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Saturday, November 30, 2013
Being the impulsive guy I am, I notified Amazon that I had not received it and ordered another. Of course, the next morning a second neighbor shows up at my front door with a package that turns out to be this book.
So now I have two.
Before deciding to ship one back, I remember a bartender friend who has recently been watching every film that he can get his hands on that Barbara Stanwyck ever made. I think he would get a kick out of receiving a copy of this.
He was working last night, so I made my way to the little tavern that shall be nameless. It’s now officially nameless because it used to be my favorite hangout, but is no longer. It is no longer my favorite hangout because the powers-that-be there have decided to let anyone in off the street. And usually what comes in off the street are raucous females from outside the Quarter or even the city who are down for some loud fun and some “gimme-this-gimme-that” attention seeking (followed, of course, by an ubiquitous band of youths in knitted caps and scraggly beards, hoping to get some attention of their own).
Sure enough, the only seat available is next to one of these fabulous critters.
In no time, she decides she has to know what is in the black plastic bag I am carrying.
“It’s a book,” I say.
“I’ll bet you’ve read a lot of books.”
“What’s this one?”
“It’s a biography of Barbara Stanwyck?”
Suddenly, all the sound in the room ceases. I am enveloped in a white light, and I feel myself tumbling through a mental wormhole.
“She was, um, a film actress, a movie star, who worked from the 1930’s to the 1980’s.”
People, that’s a career of fifty years! It includes some classic movies and even some classic television. She did it all: comedy, drama, tear-jerkers, noir. She even stripped while singing “Play It on the G-String,” with bumps and grinds thrown in, for God’s sake!
She was an all-around dame.
And this bimbo has no idea who this woman was who could play a girl as clueless as this one and make you care about her.
All I could do was think to myself, where is God when you need some of that old-time-religion fire and brimstone hailing down on somebody’s head?
With the likes of terrorism in the world today, the Republican party, corporations running amok, black-and-blue Fridays, and the sheer, jaw-dropping ignorance of the new bimbo/himbo generation, America has gone to hell, and there ain’t no way left to save it.
Give it up.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I hate lists.
But since it’s what everybody is looking for, and because no one will stop and read anything else in this day and age, here is a list for you of things I am grateful for (in no particular order):
- The freedom to put prepositions anywhere I want to put them in a sentence. Breaking rules is it’s own reward.
- The fact that I am not dead yet. Some people might think so, but, no, I’m still here.
- A reasonably-sized family of both blood and spirit whom I love beyond all measure. Sure, they seldom call, they never write, they ignore me until they want something; nevertheless, I love them anyway. That’s just the way I am; and that’s their problem, not mine.
- The knowledge that, with Amazon.com at arm’s length, I do not have to lose myself and my soul in a shiny glass shopping center tomorrow or any other day before Christmas.
- For history, both my own and the rest of the world’s.
- I am grateful, too, for having lived during the same lifetimes as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; George Balanchine; Fonteyn and Nureyev; Martha Graham; Birgit Nillson and Joan Sutherland; Tebaldi and Callas (cat fight!); Gielgud and Ralph Richardson and, okay, Olivier, too; the Nicholas Brothers; Picasso, Matisse, Gertrude Stein, and Hemingway and Fitzgerald; and hordes of others you’ve probably never heard of.
- Pain. Yes, pain, because if it doesn’t kill you, it certainly makes a man out of you.
- Laughter. There’s just something about a banana peel.
- Tears, because they flush the toxins out of your soul.
- The sky. Because it’s blue. Grass. Because it’s green and soft to lie on and it smells good when it’s mowed. The sun. Because it’s yellow or red, depending on the time of day.
- The little things. The ones we take for granted most of the time.
Monday, November 25, 2013
You see, when I woke up this morning, one of the first things that grabbed my attention was a news report that a train traveling from New Orleans had derailed in South Carolina on its way to New York.
Why do I feel bad about this?
Well, of course, I shouldn’t. It’s not like I had anything to do with it. I didn’t! But my mama raised me Catholic, so I can feel guilt over anything.
This was all brought home to me because last week a cousin of mine asked me about my own recent trip to New York on this very train. She had friends who were going up that way, and she wanted to know my opinion of Amtrak. I thought I was fair, if rather kind, about the trip.
Were the cars comfortable?
Well, yes, as far as that goes. There’s going to be some discomfort in traveling anywhere in anything. I shared a roomette with another person (along with the four allotted bags under fifty pounds Amtrak allows two people to keep with them), which is something I will probably not do again. I like to spread, and I found I could not easily do that in this roomette. (Don’t even ask me about the tiny toilet the trains’ designers have wedged into a corner of each roomette. That is just a horrible gag played on us ticket holders. Not funny, guys.)
Did the train wobble?
Yes, it did. American trains are known to wobble, unlike, say, the Orient Express. Of course, I don’t know the truth about the Orient Express. I only know that in the movies I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem to shake and rattle like our Amtraks do. But then the only time you need to worry about this is when you’re making your way to the dining car, and even then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The aisles are so narrow, and the train shakes from side to side, that you don’t have room to fall down. Unlike the up escalator in Penn Station that knocked both Bobby and me onto our butts.
Can you smoke on the train?
Of course not! Unless you’re one of the two bimbos in the roomette next to us who never missed a chance to light up anything that could be lit. It did no good to complain. The attendant was all, “Oh, really? That’s not right. We can’t have that.” Then a minute later, you’d hear the scratch of a match, an inhaled breath, and the”aahhh” of somebody’s satisfaction. Obviously, the bimbos were doing something right that was just so wrong.
I guess, I sold my cousin on the train, because right after I’d seen the news report this morning, I got a message from here alerting me to the event.
Perhaps I should have told her more of the negative stuff so she could have warned her friends, but the way I figure it, any kind of travel is a risk—not only to life and limb, but to comfort, as well.
Which is why I pretty much stay indoors here at home. I mean, I’ve tripped and fallen on my face on the sidewalks of New Orleans.
But that’s another story, and I’ve already told that one. In fact, if I remember right, I told it so many times that a reader from Japan wrote me to tell me to get a life, let go of it, and move on.
And I did. As I hope have my cousin’s friends, who are probably nestled all snug and warm now, investigating alternate means of getting back home.