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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tranny Tuesday 

A brood of drag queens dressed to the nines in marabous and high heels, chiffon negligees and diaphanous nightgowns spilling out of a bar to smoke on the sidewalk. The sidewalk glowed with them. They raised their champagne and martini glasses to me as a biked by. At 8:45 on a Tuesday morning, an unexpected benediction. It felt like grace.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nightmares and Dreamscapes 


Billy has been recuperating from kidney issues resulting from the heat prostration he suffered in Texas. To his embarrassment, sometimes he cannot make it through the entire night without a trip to the yard, and will apologetically scratch the door for me to take him out in the middle of the night. The other night I awoke to a thud as he jumped from the bed and ran to the door. I staggered out of bed to take him out. I was barefoot and in just a long t-shirt, commando, like Porky Pig, but with a little more modesty since the t-shirt stretched to just above my knees. It was 4:30 AM and the street was deserted. Still half asleep and shivering, I was enjoying the stillness when a rusted out beater came roaring up the street. The driver was driving in the reckless manner of someone with nothing to lose, like a complete psychopath or someone on a 3 day meth binge searching for some victim upon whom to inflict unspeakable mayhem and depravity.

I grabbed Billy and pressed myself against the side of the house. As if the driver had spied me, he pulled into a driveway up the street and whipped around. Although I was hidden in the shadows on the side of the long corridor that leads up to the house, it was like one of those helpless “you’re the quarry” dreams where your supernatural pursuer can see you through walls and find you no matter where you run or hide. He then skidded to a stop right in front of the house. I was in disbelief that this was happening, frozen by the horrible dreamlike quality of the situation, feeling all the more vulnerable because of my attire. A hulking man jumped out of the car and ran straight for me. I remained cowering in the shadows of the corridor, clutching Billy. He came right up to me, handed me the paper and ran back to his car. It was the newspaper delivery man, and he was completely unruffled, acting as if it was the most natural thing in the world to run into a half dressed customer pressed up against the side of the house in the dark and gripping a Jack Russell terrier at 4:30 in the morning.

A really scary dream sequence.

I almost always enjoy a good skull fuckin’ by Mulholland Drive, but I will never, ever forgive him for that scare.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sparkle Plenty 

While I was poking around for Big Love Youtube clips of my new favorite character, Rhonda, I stumbled across some of little Daveigh Chase’ earlier work in Donnie Darko.

Sparkle Motion!

Sparkle Motion’s little dance routine pretty much sums up everything that was wrong (and yet so right) about the 80s.

Which then led me to the Donnie Darko scene that contains one of the greatest lines in cinematic history:

“I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.”

More Youtube favorites:

French New Wave

Whiling away time in the POW camp.
Di Di Mau!

Ralph Wiggum, the most lovable of retards.

And more.

James Gandolfini honing his Tony Soprano in True Romance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comEver since I watched the movie Mildred Pierce, I’ve always had a soft spot for fledgling femme fatales. Even though they’re on their way to being conniving, hard as nails and utterly ruthless adults, there is something adorable and vulnerable about them at this age, like a panther cub with clumsy, too big paws. Veda Pierce, as scheming, spoiled, grasping, and murderous as she may be, is just such a great damn character, so much more interesting than her long suffering martyr of a mother.

Rhonda Vollmer from Big Love looks and dresses like a heroine from one of those syrupy Janette Oke movies on the Hallmark channel, but within her beats the heart of Veda Pierce (with a little Bad Seed Rhoda thrown in. Rhonda is a sheltered teenager on fundamentalist polygamist compound, but she knows there’s a bigger world out there, one she desperately wants to be part of. Her fine pored beauty and exquisite singing voice have attracted the attention of the compound’s creepy patriarch and self proclaimed prophet, Roman. Even though he’s well into his 70s and she is no more than fifteen, he has chosen her to be his next 40th or so wife. It’s hard to pity the child bride too much - although she is repulsed by his reptilian advances, she clearly enjoys the power that being the patriarch’s favorite confers. She exploits it to get what she wants and, smug in her untouchability, delights in tormenting Roman’s malevolent son. It’s wonderful to see Roman’s son, a truly evil monster, so unnerved by a mere child.

