Thursday, December 30, 2010

Anticipation -- is making me wait...

I want to own them sometime:

Reading Jackie, by William Kuhn
Jackie as Editor, by Greg Lawrence

Both books talk about the twenty years Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent in New York City working as a book editor, at two different publishing companies -- Viking, and Doubleday.
In my experience reading about her life -- you feel yourself being "pelted with crap" dredged from scandal sheets (which, let's face it, only say terrible things about everybody), alleging that she may have -- spent money, had a relationship or two with humans of the Opposite Sex. --

Aa-aauuhhgg--augh--big deal...
And -- that type of biographer -- with the pen dipped in mud, right? -- hardly talks at all about JBKO's years as NY editor because -- you know -- they cannot come up with any garbage -! And the whole -- Interesting Books / Quality Ideas / Hard Work / Supporting Causes and Issues Important to the Human Spirit THING -- turns those writers to stone. They can't deal with it.

So after, like -- 50,000 pages of unsubstantiated gossip & drivel, they write, possibly, a sentence: "Oh, and she worked as a book editor in New York 1975 to 1994." Other than that -- they - got - nuthin'
I'm so glad these two New books are out, by Kuhn and Lawrence
I have often wished someone would write about the Editing Years -- and now two people have.
Can't wait.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Talkin' miracle on 34th street blues

Sometimes you don't know how to feel.
Was wondering if I could
"talk" a movie.
Like -- Bob Dylan sings his thoughts.
Rappers rap a song.
Can I talk a movie?
------ --------
Was thinking of trying that, with the movie
and the movie
"Miracle On 34th Street" --
(no spurious re-makes, the Real one, from 1947).


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"...ask what you can do for your country"

No Labels
Rise Of The Center
power to the people


Monday, December 27, 2010

A decree went out from Caesar Augustus

Christmas Eve service
with friends
at Episcopal Church last Friday night --
the pastor got up there -- he was filling in for regular Episco. priest who was ill -- this guy, robed, said, "You can see I'm not Father ____________, I'm ______________________"
...and when I heard his name,
realized this is Lutheran minister in whose basement
I rented space (and called it an "apartment")
when I was 16 and had first Summer Job away from home,
in our state capital.

One of those "small world" moments.
He talked about the economy in his sermon. He said economy is not based on numbers, as many believe; it's based on people's will and desire -- based on people's efforts, and What They Want.

(Wish I had the text of it -- it was good!)

And the word went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. ...
(We got that, too. ...)
A nice Christmas Eve -- sky wasn't black, was fuzzy-gray: what is that? Cloud cover? Fog? I'm clueless.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas magic

One of my favorite things at Christmas is
to watch two "Bewitched" (TV series) episodes with a Christmas theme:

"Sisters At Heart"
"Humbug Not To Be Spoken Here"
"Sisters" -- 1970 -- written by the tenth-grade English class from L.A. high school --
the theme includes a social issue which was current at the time --
I thought it was cool that the students at the time had "read" and understood the style of "Bewitched" situations and themes and writing and humor
so well that they could -- DO that.
Thought that was terrific.

"Sisters" has the replacement Darrin, Dick Sargent.
The "Humbug" episode has the "real" Darrin -- Dick York -- (yeah, the guy with the face.)
The grumpy client, Mr. Mortimer, who does not believe in "all this Christmas fuss" is played by an actor named Charles Lane, who also appeared in the Christmas-themed film, "It's A Wonderful Life" -- (Mr. Potter's rent collector who, in one scene, has to sit down & Explain Things to Mr. Potter....)

Charles Lane is great. His face is so familiar -- he appeared in A LOT of movies & TV shows, in a career which continued decade upon decade.

A person may view the above-referenced episodes on You Tube.

...and of course -- almost forgot to note -- the Humbug "Bewitched" episode is of course a take-off on Charles Dickens' story, "A Christmas Carol" ...

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good - night!"


