Let mortals beware of words
For with words we lie,
Can speak peace
When we mean war.
But song is true.
Let music for peace
Be the paradigm,
For peace means change
At the right time.
(W.H. Auden, “Hymn to the United Nations.” 1971.)
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.”
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.”
Speed-loving Heather admits to driving her 1966 Mustang faster on occasion than the law prescribes.
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.
But she was not much in to the hippie scene, particularly the men —
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.
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.
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969 and featured a snack bar called “The Warm Puppy”.
Ice-skating is the only sport other than baseball at which I’ve ever instantly demonstrated amazing prowess on the first try. For this reason, I try to talk it up big to everyone I know, but, in a region of California that seldom ever sees temperatures dip below 25 degrees, fahrenheit, it’s an uphill battle.
Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
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.
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.
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?
Thing One: I don’t understand the uproarious, showy displays of grief such like, “Oh, the surprise of this unexpected thing, how stunning,” going around over Steve Jobs’ unfortunately succumbing to his illiness. Like, you knew he was dying, people, first of all. How is this shocking? Totally sad for his loved ones and his company, yes. Shocking, no. Good lord, no.
But what galls me most is what might piss you off really badly when I say it. I think this messianic technological heroism they’re touting is nearly imaginary. Visionary for sure but not exactly Edison on the invention side, here, dudes — he had a whole lot of help. The giant-ness of the attention is deserved, but the track is wrong for me. I’ll explain.
Besides being a notorious, egomaniacal hellbeast of an overseer, Jobs did not “invent” iPods and the like. He was just the admittedly sadly ailing, ever-thinning public face of those products. He was good at making geniuses work for him, and signing off on ultimate marketing decisions that were really the culmination of the work of thousands of other people, which he had a big hand in directing but not generating the content of.
He was a trench-educated, old school techie and a hell of a businessman — but he does not deserve all this solo credit he’s getting left and right for products made by the entire staff of the huge company he ran. Okay, so I’d like to see less credit for inventions in pieces on his passing, and more credit for innovations.
Thing Two: For me, his real magic power, good or bad, the truly remarkable about him for which his merit should be forever remembered is again not technical invention, but business innovation — when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he did not just turn profits.
He ate the competition for breakfast and shit them back out as money.
He took Apple away from its image of a quirky, hip-cognescenti alternative to the big, straightforward Goliaths of PC corporations, and put the company on its present path, whereby its highly-publicized and ultra-high-conceptual-design products are virutally unupdatable, and this is accepted completely by consumers. Built-in obscelence has become not only expected but anticipated.
That is the kind of skilled marketing genius that makes IBM and HP look like retired guys with their belts up under their bitch tits taking a big ol’ handicap at the golf course.
People camping out in lines for the slightly newer version of a product they already own, knowing full-well that within a few years there will be another slightly newer version of that thing? And then arguing with me about why it was super-necessary and how I just don’t understand (I don’t, so they have me there)? That is Jobs’ legacy.
This path was so successful that every company now follows it in its production of handheld devices and, increasingly, notebook PCs. Since notebook PCs are likely to cause the phase-out of desktops, moving understandably and beneficially to cloud computing but cleverly plotting the ever-evolving releases of mobile devices with which to access the cloud, Jobs’ model is the plain old Future. Even the most diehard home-cobblers will eventually have to cave in order to meet the technical demands of what society will expect them to be able to do if they want to work and interact with others efficently. Get mad, but Jobs started it. Yes, he did.
Its users may still include ponytailed bluegrass fans and flannel-sporting skinny-jeaned twats with ironic facial hair, but Apple is categorically not the scruffy gang of misfit scamps, all earnest and adorable, trying to beat the rich kids across the lake so Old Man Withers can keep Camp Wannahumpme anymore. They are the rich kids across the lake.*
You might be thinking, Jeezy creezy, E. What’s wrong with making money? You’re right: nothing. Good for the guy making it. For me, the guy spending the money? I say, Dang, man. Fuck those dudes making money. They suck.
It’s a petulant, childish attitude, yeah: what do you expect from a woman who writes chiefly about comics and boobs? Do I strike you like I got a plan to make money? (I don’t.) Of course my criticism is in large part sour grapes masquerading as mild Marxism: all Marxism is. Except Engels’. He was in it for the pussy.
I am sorry for Steve Jobs’ family, very much, and, marginally, for his company. Grieve the man. Yes. The loss of any human life is genuinely sad, especially the loss of complicated, particularly brilliant stars like Steve Jobs.
But the rest? About what a major and important place of honor Apple holds in our culture, and what glorious tools of divine perfection Jobs delivered to our hands by the grace of God or whatever, like the Lady of the Lake giving Arthur frigging Excalibur?
Not so much for me. I flatly disagree with the openly money-seeking strategies of the mobile device business model he has wrought. I know Steve Jobs was famous for saying negative people upset him, but, if that’s so, then he and Carl Sagan will just have to sit in the turtleneck department in Heaven and shake their heads over my lack of getting it. (Carl will only be playing along to humor the new guy — he loves me.)
