Monday, July 30, 2007

Green with Greed

One of the various things that I actually cherish about travel is the time it affords or, perhaps more accurately, requires to maintain sanity by catching up on reading. This trip is no different, with five or six books pulled from the "when I get around to it" pile. There are a couple of the usual spiritually/getting one's life in order that I throw against the wall for their annoying simplicity. "If you are feeling stressed, it's a good sign that there may be too much stress in your life." Then I pick it up the next day, amazed by how profound it is. I'll refrain from going into all the details of those.

A somewhat trite but compelling read that I've always wanted to get around to diving into is a bio by Charles Slack on the life of Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street. A woman so miserly that she refused to take her son to a free clinic until his condition worsened to the point of amputation of his leg, she has been someone whose dark tale I've always wanted to know more about. So far it's worth the time but not exactly superbly written. Mean, greedy women of means have always fascinated me, much more than men of the same ilk. Mr. Burns on The Simpsons has his appeal, but a woman squirrelling away her fortune is just somehow more intriguing. No wonder Zazu Pitts, the San Francisco lottery winner hiding her winings from her man in Greed is just more example to cite for it's fascination.

Hetty's story really cries out for the proper over-the-top stage or film adaptation, though let's hope to God a musical version does not lure Stephen Sondheim out of semi-retirement.

Greed has always been the opposite of my compulsions, and perhaps that's why the Hetty Greens of the world hold so much lure. If I ever got into the billionaire category, I am sure it would be gone within months, although I'd have every edition of the Criterion collection and several warehouses full of doorknobs that I could give away to friends for decades to come.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Seeking the Familiar at the Meeting Point

When I was in grade school, a favorite ritual to put myself to sleep was to circle my bed with my menagerie of stuffed animals, each with very specific, long names and assigned personalities, and I would pretend that we were camped in some remote part of the wilderness. I conjured up the howls and shrill cries of bears, coyotes and wolves surrounding us, taking comfort in our safe mobile cabin as we savored our protected corner of a hostile universe.

Since I spend a third to half of each year on traveling, I often conjure up that distant memory and am still compelled to find that tiny corner of safety and comfort amid the transient, chaotic waters, skies and horizons that I navigate any given week. In the midst of a crowd of annoying fellow travelers – such as the enormous, sweating man in the middle seat on the SFO-Denver flight on Monday – I close my eyes, take intentional deep breaths and go back to that place, the proverbial home at the end of the world to borrow from Michael Cunningham.

In my many travels, the recurring revelation or, more appropriately, reminder is how little I need in life I need to feel grounded. I feel greater affinity with the mobile house plant than the grounded sequoia since I too can easily take my roots to whatever destination my currents plants me. It has been years since anyplace has felt glaringly foreign, except for the supposedly familiar landscape of my native Midwest. The people I grew up with seem so far removed from any of my current realities, and the local landscape itself bears little resemblance to what is lodged in my memory. It felt as alien when I was growing up there as it does now – such as this and next week as I am stuck here for a conference. The sprawling development, oppressive mixture of unrelenting hot days and chilly over air conditioned venues leave me dizzy in this nature denying environment. I despise the heat and when indoors feel like a fading head of iceberg lettuce left a week to long in the display case at an Albertstons.

Gong through the long process of losing my parents and now dismantling their estate makes these trips even odder. Since putting the house on the market and fairly much emptying the place through an estate sale, their place seems increasingly odd and alien. All that is left that suggest any semblance of habitation is the bed my sister has left for me to stay over the weekend. She even took the care to pull out a few familiar, welcoming items such as the above featured butterfly quilt that likely covered me as a tot conjuring up those mobile home fantasies.

Home has certainly ceased to be a place that involves welcoming parents, even if I hold onto it in my memories. I’ve made relative peace with return to a house of my own where all that greets me besides the cat are stacks of mail, a litter box begging to be emptied and furniture begging to be dusted or brushed free of fur. When I have had a mate, a common sign that things are nearing their end are how I am greeted upon return from a journey. There are few things as humbling as knowing that your significant other is somewhere in the city to which you are returning while you take the shuttle to the offsite parking or public transit, making the final steps to the front door as the only sound heralding your return is the lonely whirl of the wheels of your suitcase echoing into the late night air. The only thing worse than returning to a musty, dusty smelling house is one where every system of order you left behind seems to be awry as you look for evidence of your presence being violated during your journey. My loneliest moments have not come during passages of solitude, but during those dysfunctional days of a relationship when a step through the door spotlighted every reason it was time to fly solo once more in my own nest.

