Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Isn't this image just haunting? The minute I saw it, I knew I had to share it with you. It captures the more macabre aspects of an abandoned amusement area.
Maybe I will take up photography, making a habit of visiting such places, shooting odd imagery at various angles, giving them a haunted patina they might not otherwise have had. And these kinds of places figure big in literature; if you know any good ones, let me know..
This could be an exciting harbinger of things to come!
Don't expect me to ride this, though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
What I thought was in the distance is close to materializing. Today is my last week at work, and soon I will be sprung loose into an Unknown I have always feared, but now feel ready to face. I hope I discover new and exciting challenges, and can enjoy myself, after nearly 36 years of work. Can you believe it? At times, it seems like yesterday.
But it is not, and I still have till Friday to go. So count down with me, girls, and I will report my transition every step of the way.
Better than that other transition we face this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, January 16, 2017
I always thought Edith Wharton pioneered what has come to be known as "The New York Novel," but I am sure if I did my scholarly research--turning up enough for a thesis or dissertation topic--I would discover obscure others before her, who trafficked in the same areas.
So, why do I feel like coming down so hard on Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's first novel, "The Nest?" I think the reason is, for those of us who live in New York, we know these types all too well, so why do we need to read about them???????????
I have to question whether Ms. Sweeney is familiar with "The Little Foxes," not only because the quartet of siblings here is utterly despicable--and not nearly as fascinating and engineering as the Hubbards and Giddenses--but because I couldn't help noticing that the eldest child is named Leo, and how many Leos does one meet, even in literature?
What you have here is a compendium of clichéd characters vying for "The Nest," which is cliché in itself--a divisible inheritance each one is to receive, and that everyone thinks will solve whatever immediate financial problems they are facing. But how can problems be solved, unless the greed stops someplace, and these whiners just won't quit?????????
Leo is the worst of the lot--the very New York male archetype I wrote about the other day, in my post on the Upper West Side. He feels he is entitled to grab everything--money, his dick, pussy--from whatever and whomever he wants, when he wants it! I have to confess, I kept reading to see if this a-hole would get his comeuppance; I am certain Ms. Sweeney thinks she gave him one, but, as far as I am concerned, she let Leo get away with everything, walking off into the sunset, and I cannot forgive her, for that.
Brother Jack, who is gay, is not much better, allowing himself to be enabled by a partner who genuinely loves and supports him, while he schemes and screws his way through life, deceiving Walker (the aggrieved partner) every step along the way. He does get the comeuppance he deserves, and it is no wonder the others refer to him as "Leo-lite;" he is just as despicable.
So, too, is Melody, (this family's last name is Plumb, but no relation to Eve, who played Jan on "The Brady Bunch," unfortunately!!!!!!!!) married to a loving attorney named Walter, but is a garden variety suburban bitch--hello!!!!!!--who is raising her twin daughters to be suburban clones of herself, yet has no idea one is a lesbian, and the other does not care!!!!!!!!! Her materialism, where she refuses to work, is vile, and I could not help hoping the daughters get away from this bitch, but fast.
Beatrice is the most benign of the siblings--a promising writer who has failed, but is trying again, and the only one with any humanity at all, as she ends up with someone at the end. I found her tolerable, but the way in which she was able to tolerate her siblings did not ring true for me; she is no saint, and even a saint would walk away from this group!
Still, I did love the author's dark and cynical tone throughout. Until the very end, where things morph into a wealth of hope and good cheer, like "Moonstruck." Who does Sweeney think she is??????????????
One problem is that, once upon a time, unknown writers--Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Judith Guest--would emerge from the unsolicited pile. These days, if one does not spring forth from the Corporation Factory known as University Writing Programs, complete with MFA, one does not stand a chance. Ms. Sweeney hails from such, and while she can write, her material here is much too formulaic and trite. "The Nest" may attract lovers of the New York novel, but will disappoint with its overall familiarity.
Try something different, Ms. Sweeney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
William Peter Blatty, known forevermore as the author of "The Exorcist," has died. He passed away, at 89, from multiple myeloma, at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 89.
