I had a couple of drive-by epiphanies today.

Or, maybe just one and a half; you decide.

As I wind down the blog to its sixth anniversary toward the end of October, apparently I’ve gotten a little careless with my subject matter.  Apologies for yesterday’s post.  Only, that I see this as sad misfortune having befallen a friend of forty years.

The other epiphany was that I could have saved myself substantial typing and you substantial reading if I had simply used shorthand for description: Roy Cohn.

Either the real one, or Tony Kushner’s.

roycohn

We have an acquaintance who holds the title of Most Odious Person Alive.

Never is there an utterance from this person that does not seem custom-designed to intentionally make anyone within earshot dislike him, an endless succession of snarling barbs and disdain.

This person has attached himself to a dear friend of ours who is not in the best of health, whose partner died a handful of years ago, leaving him to run a business the two had built from the ground up.  Most Odious Person Alive insinuated himself upon our friend with the premeditation and precision of a Florida widow on the prowl for a likely rich widower, and is now apparently a fixture.

Odious Person’s previous ‘situation’ was secretary to a wealthy gay couple who when they died left him high and dry.  What is the charm of Odious to our friend?  We cannot know.  No one knows, other friends to the one, baffled.

Once in a brief — they’re all as brief as possible — conversation with Odious, I mentioned Truman Capote, and he barked that he despised Capote.  Odd, since Capote is the author of the statement ‘A boy has to make his way in the world’.

In answer to what has possessed me to wax on about this person, a friend sent me Capote’s NYT obit today, as this is the thirty-first anniversary of his death.  Capote was one month shy of sixty years-old in 1984, looking eighty or ninety, poisoned by fame.

My favorite Capote short story is ‘Children on their Birthdays’, which in spite of its first and last sentences, is much cheerier than this post.

Sent to me this morning by a friend who no longer lives here in our college town

Sent to me this morning by a friend who no longer lives here in our college town

This blog has been since 2009, personal, and shared only with strangers out there in the ether.  As I wind down to October, I’ve been thumbing through the posts I pulled and archived offline, the purpose to share a few with a couple of ‘in-person’ friends.

With some mentionings of ‘the beyond’ recently on a couple of blogs I respect, I found the semblance of tongue-in-cheek in this clipping I posted once, to fit nicely with my own POV on such a weighty matter.

distance2

goodie

Lucky readers, today is a ‘twofer’ — a new one, and the next one down, a repeat.

My betrothed took me to lunch today to a new spot called ‘Goodie Two-shoes’.

A sister venue to ‘Mama’s Boy’, a cafe in a completely different part of town, both are hipster-influenced — it’s a far too well-heeled college town — homemade potato chips and lots of arugula.  (Fortunately, I’m crazy for arugula.)

If you’re ever in town, ’Goodie Two-shoes’ is located across the intersection from the famous soul food eatery ‘Weaver D’s’, whose slogan on their sign out front (‘Automatic for the People’) our local rock royalty ‘R.E.M.’ co-opted for the title of one of their albums.  And, do not feel alone, as I do not believe anyone in the world knows exactly what ‘automatic for the people’ means.

And, why would you visit Athens GA?  Well, to visit Stephen and me, of course.  So you’ll recognize him, here is a picture I posted on the blog a couple of years ago of Stephen and two friends.  That’s Stephen on the left.

After all these years, I still love to look at him.  And he buys me lunch.

One click makes it larger, but you knew that

One click makes it larger, but you knew that

[Today is the anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe.  Three years ago I posted the attached.  The included photograph originally had the caption:

“With David Wayne in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, a picture worth seeing if only for the scene in which Ms. Monroe walks into a wall while trying to exit the powder room.”

Mr. Wayne had the honor of appearing in more movies — four — with Marilyn Monroe than any other actor.  How about that.]

–    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –

I proceed through life with the faulty perception that everyone remembers hearing firsthand that JFK had been shot in Dallas.  This pattern of synapses apparently cannot be reset.  If this situation — other people’s references not matching mine — remains my biggest problem as I grow older, I will feel lucky.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, and I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, August 5, 1962.  Queer?  I might read Truman Capote’s short Marilyn portrait ‘A Beautiful Child’ today, but I will not light a candle, or burn incense.  I am, after all, not unbalanced.

Maybe a little unbalanced.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Yesterday we watched a 2009 documentary called ‘Objectified’, which explores the ethos of design — from an object’s concept to its destiny in the landfill — through interviews with a number of international designers.  Toward the end, one designer says something like, ’Enjoy the objects you already have’, and the film ends on a shot of an old wooden wall plate rack with the title of this post painted on it for reasons known (perhaps) only to the owner.

ojectified_alt

The film is available to rent on Apple iTunes for 99¢ and of course for you television-impaired (I envy your courage), you can watch it on your computer. The film is far more engaging than the trailer I’ve included here, but click on the image above to watch the trailer anyway.