Having made that journey so many times, I am lately finding myself wanting more than the overflowing litter box and stacks of ValuPack coupons and pre-approved credit card offers welcoming my return. The prospects of being home for an extended period of time are slim in the years ahead, but I find myself longing increasingly for the face that lights up as I near the meeting point at the far end of the United terminal.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Out the Door -- Finally

In case anyone remembers this long lingering project, it finally went out the door late, late yesterday. It involves a lot of money if approved, but I'm to a point of neither celebrating its completion or the potential approval. It's just done, and I can finally catch up on all the delayed projects that it pushed back down the line. The only thing worse than a fast approaching deadline is an extended deadline.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

1980s Fun Couple of the Week

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

¿Y nada más?

Although I don't have plans to suddenly make this site about that, over the weekend I ended a three to four week (I actually wasn't keeping count) dating cycle. I couldn't even say that it fizzled, let alone blew up or crashed. It was just mutually clear that it had gone as far as it was going to go.

Were we to run into each other on the street tomorrow or two years from now, I suspect it would be civil. I would not even rule out resuming where we left off if the opportunity to do so. But I am neither longing nor fearing doing that. Is that a sign that there was nothing there to begin with? Perhaps. Does it mean I'm ready to move on to the next person? Yes. Does it mean I've been dating more recently than in a long time? Yes. Does it mean I'm going to go into details on this site? No.

Monday I arrived for what will be a week and a half long strategic planning conference. Gasp! That's a long time to feel you're held hostage in the middle of nowhere I'm sure I won't be dating anyone here since there is nobody here but coworkers. I'm definitely not interested in that.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Listen to Pinky, Your IQ Will Go Up 20 Points

After not watching much of anything on cable, DVD, YouTube or other screaming screens, I am suddenly hooked on the Pinky Show. Here is an amazing world view and history lesson presented from a little cartoon cat. Pinky has astute observations on the historical importance and contemporary relevance of Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition. In just a couple of minutes, Pinky can provide more insight about guns, globalization or the lunacy in Washington, D.C., than any of the major media outlets. Unlike Ken Burns, Pinky makes history interesting. Unlike Michael Moore, Pinky believes you can be a subversive prankster but still stick to factual accuracy and maintain a bit of humility. Pinky has all the conviction of Code Pink without the shrill self-righteousness.

Wow, I'm hooked and want to order the Pink Show when it comes out on DVD. In the meantime, there are these 21 videos on YouTube.

Oh, and Pinky reminds us that Thomas Edison was a heartless, cat-frying bastard.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Celebrity Junk Drawers and Fish Rodeo

JunkThief knew he just couldn't let the show Celebrity Junk Drawer at 111 Minna Gallery come and go without dropping in and paying homage and was glad to know that ever dapper and witty Bryce Digdug was interested in going. (Halfway there, JunkThief realized that he'd forgotten to write down the address but managed to find it by dumb luck.) Upon arriving for the gallery's "art happy hour" imagine the horror as the doorman checked the IDs of the mainly 20-something crowd but waved Bryce and JunkThief in despondently and told them to put away their wallets! Though the velvet rope outside was a bit much, those horse heads made them feel as if this were "21." Or "Twin-tea-one" as the true inner circle call it. (JunkThief still lunches there when in Manhattan and feels the need to dish dirt with old chum Lee Radziwell who loves to recount stories of her 1967 TV appearance in the title role of Laura.)

Since it was a free show and Bryce and JunkThief didn't imbibe except for the sights, they really couldn't afford to complain about the music volume level and young 'ins blocking the view, oblivious to the fact that this was a, uh, you know, gallery and not just another bar. While disappointing that there were only 7-8 of Mecier's works on display, the ones there were great fun. Kathy Griffin against a backdrop of Clay Aiken was a particular treat. Mecier also does great things with keys as a medium. However, there are even more over here on Mecier's site. It was too bad that the show doesn't include Charo, Carol Channing or Morgan Fairchild.

