single well-informed parent or guardian of an autistic child who buys this. Yes. Yes, autism is caused. It can’t possibly be due to genetic and neurological factors that we simply don’t yet understand.

I love Jenny McCarthy as much as the next guy (more, probably), but, come on: like I said, this might make you hate me, but there is zero — zero — evidence, as the American Association of Pediatricians, the American Medical Association, and even the American Psychiatric Association have repeatedly reported, that there is a link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines required by public schools in most developed nations — required because they’re intended to protect our children from the communicable diseases that have, in the past, devastated infant and child populations. Let’s be scientific for about half a second, all right?

And this is a test. For tuberculosis. Who objects to that? Realistically, who in the name of easter seals objects to being simply tested for freaking consumption, in order that you do not spread it to little children who will die of it?


X-ray of pediatric tuberculosis in a near-morbid case. For the record. Jesus Christ, Annette.

At this stage of the conversation, I backed out, because when I’m offended, I freak out and shut down. However, another woman in the car said tentatively, “Annette, you know, whooping cough is really bad this year. There’ve been deaths.”

“I know, but I just don’t believe in immunizations.”

The driver and one of our immediate supervisors, who had minutely shook her head through most of the conversation, then said, “The school is actually asking for pertussis shot records during re-enrollment. Didn’t you get the kids their shots?”

“No. If everyone else has them, then it shouldn’t be a problem,” Annette snapped, and rolled her eyes. Because, you know, we’re the tiresome ones.

Wow.

I don’t believe in immunizations.

That’s okay, Annette — smallpox believes in You. What a straight-up cunt.

People landing on this by searching the internet for blogs about links between autism and vaccines in order to start a fight or brag about your opinion, you may officially commence hateration.


via.

… But please know that if we don’t know each other and you start talking a bunch of bullshit about obscure studies that no major, legitimate sources support, and acting like you for-sure know a speck of a jot of a modicum about what causes autism, which people who’ve gone to college for over half your life cannot yet figure out and are dedicated to trying to concretely discover rather than accept mediocre malarkey in order to feel like there is a satisfactory scapegoat to make it all better, I am going to probably make fun of you. Not even kidding. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve grown sick of sugar-coating my opinion of other people’s ignorance. Especially when it might make a child, whether I know him or not, gravely sick. Get ready for a whole lot of “go fuck yourself.”

Heinlein Month: Rodin and the merciless hours

July 22, 2011


“Old Courtesan”/”Celle qui fut la belle heaulmièr”/”She who was once the helmet-maker’s wife”/”Winter”. Auguste Rodin, 1885.

Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be.

But a great artist — a master — and that is what Auguste Rodin was — can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is, and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be, and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body.

He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart, no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger In A Strange Land. 1961.)

Batter uuup!: Joan Jett redux

July 22, 2011

Guess what I’m doing today? Going to see Joan mother-effing Jett, that’s what! For free.

Will we play baseball? A girl can dream.

My daughter wants nothing in the world but Joan Jett’s autograph on her Blackearts album liner. Kidlet conceals tiny black hearts in all her drawings to demonstrate her adoration: she’s a superfan. She goes way beyond knowing the words to “I Love Rock and Roll” or humming “Cherry Bomb.” She can discourse freely on which versions of particular singles she prefers.

She watches youtube footage of old Joan Jett concerts. We walk through Guitar Center so she can show me which guitars she is going to use when she forms her all-kid Joan Jett/Garbage/Runaways/No Doubt/Hole cover band, which she has named the Bad Apples*. She sings “Bad Reputation” in the bathtub.

She’s seven.

I’m hoping Joan is charmed by a child’s request and we get a chance to get that autograph, but hopefully just being in her vicinity will satisfy my little rock star’s heart. And thrill me, too.

This is what Joan Jett wore to her performance in 2008 at Artscape in Baltimore. If this is what she wears today, you guys can draw straws or arm wrestle to sort out who takes over the blog and raises my kid, because I will leave you all behind without a second glance.

*Once when the Go-Gos’ “Head Over Heels” was on the radio, kidlet seemed interested, so I said, “Would the Bad Apples cover this?” She looked at me like I was Grimace from Ronald Macdonaldland and said slowly, “It’s a rock band.”