He was a Catholic, but I get the sense he was no Bernadette. Still, he fathered seven children, so in one sense he was VERY Catholic.
The publication of "The Exorcist" caused a furor I still recall, 46 years later.
I was in high school, and taking an English course called "Popular Modern Fiction." We had to choose a genre for the semester, and stick with it. This pissed me off, because I read books from all genres, darlings. Nevertheless, I chose "Supernatural," and the timing could not have been better, because this was when "The Exorcist" was Number One on the New York Times Best-Seller List, which I took seriously, back then. In the Number Two spot was another destined classic, Thomas Tryon's "The Other." Though the second is in many ways better, "The Exorcist" was the sensation of the season; that era's "Gone With The Wind," if you will.
Now, back then, my source for all books not yet in paperback, was my mother's friend, Jean Smith, whom I called "Aunt Jean." She lived in a house no longer there on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Abbott Street, in Highland Park. Just a block over from us. She belonged to every book club out there, and was quite a reader. Coming home at night, many times, it was not uncommon to see Aunt Jean, seated in her window, reading away, seated on her sofa. This is what I envisioned my adulthood would be like.
Once I entered my teens, and transitioned over to adult fiction, Aunt Jean was willing to loan me any books out of her collection. When it came time for me to read "The Exorcist," for my class assignment, she agreed--but after she read it first. A few days later, she called my mother, telling her she did not want to loan me the book, because of its graphic language, and the depictions of the Black Mass, which she did not think would be appropriate for me.
My parents jumped on the prohibition bandwagon, and that was that. But I was pretty resourceful. For the first, and probably only time in my life, I went to my local library, and put it on hold. I was frankly surprised that the two women who ran the joint, Eunice Marowitz and Shirley Berkowitz, would allow me to, (they had forbidden me from reserving Nabokov's "ADA," just a few years before) but, this time, there was no problem. They knew me pretty well, by then, and figured if I was going to read it, no matter what, it might as well be from them.
I didn't get my copy till around before Christmas, 1971. I actually hid the book in my room, reading it in sections. At one point, we were decorating the Christmas tree downstairs--it must have been days before the holiday--and, in minute increments, I would sneak up to my room, reading sections, absorbed in a book I did want to put down. I was fascinated--like everyone else. Yes, it was graphic and gory, but that was the way Blatty chose to tell it. (I did not know about Raymond Russell's "The Case Against Satan," which I read quite recently. It tells basically the same story, in more lyrical fashion.)
Only after I had finished and returned the book, did I tell my parents I had read it, which I did one evening at the dinner table, bursting out in maniacal laughter. My parents probably thought I was possessed. Dinner at our house was fun, but not exactly the Cleavers!!!!!!!!!!!
I owned the book finally, in paperback, and now I have a permanent hard backed copy. I used to read it cover to cover on evenings when I was bored, or depressed, but have not reached for it in awhile. It always transported me back to that initial time.
Now, for Mr. Blatty, the novel' s success was a blessing and a curse. It satisfied the fantasy for a blockbuster that every writer has, but it was so eclipsing of anything he tried to do afterward he never could get past it. I had no idea that, prior, he was a comedy, and screenwriter, and had written the novel and the screenplay, for "John Golfarb, Please Come Home," a popular title in the day.
"The Exorcist" was cursed, darlings. Not just for Blatty--may he rest in peace; he leaves a legacy behind him-- but for those who worked on the 1973 movie.
Maybe Aunt Jean was right, after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, January 15, 2017
When I was young and single, this area of Manhattan was a playground for me. I took voice lessons there, saw therapists there; for a time the Loew's 84th was the only major movie theater, and many actors, many of the "Chorus Line" people, also young and single.
Arriving in Manhattan, in the Eighties, the Upper West Side was the area everyone--myself included--wanted to live. And if all who said they wanted this had actually made it there, the neighborhood could not support a population that size.
Time, and my life, moved on. I really have not been up there in years, if closer to decades. David and I were there, Friday evening, to attend a shul at B'nai Jerushn, on West 88th Street. We were there to support our friend, Avive, who had recently lost her mother.
