Friday, December 18, 2009

There's Nothing I Love More Than This.

When I was in high school, I used to grab the TV section of the Sunday paper and scour the listings for Judy Garland movies. I had read 3 biographies and I had maybe a dozen LPs. I knew all the songs from the movies, knew the plots and co-stars, and knew what tragic thing was happening in Judy's life during the making of each of them, but I had only actually seen 6 or 8. Nobody showed old movies in theaters in Indiana, and they just weren't on TV that often.

Every few months, there'd be an Andy Hardy movie or maybe Judgment at Nuremberg on at midnight or some other odd time. These showings were like precious rare gifts from whatever god looked over homosexual boys, and I would stay up till 4 in the morning if I had to. This was my thing. I have no idea how the Judy Garland obsession started, but it was something I did alone, and it was intense for many years. I would cry, literally cry, if there was a movie listed and I had to, for whatever reason, miss it. They rarely came around again.

In the age of Netflix, I've seen them all. Most of them a few times. To have access to all these clips on youtube now is almost more than I can bear.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Everybody's Somebody's Fool.

Eat the Chihuahuas.

Gay marriage is not the "civil rights issue of our time"; I wonder if gay marriage will even get a footnote. Just in terms of scale, the issue of our treatment of non-human animals in the last century is so much more massive than any grievance of any sexual minority. History will judge this age by the way we are treating the animals who trust us to care for them. I've said this before.

We've all read Omnivore's Dilemma by now, we know that the way animals are raised for meat these days is a nightmare. But this is just as monstrous. In fact, I would say it's worse because it's not the behavior of some impenetrable corporate bureaucracy whose power over our lives we don't understand and feel powerless to affect. This is just folks. It's one thing to turn a blind eye to the provenance of that McDonalds burger you eat every day for lunch, quite another thing to seek out a breeder, buy a puppy, then drop it off at a shelter (or in the highway median) when it's not cute anymore. That is a degree of baldfaced evil that I can hardly imagine being capable of, yet people do it every day.

I think I'm a pretty reasonable person. I'm not some howling PETA activist or radical vegan. I'm not even a vegetarian. I understand that things die so other things can eat. In fact, if these people ate the chihuahuas instead of abandoning them for someone else to kill and dispose of, I would find that some degree of evil less.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I just watched the Trevor Nunn stage production of Oklahoma! (the one with Hugh Jackman which I think was on Broadway about 10 years ago) on DVD. For the second time this week.

A couple thoughts:

1) Something that long and complex would never make it to Broadway today unless it were some arty Tom Stoppard thing.

2) Popular family entertainment used to be much more adult than it is now. Oklahoma! is steeped in sex and politics and history. Not to mention the fact that it is art of a very high caliber, the highest. Now we have Shrek.

3)Whoever that woman is who played Laurie took my breath away. More than once.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Christmas Memories.

This is Grandma Lenore in 1958, the year my parents were married. She would have been around my age, the age I am now. (Click on the picture to make it bigger -- it's very detailed.)

Every year at Christmas she took the Greyhound to Indiana for a long visit, first from Waukegan and later from St. Paul. The trip from St. Paul was quite long, but she wouldn't fly. Some years, especially after she moved to St. Paul, Christmas was the only time we saw her. I adored her, and her visits were the highlight of the year and the best thing about Christmastime.

A few years later, by the time of my first memories of her, she favored animal prints and she died her hair black with silver streaks. (That's my sister with her in the kitchen of our house in Indianapolis.)

From Grandma Lenore I got my love of city life, my deep-set eyes, and my bohemian temperament.