Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's your name?

There was a time that a woman would marry a man (often against the best advice of her friends and his parents) and quit her job and change her name to his and become a full-fledged housewife and that was that.

All good, and it's still done, but there are options. If a woman wants to get married at all, she may change her last name to that of her partner, or not.  Or she may hyphenate the two ("Mrs Cecilia McDonald-Berger").

There used to be this weird thing in which married women were known by their husband's full name, as in "Mrs Drew P. Weiner," which made no sense to me.  "Mrs Otis Campbell"?  A woman named Otis?

I have seen married couples in which a man will take his wife's surname, and same-ex couples who exchange last names.  All cool with me.

I bring all this up to say that there is still mumbling going on about the woman formerly known as Amal Alamuddin, a 38-year-old British-Lebanese woman who is a lawyer, activist, and author, universally respected as a force for good and an expert in several fields.

She also happens to be a married woman, who married an American actor named George Clooney.

And people are losing their grips because she wishes to be known as Amal Clooney. That's how she is listed on the website for Doughty Street Chambers, the London-based law firm by which she is employed. 

"But she's a femininist!" came the cry, and I say that being a feminist is more about allowing women to choose to do what's best for them than following some vague list of rules and regulations.

Amal and Geo. were married in Venice, and own a 17th-century manor on the River Thames in the British countryside, so it's safe to say they know their ways around the world and did not just ride into Tulsa on a turnip truck.

George Clooney is most famous for his starring roles in "Ocean's 12", "Ocean's 13", and "Ocean's 127" (coming to theaters near you in 2028). No, seriously, he is a fine actor, with lots of good movies and even more worthwhile statements on the world as we know it.

Read the list of Amal Clooney's educational and professional accomplishments, her awards, honors and appointments here. By any measure, she is a woman of great stature in the world.

And here is the list of all the people in the world who should have any say in the matter of what Amal Clooney's name should be:

1. Amal Clooney

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No shoes, no pants, no service (but maybe he'll serve time!)

Everyone loves pizza. Really!  I can't think of anyone who says they don't, since there are 382 varieties available, with vegan crusts and fake cheese and artichoke toppings for the health conscious, and with real crusts and saucy sauce and a veritable mountain of gooey cheese and pepperoni for us goo gourmands, and everything in between.  There's a new place near us where you proceed through a line and specify your type of crust and sauce and cheese and toppings and then by the time you find a seat, they're bringing your bubbly pie out to you.

And, if you're ever lucky enough to meet a person who has worked as a pizza delivery person for any length of time, just ask them if they ever met any interesting people in that endeavor. Then, look around for a chair, because you are going to hear some stories!

But the pizza story that has had our town abuzz of late has been the saga of Naked Pizza Guy.  A chain pizzeria called Slice of New York in Towson was recently burgled, and when the owner went through the surveillance video, he found that the thief had gained entrance through a roof vent.

As the bad man slid down the chimney (ho ho ho!) he snagged his sweatpants, and removed them when he got to work stealing. There he was on the videos, running around prying into the pizza shop's property without benefit of proper garmentry.  He took no money (there was none to take) so he did $3,000 in damage just to be a stinker.

The police and the pizza people put the still photos on line, hoping that someone would recognize the crook, but eventually, a look at the images from the outside surveillance camera picked up pictures of a vehicle and its tag number, and that seems to have led the police to a Rosedale man now charged with second-degree burglary and related charges, and free on $50,000 bail.

Right after the crime, the owner offered free eats for life to anyone who could come forward and ID the perpetrator, an offer now amended to sliding free slices of pizza to police for the month of December.  

The only hitch is, the police must be wearing clothes to receive their free lunch.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Looking back

It happened one day 20-some years ago in a supermarket now closed. I was talking to a high-school-aged cashier about how little use she would ever have for algebra for the rest of her life unless she became an algebra teacher, and she said that even more than math, she hated history.

"You know, boring old presidents, like Kennedy."

And I was transported back to that day in 1963, seventh grade at the now-demolished Towsontown Junior High School.  It was report card day, and we were being sent back to homeroom to get the cards, and before that could happen, the principal, Maynard B. Henry, came on the public address system and told us that the president had been shot in Dallas, and then he put the radio on so that we could hear the news unfolding.


