29 March 2015

Spot the "something from the back of your mind"

"My gawd, Don Draper! Wouldja look at that!!"
I love the 1950's.  

I mean would you look at those specs and shades, and all of those cool de rigueur hats and thin ties and other 50's iconography.  The iconic eyewear brand Oliver Peoples (parent company Luxotica) has fitted me going back 25 years back when I bought my first pair -- and still rock -- straight out of undergrad.  Of course, Warby Parker has some very cool retro specs as well.

This picture (supra) is actually from the 1960's, which was something Matt Weiner noticed about developing and shooting Mad Men, viz., that the iconic "50's style" was really more or less a carryover into the 1960s that just killed it in pop culture repositories of influence from 2008, all of those fashion magazines and mens and ladies fashion lines that love a good atavistic lift whenever they can borrow from a recycled era (not to mention the copycat shows like the excellent The Hour, guilty pleasure Pan Am, and the ridiculous The Playboy Club, as well as revival of award winning How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying -- not coincidentally originally starring on both stage and film Robert Morse who is just an absolute favorite actor).  And, I was, admittedly, not so much a fashion victim, but rather a recipient of compliments because my sense of elan had caught up with "fashion" and had become more acceptable to prêt-à-porter, which is a nicer way of saying I'll wear it off-the-peg my good man.  No, I was definitely fanboy No. 1 when the the show Mad Men first made its debut on AMC, almost because it was so non-PC with all of the cigarette smoking and men-will-be-men memes, Joan Harris hourglass figure, and afternoon cocktails because it's 5 o'clock somewhere (I am such a conservative, Dear Reader! Apologies to my more lib inclined friends if/when I offend on such rants). 

FatScribe avatar with pipe created at AMC.  Give it a try!
As a writer one focuses on transitions as they tend to drive conflict -- and all great stories have conflict.  It's in with the new (hottie trophy wife) and out with the old (ball and chain who put you through medical school).  You want conflict? Add a new, young wife to the mix of teenage kids who visit their now plumpish, late-40's mom.  It's a bit worn, but you get the bromide-cum-conflict.  Which is what I particularly like about this Mad Men show with show horse (and clothes horse) John Hamm holding up fairly well over the long haul of the series 7+ year run. Always those transitions, from one iconic moment fading and mixing in like an afternoon cocktail into the rich sepia tones of the next one, like a nice pair of Foster Grants (was that 60's eyewear?) transitioning from sunglasses to inside lenses. 

Let's play a quick game, you and I, Dear Reader.  Can you spot the public personalities in this photo snapped from a significant public event?  And, can you name that event? I spotted this when I was visiting www.ImogeneAndWillie.com the other day, and I hit on a deadlink of theirs when what should appear, mirabile visu?  This great image above from a bygone era (try this link if you want to see how cool these denim hipsters are in how they treat their wayward visitors' 404 errors:  http://shop.imogeneandwillie.com/pages/fatscribe to see exactly what I mean).

Anyway, back to my quick and quirky quiz: Whom do you see peering up into the space age (I'm feedin' ya hints here, Harvey!)?  If you see the king and queen of Belgium, then damn et tres bon!  If you spot the man figuratively and literally "in second spot"  in the stands and to LBJ, then "hot dang! (said with LBJ Texan drawl), you've spotted Hubert Humphrey, our 38th VP ... and "good on ya, son!"  I even see a John Hamm lookalike there in the 3rd row wearing his aviators.  Btw, it was LBJ who oversaw Apollo and gave his imprimatur on NASA who then named their headquarters Lydon B. Johnson Space Center due to his influence over the decade-long Space Race.

Yes, in the back of my mind, everything was better in the 1950s, but of course it wasn't.  It was just that our problems were different, less manifold perhaps, more drenched in discussion of duty over "me-me-me" rights ... heated and principled discussions and demonstrations of yesteryear rather than vapid occupy rioting of today.  And, maybe, just maybe, there was some innocence back then that had yet to be sullied by keeping up with so many duckdashians or binge watching addicting House of HoneybooCards or Meerkating Jimmy Fallon as he walks around a set at 9am before he's done his show makeup.