Otherwise, on a completely unrelated matter, I offer a photograph from 1932 of actor Spencer Tracy and a lesser-known actor by the name of George O’Brien.  A little research led me to the lore that Mr. O’Brien was known as a ‘Man’s Man’ in Hollywood.

Now, this ‘Man’s Man’ is one of those terms that could be seen to mean exactly the opposite of what it was intended to mean.  What with the controversial rumor that Spencer Tracy may have been [gasp!] gay, I don’t know if he and Mr. O’Brien were ‘an item’, or not.  Bless them if they were.

Unseemly gossip aside, I am including the snap here because, with just the slightest hint of doofus in Mr. Tracy’s expression, and Mr. O’Brien looking all stalwart, I find the photo lovely.

Pardon me for using the word ‘lovely’.  It could have been far worse, I could have said ‘charming’.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Gregory Peck said in an interview circa 1962 that Maycomb, Alabama, the fictional setting for the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, was a lot like the small Southern California town he grew up in.  Even with the word ‘Southern’, I find that utterly impossible to believe.

My mother was born about the same time as Mr. Peck, and grew up in a tiny community in Georgia called Philomath.  The name ‘Philomath’ comes from the Greek word φιλομάθεια or filomátheia, which means ‘love of learning’.  You will ask yourself how did this ‘wide place in the road’ in Georgia come by such a lofty name.  Did you imagine I wouldn’t tell you?  There for many years was a school for ‘young ladies’ called Philomath Academy, and the surrounding burg eventually just assumed the name.

I have very emotional memories of Philomath, knowing all the while they are to some degree based on what I think of as ‘inherited nostalgia’.  Science tells us that blamelessly, with no ‘method’ involved, our minds smooth and rearrange our memories to the point that they end up bearing little resemblance to the reality they suppose to recall.  Pile on top of that reveries and longings overheard from parents — some of which came from their own parents — and you’ve got a real fiction soup.  Pardon my recent preoccupation with ‘fiction’.

Fans of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ are very territorial, it’s ‘their’ book.  However, people like myself who have in their lives known the real models for the characters in the book always feel their claim is more ‘legitimate’.  My mother was, like Scout Finch, very much a tomboy, her own mother a school teacher, her father a pharmacist.  The nearby town where they worked could have been lifted straight from ‘Mockingbird’ — courthouse, town square, citizens, the works.

To make comparisons even closer, I remember as a child hearing my grandfather telling of a local black man being taken to jail, bolting and being shot by a bailiff of some sort.  The story supposed that the man had fired a ‘warning’ shot in the air, and that it had ricocheted off a tree branch.  When I heard the story twice more during his lifetime, being a sensitive queer child, I had an inkling that he was subconsciously trying to convince himself the ‘accident’ was true.

Click on the picture below for quite a good video on the subject of the recent publication of ‘Go Set a Watchman’, a rejected ‘proto-Mockingbird’ manuscript apparently wheedled out of the hands of the elderly author who had steadfastly said she would never publish again.

Click this image for the video

Click this image for the video

Let’s call this a follow-up to Wednesday’s post.

For the longest time, I nursed a twist in my knickers over a perceived pomposity that was simply not there.  It had to do with legendary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.  I imagined that in his straightforward and unadorned style, he supposed he was presenting ‘reality’.  I didn’t obsess over it (I swear), but I did harumph (quietly) on occasion.  Many years passing, I read on his website:

“Documentaries, like theatre pieces, novels or poems are forms of fiction.”

Oops.

Does it go without saying that by abstracting (is that the right word?) your experiences and placing them on a blog, you are creating a kind of fiction?

I think so.  Beyond that, of course, there’s the ‘out of whole cloth’ option.

I once did a nice favor involving concert tickets for a blogger I’d never met; the subsequent short chronicle on his blog about the evening scampered pretty far afield from the facts.  What struck me was his disregard that I was bound to read the post.

Since we’d had the pleasantest interaction to that point, I wrote a perfectly civilized email to him saying that whereas I was onboard with his Blanche DuBois approach (“I want magic! I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth”) surely this was some sort of proof of the Oscar Wilde-ism that no good deed goes unpunished.

Now, I’m guessing that you’re one step ahead of me: ’What does it matter, since we’ve established that blogging is fiction anyway’.  The least this did was make me suspect the rest of his blog, which I distinctly did not want to do.

My virtual dialog has had its ups and downs.  I’m so much less conflicted in three dimensions.  Let’s test that at lunch one day.  Give me a call.

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but recently ditched all the posts before June of this year. I think I'm going to blog until October, a tidy six years, then 'retire'.

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