Archive for May, 2011

RIP Jay Ward

Dreamt I went to a “Rocky” convention. Walked in just as shouts of “Yo! Adrianne” commenced. Realized my “I ❤ Bullwinkle" placard was inappropriate. Ooops! Wrong Rocky.

I have NO idea where that intro comes from, but it was in my mind this morning when I woke up. Does rather sum up recent life, however, so I led with it.

Once again, I have no internet connection and haven’t since yesterday morning. Add that to the election furor going on here and it is a case of annoyance prevailing.

Any drive now, including those the kids and I do to school each day, comes avec a parade of faces … the same ones over and over again plastered on posters tacked to every power pole in the country, and … sheesh … am I glad I’m not in any present need of plywood since every square inch of the stuff must have been used for politics. Really now! There are only something like 40,000 voters in the country and everyone actually does know what the candidates look like.

Attached slogans are predictable: the peeps who’ve been running the show since the ’70s tout “new”, while the opposition parties are promising the vague “better” or going with ethnocentric pandering with claims of “Seychelles for the Seychellois”, whatever that means.

I have never understood politics, either in general or how the heck such a system ever managed to catch on in the first place. Sure, I can follow the historic breadcrumbs from feudalism to federalism, but that doesn’t mean it makes much sense.

What is it about humans that has us handing over our “us-ness” so easily in favor of someone whose name we recognize, then arguing over pre-digested interpretations of actions we’re usually clueless to the ins and out of?

Seems to me political parties are little more than intentionally divisive creations whose machinations work unity into messy little packets of self-rah-rah and manufacture politicians often more flash than substance, and preferably so.

As the ramping-up begins in the US, I’m even more confused. Donald Trump, after all! WTF can that be about? Sarah Palin? (I’d so much rather see Michael on a ticket!) And how ’bout them folks who cast votes based on single none-of-their-fucking-business issues like gay marriage and abortion?

One step forward, two steps back seems a dance most countries can’t bow out of, and with all the preaching to the choir going it’s hard to hear the beat when there is one. After all, if half the people think … as an example … that climate change is a result of greed and the other half think greed is good and global warming is fiction (or WTF does it matter since the world is ending in a couple of weeks, anyway … ) what possible use is it to build huge office buildings and fill them with vampiric officials who suck the blood out of those lining up to send them there?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have politics a part-time, unpaid job where positions would be filled by generous, community-caring individuals willing to share their time, effort and knowledge for the betterment of all?

Yeah … right. Like that’s gonna happen …

As a species, we just may not be smart enough for Democracy.

And now, for a bit of light entertainment, we step into the WayBack machine and take a look at another time … that looks pretty much exactly like today. (The bit in Congress is not to be missed … )

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Dinner and a show?

Yeah … I get it.

I understand the outcry for proof that Bin Laden is dead, even that he died in that compound in Pakistan the other day and not years ago while gardening in Tora Bora. After all, taking anyone’s word for it seems naive in today’s world when we’re all just too smart and clever and can damned well figure it out for ourselves if only we’re given real info we can trust … whatever that might be.

And what could be more satisfying than setting our own eyes on his mutilated corpse, gazing into coagulated contusions and measuring dimensions of mortal wounds? Recognizing those features we’ve come to know so well over the years in a dead form putting to rest our anger and our angst might be anticipated, and we might even, for a minute or two, get the idea going that an end to something horrible is wrapped up in that white sheet he hit the water in.

As the Powers That Be debate whether or not to release photos of the dead Osama, I’m thinking history … another time, another dead Public Enemy Number One.

It was 1934 when John Dillinger was shot down outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago after a long manhunt and much organizing.

Late in the afternoon of Saturday, July 21, 1934, the madam of a brothel in Gary, Indiana, contacted one of the police officers with information. This woman called herself Anna Sage; however, her real name was Ana Cumpanas, and she had entered the United States from her native Rumania in 1914. Because of the nature of her profession, she was considered an undesirable alien by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and deportation proceedings had been started. Anna was willing to sell the FBI some information about Dillinger for a cash reward, plus the FBI’s help in preventing her deportation.

At a meeting with Anna, Cowley and Purvis were cautious. They promised her the reward if her information led to Dillinger’s capture, but said all they could do was call her cooperation to the attention of the Department of Labor, which at that time handled deportation matters. Satisfied, Anna told the agents that a girlfriend of hers, Polly Hamilton, had visited her establishment with Dillinger. Anna had recognized Dillinger from a newspaper photograph.

Anna told the agents that she, Polly Hamilton, and Dillinger probably would be going to the movies the following evening at either the Biograph or the Marbro Theaters. She said that she would notify them when the theater was chosen. She also said that she would wear an orange dress so that they could identify her.

On Sunday, July 22, Cowley ordered all agents of the Chicago office to stand by for urgent duty. Anna Sage called that evening to confirm the plans, but she still did not know which theater they would attend. Therefore, agents and policemen were sent to both theaters. At 8:30 p.m., Anna Sage, John Dillinger, and Polly Hamilton strolled into the Biograph Theater to see Clark Gable in Manhattan Melodrama. Purvis phoned Cowley, who shifted the other men from the Marbro to the Biograph.

