Five Inch Needle

tin hats

th-1This country is driving me crazy. I can’t see beauty without pain. The laughter of dozens of kids gathered for camp has become a five inch needle thrust into my heart.  I see someone with an agenda and a semi-automatic weapon parking and walking towards the lake where the children are gathered. I wonder what the gunman is thinking. Glory? Fame? Maybe he’s schizophrenic like the killer at Sandy Hook whose motives will never be known. Maybe he’s a gay ISIS wannabee out to prove his masculinity. It doesn’t matter what skin he’s wearing, his soul is the NRA. The heart that keeps his blood flowing is a congressmen who does nothing. The feet that propel him towards innocent lives, closer and closer are people who carry on about the 2nd Amendment.  I wish I could cover them all with the blood of the innocents.

Even if the…

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The Year of the Goose

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Dying trees on one of my favorite walks.

In general I’m not a summer person.  Don’t like the heat. Don’t like the sun up at 5 and down at 9.  Don’t like months without rain, watching plants die or staying inside on days when the air is unhealthy to breathe. I especially don’t like that every get-away spot is flooded with tourists.

But so far this summer has been the worst. In astrological terms, Gemini has been getting its ass kicked by a massive Black Hole.  And what frigging year of the Chinese horrorscope is it anyway? The Goose?  I think so. It’s the Year of the Goose, the thirteenth animal to visit the Buddha and therefore the unluckiest.

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My mantra: it’s only money. Just relax.

I won’t go into a litany of my woes because that’s not the reason I began blogging. Instead let’s talk about goosing. Do you remember the first time some creep stuck his thumb up your rectum? For me it was at a Peter & Gordon concert I shouldn’t have been at in the first place. I was too young.  But I’d already honed my skills at escaping through the bedroom window (unfortunately I hadn’t honed my skills at sneaking back in. I always got caught. Every single time.)

Peter and Gordon seem too wholesome to have fans who goose young girls, don’t they?  It just goes to show, you never know where or when you’ll get goosed.

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Hoorah, the sun is finally going down.

By the way, in the I thought I was wasting my time but... category there are people who spend their time researching whether or not Mother Goose was a real person.  Really?  Makes me feel less silly for googling “where did the term goosing come from.”  Turns out there’s a real simple explanation.  Can you guess?

Please don’t let me be misunderstood

I just watched the movie Layer Cake, a gritty blood bath in which every other word is “motherfucker” and every character is a con artist who gets shot to shit. The movie ends with Joe Cocker’s rendition of “I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good” probably because the movie opens with the protagonist (Daniel Craig) telling us how he’s going to change his evil ways and get out of the drug trade. Poor guy just ends up getting in deeper and deeper until he becomes the frosting on the cake (a metaphor for killing your way to the top of a mob and not for getting some extra special reward).  

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One of the many dead bodies in Layer Cake

I don’t know what message viewers are supposed to take away from this movie other than drugs are bad and drug dealers are unreliable (really? whod’ve thunk?), but that song sent me running for a Google window. Does that ever happen to you? You hear a song and suddenly have to know everything about it. Who wrote it? Why? And then, of course, you have to blog about it because your followers have nothing better with their time than to read what you write about a song. I really do live a blogger’s fantasyland, don’t I? I need an intervention.

Anyway, if you’re still with me, over the years this song has hit the charts in a number of different genres – rap, soul, blues and, of course, rock and roll.  It’s also been featured in countless movies besides Layer Cake, most notably Kill Bill and The Birdman.

The story of the song’s inception is a sad but probably familiar one to anyone in the arts or entertainment world. A musician of only moderate repute named Horace Ott wrote the original chorus line and melody after a “falling out” with his girlfriend. She took his plea for leniency to her partners and from it they created a song, apparently with jazz singer Nina Simone in mind.That was back in the early sixties when record companies owned the artists and Ott, not being in the proper union, was not included on the original credits. That must have stung. Here’s Simone’s rendition:

Her spin on the song is how it was intended. A plea for leniency. Unfortunately the record did not “chart” as they say and the song went widely unknown until a certain British group virtually made it their own.  You know who, of course, unless you’re really, really young!

Eric Burden’s “soul with a bit of rock and roll” rendition hit Number 3 on the charts and the song was subsequently recorded by a gazillion others including: The Moody Blues, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, King Kong &D’Jungle Girls, Mike Batt, Trevor Rabin No Mercy, John Legend, Lou Rawls, New Buffalo and many more.  Don’t ask me who some of those folks are because I don’t know.  I did recognize this guy, who generally writes his own songs:

Cat Steven’s plea for leniency and understanding takes on a universal feeling, as if he’s asking the whole world not to be so quick to judge each other.  It’s a good message.

#ThursdayDoors: Set Design

TheatreDoors

These doors are magic in the making. One night soon the Starlight Players will emerge on stage to perform to small but loyal audiences. If you peak through the “windows” you’ll see another door.

