Five Things: September 19, 2013

I thought I’d put my Feedly reader to good use and point out some of the more outrageous/interesting/heinous/gnarly/silly, etc. stories cruising around out there.

1) Apparently, Stand Your Ground REALLY only applies to white folks when they shoot black and brown folks, not the other way around. How dare you think that the law is applied evenly and fairly? You think it is? Then, it’s time to take off your fucking rose-colored specs because they’re blinders smeared with shit. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

H/t to politicalblindspot.com

ANOTHER Jailed African American In Florida Is Told ‘Stand Your Ground’ Doesn’t Apply To Him

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 3.28.59 PM

Michael Giles (courtesy of PoliticalBlindspot.com)

Funny thing about laws, they gotta apply to everyone. Oh wait, this is Florida so there’s the rub. While I am not a fan of online petitions, this one might be worth signing.

2) It’s deja-vu–1991 style–all over again.

Why?

Gennifer Flowers is back in the news. She’s now yammering about how that if it weren’t for Chelsea, she and Bill would be all married up n’ shit by now. Oh, and Hillary’s a bi-seck-shul, by the way according to Gennifer via Bill. AND, Hill’s eaten more pussy than Bill. Just sit with that one for a minute. Let it absorb in your being and ooze in and out of your  ….

I know what you’re trying to do now–you’re trying to get that image of Hillary muff diving out of your mental Rolodex. You know what? IT CANNOT BE DONE. I’m sure some of my Sapphic Sisters can relate though.

(courtesy of monstersandcritics.com)

(courtesy of monstersandcritics.com)

You get what’s going on here, yes? Well, Hillary will probably run for POTUS in 2016, so the Right Wing is starting early with the rumor mill. HOWEVER, what they probably don’t realize is that by saying that Hillary swings both ways, she’s collected all of the gay money and has shored up the gay vote. Gays have lots of cash and lots to say, and unfortunately for our brothers and sisters on the right, lots and lots of influence. Nice try, RWNJ, better put a call into Monica to see what she’s been up to lately, you know, as a ‘just in case.’ If Monica is busy, there’s always her.

3) Good luck, Felony. You’re gonna need it.

(via imgur.com)

(via imgur.com)

4) Bring up your dead. I know you saw what I did there.

This case is still very much alive in Boulder these days.

Here’s what I’m talking about. Apparently, some folks just can’t let dead baby beauty queens stay dead. This was a horrible case–not just the actual crime, but how it was handled and screwed up by the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder DA.

(via KTLA)

(via KTLA)

But, what’s extremely important here is the indictment against the Ramseys was never made available to the public. It was presented to a grand jury, they voted to prosecute the Ramseys for the murder of their daughter, JonBenet, but the prosecutor never signed it. Why? This is what Charlie Brennan, a reporter for the Daily Camera and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press would like to know. Simply put, in a so-called free society, there has to be transparency. As journalists, this is our main job–to be watchdogs for and of society. We uncover the corruption, the crap–the bad behavior if you will–that so many of our esteemed elected officials would rather you not know about. I know I’ll be following this story because I don’t think it’s over yet. Stay tuned.

5) Finally, a song for today. Tis a grand one too. Enjoy.

Slayer Player Slayed?

On Thursday, 49-year old Slayer guitarist, Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Now, liver failure is not all that unusual–especially for a hard-livin’ rock star–but in this particular case it is. Some in the medical field are saying that a spider bite Hanneman received 2 years ago was the catalyst.

You read that correctly: A SPIDER BITE.

(courtesy Billboard.com)

(courtesy Billboard.com)

Here’s how the story goes: Apparently, whilst Hanneman was partaking in the ancient art of hot-tubbing, he got hisself bit by an arachnid. The owie healed–sort of–but Hanneman didn’t get medical help and soon necrotizing fasciitis set in.

Don’t know what that is? Well, I was about to post a pix of folks who had this ick, but the pix I found even made me wanna hurl, so I nixed it.

You’re welcome.

While I am not a huge Slayer fan (their music is too damn mellow for McCrabass), and I initially half-ignored the news of Hanneman’s death until I heard about the spider bite.

Some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt was when I got nipped by a Black Widow years ago, which is why this death-by-spider-bite-two-years-later angle has me flummoxed.