John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963
We couldn't know in the instant moment that the events of that day/weekend would come to be known as the end of the 1950's, the end of our innocence, the end of Camelot.  We only knew that we didn't know much about Lyndon Baines Johnson, who suddenly was our president.  Over the next three days, we saw the slain president come back to Washington in a casket, his personal effects removed from the White House, and the arrest and assassination of his killer. On Monday, we saw a funeral live on TV, and we prepared to enter an unknown future.

Johnson, master politician, leveraged the mourning into passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which knocked down legal barriers at the state and local levels preventing African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution.  There is doubt among historians as to whether Kennedy could have gotten passage of these parts of his New Frontier program for the nation, but Johnson did it, and won re-election to his own term in '64, only to bow out of the race in 1968 - one of the most tumultuous years in our history. The Viet Nam War proved to be Johnson's undoing, but his early days in office gave us progress long overdue and still worthy of respect.

All this, we could never have predicted that gray Friday, 11/22/63, but looking back on it, one could never call those days "boring," unless one was not paying attention in History class.  I told the cashier that I was certain her teacher knew some ways to bring the 1960s alive for the Class of '96.  And I hope she asked.

If you are looking for some words to help bring those days in perspective, I can think of few better examples than those of columnist Jimmy Breslin. He knew that every other reporter 
would interview Johnson, DeGaulle, the other Kennedys, and other people of note. Breslin interviewed the man who dug Kennedy's grave, and wrote about it as only he can.  I urge all interested in looking back with me today to read his piece here.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Rerun: Things I Have Learned By Being Alive for 64 Years

1. Worrying about something never changes anything.

2. If I were being pursued by bad guys, I would want G. Gordon Liddy on my side.  If I were being pursued by good guys, I would want attorney Lenny Shapiro on my side.
3. Satchell Paige was right when he said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."  I don't look back and regret things I did, but I do regret some things I didn't do.
4. Clothing and shoe salespeople don't mean it when they say a pair of pants or shoes will fit really nice once you take it home and wear it a few times.  If it doesn't fit in the store, it won't fit at home.
4. Same thing with people.  If they don't seem like they will be nice or be your friend, they won't be.
5. Everything a person needs to know has been written about in The New Yorker magazine or depicted in The Simpsons.
6. People who have passed on are doing wonderful things for us every day. My angels protect me, guide me, comfort me, hear me.
7. No matter how much I whine about it, people are still going to use the adjective "everyday" as an adverb. This happens every day.
8. I will never ever ever get to read all that I want to read.
9. As much as people ask you to be honest in assessing their new hairdid/car/jacket/significant other, they really want affirmation. And I want them to have it.
10. A lot of people have achieved fame, fortune and riches, and yet they can't even look at themselves in the mirror because they cheated, lied and hurt others on the way up the ladder. Success is hollow without a firm foundation.
11. A kindness to an animal is always repaid, sometimes by the animal itself.

12. No matter the level of hostility they display, every person has a need to feel loved, to fit in, to have a certain status.
13. I've seen this written and it is true: you can tell everything you need to know about a person by seeing how they interact with "service" personnel: housekeepers, servers, cashiers.
14. In 64 years, I have yet to learn to act, so there goes any dream of starring in romantic comedies with Mila Kunis.
15. I wouldn't trade one second of my life for anything.  I've had the love of the most wonderful woman alive, my Peggy, and friendship and adventure with the whole world.  I just don't know how to say enough thanks, but I thank you all!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, November 26, 2016

