Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Dark Spot - The Trilogy of Ds
An asteroid swung by today but didn't stop. Doubt, dread and death -- the constant and certain trilogy -- swing through in orbit, usually so distant but so often distracting my focus. Even when the view is perfectly clear, I manage to miss it by trying to see what is behind it.
A friend, not that close and across the bay, died earlier this month, the news not arriving until yesterday, grinding in the reality of the relative distance. He was one of the first people I met when I moved here. The intent to get to know him better was always there but clearly not the will, always stymied midway between here and wherever he is now.
Lately I've been sweeping out remnants of people long departed from my household. They're so long removed that the ghosts put up no fight to leave, yet I manage to waste too much time wrestling with them in a battle they have no interest in winning but still manage to pin me to the floor.
There is always a dark spot, a straying asteroid to leave a threat or a temporary blemish that will fade and leave the slightest scar, visible only in the most intense light under the gaze of a judgmental star. It seems only my own gaze passes such judgment these days, using eyeglasses that are not even mine.
Now they say the asteroid that hit Siberia a century ago wasn't nearly as large as they once believed, but it proves that even the smallest object can cause great damage. Today's dark spots, large and small, are already spinning away. So why do I dread even the smallest pebble in the darkness, knowing its capacity to pierce and destroy? Having wrestled ghosts and swept them away lately, I can, amazingly, see the horizon that I longed for before they even arrived. None of those brilliant hues have faded, and they feels closer, no pebbles in view for the moment.
Junk-quake & Flames
Growing up, I refused to see the multitude of disaster movies that plagued the big screens during the better part of the early to mid-1970s. Why have they recently slowly woven through my life with the connecting thread of George Kennedy? The year 1974 seems to be the apex when San Francisco in The Towering Inferno and Los Angeles in Earthquake blasted the screen. Tonight I am watching the later, albeit without the ground breaking Sensurround that accompanied it in theaters. How can you knock a movie that features both Marjoe Gortner and Pedro Armendariz Jr. (who, of course, is nothing compared to Pedro Armendariz Sr.)?
Most amazingly, it unravels the long standing riddle of the Hollywood Sphinx and the 1990s incident of the slapping of a police officer by Zsa Zsa Gabor. One of the earliest action sequences involves a crisis when a police car plows through Zza Zza's hedge and they are distraught. They knew what would follow.
Do these movies make us howl with laughter today because they are so horribly made, or because they so pathetically anticipate a reality that would so gruesomely be realized in the 21st century? Burning and exploding buildings, planes crashing without pilots to guide them and only the young and beautiful surviving. If you are Ava Gardner, a woman over 50 and not fit, you are doomed to be sucked into the sewers of Los Angeles. Same goes for poor Jennifer Jones, her Aqua-netted head bouncing off the gleaming windows of San Francisco's financial district's glistening towers as she meets the bitter fate of no longer being able to pass for 35.
I will only start to worry when these movies outnumber my Criterion collection library.
I can never get enough of cool and weird maps, and I could entertain myself for hours on end touring the various quadrants of the Simpsons' Springfield. So finding this searchable map was a nice treat on such a dreary, wet afternoon. Chez Guevera and Paté LaBelle are especially appealing to me, and I'm glad to see I could find a place called Junkyville.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Focus on Final
Though I won't dignify his vomiting out of words mildly resembling the English language and will decline from watching the State of the Union address, I will cherish and repeat like a mantra the word "final". There is light in the darkness of a wintry Monday night among the muck of the modern world.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Yorkfest on York?
When I was growing up, Susannah York was in all the movies I wanted to see but my mother would not let me go to see. With roles in the likes of the Superman movies and The Loveboat in her later career it's easy to forget the steamroller of wonderfully lusty flicks she made in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, I came to see her as sort of a British Carol Lynley or Carroll Baker, not that that would be a bad thing.
But I'd never had a chance to catch her in The Killing of Sister George until picking it up on a whim today. I'd expected it to be arch and camp but am surprised at how straight forward it is, albeit with plenty of scenes of Susannah as the stay-at-home lipstick lesbian who manages to ruin her cigar chomping punishment by smiling with delight with each bite.
Watching it made me realize my need for a Susannah York marathon here on York Street. Maybe we could shut down the street and project her movies on a huge sheet on a balmy October night this autumn. Cumulatively her films add up to quite a bounty starting with Tom Jones, Freud (which I own in a rare WNET broadcast to DVD version), Happy Birthday, Wanda June, The Maids. The clincher, of course, would be to come across a copy of X, Y & Zee, the one that even when I pleaded, kicking and screaming on the floor, my mother refused to take me to see at the 14 Flags Drive In. That one definitely needs to be projected on an enormous sheet on a balmy October evening.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Too Long at the Faire?