Spider bite deaths are rare in this day and age, which is why I am intrigued by what allegedly happened to Hanneman. I’ve heard of people almost losing body parts due to the toxic Brown Recluse bite.

But dying? There’s gotta be more to the this tale.

Until more is discovered, here’s a sweet, little slide show about the most toxic spiders on the planet. Hat-tip to the Daily Beast.

 

 

 

 

The Balcony is Closed

It’s been a while, I know, and I was all ready to write about something I came across earlier in the week.

However, I feel the need to pay tribute to someone who’s work meant a great deal to me–Roger Ebert–who died today after a long battle with cancer.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

His death saddens me tremendously because he was a huge voice, not only in film criticism, but in life in general. His prose and wit were unmatched (except by his late-partner in crime, Gene Siskel), and there isn’t a film critic today who comes close to his abilities. He knew how to read a film, then discuss it in a way that wasn’t condescending or obnoxious.

Ebert was a writer, first and foremost, and that made him so good at his job. His love of film just added to that talent.

As most I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the Chicago area, so watching Siskel & Ebert, and eventually just Ebert, was required of all Illinois citizens. Also, we had to read their columns to learn how to write criticism, and well, how to write in general. After Siskel died, Ebert was the only critic I paid attention to. Sure, Kenneth Turan, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis are fine, but…meh…their work doesn’t compare to Ebert’s.

I’ve met Ebert a few times and each meeting, he was kind, gracious and witty. The most memorable was years ago when I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin. My father had the same lawyer as Siskel and Ebert, and said lawyer had an open house at his fab, newly rehabbed greystone in one of Chicago’s tonier neighborhoods. I was an obnoxious, know-it-all film student who became quite verklempt when I heard my father say, “Oh Mr. Ebert, I’d like you to meet my darling daughter, Julia. She’s a film student at Wisconsin, and will be graduating in a few weeks. Hey, any advice you can give her would be GREAT! THANKS!”

Aaaand, my dad disappeared toward the bar.

Thanks, dad.

Great.

This guy is gonna eviscerate me, test me on my knowledge and I’m gonna, like, dieeeee. Imagine my surprise when the exact opposite happened. Ebert and I spent the next hour or so discussing Kurosawa and how important his films are to not only the film world, but to the world in general. We discussed other film makers as well, but I believe that Ebert was touched by the fact that someone so young with an odd hairstyle, dug someone like Kurosawa. Siskel eventually tagged in and the two of us discussed Truffaut for another hour or so.

Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

I could go on and on about Ebert, but I won’t. I do suggest reading his past columns and his essays on contemporary American life. He had a lot to say and the world will feel this tremendous loss for years.

I leave you with two things–one of my fave Ebert’s quotes, and a Sneak Previews/Siskel & Ebert episode where the two critics discuss the disturbing trend of violence toward women in films.

“’Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” —Roger Ebert

And the clips–

Plus, a bonus out-take bit with Gene. Classic.

RIP, Roger. The City of Big Shoulders won’t be the same without you.

Damn.

Revenge Roman Style

History is one of my favorite subjects and since I was raised in the public school system, my knowledge of US history is strong while my knowledge of world history ain’t that great. Fortunately, studying history is in my blood — my father is a history buff and I am now embracing that “inheritance” full-on.

Then there’s my pal, Tom Sito. I worked with him at Disney Feature animation years ago, and we got along right away because of our quick wits and fondness for trivia and history. Sito sends out a daily history email, which I’ve been getting for about 15 years now and not only is it informative, it’s a HOOT.

One of the today’s entries is no exception.

96 A.D. ROMAN EMPEROR DOMITIAN ASSASSINATED.

Domitian was a crazy tyrant in the mold of Nero and Caligula. He once ordered all the fortunetellers, sorcerers, swamis and such driven out of Rome. Their guild got together and retaliated by doing a group prediction of Domitian’s assassination: Sept. 18th on the eleventh hour.

Domitian pretended not to care but on the day spent all day locked indoors with a sword under his pillow. He didn’t come out until his slaves and butlers assured him the eleventh hour had passed. Domitian came out and was promptly murdered by his slaves and butlers. They lied. It was the eleventh hour. 

BUT WAIT! IT GETS WEIRDER … A Roman mob drags Domitian’s body through the streets on a hook and chain. They tried to stuff him into the sewer but he was too fat, so they tore the body to pieces and threw the chunks into the Tiber.