The service and environment were beautiful. And the neighborhood still is, in that sense. But what has crept into it is appalling. It has gone from the artsy to the Straight Establishment.
While we were walking to the synagogue, we passed this Mr. Self-Righteous Corporation Shit Type. You know, the kind who bargain with their wives in terms of blow jobs, and for whom no other person exists, it is all about them, because they work downtown. He, of course, was talking loudly into his cell phone, about his flight tomorrow, so pumped up with his own self-importance, I wanted to gag! These guys are now a dime a dozen in this area. Just because they have a penis and testicles, they think they can run the world???????? No wonder Trump got elected!!!!!!!
Now, don't think I am bashing straight men! Oh, no! For, no sooner did we pass this lug, when a Yuppette (or what at one time might have been called such) came along, talking loudly to the world on her cell phone, so everyone knew her business. She was facing a "real" crisis she voiced to the person on the other end of the line--"Should I take a gymnastics class?" Oh, my God! Luxury problems! There types mark the end of the world, with their self-absorption. I wanted to yell, "Why don't you take a class in being a decent, productive being, you fucking bitch??????????" You can imagine the fight that would have broken out.
To think I was once enchanted with the Upper West Side. But, now all that enchanted me has gone, beginning with Equity Library Theatre. Maybe that is when the decline began.
As for me, I am content in Brooklyn. The Upper West Side is verboten to me!
I bet the Castevets would not reside there, anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Back when I was a child--over fifty years ago--there was this ex-sportsman named Jim Dooley, who preached about the virtues of Florida living. One of my uncles became so obsessed, he uprooted his entire family from Jersey to there--and soon my father's siblings followed. Not just them, but an entire generation. A generation that by now has pretty much vanished, but whose lingering traces remind us of when the state was truly a retirement mecca.
But it also has its underbelly. Adam Walsh's murder, Aileen Wuornos' killings, and Casey Anthony's killing of her daughter, Caylee, all took place there. At some point during the transition of generations, Florida morphed into the Whack Job State.
Not to besmirch all the good people that do live there. But, darlings, really, what is in that water down there????????????
Which brings me to Bradley Hubbard, from the Pensacola area. The man is an ugly looking "Bubba." He is 23, but looks older. From his face, it is very likely he is obese in a White Trash sort of way. He would have made Bitch Of The Week, had I waited, but I just could not wait to write about him.
Bradley was arrested, after December 28, when his female roommate could stand it n o longer. He had--I kid you not--been having an ongoing sexual relationship with his pit bull, a female, named "Baby Girl."
This is SO disgusting and inhumane! Now, I may not like pit bulls, I may be a little afraid of them, but I have no doubt they have feelings, and are capable of being loved as much as any other dog. To do this to any animal is unthinkable--the worst. When the poor dog was examined, the vet found evidence of genital abuse!
Hey, Bradley, bro', what's wrong, you can't get a woman??????? Or a man????????? So, you go after a dog, who has no say in the matter? Well, actually, he could, and should have bitten your balls off, but who knows what contorted positions the dog was held down.
You ugly gas bag, you should stick with inflatable dolls, or artificial vaginas! You're so ugly that is the best you can do!!!!!!!!!!!!
He shows up in court on February 2--Ground Hog Day--to get sentenced. I hope he goes to prison and gets corn holed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poor Baby Girl. I hope she gets the recovery and love she deserves. No animal should have to suffer like this.
Liz Smith used to say, "Only in New York." I say "Only in Florida, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!"
Saturday, January 14, 2017
I first became aware of the concept of a padded cell, back in the Sixties, when, as a child, I read the Classic Comics version of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." In one panel, the creator, Victor Frankenstein, thought to be mad by his family and community, is placed in a padded cell--and the walls were pink. I remember realizing why the cell was padded--to keep the enraged or upset who might flail about from injuring themselves--but I loved the style of the pink. White just does not cut it.
So, please remember, darlings, if I am ever committed (hopefully not!) make sure the cell is pink!
Or else the staff will find they have REAL trouble on their hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!