I admire the shit out of his business sense, even as I dislike it, and I feel bad for his family. But I do not hold him up high for putting a new iPhone in your hands every thirty minutes. Not sorry for saying it. Go jerk off in back of the Birkenstock outlet and boo-hoo about it. I’ll be out here, reflecting on the loss of a major figure in how world business works.
*Open contest for the name of the rich kids’ camp in the comments, if you’ve got one.
Yesterday at the grocery, I spotted a collection of the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial adaptations. I obviously had no choice but to pick it up — my hands were clearly tied — and I’ve found the content … illuminating?
The Dynamic Duo are first seen rounding up some miscreants and leaving them cuffed to a lightpole with a note pinned to one’s jacket for the police. The original script called for the Caped Crusaders to be their usual vigilante selves, but the censors deemed that a little too risky?
And, I guess with all the purportedly people-based government shifts going on in the world, they didn’t want the popcorn-scarfing masses to get ideas? — so Steve Jobs converted Batman and Robin in to federal agents. (May or may not be accurate.)
Isn’t it bromantic? Lewis Wilson as a jaunty, kohl-browed Batman, with Douglas Croft as the Boy Wonder, congratulate themselves on a good night of taking the law in to their own hands without right or invitation after hopping in a Batmobile chauffered by good old Alfred Pennyworth, whose previous comic presence had been a facial hairless, rotund figure — colloquial wisdom credits this adaptation’s portrayal of Alfred as thin, stately, and mustachioed with influencing his subsequent appearance in the comics.
Accordingly, so far as I’ve watched, this opening scene introducing their crime-fighting prowess is the only bit of vigilantism Batman and Robin display in the serial. Everything else is under the aegis of fighting Communist and Axis spy infiltration.
The note pinned to the man up there on our right’s jacket is somewhat reminscent of the “deliver to Lt. Gordon” note from The Dark Knight. It also indicates that the key to the cuffs may be found in the apprehended man’s pocket. Ostensibly, the cuffs will be taken off and replaced with official ones, but as they do not know the secret identity of Batman and Robin, are the originals now a gift to the Gotham City PD? I assume so. Not to worry: Batman and Robin have lots more pairs of handcuffs. You know, for … crime-fighting.
This first segment in the serial is titled “The Electrical Brain” and is a total yawn fest, since all that it features is electric zombies, atom-smashing handheld ray guns, a sinister villain, and more astounding racism than you can shake a KKK hood at. Oh, wait — it couldn’t be less boring. If you’re a fan of camp and jaw-dropping behavioral archaisms, like your happy hostess here, run, don’t walk out and find this collection.
Get all of your latently guilty chagrin primed, though. I’m not made out of moron: I understand the film is a product of its time — it’s part of why I find vintage, obscure cinema from this era interesting. But, sweet mother of Edward Said, the orientalism and propaganda are strong with this one.
The villain of the piece, Dr. Tito Daka, is a self-proclaimed servant of Hirohito. Daka is a Japanese enemy of capitalism who I’m amazed to say constitutes only a fraction of the deeply-woven Asian-targeted xenophobic mise-en-scene of the picture.
U.S. readers, if you’ve nursed some fantasy that the internment of our Japanese fellow citizens during the second World War was not widely known by most Americans and did not make a big dent in pop culture, this little slice of 1940’s life will prove you all kinds of unfortunately wrong.
Narrator: This was part of a foreign land transplanted bodily to America and known as Little Tokyo. Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs, it has become a ghost street where only one buusiness survives, eking out a precarious existence on the dimes of curiosity-seekers.
Wise government. Rounded up. Shifty-eyed. I honestly triple-took. “Did that just happen??”
It seems boldly racist to me, even for the time. So like I said, this serial has so far shown me that I don’t know crap about what was “okay” on the day-to-day in my country during this time.
Daka introduces himself to a new recruit to his organization, the partner of a recently sprung white collar criminal of sorts (his niece is dating Bruce Wayne, which is how the plotlines tie together), with the following charming monologue.
I am Dr. Daka, humble servant of His Majesty Hirohito, Heavenly Ruler and Prince of the Rising Sun. By divine destiny, my country shall destroy the democratic forces of evil in the United States to make way for the New Order, an Order that will bring about the liberation of the enslaved people of America.
Daka is portrayed by totally-not-Asian actor J. Carrol Naish, a future Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Irish by descent, Naish actually portrayed nearly nothing but non-traditional races in his performances, from Japanese to Puerto Rican to Middle Eastern.
Congruent to his alleged continent of origin in this serial and his heavy “oriental” makeup, Naish would later bring a whole new ball of uniquely challenging race-based character traits to the role of famous detective Charlie Chan on the small screen, in television’s The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957).
The teaser for the next installment. There was no Bat Cave in the comics until after the release of this serial. But so far the Bat Cave in the serial is a stone wall behind a regular desk, with flickering shadows of bats waving around in front of lights off-camera… so I’d have to say the comics Bat Cave, even if inspired by the serial, most certainly carries the edge.
“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.)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.