Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Best Bad Idea Ever
I must admit that even though I thought I knew my Bay area history, I never really knew about the thwarted late 1960s development project Marincello that would have included 50 high rise towers and 30,000 residents clustered among the Marin Headlands.
Appalling on just about every level, it's also hard not to wonder what it would be like to live in the penthouse of one of the towers for a week. That's one of those things I'll try to imagine in my head but also be thankful never happened.
Basura. The Movie!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sittin' Around, Hangin' Out, Doin' Our Thang
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sittin' Around, Hangin' Out, Doin' Our Thang
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sittin' Around, Hangin' Out, Doin' Our Thang
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Then Blooming Junk Thief
Can you see why in 1971 my parents said "We're not terribly surprised," when I shared certain news with them around the time that I was obsessed by the movie The Boyfriend and acquired the soundtrack and all the related clippings of reviews and related articles. Perhaps because I went around the house singing a paraphrased version of the title tunes lyrics (I'm wild about/Just simply can't do without/That certain thing called the boyfriend) was a bit of a give away. Does the fact that 38 years later I still have this trove of treasures/junk (I am a Junk Thief) say anything as well?
Of course, if I hadn't, you would not have the privilege of reading this May 4, 1971, Look magazine article about the new and improved Twiggy. At the time I remember being particularly struck by the fact that her "boyfriend" Justin bought $100 shoes which my parents thought was appalling. (When was the last time that I bought shoes that cost only $100?)
We aim to inform and promote culture here at Junk Thief.
(P.S. Click on the Look magazine clipping jpegs to read them more easily.)
So She's Still Out There
What We're Listening to This Morning
Friday, September 25, 2009
Happy Sad Friday
There are some things from the past that touch you in a weird happy-sad way that you just can't explain, and this video definitely is one of them. I love everything visual and auditory about this Jimmy Webb penned tune sung by one of my favorite groups when I was a child. Even the opening kiddo cheers touch me.
I actually saw them perform this around the same time in similar outfits. They were a perfect wholesome groovy-lite that my parents weren't threatened by . I had an odd attraction to Ron Townson as a child. And as this clip proves, bears don't have to be fat slobs but can be dapper, fashion forward gentlemen. There was something about how Townson always opened his mouth so widely when he sang.
Marilyn McCoo started to annoy me in the 1970s and 1980s, and I've really not given a thought to her in 20 years. But I look at this clip and am stunned by how perfect she was then. Gorgeous, all the right moves and that belt! Oh, that five inch wide belt!
I remember my grandmother taking me to see them at a symphony pops series in Oklahoma City that was a tribute to local legend Jimmy Webb, and they performed The Magic Garden in its entirety. Midway, my grandmother turned to me with a bewildered smile and said, "Oh, I just realized that they're black." Just when I thought she was going to say something wretched, she added, "Isn't that marvelous?"
Thursday, September 24, 2009
So Many Parties, So Little Time
OMG! Windows 7 is coming! I'm really in a dilemma. Should I host my launch party for Windows 7 the same week as the launch of Bon Ami 2.0? Both will revolutionize my daily life.
This video is great fun. The blatantly racist "they did by letting you be involved" jab at 5:50 is pretty shocking and finally unmasks the tension brewing beneath this happy talk. Just imagine how things will go at the actual party when there is real booze flowing.
Please weigh in, and let me know if you'll be coming to the launch party.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Clorox Code - Part 2
After an awkward introduction in the parking lot, Sally Kellerman invited me to jump in her Range Rover with Dan Brown, and we hopped onto the 24 towards downtown Oakland.
Sally pulled the black monolith of an SUV into a parking garage and we crossed 12th Street, staring up at the white monolith of a building constructed from fortunes made from bleach.
A friendly greeter directed us to the visitors center and handed us literature asking if we would like to see their orientation film. We said yes and went into a small theater, its walls, carpet furnishings all a blinding shade of brilliant white. Embedded in the while was the watermark Clorox logo and the catch phrase "A food and chemical company".
"Food and...chemicals..." Sally said with trepidation, holding her brochure against her mouth as she looked at the two or three other visitors just before the lights dimmed.
A pleasant young woman with an eerily dulcet grin walked to the front of the room. "Hello, and welcome to Clorox Center. We're pleased to present today's program about the history of Clorox, its unique culture and its contributions to the larger culture."