Still in my 40's but feeling every bit the Minver Cheevy scratching my head and thinking.

25 November 2014

The Bills ... Cosby and Clinton

First and foremost, I wish you the Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours, Dear Reader.  I ask that you kindly indulge me for a moment on this whole Bill Cosby thing.  This being the "turkiest" week of the year, it seems appropriate whilst discussing the two Bills -- one of them with the honorary doctorate and the other the dishonored president.

I'm of an age (a man chuffed to still be in his 40's) where I have friends and acquaintances in their 70s and 80s.  Even as a boy I enjoyed carrying on conversations about finance and theology and screenwriting with those several decades my senior. Their book recommendations meant the world to me, and often they would inscribe a tome or two to yours truly with an admonition about my future in some field or other.  Man did I admire these men and women, and over the years have warmly welcomed their mentorship and advice and criticism, and today appreciate them as living examplars of how one gracefully transitions into one's dotage from an active career in academia, theology, law and entertainment.

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One such individual was my friend, Mac (not his real name), who "came up" (his words) with Bill Cosby and several other famous and successful black entertainers who all made their way westward from the East Coast and Chicago out to the land of easy money, aka, Los Angeles. (I don't mention the others as not to tarnish the group.) It wasn't quite F. Scott Fitzgerald easy Hollywood money, but talent will out, Dear Reader, and talent did see them all rise to the top of their respective fields of television, voice-over, writing, film and even sport.

My pal was a voice talent, you know the kind who does "In a world ..." for our favorite movie trailers, etc., he of the baritone voice range, with dozens of years doing MC/announcer work for the most prestigious Hollywood award shows.  He was also a regular on several television shows, and was able to create a marvelous career after a fine jazz DJ career in Chicago.  Mac asked me to play golf with him often, and we'd always lunch at the club after our many rounds.

Quick admission, because I'm nothing if not transparent: I sort of lost my playing privileges with my pal after an afternoon of playing rather badly and losing my cool.  I blew off some steam in a rather vocal fashion, and may have even tossed a golf club or two with vigorous aplomb (I'm nothing if not vigorous).  Peter Falk, the most famous one-eyed actor in the history of Hollywood, was routinely in the twosome in front of our foursome over the years that Mac graciously extended invitations for me (and occasionally my brothers) to join him at "the Riv" (Riviera Country Club) in the Pacific Palisades.  And every once in a while, on that bad day of bad days, Peter would turn and give me the ole stink-eye with his good eye.  When you get the stink-eye from a one-eyed acting legend, it's really noticeable because to make sure he's got you in his sights, he had to crank around the ole noggin with that still-great-head-of-hair to give me the good once-over.  Damn, that Falkian glare!  I knew that my acting the fool would some day get me onced-over but good. Yes, on that day I was that guy, and am still embarrassed by it.  We live and learn, am I right or am I right?

Anyway, on a typically perfect Los Angeles day at the Riv we were with the scions of Flip Wilson and Don Cornelius.  Mac knew both of their fathers, and these two men, who were successful in their own right, just happened to be the sons of two entertainment giants who knew Mac and enjoyed his company on the golf course. There was also one other entertainment executive from one of the studios playing with us, and I, newly out of law school working at MGM Studios, listened whilst they shot the sh*t about the comings and goings of famous whatnots and whoseits. 

Then a story or two were fleshed out and exposed (double entendre doubly intended), with a couple of the men relating to us how ole Bill C. (you know the one I mean) had a penchant for maltreating women, especially young, blonde women, who were called upon to fellate him behind his desk whilst he entertained friends on the other side of said desk, plying them with the usual accouterments of fine scotch, cigars, and pink party hats.  Okay, I'm not sure about the hats, but their detailed discussion of the fellatio and other stories were more than matched by similar sounding offerings in the news the last few weeks.  What were once unctuous whisperings about the Coz's sexual proclivities are now full-throated news headlines of rape.

