Saturday, January 21, 2006

Totally Bloggo

My blog and welcome to it.
Hi! Sorry to be gone so long. Been in and out of town on family business (Dad, dementia), which I may or may not write about. It’s a little too close to home right now.

But the Aged Parents are moving into a managed care facility next month, easing the burden on my poor mother.

And I still have enough time to brood about…

JT Leroy
Talk about a tempest in a teapot!

The deal is that this young trans-gendered writer may in fact be a thirtysomething woman, or two women, or a guy, or the three of them together, or the three of them together and JT Leroy him or herself. The literary world is all a-twitter.

The pictures of him/her that accompany the stories about him make him like a young (but heavier) Johnny Winter, if that’s a clue.

I have not read any of JT Leroy’s books, so to be offended or not by what may or not be either a hoax or a put-on, depending, would require more moral effort than I can muster right now. Either way.

I can tell you what does bug me though. J.T. Leroy is often described as “reclusive.” Reclusive? In one of the features I read about him/her/them, the interview took place at Carrie Fisher’s house, where he/she/they was staying. In another feature, it was revealed that Leroy liked to hang out on the set of the HBO series DEADWOOD, for which s/he is writing scripts. S/he also wrote a draft of a movie for Gus Van Sant. And has a rock band. And has written liner notes and biographies for Billy Corgan, Liz Phair, Conor Oberst, Bryan Adams, Nancy Sinatra, and Courtney Love. There was an interview with her/him in the UK Guardian, and the San Francisco Chronicle. S/he has had long conversations with Dave Eggers, Julianne Moore, and Susie Bright.

I may not know much. But I know that’s not exactly reclusive behavior. J.D. Salinger is reclusive. Thomas Pynchon is reclusive. They don’t answer phones. They don’t have their pictures taken.

A recluse lives alone in a dark flat with fifty years worth of newspapers and 33 feral cats. A recluse lives in a shack in Montana and makes bombs secretively. A true recluse takes a vow of silence and dwells alone in a windowless room. If you’re reclusive you don’t chat with movie stars, much less crash at their houses. You might watch movies obsessively, but you certainly don’t meet with directors and write them. A recluse is never a cult figure. And recluses never get a sex change - unless they do it themselves.

Sex change saves hide!
Reuters: “A Thai prostitute escaped caning for drug dealing in Singapore after a doctor established that the accused, who was identified in a passport as a man, had undergone a sex change, the Straits Times reported …. While male offenders can be punished with up to 15 strokes of the rattan cane for drug-related offences, female offenders are exempt from caning.”

Animals in the news!
A one-eyed noseless cat was born in Redmond, Oregon, but died after a year of life. It was named Cy. For Cyclops.

Other news…
Duck’s Breath has received a $3000 grant to digitize its audio, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Once this has been accomplished, the updated and spiffy radio sketches will be posted at Check it out, in the meantime:

This is a place for radio producers (and people like me) to post audio pieces, where interested public radio stations can pick them up for a pittance. Sign up! It’s free to listen.

And I’ll let you know when the pieces are up.

In the meantime, the Duck’s Breath 30th Anniversary DVD is in stores now. Snap one up.

From Salon, the Daou Report, this bit of gassery:
"Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step ... Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom."

Here’s an unambigous proposition for you: There is NOTHING more boring than bloggers blogging about how important blogs are. And why would we want to create “conventional wisdom” in the first place?

And this just in…
From the Associated Press: “There's no physical evidence that the family who gave the Donner Party its name had anything to do with the cannibalism the ill-fated pioneers have been associated with for a century and a half, two scientists said Thursday.”

Well, hell, if they only ate sandwiches, where’s the fun in that?

On the other hand, you might say that the conventional wisdom had been that the Donner Family reverted to cannibalism during a horrible winter stuck in the mountains. Now that conventional wisdom has been overturned not by blogs, or MSM, or the political establishement, but by scientists. By facts.

However, I suspect many of will continue to use the Donner Party as an emblem of cannibalism, in much the same way that we use Frankenstein to denote the monster, not its maker, and continue to remember Lizzie Borden as the killer of her father and stepmother, even though she was acquitted.

The trouble with conventional wisdom is that human beings are not entirely rational.

For instance, we know many ways to kill a vampire: garlic, a cross, wooden stake through the heart, exposure to sunlight, etc. And yet vampires don’t exist!

Why do we devote so much of our brains to fictional data, when we could be triangulating media influences on public policy? Beats me.

In further news…
The tiny wife and I had the privilege to participate in San Francisco’s NOIR CITY film noir festival last night. She and I had created a number of “Hard Boiled Haiku” in a spurt of whimsy a few years back. A friend of mine, Jack Boulware, brought them to the attention of the festival creator, Eddie Muller, and we were invited to read some of them before last night’s double feature.

(Sample haikus:

My childhood sweetheart
Now lies dead, here on the floor.
God damn you, Nadine.

She was lovely,
But her sister was cuter.
The poison was quick.

A small accident:
The road curved but I didn’t.
What a lousy world.

You get the idea.)

We didn’t stay for the second feature, but the first one was excellent!

It was THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (1953), with Gig Young, Chill Wills, William Talman (Hamilton Burger, from PERRY MASON), Edward Arnold, Marie Windsor, and even – in a small role – young Tom Poston.

Sample dialogue:

“When I first came to this town I was gonna be - oh, there were a lot of things I was gonna do. Become famous. But Chicago's the big melting pot, and I got melted, but good.”

“He’s just a nice guy, who shouldn’t die like a freak in a window.”

Angelface, seductive, to Johnny: “Come here.”
Johnny, hard-bitten, to Angelface: “I’ve been there.”

There was a corrupt lawyer, his conniving adulterous wife, a bitter stripper, an ambivalent cop, a magician turned pickpocket turned hitman, a loving loyal wife, a shrewish mother-in-law, a guy pretending to be a robot to lure customers into a strip joint, and – my personal favorite – Chill Wills as Chicago. Chicago narrates the movie, and then – disguised as a cop – accompanies Johnny on his voyage of self-discovery. Also, the movie takes place in real time, kind of.

Martin Scorsese, for whom this movie is a guilty pleasure, we were told, loaned his personal print of it for the showing. If you ever get a chance, and you’re a fan of the genre, check it out. What a hoot.


Anonymous pops said...

Somewhere in the Bible under Sidrach it says to not mourn your father even though his mind should fail.

Thanks, I tried, but I didn't get very far. Here's this guy and he did all this stuff you thought was so amazing, you fought because you were alike than you cared to admit, and now what?

How can you not honor thy father and still not grieve at this?

Been there - done that - if you need to talk.

8:20 PM  

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