BUT WAIT! IT GETS EVEN WEIRDER!! The Roman Senate told his wife the Empress Valeria no hard feelings, if she needed anything…. She requested to be allowed to keep one statue of her husband in the Forum. The Senate approved. Unbeknown to them fishermen had fished out the pieces of Domitian. Valeria took the fish-knawed chunks to an Egyptian doctor and had him sew them back into something resembling a man. Then she told her artists to make a statue of the cadaver. This horrid statue she put in the forum to remind Roman’s of ‘their ingratitude’.

See? I fucking love this stuff. He was chopped up, tossed into the Tiber, then scooped out again by a grieving but pissed off Empress, and sewn together then put on display for all of Rome to feast their eyes upon. Back then, it seems the Romans had it all over the rest of civilization when it came to enacting revenge on those who have wronged them. Today, folks do shit like make films that they know will incite riots and the rest of the world watches in horror as revenge is delivered fast and harsh. Quite cowardly, in my humble opinion.

Kinda makes me wonder what living during the time of the Roman Empire was really like.

The Daily Earworm

Pick one or two or all of them. Whatever floats your boat.

I’ve given you a selection, depending on which year brings you the bestest/worst memories. In other words, I’m fucking with you and enjoying every damn minute of it.

#1 Mr. Leo Sayer. Nothing says secksy more than a Jew-fro, white duds and an adenoid-killing falsetto.

#2 Mr. Cliff Richard.

I had the pre-teen lady bits shivers back in the day for him — way before Rex Smith and Andy Gibb ended up on my bedroom walls. Cliff paved the way for my Marcia Marcia Marcia/Davey Jones crushes. However, prior to Cliff, there was Elton but my heart was busticated when it was revealed to me that Reginald preferred peen. I still loved his music, but his love for all things male stopped me from planning our huge county club wedding. (side note: My first rock concert was Sir Elton at the now-defunct Chicago Stadium. KiKi Dee showed up too. Elton tossed piano benches into the audience. Got a contact high from the hairdos in front of us who were smokin’ doobies with their parents. I got gum in my hair. I was ten.)

#3 Rex Smith. One of my oldest friends on this rock, Heather, and I would spend hours listening to the dulcet tones of Rex in her bedroom in the large house her family owned in the woods of Wayne. Heather was SO lucky because she OWNED THE RECORD. I was in awe of her because of that, and well, many other things.

This is my fave MOW ever, and Heather, I’m SO gonna marry Rex Smith someday. You can be my maid of honor and throw rice at us as we speed away in Rex’s Camaro.

#4 Andy Gibb.

I loved him so much I even named my horse after one of his songs. Let’s see if you can guess which one. (Hint: It’s not the one below)

He wrote this song for me, you know.

#5 Brothers Johnson.

I love the tummy gurgling sounds at the beginning of this tune. Makes me wanna pee.

There ain’t anything better on Earth than classic R&B music.

#6 FUCK YOU.

Coming soon: The Daily Earworm: Ladies’ Night

Magnificent Obsessions

When I’m not focusing on my main obsession — finding a decent job — I’m out and about checking out the sights, sounds and smells of Los Angeles. I’ve wandered all over the place in the past two months, out among the living and breathing denizens of this city and have found some new and not-so-new-but-seem-new loves.

Am I obsessed with astrology and psychics? Nope. Especially not after a well-known website which houses psychics and their wares turned me down for a writing/editing job. I know, how odd of me to not be into this since California IS the place for such obsessions. The last thing I need is to have someone tell me what my future is based on a reading a synapse misfiring in their brain gave them. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own little reality to get bogged down in cosmic farces.

Rot.

The hunt for the perfect t-shirt. Actually, this obsession has been a life-long one. I’ve tried them all and my fave has to be a James Perse one I found at a deep-discount place in Chicago. It was similar to this one, but sans the writing on the sleeve.

Best. T-shirts. Ever.

My perfect-t-shirt-obsessed-sister-Liza tells me that the Gap has some decent ones that are long enough at a fraction of the cost. The good thing is, the Gaps out here are great and seem to carry different stuff than their stores in other cities. Also, since James Perse is located here, I’m sure they have some sort of  warehouse sale where those of us of limited means can venture to buy their threads on the cheap. We probably have to be escorted in under a cloak of darkness though as to not to embarrass ourselves. Chalk one up for Los Angeles.