That big rain and wind storm last weekend took a lot of leaves right off the trees and put them on the ground, where they await a little leaf-gettin' action.  Someday, someone will come up with a tree that bags its own leaves at the end of the fall.
After years of research and development, we are proud to unveil the TaterMaster6000, which will boil, mash and serve mashed potatoes to 6,000 of your close friends, relatives, and Thanksgiving guests next year. But wait! There's more!  Order by tomorrow night and we'll include the GravyOcean 6000 absolutely free of charge!  You simply pay the shipping fee!
Thanksgiving dinner is wonderful, but there is really nothing like a sandwich two days later with turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce!
Later today, be sure to tune in to CBS around 3:30 to see Alabama defeat Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl game!
Alka Seltzer never had a bigger fan than I! If I'm ever taken to the hospital with a broken femur, I'll just ask for two tablets in a glass of water and hop right on out of there.
Why would anyone go to a mall this weekend? Today is Shop Local Day! Shop with the people who own the businesses on Main Street, not the Walton family.  Keep that money in your town!
They keep urging us to #boycottHamilton and, well, if they insist, I will.  But I don't know why.
To me, nothing says Christmas pop music like the Phil Spector Christmas album, and nothing says "Phil Spector Christmas Album" like The Ronettes in Lady Santa attire.  Left to right, Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Bennett Spector, and Nedra Talley have made the holidays ring merrily for me since 1963!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chore Boy

You might know the name Nikkole Paulun from the days when she was a reality star on MTV, as the leading character in some atrocity called "16 and Pregnant."  

I didn't see it; at the time I was "59 and Completely Uninterested."

But now that her days of riding around in fancy limousines and canoodling with Carson Daly or whomever from MTV are over, she finds herself being 22 years of age, with two kids, a girl and a boy, and she wrote a Facebook post about how she gets her son to do household chores, and the sky lit up with indignancy. 
  
Here is her side of it (I happen to agree with her, but I am perplexed about her use of ampersands (&) and then the switch to "and" 1/2 way through her screed):

I teach my son to cook & do household chores. Why? Because household work isn't just for women.
Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry & not eat take out every night.
Because one day he might want to impress a significant other with a meal cooked by his own hands.
Because one day when he has kids & a spouse, he's going to need to do his fair share around the home.
Because I live in a generation of people who complain that school didn't teach us how to cook, do laundry, tie a tie, or pay taxes.
Because teaching my son how to do these things and be a productive member of society both outside the home and inside, starts with ME.
Because it's okay to let your child be a child but still teach them lifelong lessons along the way. My son will never be too "manly" to cook or do chores.
He will be the kind of man who can come inside from changing a tire to check on his pot roast. Who can properly sort his laundry and mow the lawn too. Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn't have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.
Since she wrote it, she's gotten over 140,000 likes, and 60,000 people have shared it.  It would appear that most of the moms who replied think Nikkole is on the right path here. 

"I teach mine the same thing," said one mom. "He helps with laundry, vacuums, washes windows and does yard work. They'll only be great men if we teach them how! I wish I could love this post!"

I'll interject here to say that I learned a lot about cooking from my mother, who recognized early in my life that I was going to be spending a great deal of time in home kitchens, garnishing, sauteeing, baking, frying, fricasseeing and roasting. I leave julienning to others, and I blanch at the thought of doing my own blanching. At home I also learned some basic needlework and so I can replace buttons handily. Mopping floors, I learned at the firehouse, and as for yard work, my father conducted a master class in transplanting, lawn mowing, mulching, and, of course, leaf raking.  

I never assign a gender to skills like this.  I think everyone ought to know how to do general household skills, and frankly, if I call in someone highly skilled for specialized skills in plumbing, electricity or dermatology, I don't care if the person is male or female.  

Young Mark, harvesting 'taters
Apparently, some people do, and complained to Paulun that changing tires and mowing lawns are traditionally male jobs. Well, I see plenty of women pushing lawn mowers here in Painan Acres, and I've long felt that changing a tire should be part of the driver's license test. So, no. Paulun said to that, "Yes my daughter will know how to do all of those things. She's just too young to teach still. They're raised seeing me do both since I'm a single mother."

And then there was the mother who confused "having a child learn to fend for themselves while helping around the house" with "being held in slavery," who said Nikkole should not have her kids "be your slave. Or to do the chores that you yourself don't want to do." 

Here's a funny thought, the very notion that I would have sat down with my parents and gone over my list of chores and pointed out that they made me haul out the trash cans and cut the grass and trim the hedge and stir the compost heap just because THEY didn't want to.  It would have been the only time in my father's life that he ever said, "Duh!!!!"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Bird is The Word

If you remember the meeting just after the election when the president-elect met with the current president, there were so many cameras clicking in the room as the men met the press that you could hardly hear what they said!