Regardless, Mecier's work is really clever and often stunning and made from real junk -- matchbooks, curlers, pencils, food package, gum wrappers, you name it. And he doesn't seem to ever resort to painting the junk but grouping the found objects to create ranges of one shade.

Having Bryce captive for a while, JunkThief had to ask about that dapper gentleman in his Frappr photo on the right. Well, it's not really Bryce, we're sorry to reveal (though Bryce has been known to hang out with the yacht club crowd) but someone at the Louisiana "fish rodeo". Most of us have never heard of such an animal, but apparently that's where embattled Louisiana Senator David Vitter met one of his madams. Only in Louisiana, apparently.

Speaking of Frappr photos, Bryce pointed out the curious shot of the young man from Morocco offering his phone number on the right. JunkThief doesn't know a way to get rid of a photo once it's on there. The bigger question is, do you think that's his thumb or (as Bryce thinks) is he showing...oh, we don't want to go there.

UPDATE: Call it irony, call it kismet that this entry was posted hours before the announcement of Tammy Fae (yes, the second image with the dog) leaving the living. In case it's been a while since you hear it, here is a portion of her classic "The Ballad of Jim and Tammy Fae"

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Since We're Speaking of Lauren

Harry Potter? No way. Another Spiderman? Nyet. Scientology's take on Hairspray? Wait until DVD.

However, come August 10, I may just have to go to the UK to seeing "The Walker". It was already screened earlier this month in Cambridge, but we've got to wait until December 7 to see it. Is there not justice! Well, apparently not in this country. Rumors of it even being made or released have been bubbling for a few years. Plenty have predicted it to be a roaring dud. But make up your own mind with these seven minutes from the opening. We'll see how long they stay up. Even if it's downhill from there, I'm already hooked.

Remind me to tell you sometime about my mother's eight second encounter with Lauren Bacall in 1993. It was her life-defining moment.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Twitchy, Bitchy -- and Manic

"Partly Jane Fonda and partly Jane Fonda!" Oh, JunkThief, what are you talking about, I've heard many a youngster ask. Well, back in 1971, my grammy took me to see this musical (complete with the Oh Calcutta! bare assed reference edited out of the CBS broadcast). Grammy P just loved the show and said she felt it embodied a world where I would one day reside and thrive. I pleaded to have her take me to THAT bar for a Shirley Temple, but she drew the line there. I did make it there eventually "It's just too groovy to believe!"

And you know what, Grammy P, I agree that it's dull to be too sane. Thank you for opening that first window all those years ago.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Manhattan from the 29th Floor

It's been a while, quite a while, since I got excited about music or DVD releases on a fateful Tuesday. But this week yielded two that I've been waiting on for some time.

Panned and a box office dud, Factory Girl is reputed to be worth giving another chance, as a recent Times article explained. I'm saving it for a release from the torture of being trapped in a for conference a week and a half (aggggHHHH) starting Monday. Didn't I just do that in October? Yes, I did. Anyway, I hope it doesn't prove to be a complete bust.

The other much anticipated release was Suzanne Vega's Beauty and Crime. I've had more than one beau say, "If I have to hear that whining bitch one more time, I'm out of here." They've said worse about Mark Eitzel. Vega has never been on heavy rotation for an extended time in my Walkman, Discman or iPod, but she's provided an appropriate bookmark several times in my life. I vaguely liked her first two albums that yielded her two signature hits (to some people the only two songs she ever wrote). But it was her next two albums that stuck with me. And two songs -- "Institution Green" from 1990's Days of Open Hand and the title track from 1992's 99.9 Fahrenheit Degrees seemed to be the signature songs for the time I lived off and on in Manhattan and Brooklyn (1989 - 1994), a time when the city was falling apart but it also felt that there was true political will emerging from the nightmare of a dozen years of Reagan/Bush. The best and worst of times, I think it's been called. How often, as I passed vacant, desperate eyes, I wanted to blurt out that lyric "you...seem to a man on the verge...of burning....99.9...Fahrenheit degrees..."

