Posts Tagged ‘breasts’

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: Nothing left to do

November 5, 2012


“Scream,” by windkittyhana on the deviantart.

Human beings can reach such desperate solitude that they may cross a boundary beyond which words cannot serve, and at such moments there is nothing left for them but to bark.

(Collages. 1964. p. 116.)

I am only alone if I am in the bath or driving. So the shower is where I generally get my barking out. I made an ocean in the pipes while I was pregnant, a terrible time for me because of the earth-destroying fights I would have with her father, and again when I left my husband, horrible silent sobs of shock and regret that would make me vomit. I have written before that I dislike crying or admitting to feeling feelings. But in the last few years, since this journal started, really, I’ve grown better at admitting to crying. I even sometimes let a few public tears go, if the occasion is momentuous enough that I forget myself, and I have oil on hand to keep my robot face from rusting.

All this context is by way of avoiding the content of this quote. I think I’ve sufficiently lambasted myself for one day (see below).

Anaïs Nin November: Always at least two women

November 3, 2012


via.

There were always in me two women at least,
one woman desperate and bewildered,
who felt she was drowning, and another
who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage,


via.

conceal her true emotions because they
were weaknesses, helplessness, despair,
and present to the world only a smile,
an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.

Ouch. That drew blood. I’m not sure I have the guts to keep doing this month. But I’m going to try.

Flashback Friday — Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958

November 2, 2012

The bulk of this post originally appeared on February 5, 2010 at 9:04 am.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

First up is the lovely and talented Cheryl Kubert. In going through my files to prep this entry, I realized I’d already saved several pictures from this shoot here and there for the last year, so I’m pretty pumped to share.

It’s not a cute or even particularly “themed” shoot at all, but Ms. Kubert has an almost accusing serenity that makes what would be standard shots if it were any other model seem more arresting and beyond ordinary than their composition would dictate.

It’s the eye contact, I reckon. She has deep eyes. The downward cast of her chin, the unparted lip, the steady gaze; she seems so solemn. It makes the shoot feel heavy, but in a beautiful, ruminating, kind of sad way. She has this kind of practical but somewhat unhappy sincerity to her expression and posture, an unvarnished and troubled vulnerability. It’s moody.

The written copy that accompanied this pictorial is absolute drivel. I mean, just pure shit. Its more pun-ridden and meaningless even than the b.s. that they printed up for Marlene Callahan, and that is saying something, believe me.

The strangest part about the article is that, besides being empty apple fritters and pretty nonsense, the endless stream of non sequitirs about Scandinavian idioms seemingly have almost nothing to do with the pictures.

The write-up, titled “Playmate on Skis,” describes skiing in great detail and alludes to its history in Scandinavia, which is well and good, but in the pictures Ms. Kubert is mainly not around snow whatsoever; furthermore, the article lays no claim to her being of Scandinavian descent. Just a poor job all around. Banana boats and baloney sauce, Playboy, I’m sorry. Thankfully the pictures are unique, sensitive, and artistic.

Okay, I just spent fifteen minutes hard-searching and I found the above missing link. ONE SHOT of her with skis in addition to the centerfold (which is generally shot separate from the rest of the pictorial spread). Pfft. And if that is not a fake scene outside the window, I’ll eat my hat. Total cheezits (I’m trying to swear less this year and I’ve found that food items make handy and amusing euphemisms).


(The nude Jayne Mansfield spread will come up again in several days, actually. Really interesting story, but we’re focused on Ms. Kubert right now. Keep your shirt on.)

I can only conjecture that Cheryl Kubert was a stage name, because there is pretty much nothing known about her prior to her centerfold appearance or what she did following, other than that she had appeared in a bit part in the film Pal Joey in 1957.