The lights dimmed and showed images of early 20th century Oakland and then up on the screen came the number 12. The year was 1912 when a group of entrepeneurs came together to found a new firm.
"Twelve. Twelve. The cult of twelve," Dan whispered.
Five men came together to start Clorox --- then called Electro-Alkaline Company. -- that year and filed papers of incorporation. There was then a brief description of the firm's founding fathers: Archibald Taft, a banker; Edward Hughes, a purveyor of wood and coal; Charles Husband, a bookkeeper; Rufus Myers, a lawyer; and William Hussey.
"Husband and Hussey," Dan whispered. "I'm just saying"
"I loved Olivia Hussey. Such a great name," Sally said, refusing to acknowledge any conspiracy.
"Hush, we're trying to watch the film," a voice chided them from a few rows back.
The film then showed the evolution of bleach through the years, from industrial strength to non-bleaching whitener. And onward into 21st Century as a fascinating morphing of this stalwart product found its way into moistened wipes, bleaching pens and even dental products.
The film concluded with an atmospheric tribute to the brand as angelic voices hummed over the drone of electronic rhythm and images of filth were cleared by liquid dissolves. The film ended in white, bright light and then the room was flooded with near blinding light.
A group of three young men in white hooded robes appeared at the front of the room.
"We hope you enjoyed the program," the man in the middle said. He turned and opened a double door behind him. "And now, are you ready to enter the inner chamber."
Dan looked nervously at Sally who held his hand and insisted. "Dan, we must. We must. Otherwise we'll never know for sure."
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'm Beginning to Like Segundo de Chomón Almost as Much as Georges Melies
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The Clorox Code - Part 1
Over a late lunch on a Tuesday, I noted a distinctive profile and shaggy head of hair beneath a familiar fedora at the table beside me at Pasta Pomodoro in Rockridge. I was fairly sure I knew who she was, but I wasn't certain until I heard her place her order.
"The Pasta Putanesca with a green salad. Ranch dressing on the side. Hidden Valley Ranch, of course."
Yes, it was none other than the Voice of Hidden Ranch, Miss Sally Kellerman. The bland man sitting next to her looked familiar, and it took me a while to place him. Finally it all fit. It was Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.
I tried not to be too obvious as I eavesdropped. "Dan, I'm not saying that there's any conspiracy," Sally said. "It's just that I've always been curious about where the hidden valley of the salad dressing comes from. After all these year's I get those mysterious checks from an anonymous bank in Switzerland. I'm just...you know curious." Sally pulled back her blonde tresses that, at 72, she had cleverly styled in a modified Cousin Itt-do. It was the style you could use to cover up the features you'd rather not have on display but still have your eyes visible, for example, without showing the lines around them.
"But it's made from Clorox!" Dan screamed.
Taking a sip Peligrino, Sally chuckled calmly and patted his hand. "Now, now, Dan. It's made by Clorox bleach not from Clorox bleach." As she so flawless placed the proper emphasis on the right prepositions it was easy to see why Sally is revered as an absolute god in the world of voice work. Many voice actors study for years hoping to have "The Kellerman", that voice once described as having "the perfect patina of a whisper of bourbon for breakfast and the gravitas of half a Turkish cigarette each day before lunch."
Sally had reached her silver screen pinnacle in 1973 in Lost Horizon where she went to a Nepali hidden valley called Shangri La but had to end up having George Hamilton as a boyfriend. No wonder she abandonded film roles for voice work.
"Dan, I'm sure Clorox is a perfectly legimate corporation," Sally said. "It's just that I have...questions."
"Clearly there is a conspiracy and a cover up," Dan said with a quiver in his voice.
"Oh, it's surely nothing that big"
"Sally, can you explain where the Hidden Valley actually is?"
"Well, no. All I know is that Clorox is based here in Oakland. I think we should just drop in."
"Exactly," Dan said. "The more you look at it, the more it gets fishy."
Just then a server brought my grilled salmon. "Oh, fish, I should have ordered that," Sally said.
"It's very intriguing that the Clorox logo is a diamond, a form that is a rhombus," Dan said. "Further, their headquarters is in a diamond-shaped building."
"Uh, that's all pretty superfluous, don't you think" Sally quizzed.
"No, it's central to solving the code..." Dan took a couple more bites of arugula. " In modal logic, the diamond or rhombus expresses the possibility of the following expression. For example, the expression expresses that it is possible that P is true."
"Can you speak in English, please, " Sally pleaded.