The third song of hers that served as a signature, though never as strongly as those two, was "Caramel" from 1996's Nine Objects of Desire that heralded my move to California. Appropriately it had a pretty and jazzy bossa nova veneer that belied something sinister lurking beneath. How fitting that it was used to promote the very smooth and sinister Closer.

Her 2001 Songs in Red and Gray was praised by some as a return to her folky roots. But it was a bit too musky, moldy and depressing even for me. Coming at the time of a break up (both hers and mine) and having the ill-fated timing of being released the Labor Day just before 9/11, it has rarely had repeated playing on my system. I gravitated to Bjork's cozy Vespertine, released the same week.

I appreciate Beauty and Crime on many levels. As Vega has said, she doesn't see Manhattan as just the polished, glistening wonderland of Giuliani, Bloomberg and Sex and the City. Some of that is because she was there before, but also because as a native she still sees more than the veneer. And the album exudes that on several levels and pulls from many points in her career. "The Pornographer's Dream" feels like a book end to "Caramel". "Edith Wharton's Figurines" is a piece of classical chamber pop that feels the lingering ghosts of an era even before Vega's day. And, there are plenty of 9/11 references. Some reviewers have blasted her for doing what's been done better before. I'd argue that she brings a bit more perspective and reflection that make the memories stronger, reminding us that the wound is not gaping but is still raw.

I appreciate that there are so many references to the past -- ours and Vega's own -- but unlike the girl in "Luka" she's now (as stated in "Manhattan Is a Woman") up on the 29th not second floor, looking down on Manhattan for perhaps a broader view. As usual, Vega is both jaded and vulnerable, weary but driven by a voracious appetite for all that the city has to offer.

I suspect I'll be listening to the disc for a few more weeks, but like most Vega releases, it won't be in heavy permanent rotation. Perhaps equal to that of Days of Open Hand.

And, yes, it sounds like I still live or want to live in Manhattan. We'll work on that in another post.

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Low Rents of Arabia

JunkThief had not heard from Vivian [not his legal name] in a long while, at least not since January or February. So he was a bit surprised by her chatty "whatcha up too?" greeting. "I'm working," JunkThief replied, a bit perturbed that the call came in on his office line.

"Is this your work number? You have so many, I can't keep up. How many do you have now?"

"Four if you count Skype."

"Oh, JunkThief. You're so connected," Vivian railed. "You're at the meat of it, baby."

"It's easier if you call my cell or home number."

"Oh, whatever, I just wanted t
o say hi. Does your non-profit still work in Egypt?"

"Still? We've not been there since the 1960s," JunkThief said.

"Really? I could swear I remember you going there."

"No, not for work," JunkThief said.

"Mmm...okay. Vince and I are planning to go there and I thought you might have some suggestions. I'm dying to see the pyramids but don't want to die seeing them if you get my drift."

"Like a huge drift of sand."

"Oh, JunkThief, you're such a card. I just thought you might have some suggestions of something plush and not over $200 a night."

"In Cairo?" JunkThief replied.

"Yes, in fucking Cairo! I'm not planning to go to some camel farm."

"No, I don't know off hand. I could suggest some tour operators, if you like."

"So, when
are you coming to San Diego?"


"I get the distinct feeling you don't like San Diego sometimes. Remember when I lived in Bonsall and we went over to the Capri Lounge in Oceanside?"

"Yes," said JunkThief.

"Yes what?"

"Yes, I remember it."

"Well, you're not very chatty today."

"I'm working," JunkThief said.

"Oh, get over it. I'll find my own fucking room on Orbitz!"

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'My Other Car Is a Tonka'

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Junk Thief Is in Terminal Condition

For those of you that just dropped in to see what condition my condition is in, I thought I'd let you know that in this morning's mail came a great package: Airport Terminal Pack. As if it weren't enough to regularly check Pennsylvanian blogger buddy There's No One Driving the Plane Mark's reference to the second in the Airport series, I am in near ecstasy to have this amazing quartet of low culture masterpieces. The Airplane series was mildly amusing, but nothing beats the source material of the various Airports for true belly laughs. I've only seen the first two, and I shiver with anticipation to see the finale The Concorde: Airport '79. There are bizarre, all star casts (1973's Lost Horizon with Liv Ullmann and Peter Finch lip synching Bacharach being a great example) and then there is this puppy.

