Sunday, July 27, 2014

* PK Video Lookalikes (2)

MAX RAABE, German entertainer

NILES CRANE, character on the American television program Frazier

Thursday, July 24, 2014

* Long Lost Essay

What I think of the School System
written by one of my students for his Senior year English teacher  three years after I had elevated him out of English Lab (remedial English) to Advanced English.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

* PK Lookalikes (21)

John Paul II, religious leader

Amy Goodman, journalist

* PK Lookalikes (20)

Elvis Presley (singer)

Lee Majors (actor)

Lee Majors (old). 
Would Elvis look this way had  he lived?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

* PK Lookalikes (19)

My mother would have said these guys
"have a torn pocket for a mouth."

John Anderson, American actor, 1960's +

Max Von Sidow,  Swedish actor, 1960's +

Max Von Sidow, Swedish actor, 1960's +

John Anderson, American actor, 1960's +

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

* Certified penises only.

 including out-of-wedlock births  . . .
data indicate that 40.7 percent of all 2012 births
were out-of-wedlock . . ."

" I don't take orders from  a dead man's dirt."

I began attending my first college in 1964.  That was the year I stopped watching television.  The next year a new series premiered, The Big Valley "starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley."

Fifty years, and four degrees later this June, 2014, I watched my first episode of The Big Valley on ME TV (My Entertainment Television; a kind of nostalgia channel of 1950's and 60's programs.)

 I was a half-century tardy.

I learned something from that episode : years before the Beatles and the musical Hair had sparked --or signaled -- the sexual revolution, adultery was busy being abolished by Barbara Stanwyck on The Big Valley .

In episode 1, Heath Barkley rides in to the Stockton Ranch in California looking for work as a ranch hand,  and is forced  into introducing himself  to his half brother Nick Barkley who  insists  on knowing Heath's origin after the obligatory  fistfight which men used like charging rams, to establish their superiority :"Just WHO are you?"  growls, Nick.  "I am your Daddy's bastard son." Heath snarls back ( skip to  2155 in video above)

Heath's father's wife (no relation to Heath), Victoria Barkley, overhears an politer elaboration of that birth origin conversation, from upstairs. 

Torn by the news of her deceased husband's infidelity and her new found loyalty to his previously unknown offspring, she makes this declaration-of-independence from the absurdity of a world twirling on the sacred  shibboleth of a scarlet letter, a declaration  which echoes down the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and into our twenty-first century where bastards are as common as babies: 

". . . if you were my son, I would say to you, 'Any son of  my husband has a right to be proud. So live as he would live, fight as he would fight.  And no one, no one, has the right to deny you your birthright.' " (video  3710 above)

No one has the right to deny your birth right.

Voila: The bastard is abolished, forever, in Puritanical America at least in celluloid America.

This reminds me that at that very 1965 moment, my mother was working as Assistant Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Hamden, Connecticut  Town Hall. 

One of her jobs was to provide citizens with a look at their original birth certificate before it was retyped in a copy, long before reproduction machines covered the world.

 My mother told me that occasionally with great embarrassment, she would be required to bring a certificate out of the vault and present it to its owner for viewing, a certificate  with an enormous red lettered word----"Bastard" ----stamped across  the document..

That is New England, 1965, Arthur Miller's adultery-obsessed New England of The Crucible and Death of a Salesman.

That same year my 45-year old neighbor, owner of a real-estate agency in Hamden, was arrested for being in a motel room with a man who was not her husband (he was my family's pediatrician however.)  A headline in the Bridgeport Herald read:  Hamden real
estate broker found in motel with local pediatrician. 

In 1949, sixteen years earlier, Willy Loman, in Death of a Salesman, tells his mistress in a Boston hotel room when someone is unremittingly knocking on the door, "Get in the bathroom. I think there's a law against it."

Indeed, there was a law against it: the cohabitation law.

It was against the law in New England to spend the night  in a hotel room with someone of the opposite sex who was not your spouse.

Just as Queen Elizabeth II in the stroke of a pen abolished primogeniture after its thousand - year phallocentric--and destructive --- reign in Europe, so too did another white haired regal woman---  Barbara Stanwyck--- abolish adultery after its dark and destructive reign over Puritan morality for centuries.

In a second episode of The Big Valley, a Stockton ranch-hand refuses to acknowledge Heath's legitimacy to give orders on the Stockton ranch, with these words, "I don't take orders from a dead man's dirt."

Today we are a lot  wiser as a culture because the white haired matriarch,  Victoria Barkley,   emancipated parishioners in the celluloid church of television from their scarlet chains  ---- the "dirt" of Nathaniel Hawthorne  and his European predecessors.

Over the next fifty years, the unchallenged reign of penises in the transfer of power and property would come to an end.

Apologies to the late Miss Stanwyck for my half century tardiness in recognizing her role not as an actress, but as a revolutionary. 