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

just what I always wanted what is it

Thinking about it -- best holiday recollections are very simple moments and that overall sense of anticipation and mysteriousness.
The awe of all those presents
under the Tree
in the dark
in the early morning.

And then there's always the True Meaning of Christmas --
the goal being to Live that, year-round,
but of course we live with the knowledge that it will be "Merry Christmas" on the 25th, and then Back to bombing people into the Dark Ages (or the Stone Age, however that saying goes), the next day. Or Monday.

Merry Christmas!
(Bombs - away!)
Peace on earth, goodwill toward men!
(Back to business.)

One of my earliest memories: was in the living room, was not in kindergarten yet -- at least a year before -- and the really tall Christmas tree which we had decorated, and our calico cat urgently tap-whacking at a dangling tree ornament with her paw, and then monitoring it with the typical catly attitude of, "how dare that ornament swing around like that?" when she's the one who just hit it -- it's as if cats fake themselves out -- playing "pretend" to themselves...

I thought it was so great -- so cute and beautiful, to watch her -- so went and told parents -- because others should enjoy this, too...then there's all this
flurry of hurry and worry...
Is the cat knocking down ornaments?
Is anything broken?
etc. etc. -- Immediate exodus to living room....
No harm; all well.
Think I learned in that moment,
"If you are going to tell somebody something, you had better tell it right or they won't "get it."
In our family we had a joke where -- you open a present, hold it up, and say,
(jubilantly): "It's wonderful! Just what I've always wanted!" - then
(stealthily, off to the side): "What is it?"
Was based on something which actually happened once when somebody-or-other's relative got carried away with the habit of saying, "Wonderful! Just what I've always wanted!" and belatedly realized they actually didn't KNOW what the thing was, and -- asked.
So -- you stayed alert to an opportunity for,
"Wonderful! Just what I've always wanted!
(What is it?)"
One Christmas when I was in pre-school years, there were under-the-tree presents, and then there was one more that I had to be taken out to the garage to see.
(A garage-present?? What kind of present is in the garage?"
It was a sled-situation.
Merry Christmas, man! Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

they "had issues"

Do others besides me remember a movie called
where a TV newscaster urges Americans to open their windows
and shout out as loudly as possible,

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" - ?


Friday, December 17, 2010

only a pawn in their game

On Google
type in
Rise Of The Center.

They've got something going on.

Having realized so many people are "unplugged" from our political system --
or keeping up with reliable, serious news (which must be sought out, while negative hate-mongering will batter you each time you turn on most shows you think are supposed to be "news"),
searching for sanity and

Rise of the Center
ROTC ...


Thursday, December 16, 2010

damn right have you seen my thighs

Sex And The City 2
is very funny, and well done.
A fun movie to see if you enjoy those characters, and that -- "franchise."

The critics beat up on it --
the critics just --
have bees in their bonnets.

SATC was racy as an HBO series, and the two movies match up to that -- (if you will be put off by a gay wedding right in the first act -- don't rent it!)

The "Samantha Jones" character -- indefatigable.
In both her business, and her social life.
(In the first HBO season, 1998, Samantha and Carrie in a nightclub: Samantha zeroes in on the "fabulous" eligible man she wants to meet up with:
Carrie: "He only dates models."
Samantha: "Well -- [mirror check] -- I'm as pretty as a model, and -- I own my own business!"
And she takes off after the guy.
(Carrie's voice-over): "Samantha had the kind of deluded self-confidence that leads men like Ross Perot to run for president."

All four of these ladies -- seriously, could anyone actually
eat that much
shop that much
or ... "date" that much??

"Seriously," -- no.
That's why it's a TV show & two movies; not serious -- fun.
(The fashions! The hair-and-make-up! Fun!)
Some viewers would say Samantha has loose morals, sexually, and risks social disease.
(Come to think of it, I've said that -- if only to myself.)
However, the character has some kind of combination of determination and optimism which is inspiring and amusing. Sometimes she has to muster optimism in desperate (if silly) circumstances.

Well -- she's in public relations. She "sells the sizzle." You have to have optimism for that, and when you don't have it, you've got to fake it.