It must have been about that loud up at the Conowingo Dam, the hydroelectric power plant that takes the flowing water of the Susquehanna River and generates electricity to light up the little lamp by your sewing chair.


The crowd gathers
There's a park up there called Fisherman's Wharf & Park, and last week they held their fourth annual Eagle Day for avid birdwatchers and photographers. There's something about the tall, tall trees and craggy topography of the area that makes a happy home for America's feathered national symbol.  The area and the dam and plant are owned by Exelon Generation, the good people who are powering the computer I'm pounding away at right this minute.

More than 1,100 people showed up on a chilly Saturday in Northeastern Maryland, cameras and binoculars in hand, because, "It's the best place to see eagles," said Exelon spokeswoman Deena O'Brien. 

There were demonstrations and lessons from wildlife organizations to help people better appreciate the wonders of nature, and from all accounts, it was a fine time for all.  Fishermen and women have long trooped up there to have a chance to catch dinner, and while you won't go home with anything but film or digital images from Eagle Day, it must really be something to be in the right spot when one of them swoops in for breakfast on some perch or shad.

The papers said that bird enthusiasts came early, stayed late, dressed snugly and prepared with all sorts of camera bags and coolers, camp chairs, portable gazebos, lunch boxes, and supplies. I ought to get involved in this next year, because I would love to go out in that sort of clothing - the shirts, pants and vests with all sorts of pockets and carabiners and slots and zippers all over the place. That's for me.  And getting to see an eagle is a pure bonus! 

PS - if you go...the thing to do is to wait to hear a fellow birder holler "Right overhead!" and then look up!  There goes one now!







Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The coconut that saved 11 lives

On this day in 1963, we lost a great man when President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, Texas.  The nation and the world changed for us more in the next year than in any 365-day period before or after. Gone was Camelot, the era of good feeling and mystical wonder we felt about the fine young family in the White House. By the following fall, Kennedy's vice president, Lyndon Johnson, was elected to a full term of his own.  He would not seek a second.

In the spring of 1964 there was a traveling exhibit of Kennedy memorabilia that was displayed in Baltimore at the State Office Building. We went to see some of his personal effects on display, and not one of them impressed me nearly as much as the coconut that saved his life.

Now that calls for a retelling.  You see, twenty years before a man with a rifle took him away from us, Kennedy was a naval officer in World War II, skipper of the PT-109, a patrol-torpedo boat in the Pacific front assigned to the waters around the Solomon Islands.

It was August 2 of 1943 when the Japanese destroyer Amagiri collided (intentionally) with the 109; two of the crew of fourteen were killed at once as the American boat was cut in half in the dark of night.

Kennedy and his crew swam for an island to seek refuge. One of the sailors, Patrick McMahon, was badly burned and unable to swim. Kennedy, a strong swimmer who had been on the swim team at Harvard, fashioned a tow rope out of the canvas strap of a life jacket and the men eventually arrived at an islet three and a half miles away, with Kennedy tugging McMahon the whole way.


It's in the Kennedy Museum in Boston now.
After six days in hiding, two natives, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, came along to help the American sailors. Gasa climbed a palm tree to get a coconut, upon which Kennedy carved the following message:

"NAURO ISL…COMMANDER…NATIVE KNOWS POS'IT…HE CAN PILOT…11 ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY".

The natives traveled the 35 miles to the naval base at Nauro Island by canoe, and help arrived for Kennedy and his crew soon thereafter.

But had it not been for that message, the rescue would not have been possible.

Kennedy kept that coconut encased in plastic on his desk in the White House, where it stayed until twenty years ago today. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and his injuries also qualified him for a Purple Heart.


Aboard PT-109
The arduous swim and towing of the man contributed to the back trouble Kennedy suffered for the rest of his life, which is why he often sat in a rocking chair, even in the Oval Office.

But he got there because a native helped him send a message that saved all those lives.