The horror and glory of this list boggles the mind: Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner, Sylvia Kristel (as a flight attendant!), Eddie Albert, Bibi Anderson (@#$%????), Charo, Sybil Danning, John Davidson, Monica Lewis, Andrea Marcovicci, Mercedes McCambridge (as a wheel chair bound Russian gym coach!!!), Martha Raye, Avery Schreiber, Cicely Tyson, Jimmie "JJ/Dyn-o-mite!" Walker, David Warner and -- but of course, the eternal connecting thread -- Kennedy as "Patroni".

Should I hold a screening and hand out tiny bottles of scotch and gin? Should I save it for the pond crossing Barcelona trip to freak out my seat mates? Should I just ditch work this afternoon and consume it now?

Oh, when it comes to trash, JunkThief is the ultimate snob. And Proust and Chekov scholar or not, I cannot wait to consume this puppy soon. Oh, the humanity, the humanity of it all!

UPDATE: Oh, I just couldn't resist. I took a peek. Sample dialogue:

Sylvia Crystal (after all the pilots tell her that they take their coffee black): Oh yoo pilots are all such real men.

George Kennedy: Why do you think they call it the cockpit, baby?

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thieves Be Not Too Proud to Beg

I've long been a great fan of silent films, something that some folks consider insane. Why follow an obsolete, inferior medium when there are so many glossier, noisier options, some may ask. It's so melodramatic? As if opera isn't I reply? Don't you want to go to a movie to be entertained instead of being forced to read? You do more reading with subtitled films, I respond. Folks either get it or they don't.

I agree that there are some really bad, overblown silent films with too much make up, primitive camera angles and lame scripts. But when they work, they have the capacity to transport you into a time and place far, far away that are far more compelling than most high tech CGI adventure. So I always greet the San Francisco Silent Film Festival with great anticipation and usually see at lest two to three offerings. Last night Friendatella joined me for William Wellman's Beggars of Life, a not exactly great but compelling film that had the distinction of being Louise Brooks' last film before going of to Berlin to be turned into an art house icon by G.W. Pabst.

I've only seen her three European ventures, so I held out mixed hopes for seeing if her claim that she was a lousy actress was true. Would she prove to be just a pretty tool of the Weimar era puppet master in her Hollywood era phase? Fortunately she was anything but that, and she was just as captivating as "the girl" as she was as Lulu. Dressed in "boy's clothes" she could pass for boho chic in any urban environ in 2007. Her co-star Richard Arlen was equally fetching. A tidbit of trivia that Friendatella shared was that in the 1960s Arlen and Wings co-star Buddy Rogers were reunited on Petticoat Junction. The relationship between the two leads in Wings has often been characterized as having strong homoerotic overtones, plus it has a very young Gary Cooper, who in his youth managed to send the homoerotic score of any film a few notches up the scale.

According to Patrick Loughney of the George Eastman House. who introduced the film, there is a long lost sound and dialogue track for the film that may surface some day. Though not quite worthy of a Criterion treatment, I hope Beggars of Life makes it to DVD by itself or with a few other Brooks' Hollywood era films. In the meantime I've been toying with buying the VHS of Overland Stage Raiders (1938), Brooks' last film made with, oddly enough, John Wayne just months before he went huge with Stagecoach.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Proust Regained

An interesting slide show that can be accessed by going here.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

1980s Fun Couple of the Week

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Happy Day

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Best of Carvaggio

It took me a while (basically two years) to getting around to watching The Best of Youth, and I am glad that I did. Its origins as a TV movie are often evident, but that doesn't diminish its power as a story. Visually, it is quite variable -- sometimes bland, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes nearly inept with things like projected backgrounds during car driving scenes, clearly fake beards (nothing beats the real thing) or badly applied gray spray paint on heads to indicate the passing of the years. But none of that diminishes the sweep of it and its ability to pull me in slowly and subtly. Its theme, some have suggested, is not that we are at our best in youth but if we are lucky we take the best, our idealism and hopes, with us in the years ahead to battle cynicism.