[Dressy lunch, New York City, the four women]
Samantha is telling the other three about all the terrific vitamins she's taking, and the great results she's getting from them.
Ever-skeptical Miranda: "Where are you getting your information?"
Samantha (holds up a hard-cover book with Suzanne Somers' picture on the front and speaks with aplomb and élan -- lah - dee - dah): "From Suzanne Somers and her team of doctors."

(LOL. Doesn't every celebrity with a book to sell always have a "team" of doctors??!!)
Miranda: "You're taking medical advice from the woman who invented the thigh-master?"
Samantha: "Damn right! Have you seen my thighs?"
The "Carrie Bradshaw" character finally -- finally -- got married to "Mr. Big" in the first SATC movie, and as the "2" movie begins, I was freaked out to see that --
after all that Carrie went through (and put herself through) trying to get that romance to "pan out" as a "real" relationship -- dating for ten years, etc. etc. blah blah blah --
they are married and happy and as the 2 movie gets rolling,
you know what she's doing?
She is --
the ever-living life out of that man!
I couldn't believe it.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I was down in the Senate gym getting a massage...

Go on Google
and type in
Mike Gravel - The Pentagon Papers

Listen to that.


It's the Wild West

[Went looking for "wild west" quotes and found
this: "I won't be wronged,
I won't be insulted, and I won't
be laid a hand on. I don't do
these things to other people,
and I require the same from them.
--J.B. Books in The Shootist, 1976.]
"It's the Wild West."
That's what the I-T (at work) said about the Internet.

"This is Lexington."
That's what someone speaking for "Anonymous" said about the ongoing effort to "avenge" the wikileaks guy's arrest by picking on Master Card and Visa and something called "Pay Pals"). They say they are protecting free speech from BIG GOVERNMENT AND BIG CORPORATE CONTROL.

"This is like The Pentagon Papers."
That is what I say about the Wikileaks phenomenon. (No, event.)

The Pentagon Papers. Have to look it up; was too young when it happened to really get what it was. I had the sense it was a Mystery of some kind that people had to figure out and find out about.
To me, it was alluring.
What I remember:
Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist.
Something about a safe. (The Papers were in it??)
P. Papers wound up in the New York Times.
Government did not enjoy this.
But we seem to have lived through it.
It's the Wild West.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

grouching, slouching

The "Wikileaks" thing -- with the cables / communications from countries around world being "leaked" -- read that there's a sort of group of people -- very loosely related -- mostly guys between 19 and 23 years of age, giving MasterCard and others grief.

Sounds like their concern is
freedom of speech on internet
being constricted by governments and big business

One quoted on the Lede Blog (or nytimes) said, like, "This is Lexington." Like it's fight for freedom.
We live in interesting times.

This week's New York Times Review of Books contains story on
The Master Switch by Tim Wu.
[excerpt from the review]: -------------------
The organizing principle [of the book] ... is what Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, calls "the cycle." "History shows a typical progression of information technologies," he writes, "from somebody's hobby to somebody's industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel -- from open to closed system." Eventually, entrepreneurs or regulators smash apart the closed system, and the cycle begins anew.

The story covers the history of phones, radio, television, movies and, finally, the Internet. All of these businesses are susceptible to the cycle because all depend on networks, whether they're composed of cables in the ground or movie theaters around the country. Once a company starts building such a network or gaining control over one, it begins slouching toward monopoly. If the government is not already deeply involved in the business by then (and it usually is), it soon will be.
------------------------- [end quote]

Would this explanation ( / analysis) make the wikileaks folks and the tormentors of mastercard and other giants feel any better? Would it give them a useful perspective? Would they be OK with it? Should we be?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Snap crackle pop

