Thursday, June 30, 2022

June Words of Wisdom

Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine. --Oprah Winfrey
Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace. --Unknown
You can pick wild strawberries with your eyes closed, locating them by smell, for they are two parts perfume to one part taste. --Hope Jahren
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to lie the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. --Henry David Thoreau

Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it. --Michael J. Fox

You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you. --Ashley Galvin
People do not decide their futures, they decide THEIR HABITS and their habits decide their futures. --F. Matthias Alexander 

If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow. --Unknown

Only you can take responsibility for your self-improvement, and you will have to do all the hard work. --Dixie Andelin Forsyth

No, I am not bitter, I am not hateful, and I am not unforgiving. I just don't like you. --C. Joybell C.
We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us...but what if we are a mere after-glow of them? --J.G. Farrell
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. -Edmund Burke 

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. --Thomas Jefferson

Flee idleness, for no one is more exposed to such temptations than he who has nothing to do. --St. Robert Bellarmine

You don't have to defend or explain your decisions to anyone. It's your life. Live it without apologies. --Mandy Hale
In a nation where a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for you and I to kill one another. --Mother Teresa 
In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything. --Rowan Atkinson 

We live in a time where intelligent people are being silenced so that stupid people won't be offended. --Kevin Sorbo
What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently. It is not so much the opinion itself, as the audacity of wanting to think for themselves. Something they do not know how to do. --Arthur Schopenhauer

If kids knew what they wanted to be at age eight, the world would be filled with cowboys and princesses. I wanted to be a pirate. Thank God nobody took me seriously and scheduled me for eye removal and peg leg surgery. --Bill Maher
We should never forget the Constitution wasn't written to restrain citizens' behavior. It was written to restrain the government's behavior. --Rand Paul

It's just faith. And to me, that's the greatest superpower you can have. If you have faith, you can get through anything. --Neal McDonough
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. --Desmond Tutu

Once your feet have touched the warm sun-drenched sand of the seashore, you will never be the same. --Patsy Gant

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


I'm not gonna be able to fit through the door. Willie Mae's is coming to L.A., specifically Venice. Right down the street from me, practically.

We didn't make it to Willie Mae's when we were in New Orleans in 2016 for Bouchercon, but the plan has always been to return and this place, known for having the best fried chicken on the planet, has been on my to-do list for some time in anticipation of my next trip to NOLA. 
It's going to be in Venice, on Lincoln just south of Rose, across from the Whole Foods. My only question is about parking. I have to drive right by that location going to and from my monthly hair appointment in Santa Monica and I'll bet there will be lines around the block, just like in NOLA.

Can't wait!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Almost midnight

So close, TCM. So close.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Shine so bright...

Shine so bright that it burns their fucking eyes.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father's Day!

Hope you all have a great day!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Recent reading: The Reporter Who Knew Too Much

Another book, along with the Felder autiobiography from earlier this month, that I had partially read before setting it aside not because it wasn't any good, but because I got distracted by other shiny new toys/books. There's at least a couple more that fit into this category lying around, and now that I'm done with my spring classes and don't have a summer class, I'm hoping to get those wrapped up soon.

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much:
The Mysterious Death of What's My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen
by Mark Shaw

Dorothy Kilgallen was one of the most famous and influential journalists of her day, but today is tragically largely forgotten. But before her untimely death in 1965, Kilgallen wielded immense power. She had a successful newspaper column and was seen weekly on television as a panelist on What's My Line. She was a top investigative journalist and covered a number of high profile cases, including the Sam Sheppard trial. Ernest Hemingway called her "one of the greatest women writers in the world" and the New York Post described her as "the most powerful female voice in America". 

Kilgallen was a natural. She dropped out of college, went to work at the newspaper that also employed her father, and never looked back. At the height of her power she also made some dangerous enemies, including FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Frank Sinatra, and according to this book, mobsters who eventually had her killed.

Kilgallen died November 8, 1965 at the age of 52 due to a deadly mixture of alcohol and barbiturates. What was never determined was how and why this lethal combination was ingested. The coroner left it at "circumstances undetermined", but Shaw argues that Kilgallen was murdered due to the investigation she was conducting into the assassination of President John Kennedy, which she unfortunately had been very vocal about. Kilgallen had become suspicious beginning with Jack Ruby's easy access to Lee Harvey Oswald and had supposedly linked both Ruby and Oswald to a New Orleans mob boss. She didn't buy the idea that Oswald acted alone and may have been about to publicly expose JFK's assassination as a mob hit, revenge not on the president but on his brother Robert Kennedy, the attorney general. One significant aspect of Kilgallen's death is that her Kennedy assassination file disappeared at the same time and was never seen again.

According to Shaw, the hit actually traces back to family patriarch Joseph Kennedy Sr., who enlisted the mob through Sam Giancana to help deliver votes in key states during the 1960 election. In return for helping deliver the presidency, it was expected that Bobby's relentless pursuit of organized crime figures (including the NOLA Don, who he'd had deported at one point) would go away. When it didn't, the mob felt used and betrayed, and that meant payback. Kilgallen not only apparently made this connection, but had attended Jack Ruby's trial, interviewed Ruby during the trial, and felt that his mob-approved lawyer, Melvin Belli, punted his defense. She also disputed the findings of the Warren Commission identifying Oswald as having acted alone in the assassination. Shaw posits that if Kilgallen had been able to complete her investigation and reveal her findings to the world, she could have changed history.