"Okay, consider this...The rhombus is consistently divisible by the number 12 in every combination. The Clorox headquarters is on 12th Street and is 12 stories tall and is the anchor of Oakland City Center which takes up 12 city blocks."
"Twelve. Twelve. Twelve. It's just a number," Sally pleaded.
"Oh, is it?" Dan asked. "Consider this. Twelve months in a year. Twelve hours in a day. Twelves eggs in a dozen. Twelve disciples. Twelve original Free Masons."
"Oh, shit, here we go..." Sally moaned.
"And get this," Dan said, leaning in closer. "What is across the street from Clorox as 1212 Twelfth Street? The Oakland Masonic Temple. And need I remind you what numbers represent the number 12. One and two, the bedrock of binary code."
"Bullshit, everyone knows that binary code is zero and one!" Sally screamed.
"But 0 and 1 add up to one. That makes no sense."
"You make no sense," Sally blurted out and asked for the check. Though I was not finished, I asked for my check too and followed them to the parking lot as they headed to Sally's Range Rover, likely ready to head over to Clorox.
With my eyes down, I turned my head as I heard Sally blurt out, "Are you following us?"
Monday, September 14, 2009
What We're Seeing in the Mission
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The Children's Prison
Some days make it more real than others.
It's always there, the children's prison, evident in the hardest lines in your face.
Brittle as those stubborn grey hairs you so diligently pluck until you give up and let them spew like the weeds and cobwebs that consume the yard where you continue to threaten to host another barbecue.
They've rated Portland a stressful city because it is so "starved" for sun. Yet roses thrive there, and your heart longs for its subdued, nurturing light.
Even as a child you hated sun and heat. It only made the nastier children smell worse. Now they are in skin cancer wards or terrace bars in Tempe, sitting under the misters and comparing ill-begotten tattoos and piercings.
There will always be a children's prison, until the day you fall in the desert. It is always there, like some memory you should have let go but have pickled in an airless steamy jar and put on the shelf to swelter as it is teased by beams of mocking sunlight.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Whither the Lowly Incandescent?
At the stroke of midnight, September 1, 2009 -- a moment that will forever live in infamy when the European Union defiled the grand legacy of Thomas Edison and the incandescent light bulb. Rumblings of similar insanity were already sweeping the US -- a nation on the verge of the horror of single payer health care, Brie on Demand, unsegregated Perrier spouting water fountains, medicinal heroin, the metric system, football really being soccer and death panel inducing uncircumcised penises -- and holding the nation in the grips of the current Nazi/Stalinist regime.
In this dark moment when our nation is at threat of our children being forced to eat artisan bread, organic fruit and read King and King, a brave voice comes from the uppermost 'burbs of the Twin Cities as brilliant as the beacon of a GE 60-100-150 three-way bulb. Having the vision in 2008 to introduce the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act stands Michele Representative Bachmann.
Though no fan of science, Representative Bachmann recognizes that old science is less evil than new science and points out that the halogen and florescent bulbs will spew more mercury into our society than the many platters that Jeremy Piven could consume at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.
Mercury. Madness. Go ask Alice. Mercury. Bulbs.
Michele is driven by these thoughts as she walks through the "hardware" aisles of a Walgreens in Adams-Morgan and fondly touches the rows of incandescents resting on the shelves like innocent babies, oblivious that like a flock of Dodo birds they are fated for the Auschwitz style ovens planned by the cruel oligarchy of the Obama White House.
Closing her eyes, Michele is reminded of the time she visited the two Menlo Parks -- in California and New Jersey (where she got a great deal at the Ann Klein outlet in the mall) and sends out a prayer to the memory of Edison. Edison. Menlo. Edison. Menlo. Santa Michele. Santo Edison.
In a near trance, Michele is transported to Mount Menlo where she stands before the power of Menlo, the Greek god of invention. He peers down to her, tiny wire filigrees connecting in his eyes until they are lit brightly, giving her the strength to soldier onward, to champion the American right of choice, to embrace the unhealthy, unsustainable, environmentally destructive, insane values of our fore bearers. She imagines the rotting corpse of Ronald Reagan emerging from his grave like Frankenstein, his rotted brain only slightly more moldy than it was in 1985. Freedom. Contras. Innocent victims. Jolt Cola. Flock of Seagulls. Ah.
Michele falls to the floor, her crotch moist and head bleeding on the tiles as the announcement on the