Cowley also phoned Hoover for instructions. Hoover cautioned them to wait outside rather than risk a shooting match inside the crowded theater. Each man was instructed not to unnecessarily endanger himself and was told that if Dillinger offered any resistance, it would be each man for himself.

At 10:30 p.m., Dillinger, with his two female companions on either side, walked out of the theater and turned to his left. As they walked past the doorway in which Purvis was standing, Purvis lit a cigar as a signal for the other men to close in. Dillinger quickly realized what was happening and acted by instinct. He grabbed a pistol from his right trouser pocket as he ran toward the alley. Five shots were fired from the guns of three FBI agents. Three of the shots hit Dillinger, and he fell face down on the pavement. At 10:50 p.m. on July 22, 1934, John Dillinger was pronounced dead in a little room in the Alexian Brothers Hospital.

The agents who fired at Dillinger were Charles B. Winstead, Clarence O. Hurt, and Herman E. Hollis. Each man was commended by J. Edgar Hoover for fearlessness and courageous action. None of them ever said who actually killed Dillinger.

That, of course, was huge news at the time … the plastic surgery he’d had to change his face and fingerprints added to the fervor, of course. The FBI maintains the event “marked the beginning of the end of the Gangster Era”. It most certainly was the beginning of the FBI. (You may have noticed it did not mark the end of organized crime, however, although hats lost some popularity.)

The media did it’s thing …

As Dillinger lay dying, passersby dipped hankies in his blood for keepsakes. His body was put on public display and people flocked to get a look. (Original photos of his corpse sell online for a mere $975.00.)

Rumors began, and continue to this day, that his penis had been removed and preserved sometime between death and internment, and although the Smithsonian denies having it, it’s possible it could pop up somewhere sometime.

He wasn’t buried at sea, but in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, and the stone marking his grave has been replaced many times due to people chipping pieces off for souvenirs.

We’re an odd species, we humans.

Okay, so maybe I don’t get it …

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Me at 10, but where's the rest?

There’s no doubt my parents would have been considered criminally kinky had they made a ritual of taking naked photos of me … full fontal and backal … every year of my childhood and beyond, but how I would like to have those now.

Sure, in those days film had to go elsewhere for development and parents toting rolls to Fotomat could have been accused of trafficking in kiddie porn. Plus it was just not done, at least not by anyone in my world, so evidence of my development is limited to either from-the-neck up or fully clothed and often both. Yes, the clothing itself is part of the story … those fashion victim shots that provide much amusement to generations following, right up to the time platform shoes and low-ride jeans came back on the scene, and I am glad I didn’t grow up in a country where the never-changing burqa look wipes out even that progression … but no matter how hard I try I cannot manage to conjure any image of what my body was doing underneath the clothing.

The older I get the more I long to see myself in earlier forms. I know I began the morph into womanhood sometime around the age of twelve, but have little recollection of how that happened, how long it took or what shifted where when. I longed for boobs, but the process of filling from A to D cup and the look and feel of that blooming is lost to me.

I suppose I could have begun an anthology at some point myself, but it would not have occurred to me at any early age to start taking naked shots of me. No, once that naked baby phase is over, unclothed on film only happens in the movies. (One advantage of going into porn, I suppose, but that never occurred to me, either.)

I’m fairly sure my body was lovely in all conventional senses once I hit the mid- teen years, although not what I wanted. I was curvy with big boobs and hips, long legged, tall and flexible, and very un-Twig-like, a fashion trend at the time I could not pull off. What I wouldn’t give now to get a good look at just how good looking I actually was!

A shot of me at 17 would show me in the full glory of my first pregnancy, and although I do remember how my belly looked from the vantage point of looking down upon it, I can’t see anything of myself below my equator and I sure would like to ponder my whole baby-making self.

In my twenties I had all those non-moms to compare myself to, so focused on things like stretch marks and breasts that had gone a bit non-perky, so there was no way I’d have posed for photos of that body. What a shame I was ashamed.

I didn’t begin to find comfort in my own skin until sometime in my 30s and feel I may have looked my best at about 40, although thats a tough call with no evidence. I know I felt good and spent a lot of time unclothed, but that had something to do with that tropical island thing and the fact that Mark and I lived for a while on an almost deserted beach. There are a couple of photos of me from that time, and I’m grateful for those as a study of a firm, smooth body I under-appreciated even then. (Less grateful for the ones taken more recently when Ernesto was here, but I suspect if I live long enough even those will prove interesting and create some longing for the me I am now.)

I can’t help but wonder why it is we ignore and hide the progression of ourselves and our children. While documenting so much of growth and development we leave out something as important as how our bodies change to the point of thinking there is something wrong with capturing images along the way. We mark height, keep track of weights, save every lost tooth, yet allow the drama of our changing form to dissolve into vague notions our aging selves can not grasp.

Think of how helpful it might be if we could show our budding daughters what we looked like as we navigated the rough seas of puberty, jumping ahead a page or two to let them know how it turns out without them having to assume they’ll assume our proportions, whatever those may be, at the time they are holding hopes of not turning into us. See? We were young once, too!

I’m not talking about a coffee table album here, but were I to have a collection of nude photos of myself through the years secreted away somewhere, I would pull it out from time to time and allow myself to remember me and celebrate what I was too embarrassed to flaunt and too shy to notice before fleet of form turned into a fleeting glimpse I can’t quite catch.

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