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Door to the dressing room?

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Prop room?

I’m guessing the above pic shows the prop room. I was trespassing as all good ThursdayDoors folk must at some point or another. The Players are in the process of getting ready for their first performances of the summer. On the day we visited no one was working on the set but this is a community theatre group, most of whom probably have day jobs. For obvious reasons they don’t perform in the winter!

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View from the stage, the stone stairs on which the audience sits.

I dabbled a bit in theatre in high school but I’m shy and can’t act so I primarily either helped with set design or props and watched the magic from behind the curtains. There’s a lot of flurry backstage during a performance.  A lot of excitement. It’s addictive like so many things, for instance, blogging.  I tell myself I must stop.  The day is beautiful and there are things to see and do.  But here I sit.

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The Marquee

Check out other ThursdayDoors, the brainchild of Norm Frampton.

 

The First Day of Summer

Tree

Doesn’t look very summery, does it?  The sun had gotten itself snagged in a spider’s web of clouds above this tree and looking up I thought it might be too bright to get a decent picture. This scene reminded me of the work of one of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe is most famous for painting pictures of flowers which some art critics say represented vaginas, an intention she firmly denied. Or surrealistic desert scenes with cow skulls.  However she did do a few upside down paintings.

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Yes, this the correct orientation for this painting.  One wonders if she painted it laying down.

She also liked to capture the glare and other worldly feeling of a city night.

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I used to imagine traveling to New Mexico to meet O’Keeffe who, by the time I discovered her, would have been eighty. I’m glad I didn’t.  Successful artists live for their art and all else is irrelevant.  In O’Keeffe’s case, she regularly scandalized the art world (not an easy feat), first by having an affair with an older married man, then by allowing him to take “erotic” pictures of her, and finally – many years later – taking a lover fifty years her junior. Her personality was described as “prickly” and it is said she couldn’t stand people who weren’t thin. It would have been like traveling a thousand miles to spend time with my grandmother who also didn’t like fat people and was as prickly as they come.

Ever fantasized about meeting someone famous and then realized it might not be such a good idea?

Happy Summer Solstice!

Professor Flappy Pants

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Dad where he was happiest – on a ranch in Montana

Here it is.  Almost Father’s Day.  A day on which those of us whose fathers have died often flay about with our emotions.  At least I do.

My father’s words could kill. He had no patience with sickness, weakness or young children. His idea of the perfect family vacation was a grueling four hour back-packing trek up the face of Mt. Whitney (generally behind a pack of pooping donkeys), followed by a night spent next to an insect-infested lake with no plumbing facilities and the likely prospect of a visit from a bear. 

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On the other hand, he was a Renaissance man, well-versed in the Greek mythology, astronomy, literature and classical music. As a pilot he was a madman in the skies but on the ground, never once got a traffic ticket.  He never swore and always had a book in his hands. He often said “when I become a burden to the tribe, I will wander out into the desert with just the clothes on my back.”  I don’t know how many times I heard him say that, especially as his parents aged.  I’m sure it comes from the years he spent with the Sioux. 

We fought about everything.  He was a hunter while I liberated rabbits from their cages. He supported the Vietnam War while I helped friends burn their draft cards.  He wouldn’t let me ride on the back of motorcycles with boys so I bought my own Honda 90. 

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He ordered me not to live with my boyfriend before getting married. You can probably guess what I did. 

For someone perceived as somber and dignified, he did have his quirks.  He insisted on wearing WWII era ski pants which flapped in the breeze as he marauded down the slopes.  My sister and I called him Flappy Pants.  

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WWII Era Ski Pants

Although his eye sight was excellent, he often went to work wearing mismatched socks. He had a legendary weakness for bow ties, particularly red bow ties. And he often got so wrapped up in the lab he forgot about his classes. They tried to make him Dean of Engineering and it was a total disaster. He was far too honest and forthcoming with his opinions to run the department or get along with other college VIPs.

He lived long enough to laugh at the fact Arnold Schwartzenegger was elected governor of California but not long enough to see the rise of Obama, which is a shame as I think he would have been proud.  Racist was one thing he could never have been called.

Dad didn’t die in the desert with just the clothes on his back.  He died in the Pacific Ocean in his speedos.  I like to think he was trying to swim to China.

Luck

tin hats

We all have fathers and we all lose them.  Either we die or they die, but we are eventually and forever lost to each other.  Fathers can be good or bad, but always they are part of our blood; answering questions before we speak because they know better than us.  They can turn the pages of a book without hands or fingers and they give breath to our sixth sense.  A Navy corpsman killed my father one night in a hospital room.  He overdosed him on morphine.  Earlier in the afternoon the corpsman had called me and said that my father would not make it through the night.  I had received other calls like that one over the years and always my father had not died, but this time was different.  My father was a Marine and this Navy corpsman decided that he was going to put my father out…

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