Monday, November 21, 2016

Have a little class

A friend posted a meme from South America, quoting Pepe Mujica, President of Uruguay, speaking a solid truth for all the world.  

Here's the quote from the picture: "No le pidamos al docente que arregle los agujeros que hay en el hogar."

It took a little figuring and a Spanish-English dictionary, but I translate this as, "Do not ask the teacher to fix the holes in the home."

And yes, I agree.  I know a lot of teachers, and to a man and woman, they are dedicated, hard-working, learned and part of what makes America great (always has been, always will be.)  

Image result for classroomThe very fact that they continue to teach when they could make much more dinero on the outside bespeaks their dogged determination to take young Agatha and Marmaduke on a journey of guided self-exploration from September to June every year, and for the most part, A & M are better for their efforts.  

But they also get to hear from parents via text and email and phone call (and visits to their homes, for all I know) and the parents blame the teacher for when Junior gets marked down for not doing his homework (the family took a trip to the Gilligan Islands on a school week, you see) or demand that Sally Sue get extra credit for building a model of the Sphinx out of lime Jell-o (for her senior project!) and want all the grades from the final exams recalculated because of Hanging Chads. The problem was with whom Chad was hanging...all strangers to the honor society.

And please don't even start on parents who brag to Ursula and Wilberforce how they cheat on their taxes and park in handicapped spots "just for a minute" and teach the kids that cutting corners is the pathway to success, and THEN demand that the public school provide a Christian education for all the kids, just 'cause.  This is not exactly what the parents of Abijah, Jabir, Kumudesh, Dharma, Kong Qiu, Nyorai, and Kamaljeet had in mind when they paid their school taxes, but the truly querulous parents fall back on the tired old "majority rules" saw, disregarding what Tocqueville said about rules that "base their claims upon numbers, not upon rightness or excellence."  

In other words, public schools are there to teach every child, but not to be their spiritual mentors.  As Mr Mujica said: 
In the house you learn to: Greet, thank, be clean, be honest, be punctual, be correct, speak well, do not say rudeness, respect the likes and dislikes, be supportive, eat with your mouth closed , Not to steal, not to lie, to take care of the property and the property of others, to be organized.
At school you will learn: Mathematics, language, science, social studies, English, geometry and reinforce the values that parents have instilled in their children.

It's clear who should be doing what and where, so, parents, please take care of your end of things, so there will be no need for the teachers to call you at 9 AM on Sunday to ask why Mervyn and Maybelle don't know that they aren't supposed to spraypaint the school walls and why don't they take a shower now and then, too? 

Teachers and parents are the two key segments of the village that it takes to raise a child. Everyone, please do your part!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Rerun: The Biggest Story of the Mall

All I know about the Hollister stores is that I don't shop there.  I went there once to buy a gift card for a friend considerably younger, and I remember the staff looking at me as if I were there to commit an armed robbery, or, worse, try to be cool.


Neither.

I walk past their stores in the many malls I mallwalk, and I hear the music and sniff the scent they exude, and that reminds me of the fans that food vendors use at carnivals, to blow the delightful aroma of frying sausage and onions into a crowd of suddenly-hungry people.

If you're going into business to sell clothing to people for whom coolness is important, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be cool or selling things to those who are, you'd better come up with a cool hitch, and that is what Dave Eggers wrote about in a recent article in The New Yorker ("The Real Hollister," July 20, 2015 issue). 

The whole Hollister story is all made up!  To quote from the article: 

For years, employees of Hollister stores, during orientation, were given the story, and it goes something like this: John M. Hollister was born at the end of the nineteenth century and spent his summers in Maine as a youth. He was an adventurous boy who loved to swim in the clear and cold waters there. He graduated from Yale in 1915 and, eschewing the cushy Manhattan life suggested for him, set sail for the Dutch East Indies, where he purchased a rubber plantation in 1917. He fell in love with a woman named Meta and bought a fifty-foot schooner. He and Meta sailed around the South Pacific, treasuring “the works of the artisans that lived there,” and eventually settled in Los Angeles, in 1919. They had a child, John, Jr., and opened a shop in Laguna Beach that sold goods from the South Pacific—furniture, jewelry, linens, and artifacts. When John, Jr., came of age and took over the business, he included surf clothing and gear. (He was an exceptional surfer himself.) His surf shop, which bore his name, grew in popularity until it became a globally recognized brand. The Hollister story is one of “passion, youth and love of the sea,” evoking “the harmony of romance, beauty, adventure.”
Eggers writes that a man named Mike Jeffries concocted this entire story to build an aura of surf 'n' sun 'n' California fun for his stores so that kids in Conway, Arkansas would flock in and shell out $45 for a hoodie to get in on the Cali vibe.