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Kubert died April 25, 1989 of apparent suicide. Because Playboy did not keep data sheets prior to September of 1959, it is not known how old she was at the time of her appearance in the magazine or her death. It makes those deep eyes seem much sadder to know that. R.I.P.





edit: I was sitting here trying to think where I had just seen the name “Kubert” recently, and finally remembered that yesterday’s Daily Batman of Catwoman and Batman throwing plates at each other in the Super Dictionary (Warner, 1978) featured art work by the cartoonist Joe Kubert. Found his official website and have fired off a quick email using his “contact” form, inquiring if he is related to Cheryl Kubert or has heard anything about her before. It’s a longshot, but I’ll let you know what comes of it.

edit 11/2/12: In the original post, the following comment was left

John Hawksley Says:

Hello, I was Cheryl’s husband and we were married at the time of her death(may 28,1988) Cheryl Kubert was her real name. Born in Los Angeles, went to Fairfax High School. We had one child(Rachel). She was 50 at time of her death. She was a glamour lovlie in Ken Murry’s Blackouts and she did extensive modeling, traveled with U. S. O troupe and was a member of SAG and SEG. She had the heart and the looks of an angel. She could sing, play the piano and dance. If you need anymore information you can text me. John

Thank you for the further info, Mr. Hawksley.

edit 11/2/12, 2.0: The late Joe Kubert, comic legend, also corresponded with me briefly in regard to this post. He passed on in August, and I am not sharing because I believe death negates privacy, but merely because I never shared originally. As with Mr. Hawksley’s comment, I meant to go back and edit again, but the time gets away from you.

Dear E,

Thank you for your email and your interest. To my knowledge I am not related to a Cheri [sic] Kubert. She looks like someone I would not have minded knowing! Please continue to read, write, and care about comics. You may also share a link with your readers to The Kubert School.

Regards,
Joe

The Kubert School, based in Dover, NJ offers students a high quality and challenging education in Cartooning and Graphic Art.” They also have correspondence courses.

This has been your Flashback Friday.

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.

Mailbag, response, and question

December 1, 2011

A few days ago, I got the following comment to a post from alert reader R-K-A:

I am leaving this comment here, because I can’t find any other way to contact you.

[Nice stuff that came next in the comment is omitted because in addition to the virtues of beauty and wit, I am super modest, possibly the most extraordinarily modest person that you’ll ever find. When I die, they’ll probably give me a holiday for it. “In loving and eternally awed honor of E, the government presents Modesty Day: A day for being super modest.” I get teary thinking about it. Because of how great I am. Back to the mailbag.]


I was looking for information on Playmate Angela Dorian who was sentenced in September 2011 to nine years in prison for the attempted murder of her husband. Specifically, I was looking for her booking photo or photos from her sentencing, yet I can find nothing anywhere on the web.

And I was surprised as newsworthy as that was, that there was no mention of that here. It is as if Hef has exerted control over the entire interwebs to keep this story on the on the down low. Even The Smoking Gun didn’t have her recent photos. You seem to be able to unearth the most interesting stuff…anything on Angela??

Totally fair questions and observations, especially about how I write interesting things. Very astute.

Truth is, I got burned a while back by Miss November 1988 (she and I’ve agreed that I am not to mention her name any longer) when she found an entry alluding to past court troubles, and owing to the headache and anxiety of that experience I have avoided reporting on Playmate crimes — accused or convicted — as a result. While I do keep up with PB news, I don’t generally report it if it seems salacious or … how shall I put this? Lawsuit-threat-inducing.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Victoria Rathgeb/Victoria Vetri/Angela Dorian’s arrest was a strong blip on my radar when it happened in October of 2010, especially because we are both Italian-American and she’s done fun sci-fi and cult stuff, but I lost track of the story.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

I’m disappointed to hear now of such a hefty penal outcome for someone of her age and moderate notoriety (which can be a genuinely dangerous liability for a woman in jail), especially considering that, though she has a history of a bad temper, she’s never attempted murder before. Nine years seems excessive to me, but I do not have access to all the facts, and, like I said, I’m Italian-American: am I not taking this seriously enough? My first thought was, “Jeez, it’s not like he’s dead. He probably needed scaring. What’d he do?”


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

But, lord, that’s a terrible thing to do, shooting someone with intent to kill, even in the heat of the moment. However, in this case, nine years? She’s 66. She’ll be 75 when she gets out. That’s … I don’t know. Seems disproportionately tough to me.


As Isis in “Assignment: Earth.” Star Trek, TOS (1968).