Friday, posted here about a photograph of
"George Plimpton's Cocktail Party
New York City.
Nov. 30, 1963"
(Come to think of it, that was one week after you-know-what. Well -- the invitations probably went out a week before the day in dallas.
And -- not going to a party you already replied to -- isn't going to un-do what was Done.)
(a humble poem about the photograph)
Snap crackle pop
A room vibrating
with elegant fun
Oval coffee table
Armchair, sofa,
slim end table
another armchair
George Plimpton
"literary agent Maggie Abbott."
On back wall
picture, picture,
.....picture, picture,
............picture, picture
in front of the pictures and
beyond the sofa,
men standing
in groups of --
.....five, two, two, three,
.....and one standing, sitting,
to what
Truman Capote
is saying.
Tall slim glasses in people's hands,
two glasses
on the coffee table
Suits / ties - men.
The women: dresses and
one double strand of
One guy -- standing,
listening --
energetically (!)
Left hand in pocket
Right hand holding
tall slim glass
(all glasses are the same - ?!)
and white handkerchief
sticking up (peeking out?)
from suit jacket pocket,
upper left.
He seems about to levitate.
Windows. Curtains.
Pictures in between.
is black-and-white.
"Really? I hadn't heard that."
"When's his book coming out?"
"What did they think of that?"...
The phrase "tall slim glasses" made me think of a song:
"Long Tall Glasses" -- Leo Sayer -- look it up; listen

Friday, December 10, 2010

the chattering classes

You know how they have "LOL" for "laughing out loud" on the internet? I'm creating a new one: "GAL" for "giggling a little"...

Enticing black-and-white photograph in book about "the 1960s" --
George Plimpton's Cocktail Party
Big living room with two conversation areas (visible in photo) and people standing, sitting.
(Thought one guy looked like a young Henry Kissinger but now don't think so after all.)
The people look animated, heartily intense. Enthusiastic.
I can imagine myself at that cocktail party.
(Step into the photo...)

Paragraph under reads,
[credit TIME, Visions of the 1960s, Copyright 2010 TIME Home Entertainment Inc.]
"No, this isn't a backstage shot from Mad Men; it's a cocktail party at the Upper East Side apartment of Paris Review editor George Plimpton, who would carve out an amusing sideline for himself in the'60s as a sort of Everyman of sports, beginning with his popular 1966 book recounting his attempts to play football with the NFL's Detroit Lions, Paper Lion.

The cattle call of the chattering classes shown above features a host of notables; we won't name them all, but for those who enjoy Where's Waldo?, here are some of the attendees: Ralph Ellison, Peter Matthiessen, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Kopit, Arthur Penn and Truman Capote. Host Plimpton is seated in the left foreground, next to literary agent Maggie Abbott.
-------------------------------------- [end quote]

"The chattering classes."


Thursday, December 9, 2010

greaser, esp usu.

Money, and
Good work
is what a person needs.
The Dictionary is so funny.
They have little codes and abbreviations: "esp" is for "especially";
"usu." means "usually"
Why does "usu" have a . after it, and "esp" does not?
Another thing I may never know.
Walking out the door after work one cold night last week, someone behind me said the word "greaser." "Greasers." "Murmur, mumble, grumble greasers..."
Had the impression he was using that word as an epithet for our Hispanic co-workers.
Had additional impression that it may actually have been meant for me, though am not Hispanic -- maybe an experiment to see if I might
scold preach argue lobby
"at" him.
[Not even gettin' sucked in, babe! Not a chance! Not going down that road -- my car's out here warming up for a minute, and only road I'm going down is the one that leads to home...]
On the way into town, thought -- "he had the wrong word (can't these people even get their damn prejudices organized??)--when I think of the word "greaser" I think it's a guy -- probably a white guy, I don't know -- with slicked-back hair and a T-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in one of the sleeves. You know?
Like Fonzie, on "Happy Days."
They used the word that way in the movie "Shag" (so funny and charming, & such wonderful music !!) -- a girl says, "Oooh, he's a greaser."
The guy she's talking about is like the T-shirt cigarette guy I described above, NOT Hispanic.
AND -- the girl in the movie pronounces "greaser" with the "s" like a "z" which I thought was weird. I would tend to pronounce it the way the co-worker pronounced it -- with the "s" like the "s" in "savvy," or "Lisa."
(The girls in that movie are supposed to be living in South Carolina so wondered if the "greezer" pronunciation was some kind of Southern thing.)
Instead -- get this -- the Dictionary wants us to pronounce it "gree'-zer" too! Like in the movie!
I was surprised. It only allowed that one pronunciation, no second option.
As for definitions, however, they gave me two.
"(1846) 1 : a native or inhabitant of Latin America; esp : MEXICAN -- usu. taken to be offensive
2 : an aggressive swaggering young white male usu. of working-class background"
So -- a "greaser" is BOTH --
Fonzie, AND
Che Guevara.
But only if you want to use that word, which we don't.
Hmm. An aggressive swaggering young white male.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sugar and spice and everything nice

