Sunday, July 20, 2008

Twelve Hours Ago

Having not even heard of the film, I watched Wild in the Streets last night. Comcast's blurb claimed it was a cult film from 1968. I was in high school then. How had I missed it?

By rallying teens in the streets, a 25-year-old pop idol forced the government to lower the voting age to 14, and then was elected president. He declared the US would lead the world in hedonism. He put everyone over the age of 35 into internment camps and kept them lolling on LSD.

Christopher Jones, heir to James Dean in those days, played the lead with Shelley Winters as his cum-hippy mother. Richard Prior played in the band. Ed Begley portayed an asshole political boss, and a young Hal Holbrook played the senator who used the youthful horde, but eventually they turned against him and hanged him.

The handsome Kevin Coughlin (looking 22) played a 15-year-old gay band member who had a thing for older—read in their 30s—men. The straight band members kept trying to fix him up with hot guys, but he had his mind set on the Senator, whom he growled at salaciously and attempted to paw, one place or another. Tons of snarky asides about the state of society and politics—asides that still fit today.

But in the middle of it, I had to hit pause. My ad-sales co-worker Sheryl called 3 times. Rapid fire. I don't take her calls after 7:00, as her evening energy is more than I care to handle, but I feared what might have happened. Sheryl's chain-smoking, Italian mother-in-law lives with Sheryl and her husband in a separate suite. Carlela has an aneurism in her stomach that could burst at any minute, but can’t be operated on since Carmela can't stop smoking for a month--a requirement before the surgery. This past week, concern for Carmela has been intense, and fearing the worst, I relented and called.

But the problem was nothing of the sort. Sheryl, who used to run wild in the streets herself and has won many Bette Midler look-alike, act-alike contests, used to use Midler's persona to flirt with presidents and CEOs of defense contractors to sell ads in DOD publications. Six years ago, she had an especially lucrative one, Mr. Brock, on the hook. He begged repeatedly, and she sent him one of her glamour-shots. But he retired 4 years ago, and was never heard from again.

Then, out of the blue at ten o'clock last night and likkered up, Brock called her. He announced he had moved to Atlanta, and wanted to marry her—or if she wouldn’t leave her husband, have a serious affair. He made it clear he had millions and would treat her right. Sheryl, having left her bawdy ways behind, tried to reason with him, but he insisted. She hung up on him. Only I (not her husband!) knew the extent of her previous, hussy ways, so she had to call.

Why hadn't I realized years ago that my propensity to collect characters would one day lead to the vocation of writing? I should have seen it coming.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Touched by Fire (apologies to Kay Redfield Jamison)

It’s heartening to see that when insanity runs wild, I can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the entertainment. Yesterday, Cynthia McKinney, my former Congresswoman, received the Green Party’s nomination to run for President of the United States. Known for her trademark braids and stop-light clothing, she lost her House seat soon after getting into a scuffle with Capitol Police in 2006 while attempting to enter a secure building incognito. Her hair freed of braids, her clothing bordering on demure, (but with temperament intact), she was stopped by hapless guards for an ID check. When the dust finally settled, Cynthia’s political career was toast—or so it seemed.

Previously, she had been known for scarlet-dress-hogging of the camera after each year’s State of the Union Address and lifting her beaming face to plant a kiss on George W. Bush’s face. (He did manage to dodge her one year—I forget which.) That after proclaiming on the floor of the House that W and his family intended to profit financially from the invasion of Iraq—long before Michael Moore stepped to the soapbox. She later introduced Articles of Impeachment in the House.

But what I’ll always remember her for was an interview attempted by an Atlanta TV crew at one of her fundraising parties during that final congressional campaign. Clad in sprayed-on jeans and dancing with her supporters on a sun-baked parking lot, she turned and shook her booty in the cameraman’s face. (YouTube posters—Hello!?)

We’ve also got another former Georgia congressman, Bob Bar, running for President this year—on the Libertarian ticket. Back in 1990, when he was the DeKalb County D.A. and I was crazier than a cross-eyed banshee, I had his office open an investigation of my parents’ attempted murder of me after they dragged me to a shrink and put me on a fistful of psychotropic medications. (My parents talked their way out of the charge—not a strenuous effort.)

Even Newt Gingrich, yet another former Georgia-congressman-flambeau, considered running for president this year. Back in 1990, I papered his local office repeatedly with hypergraphic evidence of the huge cocaine importation racket run by the nation’s top Arab Terrorist, KBG Agent, and Nazi Party officials (my employer, roommate, and parents—in that order). I papered Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center as well. Poor ol’ Jimmy’s been in more controversies since then than he’d had in the White House.

I suppose I can’t take credit for any of these recent events. I’d like to. Now, I sit on the sidelines writing my memoir of long ago manic adventures. I’ve passed the torch of insanity. I’m happy just to watch as those whose lives I crossed run with it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Matt Scores--And So Do We

This morning’s NYTimes online features a 2-page article on the incredible viral success of the wherethehellismatt video (link posted here 6/27/08). They suggest it might be to the 00s what that damn dancing baby was to the 90s. If so, we have progressed as a society, and we might just elect an adult President this year. I received more positive comments about this than about anything I've written.

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the first link in my 6/27 post. The Times article can be read here. It has an embedded link as well:

--And thanks again to Kelly who sent it to me ahead of the stampede.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dum Spiro Spero

Alabama and Mississippi take a lot of heat for their self-perpetuating low commitment to education. It’s one thing to be poor and proud—which they also are—quite another to be poorly educated and proud to keep that tradition alive in public schools.

But, it was neither of those states that came to my attention this morning; it was South Carolina. Working at my desk, I was busy nailing into my electronic manuscript all the evidence I’d found years ago in Charleston, SC of how the South, especially South Carolinians, had started the Civil War to preserve their homosexual lifestyle. OK, maybe I was deluded, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on the memoir of my stint as a serious, certified nut case.

So there I was writing, and the story of South Carolina’s latest shenanigans popped up on CNN online. I have to say, the state’s motto, Dum Spiro Spero, sounds more appropriate in the Latin than in its translation: While I Breathe, I Hope.

Well, I hope too, but only they can .