Detailed intel on Mrs. Rathgeb’s arrest and trial has been sparse, maybe through lack of interest on the press’s part given that, though she seriously winged her husband Bruce — the bullet remains lodged in his chest and his use of his left hand is minimal … and it probably didn’t help that she tried to stuff a plastic baggie down his throat while he was down — she didn’t actually kill him.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

Or the lack of coverage is more likely due to editors’ determination that even stories about Playmates focus on modern celebutards — Hef’s recently former fiancee auctioning the ring, Lindsay Lohan completing her nude shoot before sentencing, etc. All the articles on Mrs. Rathgeb’s sentencing state pretty much the same bare facts, in limited terms, and seem to prefer to use her PMOY cover as the accompanying pic, which I agree is frustrating.


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

Luckily, I’m a good detective. First, here are pictures of her mostly-recovered husband Bruce’s injuries. Click to enlarge. (Raise your hand if you think he looks like a douche.)

And here are pictures from her trial. Click to enlarge. I’m uncertain whether this is her sentencing or her original trial, but looks like she’s a lefty. Who knew?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Victoria/Angela, given that she was not just a PMOY but also appeared on Batman, Star Trek, AND the B movies When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Invasion of the Bee Girls. Perhaps a lawyer will appeal her sentence, or perhaps the sentence is just. It’s difficult to say. That’s all I have for right now, having quickly dug for twenty minutes or so. I may return to this question in the future, but for now I need to close this post so I can learn more about “chunking” on the ukulele for a lesson plan on antonyms. Also, full disclosure: I have to go to the bathroom.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Before I dash away, a quick poll: would you like a Winter Wonderland post on Ms. Dorian, aka, Mrs. Rathgeb? She is a Miss September, technically, but it would be topical. However, it would not go in to details of her trial and sentencing. What do you say?

Finally, in other news, I also got a comment from “Anonymous” on a recent repost of William S. Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer,” which said simply

stupid post – 1 minute of my life i will never get back.

To you, Anonymous, I say in equally succinct reply, “Suck my modest dick.”

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: ‘Tis the season

November 24, 2011

How the (415) does Turkey Day.


via theduty on the tumblr.

Oh, San Francisco. You filthy Thanksgiving miracle. Lord love you.





Portions of this post originally appeared on November 27, 2010.

R.I.P. retread — Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Happy Holidays from Cynthia Myers, Miss December 1968

November 5, 2011

Been buried in academic work, but I needed to throw out a quick, sad retread of Ms. Myers’ “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” post. Beautiful, adventurous Cynthia passed away yesterday of undisclosed causes, per Hef.

R.I.P., Ms. Myers (9/12/50-11/4/11).


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

“Wholly Toledo!” is the name of the article that accompanies the pictorial for the lovely and talented Cynthia Myers, Playboy’s Miss December 1968. Her wildly popular centerfold shot her to stardom among the troops in Vietnam, and a pinup of her is featured in the film Hamburger Hill. She has been a teen model, a television personality, played a lesbian songstress in one of the most famous camp films out there, and become an unwitting space cowgirl in her 60 years on this planet. Buckle up, because here we go!



Cynthia wrote to Playboy a few years ago, informing us that she’d like to be considered as a centerfold beauty. Assistant Picture Editor Marilyn Grabowski answered with a reminder that our Playmates must be of legal age but that Cynthia should keep in touch. She did just that.

Well, kind of.

The shoot was in June of ’68, and Ms. Meyers was born in September of ’50, but Playboy waited until Cynthia was comfortably 18 to publish her pictorial. It had become common practice for the magazine after the scandal with Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

In fact, the most recently featured “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playmate, the fantastic Susan Bernard, was also 17 at her photoshoot and saw her spread published after she turned 18.

Posing underage for Playboy is not the only common ground between Ms. Bernard and Ms. Myers. While Ms. Bernard was featured in Russ Meyers’ cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, today’s special gal starred in his 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

I promise to have a full-out Movie Moment for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls one of these days. For my friend’s recent 31st birthday, I sent him a picture of the cast of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with him tagged as Dolly Read and me as Cynthia Myers. I explained that I originally had me as Dolly and him as Cynthia, but I switched it because it was his birthday.

You know Roger Ebert wrote it? I don’t think he ever gets to criticize a movie again.

Cynthia is pictured reading a five-year-old palmistry pamphlet about what the following year once held for her because she placed a large credulity in psychic phenomenon.