Again, nothing wrong with this.  That's how businesses position themselves in the marketplace.  

Eggers drove to Hollister, California - the real town -  to look around.  His great-great-grandfather T. S. Hawkins was one of the founders of that town.  Hawkins was a man who went west in American's 19th Century expansion, and he became prosperous enough to leave large tracts of land that partially make up what is now the town of Hollister.  And the town's only hospital was named in honor of his late granddaughter Hazel Hawkins, who died at age 9 in 1901, in part because there was no hospital to serve the newly-formed town.  


California Schemin'
Hollister today is a town of 36,000 people, 2/3 of them Latino, a typical unglamorous American small town with some business and a lot of agriculture. It's just that most American towns did not have their name pulled out of thin air to serve as the fictional backdrop for a fable about a brand name. Abercrombie & Fitch owns the chain of stores, and so zealous are they to protect their brand name that they took legal action against a woman who lives in Hollister and tried to sell vintage blue jeans under the name "Rag City Blues: Hollister".  And the student athletes at Hollister High School began to worry that the company would come after them for wearing, say, a baseball jersey with their school name on the chest. 

With these things in mind, the local business community approached Abercrombie & Fitch, only to be told, they say, that the Hollister brand would not find the right audience in Hollister.
$49.95
And this is why I love big commerce, whose attitude is, "We'll take your town's name and sell sweatshirts with it, but not in your town."

Eggers also wrote that he spent an entire day in town and saw not ONE item of "Hollister So Cal" clothing being worn. Well, I guess not! You can't get it there.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, November 19, 2016

For all those days of nights with temperatures around 100° and humidity hanging in the air at an 87% rate...for all the sunburn and mosquito bites and cicadas howling and crickets jumping from the garage into the kitchen...this is what we look forward to all summer. Snow soon, please!
Now and again you see a volunteer tree springing up and flourishing - like the proverbial forsythia bush that grows in the middle of a paved parking lot.  But this tree found root in this building, and there it is, still.  How cool if the leaves would change in autumn, and drop right into the open window?
One of two moon shots we saw this week shows a haggy visitor from Emerald City, or wherever.
I looked at this picture for a long time before I saw the original caption.  What is shows is shredded paper that had been packed into a confetti cannon, to be used at Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters on election night.  And someone packing it up as the campaign packed it in.
This is the Super Moon from last Sunday night.  I don't know...does it seem to you too that every six weeks you see a notice online that says this is the biggest brightest closest moon since 1732? And I go outside every time, and see the moon, and I remember Jeff Stone, an outfielder who played for the Orioles one memorable summer. Stone went to play winter ball in Venezuela and asked if the moon he saw overhead was the same one he used to see back home in America.  
If you can't decide what you want to eat for dinner, how about a nice Cobb Salad? Invented by Bob Cobb, manager of the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood (and a member of my Rhymin' Simon Name Club), it's a green salad packed with meats and cheese and bacon and corn and I don't know what-all else, but it sure is gooooooooood!
Thanksgiving time is right around the corner.  If you have never seen this movie, please correct that error at once.  You'll laugh! You'll cry!  You won't want to travel anymore!
The Baltimore Orioles are digging up the old sod at their ballpark and replacing it with 105,000 square feet of new sod from the Tuckahoe Turf Farm in Hammonton, N.J.  I hope they use fescue grass seed, because I might set up a lawn service called "Fescue Rescue" some day and tend to the yards of Bob Cobb, Fay Wray,
Jack Black, Harry Carey, Cheri Oteri, Jacques Chirac, Shaquille O'Neal and Wavy Gravy.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Such a nasty woman

Dani Mathers is one of those women you see all the time...pneumatic, callipygian, artificially bosomy and pouty and blond.  