Last night I went to the Edwardian World's Faire with R. R and I dated back around the turn of the century, and I spent the night of 9/11 at his apartment atop Twin Peaks as we heard helicopters circling above. It seemed fitting to take him to an event celebrating another turn of the century, but it also reminded me of why we're no longer together. R is a good, sweet man, but innovative and curious are not exactly a part of his nature. He enjoyed it for a good 30 minutes or so and then excused himself.
If only San Francisco's Homosexual Community had as much innovation as the organizers of this little event. It had its fair share of homosexual in attendance, but it was a lot more fun than the vomit-enduing Folsom Street Fair or the snooze fests such as Pride and the Castro Street Fair.
My only complaint is that I was hoping for bit more Faire exhibits. Those on display were appropriately weird without being gross and icky and fey and whimsical without being cute or maudlin. Bizarre machines, costume masks, millinery and jewelry are fine, but I wanted more. The acts were reasonably entertaining and none went on too long.
The best part of the evening was seeing the revelers themselves decked out in Edwardian finery and oddities, including a good selection of young men wandering around on O'Farrell Street (just down the street from the Mitchell Brothers' strip joint) on stilts.
I only got tickets for the opening night faire, knowing that R would likely not be up for being a dance partner and tonight's grand ball or Sunday Gorey Sunday.
Those down south might be interested to know that the event will be at the American Legion Hall in November. Of course, it really wasn't a costume party for Junk Thief whose fashion sense has always been rather Edwardian.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Divas Where You Least Expect Them
(Overheard at the Potrero Center Safeway. Fireman #1 is Italian American, #2 Asian American. On the1-5 fireman hotness scale, #1 is 3.5, #2 is a 4.8)
Fireman #1: I'll have to be careful bringing these bags into the station.
Fireman #2: Really? Why? Won't they be glad you went shopping?
Fireman #1: Nothing but divas in my firehouse. They won't touch anything that's from Safeway, even if it's organic. It has to be Rainbow or Whole Foods.
Fireman #2: I hate Rainbow.
Fireman #1: Me too. It's dirty and overpriced. But those divas at my firehouse love it.
Fireman #2: I'll take Safeway any day. Good prices and it's clean and convenient.
Fireman #1: They're even worse about soap. No Dial or Dove for these guys. It has to be Lush or Body Shop.
Fireman #2: Oh, I'm with them on that one. I have very sensitive skin.
Fireman #1: Diva.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Goodbye to Blueberry Pie!
This is NOT a Meat Blog
Bryce Digdug recently misnamed this blog Junk Meat in a public place and, needless to say, turned a bright shade of red as he realized his gaff. Perhaps that is why pork and other mammal meat products just can’t seem to stop chasing poor Junk Thief, even in the land of salmon and blueberry pie, as you can see from the slide show below.
Many people who’ve been to
Kiss Junkster’s ring finger for being offered such an honor. He can’t go into too many details here but will offer that Dick proved to be a real gentleman and an intellectual dedicated to social change, ending homelessness and addressing racism. Those who really want details can email Junk Thief if you can’t wait to hear more.
Another meeting of a
Ain’t this internet thang just too much?
Keeping Clean on the Road
I'm just back from Vashon and very tired. I'll have some breaks tomorrow for actually taking photos, but I thought you'd like the scenic view along the morning walk from my hotel. It's crisp, clear and clean in Seattle. Much more cheerful than wet and dreary San Francisco. "Hate California; it's cold and it's damp..."
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Twenty-eight and Falling
Junk Thief always laughs at people in San Francisco who say the weather is "cold," "frigid," "freezing," even "arctic". (He doubles over in convulsive howls at that one.)
"Freezing" = temperatures of 32 Fahrenheit and below. It never gets below 33 in San Francisco.
It's 28 in Seattle and going down the scale. Fantastic! Junk Thief loves winter and winter clothes. He wishes they'd design more tropical weight charcoal linen for the horrid summer months. Taking a quick break between appointments, Junk Thief breezed into University Village Shopping Center to kill 15 minutes. He'd not walked into a J. Crew in ages. They say the Gap is out of touch, but what's up with J. Crew these days.? The clerks freaked when they heard Junk Thief let out a slight shriek when he saw a display of tropical fruit ice cream rugby shirts. "They are a bit...gaudy," one of the clerks offered.
Why can't everyone wear gray, black, brown and subdued blues year-round? It would be a much happier world. Pastels and tropical colors are always so depressing.