“I’ve known since I was 15 that I’d be a Playmate. It’s almost as if this had been fated to happen.” Cynthia’s penchant for precognition can be traced to her early teens.

(Ibid.)



“A junior high school friend of mine in Toledo,” she says, “was a nut on palmistry, astrology and even reading tea leaves and crystal balls. Like most people, I thought is was just a bunch of baloney. But when I began reading about prophets like Edgar Cayce, I began to realize that there are strange spiritual forces in the world undreamed of even in The Playboy Philosophy.”

(Ibid.)

Ms. Myers, I think you’d be surprised by what the Playboy philosophy can dream of.

In 1994, it was revealed that a picture from Ms. Myers’ centerfold pictorial was among several that crafty NASA jokesters have launched in to space over the years. Ms. Myers, together with Leslie Bianchini, Angela Dorian, and Reagan Wilson, was snuck in to the checklist for the Apollo 12 mission that was placed in astronauts’ suit cuff on their trip to the moon in November of 1969. Ms. Myers specifically took her space journey with astronaut Al Bean.

Don’t forget: Describe the protruberances.

Boobs : Geeks :: Horse : Carriage. I think it’s kind of funny and sweet.

And the gals didn’t just go up in the lunar landing module: they straight moon walked. The astronauts found their pictures while fulfilling their extravehicular (read: outside the module on the lunar surface) mission duties on the moon itself.


Pete Conrad got Miss September 1967, Angela Dorian, (“Seen any interesting hills and valleys?”) and Miss October 1967, Reagan Wilson (“Preferred tether partner”). Al Bean got Miss December 1968, Cynthia Myers (“Don’t forget — Describe the protuberances”), and Miss January 1969, Leslie Bianchini (“Survey — her activity”).

(“Playboy Playmates pranked into Apollo 12 mission checklists.” January 13, 2007. BoingBoing.net.)


Conrad told us in 1994: “I had no idea they were with us. It wasn’t until we actually got out on the lunar surface and were well into our first moon walk that I found them.” Bean recalled: “It was about two and a half hours into the extravehicular activity. I flipped the page over and there she was. I hopped over to where Pete was and showed him mine, and he showed me his.”

(Ibid.)

A large, color version of the shot of Cynthia that was smuggled up to the moon in the Apollo 12.

Lest we forget, the lovely and talented DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967 and, like Cynthia, one of the most popular Playmates in the magazine’s history, also rode shotgun on the Apollo 12 mission. She was in the control console, her picture labelled, “Map of a heavenly body.”

I always feel compelled when talking about the Playmate pictures and NASA to bring up the fact that my sorority’s badge is on the moon. Neil Armstrong put it there for his wife. It’s my sorority’s badge and it is on the moon. The moon that is in space. Sorry, but I get pretty cocky and excited by that. Tell a friend.

This much more recent picture of Ms. Myers just might get her kicked out of the Red Hat Society.

Can our prescient Playmate predict anything about her future? “I’m going to be an actress,” she says simply. “Notice I didn’t say ‘I’d like to be,’ but ‘I’m going to be.’ I don’t know how good I’ll be as an actress, but I’ll be one.”

(“Wholly Toledo!” Playboy. December 1968.)


Judging from her track record as a prophetess — and from her already abundant attributes — we’d like to venture a prediction of our own: Playmatehood should be just the beginning for the remarkable Miss Myers.
(Ibid.)

Just Another Auden October: The terminal point of addiction

October 26, 2011


All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.

(W.H. Auden, “Hell.” A Certain World, 1970).

Daily Batman: Flimsy allusion edition, feat. special guest star Alessandra Torresani’s breasts

October 22, 2011

Pretty flimsy allusion to Catwoman, but … it’s my blog. I mean, I can chuckle sheepishly, but I’m not truly sorry. If you feel it is too tenuous and I’ve pushed the envelope too far, start your own blog with stronger and super-safe-for-work daily connections to Batman and watch me never visit it.

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.

Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de Dienes

October 20, 2011



Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,


Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just,
Exchange their messages:


May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair



Show an affirming flame.

(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)

All photographs by Andre de Dienes.

The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?

No. It refers to the other thing.