"In Bed With Joan" [ at 81] (title of her latest tv show)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

* PK Lookalikes (18)

Fred Thompson, Watergate prosecutor, later
U. S. Senator,
 later hawker for reverse mortgages
Alabama Governor George Wallace:
 "Segregation now, segregation forever!"

Hoss Cartwright, character from television show Bonanza.

Monday, July 7, 2014

* Why Can't Palestine and Israel imitate my Dog and Cat ?

* DAY 1 : Rainbow at Dusk Tonight, from my window at Highwatch Hill


* Only in America (Feasting off the Survivors) : Okinawa Life; Okinawa Death

* Mouseclicking Past a Graveyard

794 Ways in Which BuzzFeed

Reminds Us of Impending


  (New York Times)

 . . . Finally, in “Rabbit at Rest” (1990), cultural tidbits start to take on the same indistinct shape as his own life’s events: “Like everything else on the news, you get bored, disasters get to seem a gimmick, like all those TV timeouts in football.” As hard as Rabbit tries to beat back his dread with the “win” signifiers of his era — wealth, an affair, a few chummy but superficial friendships, an uneven golf game — none of Rabbit’s fixes last. His powerlessness, his rampant sexual urges, his unrelenting nostalgia for his own lonely past are encapsulated and eventually superseded by a steady flow of trivial distractions. That moment in the novel when a leap of a man into the air on a Toyota commercial (“Oh, what a feeling!”) yields to the cold air above Lockerbie demonstrates exactly how the enthusiasms of American life thinly mask the specter of death. When Rabbit unceremoniously falls dead of a heart attack, it’s clear that this is how most stories will end. Even as he lies dying, his son insists on Frosted Flakes over bran cereals, and the newspaper arrives, blaring “Hugo Clobbers South Carolina”. . .


BuzzFeed offers a transfixing cultural snapshot of our times because of its pure distillation of this American urge: the manic-cheeriness-at-gunpoint feeling that saturates our culture. The BuzzFeed formula — not just personalizing pop trivia, but treating it as an inexorable element of our emotional makeup — feels like the natural outcome of several decades of plug-in room deodorizers and Toyotathons and hamburger-slinging clowns. Our responses are predetermined and mandatory. Each button suggests the appropriate emotional reaction. And there are no buttons inscribed with the word “sad” or “unsettling” or “melancholy.” Wisdom, in our modern world, may boil down to recognizing that LOL and fail and trashy and omg don’t actually represent different categories of human experience . . .


This is why Updike’s decades-old novels are so helpful in deciphering the ways our current culture kicks up so much ambivalence and regret. Updike illustrates what we stand to lose when we mask our dread with peanut brittle and daiquiris and “If I Didn’t Care” by Connie Francis. Rabbit Angstrom sought salvation from his domestic and spiritual trap, but he never achieved it. He did, however, respond to Nelson’s urging him not to die with a single word: “Enough.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

* We Live



Anybody 70 or over who says they don’t think about death every day is lying.

Death---the great taboo ---has always fascinated me.  Now that my apprenticeship is nearly complete, I am ready for the real thing.

General DeGaulle did it at 78, while playing solitaire (which some say was also his foreign policy). The headline read: Le General DeGaulle est mort; France est veuve ( General DeGaulle is dead; France is widowed).

Ex-President  Johnson  at 64, puffing cigarettes like a chimney, died one day before President Nixon signed the Viet Nam Peace Treaty. (America did not feel widowed.)

Leopold Stokowski conducted till he was 95, and then went to bed with a cold, a sleep from which he never roused.

Thornton Wilder, the great stagemanager of death, at 78,  rolled over  while taking a nap before he and his sister went out to a dinner party, and that was the end . His sister, my neighbor and friend,  told me, years later,  Thornton drank himself to death.”  I’m not so sure.

All those  deaths were heart attacks --- or stoppages, which ever you prefer --- in a certain  fullness of time (  64 -95 ).

John F. Kennedy Jr. and Princess Diana, both beautiful and reckless, seemed to court death, which they found violently --------before forty.

Long buried in my divinity school notes is this phrase from a famous sermon I can no loner locate (perhaps it was the unpublished version of Eliphalet Nott’s The Sin of Duelling: On the Death of Alexander Hamilton):

The Almighty has ten thousand
ways of removing us from this world.

 That was before planes crashed into Twin Towers, before Hiroshima, before  Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid  ---
so make that 10,003 ways of removal.

And it was before the abolition of the Almighty altogether, replaced by the Great Randomness of Secularism


We live. 
That’s all we know.


* Is America Ready for 1956 ?

1956 Pontiac Firebird II

1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket

1956 Buick Centurian

2014 GM BLAH

Friday, July 4, 2014

PK Lookalikes (17)


JACK PAAR, Talk-show Host