excluding, and
are the central activities / tactics of a new thing psychologists identified in 1995:
Relational Aggression.
You can read about it on the Information Superhighway (internet).
(They were calling it that, in the early 1990s - !! Seems like no one remembers that except me -- they always think I'm off-the-wall...)

It's a relief, sort of, to learn of this, (relational aggression) because -- instead of an uncertain feeling of an amorphous, floating-around, mysterious unpleasantness that you can't understand and wonder if you said / did Something Wrong, you can say, "Hey, I know what that is. I read about it."
Somehow having the information organized and explained makes you less likely to feel hurt by it.

It's attributed to teen-age girls more than anyone else, but some people of various ages and both genders do it.
Psychologists were probably motivated to study it and try to come up with solutions because --
1. trouble in schools, when students' behavior becomes too disruptive and damaging, and
2. "Relational Aggression" would not be "new" (as I put it, above) but it would have increased bad results because Now it can escalate / spiral super-fast, through all the Technology.

After I first read about this phenomenon / behavior pattern, memories went flip, flip, flip, through my head like turning pages in a photo album -- that one! that one! that one!
OMG -- that's what that was, it was Relational Aggression!

There's a more complex level of it, which involves more manipulation through relationships, which is for the Psychologists, not the English Majors to contemplate -- the kind I notice is the "excluding" -- the obvious, circumstantial kind.

A beautiful person who used to work with me told me once that she did not at all care for one man who works here. I asked her Why -- (some people never like any authority figures, but she did not seem like that type) -- she answered (English, her second language, so she had her own style of it) -- "He try to make you feel, these (gesturing with her hands) people are part of my ... my circle, and you are not."

Epiphany! That's what she had perceived -- Relational Aggression.

I've observed several times (and always wondered -- WHY? Why the rudeness?) -- where, OK, two people are in a room. Another person -- person X, walks in, and Person X speaks animatedly with one of the original people in the room and pointedly ignores the other one.

An office manager I observed years ago, would do that same thing in such a rapid-fire way, it was disconcerting and a little scary. It was just that she had practiced a lot and become really good at it. She would turn to one person by her desk and be REALLY-SUPER-NICE, overly-done, laughing almost too loudly, whatever ... very exaggerated behavior. Then she would turn, mid-sentence sometimes, to another person nearby and say, with a hostile expression and a deadly, low, angry voice: "Yes?" or "What do you want?" And then an uncooperative response, then snap back to the first person and do the "Oh my gosh that's so funny, & so great to see you! you always have to come in and talk to me, I know!"

Like -- Mood Ping-Pong or something.

I could never forget listening to one woman tell another (these were not teen-agers, but people in their 50s) that she and her husband had been to a dinner party at B & R's house, Saturday night. You had the impression that the dinner-party one was trying to make the other one feel bad, or something, because she had not been invited to this.
(Meanwhile I'm having one of those moments -- like, hmm, these papers on my desk seem to need re-shuffling, and maybe even to be put into different file folders -- ermh -- anything but watch this silliness. Pretend to ignore...)