Heinlein Month: Live each golden moment as if it were eternity

July 19, 2011


Marilyn photographed by Sam Shaw.

Live each golden moment as if it were eternity — without fear, without hope, but with a sybaritic gusto.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger In A Strange Land, 1961.)

Movie Millisecond: Garbo explains

July 17, 2011

Related to the last post, since we’re on the subject of GG —

Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Garbo writes

July 17, 2011


Cecil Beaton photograph of Garbo, 60, in Greece. Late 1965.

Letter from Greta Garbo to Grace Kelly, 1965.


via.

Being “upside-downy”: Garbo gets it.

Movie Millisecond: Inquiring minds

July 11, 2011

Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn in Stage Door (Gregory La Cava, 1937).


GREAT STARS! GREAT STORY! GREAT PICTURE!

(Text of original print advertisement for Stage Door.)

As you can see, caps lock has menaced innocent readers for over seventy-four years. When we will shut down this pervasive affront to eye-dom once and for all? Won’t anyone think of the children? My god, the children?

Does Rob Reiner know about this?

Mean Girls Monday: Vivien Leigh is a priceless, timeless international treasure for ever and always

July 11, 2011

God, her expressions. It’s me and Vivien Leigh to the mortuary, I swar to gar.

Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939).

Not my favorite of my Vivs-ohs’ films, but it’s a movie that’s totally up there on my general list of greatness, because of Viven Leigh and Clark Gable, not those above two or their characters. I think I’ve mentioned before that my love of GWTW comes from a weirder place than the traditional romantic little girl with collector’s plate of the burning of Atlanta standpoint.

As for that scene, the original lines are dangerously close to the Mean Girls script enhancement. Scarlett calls her a “simp,” not a slut — but you know she was thinking it. Besides, Melly is a simp, and Ashley is her cousin. It’s like, Jesus Christ, Scarlett, can you move to Atlanta any faster? Gtfo of Clayton County. Bush league down there.

I was searching my drives for another GWTW screencap and stumbled over the above, which I used in the first Mean Girls Monday ever. Synchronicity! But my lack of a wider range of stills from this movie is a scandal. I got a phat sexy remastered collector’s edition for my dad last Christmas, and as far as I can tell he hasn’t watched it. Six months on makes it fair game, right? I might nick it and screencap it. Maybe give it its own category. Big job, but it’s food for thought.

Question for discussion: Would you move to Atlanta if the boy you liked married his cousin? Explain.

Extra credit: Without looking it up, what was Victor Fleming’s less commercially successful film of 1939 which has come to gain iconic status?

(Stop looking it up. You know this.)

Movie Millisecond: The Birds, “hectic” edition

July 10, 2011

The Birds (Alfred Hitchock, 1963).

Click here to visit Shambala Wildlife Preserve online, established in 1972 and funded by the ROAR foundation, which Tippi started in 1983 when she purchased Shambala. Shambala is an exotic pet and big cat open range preserve, primarily catering to animals which have been abandoned by irresponsible owners, dumped by zoos or bankrupt circuses, or found wandering.


This is not the doll from the following story. It’s just a doll.

You may have previously heard about Shambala. But did you know that Tippi Hedren’s daughter is Melanie Griffith? She was already a primary school student when The Birds was filming. Hitchcock gave her a doll that was a replica of her mother, creepy to begin with — kept in a wooden box. Melanie thought it was a coffin and started crying.

KNOWLEDGE BOMB.

Movie Millisecond: “You shouldn’t smoke”

July 8, 2011

Closer (Mike Nichols, 2004).

Some days quitting smoking is harder than others. It’s cliche, but I’m very nervous about a major examination I’m taking tomorrow and I’ve been finding myself wanting to smoke more than any time in at least three weeks.

Flashback Friday — Advice: Marilyn edition, “The few remaining earthbound stars”

July 8, 2011

This post originally appeared on May 19, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.


I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle.

(Telegram from Marilyn Monroe declining a party invitation from Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. June 13, 1962.)

You got to fight for your right to twinkle. It is difficult and discouraging and at times seems insurmountable, but in the end, you are raised up to the sky to shine forever. Please try to help each other out and let’s none of us lose heart.

Heinlein Month: Intelligence is a misdemeanor

July 5, 2011


Vnixie by PaperMoon, via.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

(Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love.)

What? She looks smart.