Did Junk Thief mention that he recently called it off with a 28-year-0ld? There wasn't that much going on, and the 28-year-old was not that much to talk about and lived in Benecia. The bridge and tunnel trade was mildly amusing in the 1990s but downright ridiculous in this 21st Century. The main thing is the satisfaction of being able to tell a 28-year-old thanks but no thanks.
Twenty-eight was the Junk Thief's age when he bought his first house around this time of this year...in that year...he bought his first house. You can do the math yourself to figure out the exact year.
Twenty-eight was the gate where Junk Thief caught the plane to Seattle at 6:30 a.m. (urgh). It was supposed to be at gate 22, but there was never an announcement. When Junk Thief asked if they were still boarding, the 60ish agent muttered, "Yes...yes..." and then, like a mantra. "It's crashing, crashing. It's going down, all the way down to the ground."
"Excuse me," Junk Thief asked, awake enough to need just a tad of clarity on this somewhat disconcerting announcement.
"The stock market. It's crashing. I'll be working at this dead end job for another 25 years!"
(Photos from the trip to come, we hope, when the days are a little less packed than today and tomorrow.)
Monday, January 21, 2008
Interactive Monday Assignment - Make Mine Male!
Happy MLK Day everyone. I hope you're all off work and thinking about how LBJ contributed to your civil liberties.
Since it's technically a holiday, I thought I'd give you a slightly more complex assignment since you may have a little more time to work on it.
Write an introduction -- a sentence, paragraph, headline, teaser, whatever -- to one of the three cover stories. If you choose to write an entire article, you might get a special little something from Junk Thief.
Since there is a pretty large circle of followers down in New Orleans, I hope some of them write about those shocking Mardis Gras parties as the season is imminent. You don't have to be male to fulfill this assignment, but I think you have to have certain fondness for them to do it justice.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Polk Me Right Thar, Like I Likes It
Polk is one of my favorite nouns and proper names. Polk Strasse. President Polk. Polk salad. Tony Joe and this song figured very heavily in my puberty and endorsement of the line "Neil Young is a liar." If Nashville could still produce tunes like this and the Lee Hazlewood catalog, I'd be a huge C&W fan. Tim McGraw looks great in tight jeans and T-shirts, but his music is pretty Bleh.He's no Tony Joe "Gator's got your granny" is a lyric Sondheim only dreams of. The only other song that comes close is "Nutbush City Limits". This is the real McCoy.
Since I Know You're All Dying of Curiosity
In My Neighborhood - Further Pork Products
Onward, Christian Wackos
If someone from the Lone Star State calls you a big educational model, this piece will give you a definition of what their intent is. It also gives you some good information on what to pack should your travels lead you to Texas. Six or more puts you on the wrong side of the law.
Friday, January 18, 2008
What's Your Presidential Tarot?
Thanks to the Erudite Redneck for alerting me to this diversion. Oh, this is a bit too much for me to accept, but then I don't think modesty was one of my "strongly agree" traits. So I'll accept it.
And what are you?
Which Great US President Are You Most Like?
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as John Kennedy|
35th President, in office from 1961-1963
Foiled TD at TJ's
Overheard at the Trader Joe's on Brannan at 11:12 a.m. today. (Him - Filipino American in a Ricky Martin sweatshirt and big silver wrap around glasses. Her - African American woman in a Hollister t-shirt, motorcycle boots and wallet on a chain.
Her: Dude, we still need to replenish the bottom shelf. Hand me some more.
Him: (Hands on hips) I know I'm pretty femme, but I still know how to pitch a football. (Throws a six-count package of garlic naan.)
Junk Thief: (Picks up two $.79 each grapefruits)
Him: (In a girlish, cheerleader scream as he looses his balance, falls backwards, knocks several dozen grapefruit on the floor, lands his butt on my shoes.) Oh, sometimes I don't even realize my own strength!
Her: Dipshit, you pitch a baseball; you toss a football. Stop fucking around and hand me the rest of the naan. I'm almost ready for my break.
I always feel the universe is out of balance when I go more than two weeks without a trip to Trader Joe's. I'd not been since early December in order to avoid crowds, especially those getting last minute XXXL mark downs at Nordstrom Rack that shares the same parking lot. Some might critique it as a big box store, but then Whole Foods is based in Texas, while they are headquartered in South Pasadena, just a stone's throw away from the John Birch Society and Blue Boy and Pinky at the Huntington Museum. Pasadena, I've heard it said, is just like mid-America, only more so. I always find it comforting to go there, a movie set version of the sort of streets where I grew up.