And to have Alessio Boni to feast one's eyes on for most of the six hours is, it too late
to change my ticket from Barcelona to Florence? He managed to creep up on me slowly. Though not bad with longer hair at the left in the beginning, his transformation after the first third or so is rather breathtaking. The fact that he just filmed a new Caravaggio biopic as the title character with Jordi Molla playing a benefactor/priest is almost too much for the mind and heart to handle. I wish Jordi would go back to playing wayward bisexual husbands instead of sloppy English speaking drug dealers. I love you sloppy, Jordi, but go back to doing it in your mother-tongue.

Any way you slice it, I've not seen someone quite as gifted at playing the gorgeous, doomed poetic soul with quite the sweep of Boni in a long time. I'm hooked.

UPDATE: We don't plan to become that kind of site, but if you weren't already won over by Alessio try this. Lawdy, where'd I put those smelling salts...

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Let's Throw Baby from the Plane

Did Aunty Christ just get a job with Continental Airlines? Or did my Horror Summer Flick post gain the attention of the aviation industry? Well, I am only so bold as to resort to noise reducing headphones, but the news item about the talkative toddler being asked to leave the flight is amusing. Outrage? Naw, serves the little brat right. The flight attendant likely endured the horrors of post-9/11 travel years before that creature was even conceived. Now can I do the same thing if I get some 250+ pounder in the seat next to me when I fly again in a couple of weeks?

Is this Aunty Christ early in her career?

UPDATE: We just learned of the group CAPBOR, a passengers' rights group. I think one of their first causes should be to support the right of flight attendants to eject rowdy babies and toddlers or administer the use of duct tape to keep the noise down.

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Yipee yi yo yeah! (Though that's not the language I'll need to be honing in the weeks ahead.) It's finally official. Today I booked the ticket for the first week of November to this place. I've not been there since I was a wee thing, and it was technically the only Fascist country that I've ever visited (unless you count Singapore and Texas). I won't have my parents and sister in tow this time, and they have a lot more freedom these days too. (I'm also planning a smaller trip for a few days the last week of September to LA which should be fun but not quite as momentous as the November adventure.) Oh, I can't wait to lisp as mi corazon is stolen away!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An Ode to Supervisor Ed Jew

Only in San Francisco do you get bad Madonna imitators at a board of supervisors' meeting. I guess he got distracted and forget to add his back up until the end.

UPDATE: Since this video has offended/upset/grossed out so many readers, I must warn to your view it at your own risk. See it once, and you'll strive to remove it from your brain. If you have trouble turning your head from road accidents or road kill, you will understand.

I strongly recommend that as a healthy alternative that you watch the previous post of Alaska y Dinarama which is the opposite -- energizing, inspiring and the good kinda weird.

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1980s Fun Band of the Week - Alaska y Dinarama

What is there not to love about Alaska? She's made a comeback of sorts this year thanks to a duet with Miguel Bosé . She was in Almodovar's first film in 1980. And in this video for "Ni tú ni nadie" she and the boys look like the house band at the coolest gay bar in the world circa 1985. This tune has it all -- punk and goth attitude, a gorgeous string interlude midway (sounding like a Trevor Horn production circa 1982's The Lexicon of Love by ABC), Abbey Road era horns, an oohing and ahhing chorus, and Ms. Alaska doing her best Theda Bara at the heart of it. It's the perfect wake up and seize the day anthem in my book.

And who can top Alaska for all around coolness? A girl that longed to be a gay man, her father fled Spain to escape Fascism, her mother fled Cuba to escape Communism. Out of the romance of two exiles came genius.



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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thirty Percent

It's amazing what you can see on lunch hour in my neighborhood, especially the ever evolving graffiti around the construction zone at the City College expansion on Valencia. Registration starts in a couple of weeks, so all of this will likely soon be coming down. I can't say the sentiment above or sloppy grammar resonates with me, though the snide comment in the lower right probably does.

These days I find that I am moving away from doing anything for the right amount of money to paying any amount of money for the right thing. I am not rolling in it these days but much better off than ever before. I got the news today that my unit produced 30 percent more income than last year. Reason for some level of celebration and a bit mind-boggling with all the diversions of the past twelve months.