The recipient of the information just said something pleasant, like "Oh that sounds like a fun evening" or something & moved forward with a question she had about something else -- appearing unaffected by the Idea of Not Having Been Invited to this Dinner Party.
And the Dinner Party one --
Louder, and with more emphasis.
"P and I went to B & R's Saturday night for a dinner party!"
(LOL) Smooth.
Ve-e-e-e-ry subtle.

I thought at the time, my goodness if you don't have ANY emotional maturity by the time you're in your 50s I don't know when you are going to get it.
But what I needed to remember is, that person probably was not striving for emotional maturity.
"Relational aggression" also reminded me of a time in fifth grade when a whole bunch of girls in my grade level came in from recess really really mad at each other. There were 6 or 7 or 8 of them on Each Side of the conflict, and it was a Whole Big Thing of not speaking to each other. I never knew what it was about. (My father would say, "Do not be drawn into other people's soap operas." [Today we would say, "Don't get sucked into people's drama."])

The evening after the Recess Eruption, I was in a mall store for a little bit, while my mom shopped; I was to meet her in half hour, or something, and I saw Marty, a fifth-grader from a different class. She was involved in that "insurgency" and I remember feeling surprised by that. Because she seemed like a "together" kind of person.
When I saw her in the store, she was going down an aisle, away from me, but in a moment she turned back & hurried over toward me, smiling. She laughed when she reached me: "I wasn't going to talk to you, but then I remembered, you're not one of the ones I'm not talking to!"

We both laughed. It felt grown-up, to be Out at The Store, standing together and talking, without our mothers.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

sincerity and humility: arguing with self

In New York Times Review of Books:
a book called
Dear Mrs. Kennedy
is a collection of some of the letters of condolence received by Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination.

The reviewer writes,
"The letters were written in a spirit of sincerity and humility scarcely imaginable today..."
I read that and immediately wanted to disagree -- no, no -- there is always sincerity and humility, people are no different -- human nature is...

And then I remind myself, 'What are you arguing for? You make observations like that all the time!'

I think we can choose how we are going to be, and then live it, best we can.

On You Tube if you type in
"Jacqueline Kennedy thanking the public"
you will see a televised talk she gave in January of 1964.

"Whenever I can bear to, I read them. ...
All of you who have written to me know how much we all loved him,
and that he returned that love in full measure..."

She says, "loved him" with firm emphasis,
...and that he returned that love in full measure
[those distinctive accents...]


Monday, December 6, 2010

fold my hands and pray for rain

Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door.
Ah -- I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more. ...

--Bob Dylan
"Maggie's Farm"
(album: Bringing It All Back Home)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

tried this too

Bob Woodward and
Carl Bernstein.


try something

E-mailed Ralph Nader, today,
about the Fairness Doctrine.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The following is something I've been wondering about.

(from Wikipedia):
---------------------- The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced.

The 1949 Commission Report served as the foundation for the Fairness Doctrine since it had previously established two more forms of regulation onto broadcasters. These two duties were to provide adequate coverage to public issues and that coverage must be fair in reflecting opposing views.

...In 1987, the FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine.
[end quote]

There you go. That explains what has happened to "the news."
How could President Reagan allow that?
And why didn't President Clinton or Pres. Bush fix this?

Probably the same reason I didn't think too much about it until now.
You grow up in a world where you're accustomed to "Trusting" the "news."...
As a private citizen -- I'm just busy doing stuff.
and as Leaders and Politicians,
they probably don't want to be perceived as arguing with the media --
like they don't want the story-line to get started:
he's trying to change the laws about broadcasting because he doesn't like something they said about him...

Well there'll be criticism -- so what?
As one of my co-workers says, "There comes a time when you just have to Man-Up, and do it."

(When I first read that paragraph in Wikipedia, I thought, "How could FCC just 'abolish' a law?" -- but --
then realized --
it wasn't a law, was a policy. Their own policy.
Somebody had an "agenda" there, and it needs to be reversed.
The Fairness Doctrine needs to be a law, passed by Congress and the President.

(Hope to hear from Phil in Wales on this topic -- how do they do it in U.K.?)