Shaw looks at a number of suspects with motives to silence Kilgallen before settling on the mob. It's a compelling case because of the widespread damage that could have been done to a number of individuals - including Hoover - had her findings been made public. Kilgallen herself had told friends that her life was in danger. Shaw also maintains that incompetence by the coroner who conducted the autopsy and an insufficient police investigation into her death led to her being dismissed as a boozer and pill popper who brought about her own demise, while denying her justice by not holding those responsible for her death accountable for murdering her.

If I have one quibble about the book it's that there are numerous occasions of typos, dropped words, and missing punctuation that begs the question of editing. It's a shame because it could be interpreted as amateurish and take away from this compelling and exhaustively researched argument about Kilgallen's death. There is also a corresponding website for the book and he's also written a second book on Kilgallen that I haven't read yet. Shaw had become interested in Kilgallen's story while researching a biography of Belli and discovering that after she died, Belli had told a friend, "They've killed Dorothy; now they'll go after Ruby."

The case is closed, is it? Well, I'd like to know how, in a big, smart town like Dallas, a man like Jack Ruby - owner of a strip tease honky-tonk - can stroll in and out of police headquarters as if it was at a health club at a time when a small army of law enforcers is keeping a "tight security guard" on Oswald. Security! What a word for it. (From one of Kilgallen's columns)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Truthiness in advertising

Q: Does beer make you smart? A: It made bud wiser!
Hahahahahaha!!! Yeah, I know, old bad joke. 

This is even funnier:

This was posted by Barbara M. Deaton on The Boomer Room page on FB. I don't even know if it's real, but given some of the crazy old ads I've seen, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was an actual ad from back in the day.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Recent reading: "The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're In"

This is a book I would not have chosen on my own, but needed to read for a paper I wrote for a class that just wrapped up. My topic was the long-term damage and disservice being done to morbidly obese young women by the short-term feel-good benefits of the emergence of the recent fat acceptance movement. 
I'm not talking about husky girls or size 16s. I'm talking about people who are not just 100 pounds overweight (the generally accepted definition of morbid obesity) but women who are way, way over that. Think Chrissy Metz (who has been as high as 400 pounds), Lizzo (300 pounds), and model/activist Tess Holliday (reportedly 280 pounds), whose autobiography I ended up using as a source for the paper. 
My reason for choosing this topic is because I do think it's a disservice, and a dangerous, potentially deadly one. It's also a personal thing, because while I'm overweight, I've never hit morbidly obese territory. Still, I know what kind of issues I have and how uncomfortable I am at my weight, so when I see women who are 50, 100, 150, even as much as 200 pounds heavier than me, I just don't buy that they're living their best life and that they're comfortable in that skin. My opinion. Time will tell what the future holds for this movement.

The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're In
by Tess Holliday

In her defense Holliday had a difficult and chaotic childhood that would explain comfort eating, which she freely admits to. Growing up she dealt with poverty, divorce, and her mother nearly dying after being shot in the head. In her teens Holliday would experience taunting and criticism of her weight. She writes, "From a young age my life was simply about surviving."

Still, she's tough as nails. She originally wanted to be a makeup artist, but the discovery of plus-size models in a catalog helped inspire her to embark on a modeling career of her own. Social media helped bring her attention, leading to her #effyourbeautystandards hashtag going viral. In 2015 she became the largest model signed by a major agency, despite being much shorter and much heavier than typical plus-size models, who were usually tall size 16s.

Like many in-you-face activists, Holliday doesn't brook any criticism and this leads to a certain amount of hypocrisy. She criticizes people who utilize tanning salons because of - get this - the potential danger. She states, "I don't know why anyone would want to risk dying from cancer for the sake of getting a tan." And yet she doesn't address the risks of morbid obesity, of which there are a multitude. She also dismisses critics as compensating for their own issues and shortcomings, instead of at least acknowledging that they may have a point about the well-documented health risks of obesity.
Another thing I discovered in my research is the contentious issue of weight loss within the fat acceptance community. Holliday once unfollowed a fan who had documented her weight loss on Instagram. When the disappointed young woman contacted her to ask why, Holliday's response was, "Your weight loss posts are too triggering for me, I'm sure you understand." So much for acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and "healthy at any weight." And this despite the fact that the woman had lost weight on doctor's orders after having been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. More recently, Holliday, who does not appear to have lost a significant amount of weight (or any, really) has announced that she has anorexia, and I just don't know what to think about that. I do think it's safe to say that she has an unhealthy relationship with food (and I can sympathize with that) and probably some other issues that aren't being assuaged by her outwardly positive approach to her size.

In fact, not once does she mention her actual weight. She does admit to going from size 16/18 to 20 after the birth of her first child, and news coverage of her agency signing described her as a size 22. I know what size I wear even though I'm significantly smaller than her, so I'm taking that 22 with a big, fat grain of salt.