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Love Child of the Week - Episode 2

Since there seemed to be such a positive reaction (especially from Tugboat Dave) I thought I'd have another installment of Love Child of the Week. This image is part of a little slide show of sights up and down Valencia and 24th Street to give you a feel of the neighborhood JunkThief inhabits. Those who know JunkThief well can confirm that he is a chronic street walker, forever snapping odd sights up and down the streets of the Mission. The photo above is from the always intriguing display window at Artists Television Access (ATA). What beast has mankind bred!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Repurposing Part 334

Is it just my imagination, or did the Chronicle run the same story in 1996? And 1999? And 2003? And 2005? I can't remember them ever running a story about Saturday night in West Portal. Maybe now that they've rerun the Oakland sideshow stories so many times that people got wise, they decided that they can always recycle stories about how rowdy the Mission is. I especially appreciated the chicks making out with guys with untucked shirts. I made out with a guy with an untucked shirt on Saturday night too, but it was in another neighborhood and nobody got into a fight. I think a guy wearing an untucked shirt tells you nothing about his sexual orientation but is a signal that he plans to get laid. Not sure yet what it means when it's a woman wearing one. Now that they are down to two full time staff writers, I guess they have to just recycle stuff from the archives. Thanks, Craigslist!

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Feathers for the Queen

Just as Junk Thief must have door knobs, Shelley's character in Wild in the Streets must have feathers in order to be presented to the Court of St. James. Why? If you must ask, you have no understanding of the powerful pop poetry of this movie. Why it has never received the homages bestowed on Valley of the Dolls and its ilk is beyond me. This film is a Junk Thief favorite. If you'd like to join me for a midnight screening at the Junkplex, just let me know. (Perhaps a double header with Bloody Mama would be in order.)

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I Wish I Could Forget

The first time I asked to have a pair of leather pants was in sixth grade, and I wonder if this was what inspired it. Fortunately I never got a pair and am content that I shall leave this world never owning a set. (I especially love the girls who shift from go-go to no-go dancers in this clip.)

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Friday, July 06, 2007

1980s Fun Couple of the Week

Oh, Gary, what would Willis say!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Love Child of the Week

Is it a hebra, zorse or zebrula? Scientists are saying that their biggest concern about the accidental offspring of a zebra and horse is that it will have trouble making friends and finding a mate. I am thinking about naming it as my source animal.

Music up, Cher lets loose with "Half Breed."
Ohm. Ohm. Ohm.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Third, Fourth and No Rest

With a fairly laid back mid-week holiday, I was hoping to have a quiet evening before going back to the remainder of a hectic week by watching the extras on my Criterion issue of The Third Man. Well, living in the "colorful" Mission District, I should have known better than that. Fireworks (all illegal mind you) don't go off at sunset but starting around 10 p.m. and going until at least 2 a.m.
You can actually see the reflection of the film in the window in this shot. (It embiggens quite nicely to get the full outerspace feel.)
I've tried to console my poor cat Bunter, but he refuses to be anywhere except here under the bed where he'll likely stay until the sun rises.

UPDATE: They actually stopped just after 2 a.m. Bunter immediately jumped on the bed, raced over my shoulders for a couple of minutes and then snuggled and purred like a kitten for the rest of the night.

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I've been tagged, woo-hoo, by Salty Miss Jill. It took me a while, but I am finally responding. The rules, apparently, are that I need to share eight little known facts about myself. Does the fact that I am little known and don't know myself count? I guess not, so here goes with a list:

1) I was a 4-H Club member in middle school and raised or attempted to raise, sheep as my livestock project. I did much better in the woodworking and crafts unit. My experience with the sheep was pretty disastrous when two of the ewes got raveled in rope while our family was on vacation, and we came home to find them hanging from a tree. My parents agreed that I didn't have to raise livestock after that.

2) I have eaten rodents and insects as part of my job functions on work related trips. The rodents were cuys or guinea pigs which anyone who has ever traveled to the Andes know are a delicacy there. I have also had grilled grasshoppers in Oaxaca. The cuys are disgusting, greasy gray meat that I hope never again to consume. The grasshoppers, however, have a tasty, nutty flavor that I'd gladly eat again anytime.