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?

Take-two Tuesday: William Blake Month — “The Fly”

October 4, 2011

This entry originally appeared on June 22, 2010 at 1:44pm.

Late post, am I right? I’ve been invovled in some deep bookfoolery which I will explain below. The heading of each of the chapters in a book I read last night/today is followed by a quote, and one such quote was from this poem of Blake’s.


via

Little Fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?


For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;


via

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

(William Blake, “The Fly.”)

So — the lateness in the day. Yes. Sorry, but I am not even firing on four let alone six cyllinders today. See, I went against all my usual instincts and quickly finished my yearly series last night wayyy ahead of time and I refuse to let that happen with my other obligations, so when I dropped the last in the series to the floor, I dug in to my pile and instead of snatching up The Tommyknockers (absolutely not touching it until July 2nd or 3rd or I will not be where I need to be for the 4th and I cannot afford any more Bad Days), I started this book my cousin Mary loaned me called The Descent.

I was initially skeptical and, at points, flirting with grogginess from the overabundance of sleep-inducing substances I pour down my throat every night in an effort to quiet the seven-headed rock dragon of my insomnia which makes the Balrog look like a Pound Puppy, but it was amazing shit, full of caves and sci-fi creatures and anthropology and linguistics and religious themes and Hell and mountaineers and Jesuits and everything else that rings my bell, and before I knew it I was completely sucked in to the throat of it. I powered through the layers of tylenol pm, Miller, and a slug of Ny-Quil I’d taken earlier, ignoring my sandy eyelids because I Couldn’t Stop Reading, and, having finally shook off any need for sleep and finished the last sentence and closed the book thoughtfully at around nine this morning, I can confidently say I’m a believer.


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I slid it under my bed and lay reflecting on what I’d read for a few minutes, because I felt like there had been some unresolved plot points, then I suddenly did this herky jerky twitch and thought, “How many standalone science fiction novels are that long? Plus … it was set in ’99, but the cover was new. No dog-eared pages. Mary would’ve loaned it to me years ago if she hadn’t just recently bought and read it. It’s a new book.” Reprint. Why?


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Totally excited by this chain of thought, I flipped my ass in the air, dove under my bed and grabbed the book back out of my piles and checked the front. HELL YES: among the author’s other books listed by the publisher is one titled The Ascent, which I think it is fair to conjecture can only be a sequel, so now that I’ve finished all the housework and cooking I’d planned previously to do in the hours of the morning I’d spent reading, I’m going to cruise out to the used book store by my house and see about scaring that bitch up for tonight — and see if there are more. Keep you posted. Don’t worry about the insomnia thing: I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.

Daily Batman: To make up for yesteday’s DB

October 1, 2011


“Kei #1” for “Naked Girls With Masks,” photographed by Ben Hopper. 2007.

Follow the above link for more from Mr. Hopper, right here on the wordpress.

Heinlein Month: How to tell

July 21, 2011


A woman who shaves or otherwise depilates her pubic curls has a profound interest in recreational sex.

(Robert A. Heinlein. To Sail Beyond the Sunset, 1987.)

I think grooming is a good idea; I think all the way hardwood floors, which I have sported in the past and found distractingly tough to keep, um, waxed, is inferior in appearance and sensation to a nice throw rug or more. I feel like fully bare is fun now and again but as a regular thing it appears uncomfortably pre-sexual. 1-2-3 DEBATE.

Men aren’t attracted to a girl in glasses: Dioni Tabbers by the notorious EVU edition

July 18, 2011

Dioni Tabbers photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth for a Vogue Italia beauty editorial, July 2010.

Heinlein Month: Bad shape

July 18, 2011

Cloistered SWF seeks poetic SWM, age not important, balcony-climbing skills a must. Send carrier pigeon to Villa Capulet. Your pic gets mine. No bots please.


You’re in bad shape when your emotions force you into acts which you know are foolish.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. 1958.)

The Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful, faithful classic. But — keep this under your hat because I don’t want to be kicked out of the super-cool smart kids’ club — the Baz Luhrmann hamfisted crazy-go-nuts adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is actually my favorite, because I unapologetically love his juxtapositive imagination and didn’t think it defiled the play particularly. A little excess never killed nobody. (Get it? A little excess? Oxymoron? Yes?) I like over the top lushness in a movie — I’m a decaphile and I’m not sorry for that. But I went with the picture of Olivia Hussey to illustrate this idea because she is so exponentially hotter than Claire Danes that Claire Danes just now suddenly got sad, purely from all of us nodding silently, and she doesn’t know why.


Left: Amateur hour. Right: Holy hell.

The mise-en-scene of Luhrmann’s R&J dazzles me, but compared to the chemistry in Zeffirelli’s 1968 version? There is no comparison. Absolutely none. By the way, am I the only one who read that thing where Zeffirelli claims to have totally been hit on by Aristotle Onassis? Still wrapping my mind around that one and weighing its potential truth. (Verdict so far: Depends. Was Onassis trying to get Zeff away from Callas once and for all? Or just bombed on some really good shit?) More on that story here, and don’t skip the comments for the full scope of the debate.

Heinlein Month — Daily Batman: Play nice with kitties

July 17, 2011


The lovely and talented Alessandra Torresani as le Chat.

If you would know a man, observe how he treats a cat.

(Robert A. Heinlein, The Door Into Summer. 1957.)

I guess. I’m not much of a one for cats, and I don’t think that speaks poorly of me. I think the one about how someone treats the waiter is probably a better indicator of personality. I think that’s especially true of women. The kind of woman who sends food back or says, “Hope he doesn’t want a tip,” is going to put you through Some Shit. Depend on it. I don’t know, I’m awful at figuring people out, so don’t listen to me, maybe.

Heinlein Month — Do not let the past be a straitjacket

July 16, 2011



Whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket.

(Robert A. Heinlein. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, 1966.)


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Hey. The pre-scheduled entries caught up with real time, and then I was too lazy and depressed to write more. But I’m fixing that now. Even got a Girl of Summer in the pipeline, because, hey, man, life goes on, and my dead friend liked boobies. (Hath not a short joyful EMT eyes?) So. The rest is personal. Dip out whenever you’re done.


“Jo Champa, Hotel Chealsea.” Helmut Newton, 1988.

Yesterday were the services. Sweet fucking Christ. I have been to some rough funerals in my life. I really have. But I’ve never been through any shit like that. That was some fucking shit. My lord. And now the most recent two entries in my journal have giant cusses right at their start, when I’ve been trying really valiantly this year to cut back (first for my daughter, as an example, and also because vulgarity is so often a refuge of a weak writer attempting cheap authenticity).


Photographed by Dara Scully.

Big Ben and I agreed to attend together. He got to my place an hour earlier than planned and announced he’d left his wallet in Fresno — a town I notoriously hate, like it’s a joke among my friends how much I make fun of it. I had an idea we’d end up making the longish drive to get it back later in the day, but I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure what the was going to hold: what if I wanted to go back to a reception and stay for a long while? What if friends had an impropmtu wake? We didn’t know what to expect. We slid down to C-town and got to the church about twenty minutes before Mass was scheduled to start, thinking that was prudently early enough.


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Besides being friends with one another in our own right, B-dubs and I moved in a lot of similar circles. It’s not a big area when you get right down to it. Even if you only joined The Party in the last 15 to 20 years, you’ve pretty much met everyone your age by now, at least with whom you’d have a dime in common, in one way or another. There wasn’t time enough or, in some cases, inclination (willingness to engage in a lot of catch-up and mutual depression) to say words to everyone I knew, even just as we walked through the parking lot and up to the church. In the very, very long line to sign the guestbook before entering, there was this crowd of EMTs and firefighters in front of us in uniform, and I started tearing up. I’m not an overemotional person, and it caught me off guard.


Art by TheSweetMachine on the tumblr.

It was a harbinger of things to come. A bossy aunt came out not long after and told the crowd that we’d all better grab a seat inside and sign the book later, because it was getting very full in there, and we entered the church. I’d never been to St. Jude’s. It’s not by any means the smallest church in which I’ve ever heard Mass, but it wasn’t large. But it was not at all equipped, I’m proud to say, to handle the number of people at my friend’s funeral. It was literally SRO. People could’ve probably crowded the pews a little more, but a lot of the EMTs had to stay in the back near the doors because they were still on call.