Overall, Holliday's is a great story of perseverance in the face of hardship, but it's also noteworthy for her refusal to discuss the possible long-term ramifications to not only her health, but to other morbidly obese women who might be encouraged by her story to embrace an unhealthy lifestyle, rather than really loving themselves enough to do a better job of self-care.

The wit and wisdom of Tess Holliday:
A photo of a fat person enjoying their life is no more "promoting obesity" than a photo of Stevie Wonder is "promoting blindness."
Yeah, I know.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Have I mentioned lately that we're living in a damn clown world?

When you're right, you're right. 

 Do it. DO. IT.
Snicked from the internets. Let me know if credit is due.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Stupid woke idiots...but I repeat myself

Screenwriter Ed Solomon once posted this to social media:

Do I even need to point out that Ed Solomon's screenwriting credits include...wait for it...Men in Black? So yeah, idiot, I think you do need an old white male's "mansplanation". Dumbass. Seriously, we are living in a clown world.

This and more cringe-worthy interactions can be found in this article.

If only...

Monday, June 6, 2022

It's the anniversary of D-Day and Google is honoring the occasion on its homepage with...

...oh, wait. 


Why, don't you know? It's...(drumroll please)...

What do you mean, who's Angelo Moriondo? The hell is wrong with you? If you've heard of D-Day, surely you've heard of Angelo Moriondo, the man who gave us the espresso machine!

No? Well good thing the fine folks at Google are here to give you some education and culture.

Oh, also it's the 78th anniversary of D-Day, so thank you for saving the world from Nazis and yadda, yadda, yadda.
Sigh. I guess an espresso machine in action is better than the Google doodle of a burning American flag, because you know that's how they'd do it if they thought they could get away with it.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Recent reading: "Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)"

by Don Felder with Wendy Holden

Legendary Eagles guitarist Don Felder grew up poor and music-crazy in Gainesville, Florida before becoming part of one of the biggest-selling rock bands ever. He tells his story from the beginning with his impoverished childhood and into his teens, during which while teaching guitar one of his students was a youngster named Tommy Petty (yes, that Tom Petty).

In his twenties, newly married and struggling to get by in Boston, he was enticed by a close friend, Bernie Leadon, to head to Southern California. Felder and his wife, Susan, drove across country to Los Angeles in 1972 and he began playing and touring with the likes of Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell.
Leadon had been a founding member of the Eagles along with Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Randy Meisner. By the time Felder hit town, the band had had a great deal of success with their country-tinged rock. One day he was asked to join them in the studio and play on a couple of songs for their new album On the Border, one of which was the future hit "Already Gone". A few days later he was asked to join the band as an actual member and happily accepted.

What followed was nearly three decades of rock stardom, legendary albums and songs, monstrous egos, and almost non-stop behind the scenes strife. First, Leadon, who was unhappy with the move away from country to rock, left. He was replaced by Joe Walsh. After more friction, Meisner left and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit.

When the Eagles were first formed, the decision was made that everyone would share equally in the singing and songwriting. The idea was that no one became a breakout star, and no one would ever feel sidelined. But over the years as Frey and Henley commandeered control of the band, that concept fell by the wayside. Felder was able to contribute, most notably the opening strains of their monster hit "Hotel California", but Frey and Henley, along with the band's slimy manager Irving Azoff, who was supposed to represent all of the Eagles but always sided with "The Gods" as that twosome became known, ran the show and often kept Felder and other, "lesser" Eagles in the dark about business deals. Felder, just happy to be part of a successful rock band, rarely objected.
But it was the deal that was supposed to reunite the band after a live show on New Year's Eve 1999 (that shafted Felder, Walsh and Schmidt) that finally led to Felder speaking up, and the result was his being unceremoniously fired from the band that he had always loved desperately, despite its dysfunction. It was also this shady deal that led to Felder suing the band. The case was settled out of court, and the good news is that as the book ends shortly after that, he seems to have found himself in a good place in life and also seems to have made his peace with the insanity that was his life in the fast lane.

Highly recommended look at the music industry in the 1970's forward, and for the warts-and-all look behind the scenes of one of the biggest bands in the history of rock and roll. For all the shit he took, Felder made some amazing music and lived an amazing life.

I spent years on the road away from my family, missing my wife and kids. I suffered stress-related health problems and spent sleepless, drug-fed nights wondering if it was all worth it. I endured untold emotional abuse from people who should have been my best friends. We'd been through so much. We'd laughed and loved and lived and cried to the same songs as our audience, but the bottom line is, we never really got along. I realize that now. From the first day I walked into the Record Plant studio, that band was breaking up. Everyone was at each other's throat, emotionally and artistically. We just never clicked the way some bands did. A self-destruct mechanism was constantly ticking away. Beneath a rigid code of silence that hid our fractured, contentious side from the public and allowed our mythical peaceful, easy image to continue, our dream of stardom and togetherness slowly morphed into a Hotel California-style nightmare. Terrified of speaking out in case I made things worse, my years of acquiescence meant that I could check out but I could never leave.