3) Much as I hate to drive (as evidenced in last week's U-Haul adventure), I have driven in the following countries outside of the U.S. -- Canada, Mexico, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Honduras and Guatemala. With the exception of Oaxaca where I had five people in a VW bug (the pre-2000 style) all were in huge four-wheel drives.

4) I have none of the music by these demons in my home: Whitney, Madonna, Britney, Celine, Fergie, or any of their clones. Ew, gross, yuck to all of them. Oddly, I have the complete catalogue of Steely Dan and 85% of Miles Davis which probably makes me on notice for keeping my fag card.

5) I can reach more than an inch beyond the tip of my nose with my tongue. I think I was 12 before my parents asked that I refrain from demonstrating the skill at family gatherings.

6) I had an uncle Dorris and an Aunt Ted, though they were from opposite sides of the family and never met.

7) I have had sex in the following places:....No, none of your damned business. I'm still going to count that one in the list as an attempt.

8) My first appearance on stage was in a kindergarten pageant featuring children of the world. I played the little boy from Turkey who was scripted to speak some ridiculous Cold War propagandistic rant. How a blond kid was considered to be appropriate to play a Turk is beyond me. It was my first time to do a serious editing job.

Okay, there, done.

UPDATE: Just in case Salty Miss Jill decides to get pesky and not count #7, I realized another little known fact from my show biz career.
I have a five second walk on part in a Filipino TV movie during a scene shot in San Mateo. I play a lawyer because I was the only friend of the PA that was over six feet and owned a decent looking suit. My line was something like "Do you still want to prosecute or drop the charges?" I never got a dime for that role, damn it. Try to find that one on imdb!

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Apocalypse in Progress - World Ends at Midnight

I was in the Castro last night and standing outside of the 440 Castro bar was a fag in typical denim and leather drag Crocs. I almost bumped into a couple of people as I turned to do a double take. I needed to confirm that the red at the bottom of my eyes was not some freak hemorrhaging. No, my body functions were all nice and healthy, but his fashion sense was not. I couldn't even give him the benefit of the doubt that he was a local resident who'd just stepped out for a second to take a break from gardening to check his mail. After finishing his cigarette, he walked into the bar as I made my way down the street.

It's in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that the final sign of the apocalypse is that you will start seeing fags in red Crocs and Creed T-shirts. The world is over. See you in the afterlife.

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Year one

Though our official launch was on Labor Day weekend of 2006, this first entry from the pre-launch phase of JunkThief appeared a year ago today. It has been a real thrill to get all the in-person feedback from locals and the posted comments from new blogger friends from the far corners of the world. I hope to have more meet ups in the year ahead and hope to slowly improve on content and appearance if life ever settles down.

Thanks to all who have taken time to write this url on the finest men's room stalls around the globe. Rumor has it that you can find it in the johns at the Ritz in Paris, the Burj al-Arab in Dubai, our own local Clift and above the famed waterfall urinal of the San Luis Obispo's Madonna Inn.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

It Came From Springfield

One of the things I have not had a chance to mention about being with family members in Missouri was how one of my cousins was absolutely gushing about how wonderful her native Springfield is. (She could have passed for one of the civic promoters of Blaine, Missouri, in Waiting for Guffman.)

Besides being able to brag that native son Brad Pitt often brings Angela and the ba
bies in tow, she claimed that it will soon be nationally announced that her Springfield is, in fact, the one where the Simpsons live. She said this with twinkling eyes and absolutely no hint of irony. I don't think irony plays well in the Show Me State.

Funny, though, that with the Simpsons movie coming out and a dozen or so 7-11s being converted into Kwik-E-Marts, I don't see a single one in Missouri or any of the nation's Springfieds. And as if that weren't enough, I have to drive all the way to Mountain View to get a Squishee and stock up on my Krusty-O's.

UPDATE: Well, whaddya know, cousin Dianne was wrong. Springfield, Vt., won out on this, and thus booming Springfield, Mo., will not have the honor of hosting The Simpsons movie premiere. Just makes you want to cry into your six-pack of Duff's beer, don't it?

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