“Losing My Religion” by Mrs. Colbert on the da.

Right away, on entering the church, I was up against old, old friends, serving as B-dubs’ pallbearers. So we started crying. I think, in the back of your mind, or perhaps only in mine and some of my friends’, maybe more macabre than others? or just realistic?, there is the knowledge that you will pass from this earth and enter in to whatever, if anything — I believe and hope a very real something — comes next. Sometimes you discuss it loosely with friends, like your burial/cremation wishes, songs you want involved in your memorial, etc. But you don’t take it terribly seriously. To see our old friends standing at the back of the church with white gloves and red carnation boutonnières, guiding the elderly and close relatives to seats was a profound jolt, following on the heels of the uniformed contingent reminding me of what a life of service my friend left … I basically cried for the next hour. Standing for the casket’s entry made me cry. My strong, broad-shouldered, stalwart old male friends crying as they walked that casket toward the altar made me cry. The readings made me cry. The priest’s homily made me cry. The only thing that didn’t leave me shredded was the Eucharistic prayer, maybe because I’ve had it memorized since time out of mind and it gave me time to catch my breath.


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But then my friends gave their eulogies and it was all over. It was pointed out what a remarkably, not just bullshitting like people do at funerals, but a remarkably live wire and loving spirit he was, how he literally lit up rooms and took care to take care of everyone he met. It grew as a theme that B-dubs lived his whole life, essentially, to protect and make at ease everyone else, and that we could only honor him by trying to keep taking care of each other. That’s how it ended. Everyone in the church was just in pieces. So we exited on that, this horribly emotional note. Like I said, I have been to some rough funerals, but I’ve never heard free, open weeping from so many people at a service. It was some shit, honestly, I’m not describing it well enough. God. Harrowing. Big Ben agreed it was the worst thing he’d been to so far, too. I think the priest put it best when, during his homily, after speaking about Brandon’s faith and dedication to serving others, he simply spread his hands and said, “He was too young.”


Photographed by Logan White.

After stunned chat outside the church, we caravanned to the cemetery for the graveside service. The priest said the very familiar words about dust to dust, and the valley of darkness, etc, that have always held a ritualistic comfort to me. One by one, the pallbearers came forward and placed their gloves and their boutonnières on the casket. But then — then — B-dubs’ cousin began to speak. I have very few friends, and dear they are, as specifically faithful as I am, and I am 1000000% okay with that. I’d say a majority of my friends do not believe in any god nor afterlife, and I’m truly all right with that. If they got questions about how I roll, I answer them, but I really don’t try to suggest religion to them unless I am asked. It’s been the source of debates between me and many of the people who were in attendance at these services, the idea of the co-existence of intellect and faith (hey, college).


via my pandaeraser.

This cousin began by saying that Brandon’s completion of the sacraments of the Catholic faith did not qualify him for salvation, but rather his loving relationship with God did. I was fine with that. Then, he moved forward in praise of a relationship with God and Jesus, with a format very familiar to me, that of his personal testimony about his journey to salvation. Okay. Cool. I’ve heard that lots of times and, though I sort of cringed at first, thinking, “Normally I’d be more receptive, but, come on: is this the right place — like, what has this to do with today?” I was still tentatively on board, willing to see where it lead. I’m sorry and angry still to say that it lead only to more of the same. He spoke for some easily fifteen minutes, asking everyone to read the Word (okay) and pray about it (okay), but also to repeat a personal prayer he wrote, out loud along with him. Afterward, he had us close our eyes and then said, “Raise your hand if you really repeated the prayer.”


Photograph by William Gedney, via the collection at Duke’s online library.

The uncomfortable, growing dissatisfaction I had pretty much burgeoned to full-blown dislike at that moment. At one point he threw down the Bible, but I’m not sure he noticed. He’d complained in his opening statements about not having a podium, so I’m sure that played a role, and I guess the important thing to him was what he was saying, not the source of the quotes he was citing in his very targeted proselytizing once he’d finished with them. I just know I wasn’t the only one to inadvertently have a sharp intake of breath on that one. But there was a general all-over shifting of feet and nervous sighs throughout, to be honest. This was not an issue of religious tolerance: it was an issue of inappropriateness.