But that's ok.  It's her life, and I can't comment too much on someone else's appearance, the mess that I am.  

What sets her apart from the thousands of other "hot Playboy Playmates" is that she's the one going to trial next month for an offense both stupid and hurtful.

She did not know that it's a crime to invade the privacy of another person by doing what she did, which was to go to her gym's locker room and see a naked 70-year-old woman there, take the woman's picture in that state of deshabille, and then post that picture on social media, with the clever tag "If you can’t un-see this, I can’t either."

That nasty prank took place last summer, and at first, all Ms Mathers faced was a tide of public criticism.  


Now, it's in the courts. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office looked into the legality of her sending this picture around without permission, and decided to charge her with one count of invasion of privacy.

"Body-shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences," City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement published in PEOPLE magazine. "It mocks and stigmatizes its victims, tearing down self-respect and perpetuating the harmful idea that our unique physical appearances should be compared to air-brushed notions of 'perfect.' "

"Air-brushed notions of perfect!" I know that hit home with Ms Mathers, who seems to be as substantial as a whipped-cream sandwich.

Of course, Mathers has an attorney, that guy with long white hair who defended Michael Jackson against child molestation charges. He would want me to mention his name here.

The lawyer said to People magazine, "I am very disappointed that Dani Mathers was charged with any violation. She never tried to invade anyone’s privacy and never tried to break any law."

As I often mention, I am not an attorney, but it seems to me that the very definition of "invasion of privacy" would contain the act of taking a picture of someone, especially someone naked in a gym locker room, and publishing that picture online. How else would one describe such a trespass against the dignity of another person?

And the mouthpiece's assertion that she "never tried to break any law," if accepted by the court, will surely go down in American jurisprudence as a groundbreaking defense.  Does one really need to be found to have tried to break a law?  Isn't breaking the law the concern here?  

"Your honor, I freely admit to robbing the bank, stealing a getaway car, assaulting a police officer, and speeding away from the scene, but I wasn't trying, so, I'm innocent, huh?"

Circle the date November 28 on your calendar.  On that day, Mathers will sashay into court and enter her plea.  Someday, she will be 70 and know how it feels to be 70.  For now, she is 29, and needs to know to how it feels to be punished.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Face it

I was surfing around the other day when my mouse and I washed up on a site called Showerthoughts.

I guess it's for the expression of notions that come to one while scrubbing up in the stall, which is why I put a waterproof bluetooth speaker in mine.  

In my shower stall, I mean, not in my thoughts.  Whatever Sirius or NPR channel my phone is tuned to, that's what I hear while I lather up the old melon and bathe my aging aching body for the day.  

And it's just as well that I hear Morning Edition or Howard Stern while the shower gels and specially imported shampoos from Indiana do their thing, because I'm not sure that facial tattoos are where I want my head to be at 0515 hours.

But that's what this shower topic was about...facial tattoos.  The writer said "I'm not intimidated by people with face tattoos because I think they're badass, but because they clearly don't think in terms of consequences."

I have to say, I'm tattooless, probably because people who apply tattoos to other people charge money for their trouble.  Not that I abjure the practice for others; it's a personal matter.  You want a tat, go right ahead.

I've always heard that people who ink up later regret the decision, and sometimes pay thousands to have their regrets lasered off. What to do when you've pledged your troth to Prudence O'Hoolahan, and have her name proudly displayed on your bicep, only to have her leave you for a traveling doorstop salesman?  

But I know plenty of others who have gotten needled and are at this very moment saving up look for more trips to Ink, Inc. for more.  

But facial tattoos? Not long ago, we were at a flea market and saw a dude whose face was literally awash in inky designs.  He was wearing a tanktop so the rest of the canvas could be seen.  Fine for him, if that's his pleasure.

I do have to remind one and all that looking like the fella at left<<would mean it's much easier to be identified when the police ask, "Did he have any special identifying marks or scars?"

"Yes, he had a word written on his forehead."

It's all the rage.