Best song ever written about a shopping experience can be found here on Jennifer Terran's Cruel. I've yet to be aware of Albertson's or Safeway inspiring such a ditty.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Acid - Jackie - Alcatrez
Sometimes things just converge without even the slightest bit of intent. In today's mail was the latest issue of The New Yorker with a profile on the career of Otto Preminger. I also received my copy of his 1968 opus Skidoo. Amazingly, there's not one mention of it in the profile in The New Yorker. I won't say that Skidoo is either good or bad. However, among those films that include Carol Channing doing a striptease, Jackie Gleason doing LSD in Alcatrez and Groucho Marx cast as God, this one has no peers.
Best Harry Nilsson lyric in the soundtrack, which comes during the ballet of garbage cans -- which is the hallucination of the Alcatrez prison guards:
"...an old piece of ham is in love with some lamb..."
Although I am not fond of that much Victorian architecture, I have always had a weakness for 19th century greenhouses and conservatories. I'd been eyeing the ones at Paxton Gate for quite a while and picked up this one yesterday. Now the dilemma is what would work best in it. Succulents? Ferns? (Which I really don't care for that much.) African Violets? A collection of Deery Lou and Hello Kitty figures?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In My Neighborhood - The Power of Pork Products
It seems that there is a circle surrounding poor Junk Thief who does not eat pork not so much out of his heritage but his realization that pigs are perhaps the most intelligent of barnyard animals who are greatly traumatized by their servitude to the churning knives and grinders of the world. No vegan, Junk Thief just has never submitted to the Four Pork Products of the Apocalypse despite the constant urging of Salty Miss Jill, Bryce Digdug and Kusala~Joe/Max to form the fourth corner of their incomplete quartet of pork consumption.
Are they behind the above flyer seen this afternoon at 22nd and Mission? Or is it a warning to be on the look out for these three? Perhaps, the Three Horse People of the Apocalypse seeking a rider for the fourth empty saddle on the pony that trails behind them? Please weigh in, if you dare, on this critical topic of our time. And may you live in interesting times.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Interactive Monday: New Slate for Mr. Slate
As Mark Slate on The Man from U.N.C.L.E and then as the side kick to The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.'s April Dancer, Noel Harrison had a quick rush of success in the mid- to late 1960s. However, Girl never had quite the punch of Man. Was America just not quite ready to see Noel playing second fiddle to a girl?
Noel, of course, went on to discover the windmills of his mind, very Quixote-esque for a Brit, but isn't there a La Mancha just east of Brighton as well?
Your assignment: It's early 1967 just after Girl has been canceled, and you're a big deal producer at ABC and know that Noel's just been given the pink slip. Here's your chance to develop a new show surrounding this Nehru jacket wearing Brit of Rex's spawn. Junk Thief is the top brass at ABC who is sipping a martini and chewing on a cigar, and you are sitting across from hit to pitch your idea for Noel's new show.
Ready. Set. Pitch that idea!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Random Basque/Baske Trivia #14 and #375
(We'll be sharing random facts about the Basque (Baske) in the weeks ahead. Why? Why not! You can never know too much about the Basque, and Junk Thief plans to be launching his Basque literacy program among middle school children soon.)
Though Junk Thief generally didn't worry that his very small ear lobes would prevent him from ever wearing big hoop ear rings, it does worry him about stories about his mother's blood line. Maybe its from his father's Jewish line. True Basque are noted for their very large ear lobes, and they tend to take great delight in ridiculing lobe-challenged outsiders.
A favorite battle cry through the years:
eta tiro, eta tiro/belarrimotxari And shoot, and shoot/at the stumpy-eared ones
Euskera is possibly the oldest and generally regarded as the most difficult European language and has little cross over with French or Spanish. However, one word, jauntxo (honcho) has managed to make it into the English vernacular. Though generally defined as boss or big shot, the exact meaning of the word, through the years, has taken on other subtleties.
Reason to Be Happy on a Sunny Sunday
It's been a perfect, gorgeous Sunday in San Francisco. A good day to celebrate not being in Fat City and trying to do something other than the personal catch up needed after a week on the road. Among the random tasks in my bottomless stash of various transfers has been putting a number of Mina Mazzini videos into MP3 format. I think she reached her peak around 1973 or 1974 when she covered several Brecht/Weill tunes. But her specials from the latter half of the 1960s are gloriously surreal. It's sort of like seeing Lola Heatherton at the Hollywood Palace under the direction of Count Visconti with Caligula as the executive producer. If only Connie Francis ever dreamed of being half as melodramatic.
She's recorded in quite a number of languages, but I especially lover her wonderfully wacky diction in English. And sequins seemed to have much more hypnotic lure back in the days of simple blck and white TV, dontcha think?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
What Were You People THINK-ING!?!?!?