There was a man who worked for Bill Cosby for many years at NBC Universal whose job included paying off these women by the handful, with monthly hush money payments.  Bill Clinton had a similar sounding team of men and women whose job it was manage the "bimbo erruptions," i.e., to perform character assassination on any of the many women who dared to come forward when Bill Clinton's shenanigans would come to the light of day.

Bill Clinton, aka, President Interbush (thanks Alec Baldwin!) No. 42, could frisk a woman up and down as good as any undercover officer working a crowd to ensure that no n'er-do-wells were carrying any concealed weapons.  Bill Clinton was checking for concealed weapons all right, on seemingly any woman he met.  And sometimes when he was comfortable or bold enough, it was his own weapon that was no longer concealed.

Two very attractive women friends of mine from law school were both groped by Bill Clinton.  One, Ms. A, was propositioned whilst in DC out on her morning run, where the President's team approached her and asked if she wouldn't mind chatting with ole Bill.  She declined, but eventually they chatted briefly on both of their supposed morning runs!  In a rare moment of chivalry, rather than press Ms. A himself, he had his chief pimp secret service detail ask her for her phone number so that they could contact her subsequently for "lunch."

The second friend from law school accompanied a Senator's son from California to a wedding at the White House.  In the receiving line, Bill gave Ms. H. the full body search with his aw schucks, "Nice to meet ya, Ms. H." (cops a feel on shoulder.) "What part of California are ya'll from?" (slides hand down to feel curvature of the Ms. H's derriere.) "I look forward to seeing you inside after the ceremony!" (looks longingly into her eyes whilst double clasping a handshake.)

So, what's the difference between these two Bills?  Apparently very little in their private lives and behaviors. What's different is perhaps how the media are treating them.  Bill Clinton suborned perjury, lied to a grand jury, and was eventually disbarred and impeached.  But, worst to my way of thinking, was that he was a serial abuser of women, not to mention how they were then impugned, besmirched, and called "trailer trash" by James Carville and other men and women who worked for Clinton #42.  The media, like they did under JFK, looked the other way.  Ben Bradley knew of the women during JFK's time, as did many of the other "good ole boys" in the Beltway media.  Pigs all, then and now.

If you took the transcripts on today's news shows, and swapped out the name "Cosby" for "Clinton" you'd have the headlines as they should have been 20 years ago and should be today.  Rape allegations that were presented against Bill Clinton are still swept under the ole Sam Donaldson rug, er, toupee.  If today's animated media chasing after Cosby put the same effort into the same number of women with allegations against Clinton, then we'd have some sort of justice.  The Clinton women were overwhelmingly ignored by the feminists, to their own shame and discredit.

I hope the Bills C both get their day to face in the cold light of day the women they abused, and I hope the media are called to account for their complicit and scandalous participation.

17 October 2014

It's them ... ahem

It’s them.

Ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder. Yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder.
Wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder, wonderbread. Dunder, dunder, dunder, dunder, dunderhead.
Slender, slender, slender, slender, slender, slender. Tender, tender, tender, tender, tender, tender.
Gander, gander, gander, gander, gerrymandering. Pander, pander, pander, pander, pandering.

Ponder yonder the wonder of those dunders, er, slender tenders, gerrymandering to pander. One finger at them and three, ahem, at me.

Untamed Beasty ... Redux

There stood beside me a grove of yellow mango shrubs, each the size of a small boy.

In each moment I stood motionless watching, the weight of it all pressed down on my head, shoulders, and feet (burrowing deeper into the dark wet soil). An increased burden of helplessness; an impotence in its purest state overwhelmed as I heard the waves upon the shore somewhere behind me.

It was as if I could intuit each moment (not seconds, not time, but the single idea or notion of an individual and distinct nano event) as they passed by -- or rather were lit then extinguished -- one by one, like wood matches you get from a steak house, a half-empty box, rattling around. Each of them as important as its predecessor or successor, lined up like lemmings about to migrate to some eternal judgment that they surely would not pass. Each one wanted, yet wasted.

These moments pressed in on my conscience; the box never emptying, just rattling with fresh moments to be shaken to see if there were any left, then pulled hard against the box, then dropped down to the earth like manna from Heaven with a fleeting trail of smoke and a last gasp upon impact.