She is be scheming and manipulative and steals what she wants, whether it’s a friend’s iPod or Hardrock Café jacket. After she escapes the compound, she soon snows some women involved in an organization for refugees of polygamist and becomes their poster child, using the organization to launch her singing career. Her peers, the daughter and friend of one of the women, see right through her, but Rhonda blackmails one of them into silence by threatening to expose her lesbian crush on her best friend. Whether the girl really does have lesbian feelings or not is unclear, but Rhonda is intuitive enough to know this accusation will destroy her. Sometimes she is less subtle. Like a nasty little brat, she runs up and kicks the shins of an officious judge who does not award her first place in a singing contest. (But who hasn’t wanted to do that before? While the judge was doubled over in pain, I hate to admit I was doubled over in laughter). But there is something touching and heartbreakingly vulnerable about her as well. She demonstrates how laughably naïve about the world outside the compound when she tries to impress some girls her own age from the suburbs by showing off her $25.00 in food stamps. But the desperate way her face falls when she is being forced back to the repressive compound and Roman’s brittle old arms is heartbreaking. Such is the complexity of her character that you can empathize and understand why she is the way she is. I just have to admire (from a safe distance) a survivor who gets what she wants.

Enjoy Rhonda's lovely rendition of Donna Fargo's Luckiest Girl in the World on Youtube.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mickey Mouse Cons 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA patron presented the manager of circulations and fines with what looked like a legal bankruptcy document discharging the costs of some books he had never returned. Although the document had a judge’s signature on it, the document looked doctored, like several different pieces had been laid out on a single page and then photocopied together to make it appear as if they part of the same letter. No matter how official the document appeared, I was immediately dubious because library fines, like parking tickets, taxes and child support, are not dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.
The patron had probably spent all day putting together this con. And all of this effort for what? $45.00 worth of fines.

A colleague on one of the other floors said that he used to walk around and see people spend all day on little penny ante scams, like painstakingly altering subway tickets from $2.00 to $12.00 (to try to sell them to witless tourists, I assume). The thrill of grifting must be its own reward, because it certainly wasn’t a very remunerative way to make a living.

It reminds me of the Simpsons’ episode where Bart is trapped in the janitorial closet and sees Principal Skinner and Mrs. Crabapple making out. To distract himself from the horror he is witnessing, he memorizes the planets of the solar system. He ends up acing the test the next day. He explains smugly to his father, “Heh, so when I took the test, the answers were stuck in my brain. It was like a whole different kind of cheating.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jive Talking Turkeys 

I can't return my seriously overdue books because...

For religious reasons, I have taken a vow of silence and cannot leave my apartment. (via email)

My landlord will have all of the locks changed if I leave my apartment.

I can’t leave my house! The last time I did the power company demolished my back bedroom with a bulldozer.

I loaned them to a friend and my friend's house was condemned by the city because the house fell off its foundation. I don’t care if they are expensive interlibrary loan books. Are you saying you want me to break the law and endanger my life to retrieve your precious books?? Do you?
(There was a note in her record that she had used tried to use this excuse two years before with a different batch of books.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hi! It appears you are writing an obituary... 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI apologize for the lack of postings. I’ve been at another family funeral, and have been preoccupied with all of the attendant obligations. Besides being a co-executor of the estate, I had to write yet another obituary, a duty at which I’ve become a reluctant old hand. It’s all made me weary.
E thought that the Microsoft should configure the coy little paperclip avatar/help agent “Clippy” to say, “Hi! It appears you are writing an obituary…”

I had a colleague at an old job who was the personification of Clippy. He had the same air of eagerness and irritating, fatuous good cheer. He even shared a remarkable physical resemblance – he had Clippy’s bulbous eyes and beetly eyebrows. Inevitably whenever I was wrangling with the copy machine he would materialize and offer to help with the same grating, intrusiveness. “Well, hey there! Is that machine being a stinker again?” I’m usually not such an ingrate about any sincere offer of assistance, no matter how unwelcome, so I would always feel deeply petty and ashamed as well as incompetent around machinery.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig 

I’ve returned to the city and it is good to be back. I missed the colorful scenery on my way to and from work, like that of a trannie prostitute preening and applying lipstick in a parked car's sideview mirror, her hips cocked saucily, or the groups of men loitering with casual menace on street corners. Perhaps I'm completely depraved but who cares? In any case, I'm not going to let it concern me that the sight of a matted haired, exposure burned street person in a lotus position rocking back and forth on the sidewalk screaming at the pigeons gave my spirit a nice little lift this morning.

I read some interview with Sam Peckinpah in which he was asked about the extreme, nihilistic violence of his films, what dark, profound statement he was trying to make about the state of current society. He replied dismissively, "Eh - I just like shoot-'em-ups." I find that lack of introspection refreshing.

I even have to admire grudgingly the psychopathic, cop torturing Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs. He doesn't know why he likes torturing cops, and he couldn't care less. He just does, and that's enough for him.

Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don't give a good fuck what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want, 'cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get.

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