Dr. Phil is out of control and his friends just want him to STOP.
Okay, I have never been a fan of Dr. Phil McGraw, native of Vinita, Oklahoma (ironically, or appropriately, home of the Sooner State's enormous state mental hospital), but lately he is verging on annoying me as much as Madonna, Michael Moore and George W. Bush, three people whom I consider to be the three stations of the American Apocalypse. McGraw has come to embody the same level of hypocrisy and greed that those three do. So, perhaps it's advanced from a toxic trilogy to a quacking quartet.
Why do I hate those three (and now four) so much? Because they are obsessed by three things -- money, fame and a "legacy" and (on top of it all) are hollow to the core. The fact that each have different politics is of no consequence. All four are made of the same things -- bullshit and cardboard.
A good seven to nine years ago, Dr. Phil was relatively benign, no more than an Oprah also ran who espoused solid but bland advice. He shared trite Powerpoints about setting life goals. That initially served as the template for his show as he fled from the Oprah mother ship to launch his own empire, shrouded in the veneer of "helping people" but clearly driven by greed and fame. There were plenty of frustrated mid-career professionals who needed "get excited about life" and substance abusers looking for appropriate 12-step programs. Solid, traditional and boring. So, soon Dr. Phil learned that the biggest coins are wallowing at the bottom of the cesspool, and you have to choke on a few turds in order to go for the gold. Madonna certainly understands that, and she has emerged from the feces pond to emerge as a self appointed lady of the manor who has cash to burn and buy babies in Africa.
So Dr. Phil has come to air shows with increasingly sleazy themes. "Only you can own your life, Imogene, but I gotta tell you that if you're pregnant with your grandson's baby, you're just askin' for trouble."
Then there was the debacle of Dr. Phil's weight loss challenge. Oh, doctor heal thyself! He even introduced his branded of "Dr. Phil Bars". What were they made of? Bacon grease and elephant lard? Like this man is authorized to give me tips on weight loss? My favorite line during this stage of his career was: "Steve, you gotta get real about bein' fat or get real fat!" Apparently being real is a key to surviving while under the watchful eye of Dr. Phil.
I have to admit I've been pretty oblivious to Dr. Phil until his recent dive to below the deepest depths of the toilet bowl of fucked up Americana during his emergency intervention at the behest of the family of Britney Spears, a process he promised to expose in all its tabloid trashiness for record ratings until even his most loyal fans agreed that this tubby Texan had finally gnarled on one too many dysfunctional trailer trash famiies.
Mercifully, I think Dr. Phil is on the verge of nearing the end of his syndication contracts. While flying from the fattest city in the U.S. (where you can buy 320 count boxes of Dr. Phil bars at Sam's Club), I did transit through Houston (which is really pissed that it has lost the #1 spot in the tubbo metropolis competition). Though I usually cringe when I hear that we are landing in George Bush Airport (Gee, why not name it Placa de Pinochet or Hitler's Hide-Away?), I was sort of pleased to learn that Dr. Phil is making a smooth transition from broadcasting franchising to food franchising. Not with Dr. Phil's bars but the artery clogging food he so loves. Wedged right in between Bubba Gump's and Starbucks in George Bush Airport I discovered the new collaboration between Dr. Phil and the often maligned Cracker Barrell - FAT CRACKERS. He has wisely chosen the lead of other washed up entertainers (Arthur Treacher's Fish 'n' Chips, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Jimmy Dean Sausage) and learned the importance and residuals of unhealthy food branding. There at the entry was a huge portrait of Dr. Phil gnawing on a barbecued rib as he dispensed advice on setting one's life goals. Just as I started to nab a photo, a member of the TSA shook an angry index finger of me and I had to put away the camera.
So I went onto Dr. Phil's website and was intrigued to learn that there was quite a number of names Dr. Phil went through before settling on FAT CRACKERS. Here is a sampling:
- Phil 'Er Up
- Gravy a Go Go
- Fry Me Up, Fry Me Down!
- Beyond the Gravy
- Gotta Fry Before I Get Too Old
- What Would Elvis Eat?
- Gravy Acres
- Lord of the Onion Rings
- Garçon, There’s a Pig in My Gravy!
- Phat Phil's Phry Depot
- The Good, The Bad and the Gravy
- Yes, We Pecan!
- Dr. Phil's Gravy Pops (Too close to Gravy on a Stick for my attorney's comfort)
- Fry Ask Fry?
- Ain't Nuthin' But a Butterhorndawg
- Fry, Mommy, Fry!