Of Devils, Angels & Bad Direction
Once again I apologize for the lapse in time between checking in, but as usual on one hand it’s a case of dedicating some allotted time and on the other it’s simply feeling motivated.
Before anything else I feel I must take issue with an email I received sometime in the last couple of months that inquired, “When did you get so hateful?”
Normally, I’d simply ignore something like this as I’m more than used to misconceptions and those who presume too readily, however in response I stand for my own defense. I ask you pray point out one instance of hatred in any blog I have ever written?
Hate is a word I abhor; a word my children understand is unacceptable in our house, a word that should be reserved for genocidal maniacs and pedophiles. I can only assume that someone here is taking issue with an opinion, which may or may not hint of cynicism and comes etched with a touch of sarcasm in a word that someone’s taking sides and it obviously isn’t mine.
For the most part, my observations are buffed with humor. Although on occasion they are arguably combative and heartfelt, I assure you there has never been an instance when hatred has come into the equation. As this person failed to point out exactly what it was that they regarded as hateful, I’ll just presume it was something overwhelmingly detrimental to their way of thinking and not just a minor infraction or slight moral hiccup.
Last time I checked we live in a democracy that, for the most part, encourages lively debate and stands up for the soapbox orator. So having said that I’ll suggest we save our hatred for the likes of Bashar Assad…may he rot in hell.
Talking of bad news bears, the big bear himself, Russia’s premiere bully Vladimir Putin has decided to get tough in the playground and rough up three little girls who don’t agree with him. Shameful is putting it mildly, but not unexpected. After all this is a man who in order to maintain a stranglehold on his country appears to be channeling the Soviet Unions uber villain, Joseph Stalin. Putin has dismantled the media, robbed from and imprisoned the entrepreneurial class, falsified the electoral process, crushed any mechanism of democracy and hounded the voices of opposition into the grave. Now in front page photographs we have a trio of children incarcerated in a large steel aquarium surrounded by a phalanx of heavily armed goons.
Wow. Impressive. Way to go Vlad, you must be real proud.
So for a dumb little stunt that wouldn’t warrant much ink elsewhere, the political punk band Pussy Riot gets two years in the slammer
for invoking the Virgin Mary to extradite your sorry ass to Siberia. Make your voices heard folks and support not just these young women but the millions of Russians whose tongues have been silenced for fear of losing them all together.
I was recently driving west on Sunset Blvd along that curving ill-maintained stretch that sweeps past Brentwood and Bel Air when in a moment of distraction my car hit a deep nasty pothole. With two tires severely damaged, I limped into a side street to ponder my fate, one tire is a doable change, two tires is another matter. After unsuccessfully trying to work things out with the disembodied voice at the other end of that little button above the rear view mirror that promises to solve all ills, I extracted myself from my crippled auto and commenced to sweat.
Perspiring and pacing, I proceeded to determine my location while simultaneously cursing AT&T’s failure to provide me with enough little bars to cry for help. It was in this moment of crisis that I was afforded manna from Heaven in the form of two equally overheated yet far more convivial individuals who ran toward me from a sloping bank of fine green lawn across the street. A duo of thoroughly charming gardeners (one Asian and one Latino) came bounding over and, with rather excellent gesticulations due to our shared language barrier, offered to change my tire without any pre-determined bartering of financial reward.
Naturally my appreciation was evident as any task at that moment that involved rubber, wing nuts and a crankable jack would have left me stinky, stained and unpresentable for civil interaction. Within minutes my two Samaritans had whipped off the worst of the damaged tires and replaced it with that strange little spare that immediately relegates the most luxurious auto to clown car status.
On completion of the task the boys stood up, stepped back and assessed their handy work with satisfied smiles before picking up the tattered original and stashing it neatly in the trunk.
As this last action was unfolding, I was temporarily scrabbling around in the back seat trying to locate phone numbers in order to reschedule appointments. By the time I had extracted myself from the car my rescuers were already retreating back from whence they came without (as to my shame, I assumed they might) hanging around for a handout. Temporarily stunned by this totally selfless act of generosity in these times of financial insecurity, I almost missed my opportunity to not only thank them but also beg them to accept that which they had not requested.
With the worst of my situation temporarily band-aided I was able to granny crawl to the local dealer, and after two hours and a hefty bill, get mobile again. I always imagine angels come in various guises; some hold out their hand on the side of the road and some are sent to your aid in times of need. This time around I was the recipient of the latter, which only reconfirms my insistence of assisting the former. One out of six families in this country struggle to put sufficient food on the table everyday while the combined total of campaign funding is currently at a staggering $330 million. When two grown men need obscene amounts of money to wage their infantile pissing contests in the name of good government I can only shake my head in dismay. Give it up for the good of the country, boys, and duke it out in the debates, a couple of chairs and straight talk costs nothing.
Totally got caught up in Olympic fever, had my must watch events and got couch rooted most evenings for a couple of weeks catching up with the highlights. For my money the women ruled, and while the men mined a sizeable chunk of the hardware, it was the girls in my opinion who radiated good grace, broad smiles and winning charm. Not to be moved by Gabby Douglas would take a heart of stone and how could even the most sport allergic not be thrilled by the combined forces of nature that were Misty May & Kerri Walsh playing bad ass ball in bikinis on a beach next to Buckingham Palace.
Missed the opening ceremonies but not the slight irony in certain aspects of the closing ones. I’ll finish today with a tap on the shoulder to whoever directed the over the top but slightly underwhelming finale. Forget the atrocious sound quality and parade of less than stellar b-list British talent most of which anyone outside the UK would be hard pressed to recognize, The Kaiser Chiefs, Jessie J & Beady Eye, huh? But Mr. Director, perhaps you should listen to the lyrics of the songs you’re presenting in correlation to the action on stage.
An example: we had a salute to John Lennon* and his melodically beautiful “Imagine” albeit it’s painfully naïve lyrics that among other cringing clichés include “Imagine there’s no countries” and “Imagine no possessions” both which seem strangely out of place at an event celebrating the vital diversity of countless nations all vying for a large chunk of gold to hang around their neck.
Things got stranger still when in an apparent salute to the British rag trade, a parade of slightly bemused looking models strutted down a makeshift runway to the strains of David Bowie’s sardonic style anthem “Fashion” highlighted by Kate Moss voguing toward the camera as the Thin White Duke sang, “We are the goon squad” priceless!
*All artists including myself have said and done things we later wish we could erase. I loved John Lennon deeply but on occasion he had the tendency to say and sing things that could arguably be interpreted as naïve. Were he still with us he might most certainly stand by these sentiments and that would be his prerogative entirely.