Scarves. Always scarves. My new fave is this one from the over-priced and over-hyped Lululemon. But I love it anyway.

                          

If/when I get a gig, I’m treating myself. Odd? Perhaps. But, that makes more sense to me than getting some hookers and blow and going to town. Hey, that’s just me — I don’t mean to knock your habits.

Friends, this is a horchata con espresso AKA liquid crack.

Magnificent obsession.

I get this fab beverage at the best coffee house I’ve ever been to in my entire life: Cafe de Leche on York and Ave. 50 in Eagle Rock. Words can’t quite describe how fucking yummy and good this stuff is, so I won’t even try. I don’t want to embarrass mahself OR my favorite drink by getting all schmaltzy. Sadly, I view this obsession as a treat since it’s loaded with calories AND it’s kinda expensive. It’s getting to the point that after I guzzle one of these, I need a cigarette and a nap.

 Thank you, Darrin N. for introducing me to my new, fave crack house.

One of the advantages of not having broadcast tee vee is I listen to NPR all day long. When it gets to be too much, I resort to watching screeners or listening to my own music on my ‘puter. Or, I read — a lot. One of the nice things about radio out here is it’s a bit more progressive and interesting than what we have in Chicago. There’s more alternative music here than anywhere else. One of the NPR stations here, KCRW, plays a lot of this music. Some of it is a bit much, but the atonal crap comprises about 5% of their playlists. The rest is worth listening to again and again. My latest faves? Gotye, Heartless Bastards, Los Campesinos, Shelby Lynne, Kimbra, Jessie Baylin and more. Now, before the music snobs weigh in, I’m well aware that some of these artists have been around for a while. No shit. But, this is the first time I’ve had the chance to listen to any of them. These types of tunes aren’t played that often over the Windy City airwaves.

Anyhoo, enjoy.

Gotye.

Smells.

My ‘hood smells. The whole city smells. Some good smells and some bad smell, but mostly good. The ocean, orange blossoms, night blooming jasmine, gardenia and eucalyptus — they’re especially strong post-rain and help to smother the roasting taco meat and pee-pee stench (rarely are the two experienced at the same time) that permeate my street when the breeze is juuuuuust right.

Since for the moment I’m living in a desert and not in a swamp, my skin is suffering. Big time. I’m starting to resemble Bridget Bardot circa now and thrilled about it I’m not. Short of soaking in olive oil, nothing keeps my skin from puckering up due to the arid air here. Add super-sensitive skin to the mix and I’m in a conundrum. The stuff I get from the chain drugstores doesn’t work (and I’ve tried them all) and the good stuff costs some serious coin (thank dog for samples). Pure coconut oil is messy and a pain to prep so I’m still figuring this one out. But, I do have the sunscreen issue licked. A daily shea butter bath will be the way to go should I end up here.

Beautiful people –LA’s filled with ’em due to the movie industry and a burgeoning fashion scene. They’re fun to look at for a minute or two, but as soon as most of them open their mouths, well… there goes my erection.

 

 

 

 

“Just call on me baby …”

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge Whitney Houston fan.

Let me rephrase that: I’m not a big fan of that type of poppy, over-synthesized, played-on-one-instrument-and-one-instrument-only music.

Sure, the tunes are catchy, but lack the complicated layers I’m used to hearing a la Steely Dan, old Elton John, CCR, Zappa, Aretha, Gladys Knight, etc. Also, I enjoyed Ms. Houston’s voice when she was singing without all of the vocal gymnastics — showing off her vocal range instead of keeping it simple. Even with a voice like hers, simpler was always better.

Ms. Houston had a huge fan base that encompassed the entire world — and that’s a huge accomplishment –which garners a lot of respect from a hard-ass like me. She has tried and true fans even though she cancelled shows and the years of drug abuse came through in her voice — thinning it out to the point where she almost sounded like Leonard Cohen on a good day. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but you catch my drift.

Here’s my fave Whitney Houston song — she rocks it. Having good lyrics will do that to a voice and it helps a lot that Babyface co-wrote ’em. Plus the video is great too. She inspired me to buy and actually wear black velvet leggings back in the day.

Hope you find peace.