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Like, dude, we are graveside. It is not an appropriate setting for a) your story; b) talking about Jesus actually very well, but relating it back to yourself again and again rather than to your cousin; and c) evangelizing to these bereaved friends of your cousin, when with a prayer for discernment it might be easily seen that now is hella not the time. Not to mention, just personally, I felt that if his argument that justification for salvation was by faith alone and not works nor acts, then why did we need to repeat his prayer and raise our hand, or not, over the issue of repeating his prayer, like guilty five-year-olds who were being asked who ate the green crayon? It all sat very, very poorly with me.


Photographed by Giasco Bertoli.

I’m Catholic, dudes. Do you just kind of always expect me to unload at some point about how you all should be, too? And how properly to do so? Because I was offended as all-git-out and I couldn’t believe how blasé some of my most atheist friends were about what to me was this needless and selfish diversion, as if they’d anticipated uncomfortable evangelistic pressure from the beginning. When Big Ben asked me in the car whether I was up to going to the family’s smaller reception after the other gauntlet points of brutal funeral and heart wrenching graveside service we’d passed, I said, “I don’t want to go anywhere that douche is going to be.” He replied immediately, “That was pretty bad. But everyone grieves differently. Would Brandon have been okay with it, since it was his cousin? Probably. He’d want his cousin to have that time.”

I wiped away my tears, started the car, and said emphatically, “Fuck that guy. If that’s how he grieves, he sucks.” We did not go to the reception.

A little under three hours later, we were in Fresno, retrieving Ben’s wallet. That joke which I am famous for is, “No one should go to Fresno. Not on purpose.” But it’s really a diverse town, like any. Anyway, after we got the wallet from his friend, the friend asked for a cigarette because his girlfriend had asked him to quit smoking and he knew we’d have one. As we stood outside, at our friend’s insistence safely behind his apartment building in case his girlfriend came home unexpectedly — yes, we ribbed him without mercy both for his dishonesty and for his paranoia — Ben described the scene at the graveside with the cousin. The friend, who’d said plainly that he did not believe in an afterlife but felt that funerals were important for the living, which I liked, asked questions about the mourners’ reaction to the cousin’s unnecessarily aggressive come-to-Jesus sidebar. I’d stayed silent about that part of the services, still steaming. Ben jerked his thumb at me and said, “She was pissed.”


“Don’t see the sorrow,” photographed by meninalua on the da.

The friend clucked his tongue but then said, “Maybe that’s how he needed to grieve.”

What the what, man? Am I the only one whose sense of outrage is not overshadowed by sorrow? Or am I the only one who is blindly seeking refuge in outrage instead of sorrow? Maybe? And not to mention, I found comfort in aspects of the funeral that were Catholic and so culturally and familially familiar to me, but what of my friends raised outside that tradition? Did not my “stand up, sit down, kneel, repeat after me, say this when I say that” comforts probably confound and alienate those friends who were not accustomed to it? What right have I got to judge which are off-putting and which welcoming religious behaviors? I was sooo mad. You should have seen me. Wet hen-style. Fairly? Not, most likely. Oh, angry, mixed-up me.


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But what I really want to say is good on those friends who gently chastised or tried to guide me back to zen-ness, for being yards more tolerant than I the alleged Christian witness of the bunch was evincing with my bitterness: they displayed a genuinely universal forgiveness for which I think many who recognize the love that bonds all things in this world without necessarily having an origin story for that love are seldom credited. I, on the other hand, wanted literally to point-blank fire a nail gun in to the eyeballs of my dead friend’s cousin’s head. Which is not at all loving. I know.

Now I’ve talked a great deal about one aspect of the day which was really not as big as I’ve made it out to be in this entry, and it’s not some hint of how repressed or larger it looms in my psyche than I knew by my writing it. It’s just that in a day so filled with grief, it was the thing I could describe with a more familiar emotion — outrage. The grief I will take a long time to get to know. The events of the day made me cry right away, as they happened, a big enough pain that I didn’t have time to push it down, it spilled over with me fully aware that I was unhappy. Most feelings don’t get that far in my cognitive process. So I know it’s going to be a journey to get cool with this dreadful shit.