Tuesday, May 31, 2005




Waddaya think. Betty Page – was she a crazy exhibitionist with ecdysiast tendencies, or yet another art model in a long line of memorable nudes dating back to ancient Greece? And how 'bout that guy who modeled for what came to be known as “David” - ancient Himbo? One look at the abs, and I'm thinking ART. A few of you e mailed me about my little comment about doing a little nude art modeling over the Memorial Day weekend – one email to warn me off of such a foolhardy and immature action for someone of my advancing age (so what about 40 being the new 20!?...Huh?)– one email to simply remind me that it will come back to haunt me one day...and one email to simply ask me to please elaborate in my next post...

So, to tell you a little bit about what it is like, it boils down to this. Imagine yourself opening a birthday card from a dear friend...a dear friend you did a favor for back when they were a struggling art student in need of subjects for a series on women who died of consumption in the 16th century - and you were a bit on the thin side, so you decided to be a true friend. Years later, you open said birthday card, getting a little weepy over the lovely opening sentiment on the cover of the hand made card which says, “I’ve known you and admired you for years...I’ve seen you grow as a person, I’ve seen you prosper...but mostly...(and you open the card to see an old naked photo of you taken for said series on women who died of consumption in the 16th century)...I’ve seen you naked! Snort!”

See how glamorous it can be? Now...just what does that make me? Crazy-wild-girl-sex-puppet? Nude art model? Crazy wild-girl-sex-puppet-after-40? Or a seriously naïve friend that just keeps falling for sob stories from friends claiming to need subjects for a series on. . . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I never cease to be amazed at the ongoing evolution of the dating/courtship ritual between people in our very confused country. Every day I see the plight that some of our single, recently divorced or widowed friends go through in that horror that is: DATING SCENE: 21ST CENTURY. It is a true wonder that anyone actually manages to make a connection at all. There are certain persons that would like to make the claim that gay marriage is going to bring down the institution of matrimony – I beg to differ.

Modern day American culture neither allows nor encourages one much opportunity to get to know one's neighbors or the people in their extended community. The extended American workweek rarely involves a yearly vacation where one might actually have the opportunity to go anywhere they might meet someone. Our particular current brand of government sanctioned self-involvement that puts Self above any and all other consideration, let alone interest in other people, is far more responsible for a nationwide inability to connect with our fellow man or woman.

I am old enough to remember when a “date” meant going out to dinner, to a movie, chatting about the movie over after-dinner drinks and if there was a lot of chemistry, perhaps going out again, or if REALLY attracted, maybe getting naked. If someone used the term “safe sex” it was usually interpreted to mean a padded headboard.

The person that did the asking out was the person who would be paying for the evening. It was considered beyond rude to invite someone somewhere and then expect the invitee to pay for it. Going “Dutch” was usually deemed appropriate for a blind date or something similar. The cost of going to dinner and a movie or an evening of theatre or music was not the financial equivalent to the cost of painting one’s house that it is now. There was a certain ritualized civility, air of mystery, excitement and anticipation of discovery over the whole process with of course a simultaneous degree of fear, loathing and nausea.

People were generally pretty into the ritual of the first date good night kiss and the slow build to that (hopefully) mind blowing evening of falling upon one another in the abandon born of the pent up energy from the kind of foreplay that is the waiting-but-not-quite-playing-yet kind. Of course there would always be, as there is today and has been for hundreds of years, some occasional idiot that thought that if they paid for dinner that it was an automatic entitlement to The Sex at the end of the evening regardless of whether or not the other party was interested.

Americans now have service institutions devoted to handling that ritual which seems to strike so many as an inconvenience to be passed off to someone else the same way they might take their laundry to Fluff-and-Fold. For a fee, the service will take care of all that pesky stuff that meeting at work, being in the same congregation at church together, introductions made between mutual friends or chance meetings where eyes connect across a crowded room used to do. With an in-depth and honestly filled out character-profile and current photo (uh huh) that lists likes, dislikes, sexual likes and dislikes, diseases, prison record, education, children, etc..., the service will separate the wheat from the chaf and determine via computer software program those individuals appropriate for meeting. That is all they determine. Whether or not it is a compatibility probability that two people should bother to meet - why waste each other's valuable time if the computer says they are incompatible? There is really no point in bothering with any sort of human-style gathering of information via actual speech because there is a software program for that. I actually know several couples that have met this way and are now blissfully into their first five years of marriage, having saved POT LOADS of money on traditional dates, presents, new underwear, flowers, bathing, etc. by paying one simple fee to an outside organization to determine compatibility.

There is also a new and trendy thing called “Speed Dating.” I want to know what mind thought of THIS. Even Churches are getting in on this one. One goes into a previously rented-for-the-occasion restaurant, coffee house, veteran’s hall, church parish hall, whatever, and in a “game” used frequently on corporate retreats for employees having communication difficulty – one group stays seated with a group of empty chairs across from each of them while the second group sits in the corresponding empty chair for five minute intervals until a bell goes off. When the bell rings, they move to the next person. The duration of this new and exciting meeting opportunity is about one hour. In this way, each person who paid the entrance fee (or "suggested donation") gets a 5-minute “speed date” with every “potential” in the room to determine whether or not they might want to see that person outside the structure of that five minute mini-interview.

After one decides through these various careful screening processes if they wish to meet further, one is now free to meet for “coffee” or “drinks” - preferably early in the evening so one can get back to work for that late dinner meeting, or to the gym, or home to watch the game or the latest creation in what is now called “the CSI franchise.” I’m still waiting for “CSI-Yuba City.” I guess the whole purpose of “meeting for coffee” is that you ask a few more simple yet guarded questions about each other which are responded to with equally simple yet guarded answers, none of which tell anybody really ANYTHING about each other and are really only a method of determining whether or not you want to get naked with that person if one is going to be truly honest about it - which for many people really doesn’t involve needing to know that much about a person. Meeting for coffee is a frugal investment. Movies are expensive and dinner can be iffy if someone has undisclosed food restrictions. Like chicken. Are you with me so far? Okay, so after paying the fee, consulting the software, conducting the mini-interview with the bell, deciding to "meet" and living through that portion of the efficiency process - if that first “potential date” seems to be somewhat successful, then MAYBE another frugal investment date will follow. Like “lunch.”

Of course, there is always the other tried and true alternative which can be promising. This method entails going to your favorite watering hole, drinking yourself silly on apple martini’s and going home with a complete stranger who turns out to be decidedly less charming and attractive the next morning than he/she was at 1:45 a.m. the previous evening. But hey, who can really complain when all you’re looking for is some temporary attention and warmth? It seems that’s all anyone is truly looking for, given the dehumanized trimming down of the traditional dating ritual to its present form – what I like to call the STARBUCKS ENCOUNTER.

Thank heavens Manpants and I met the good old-fashioned way in the waiting room of our psychiatrist.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Before I begin my usual meandering way into the topic of the week, I would first like to thank all who commented or inquired upon the topic of The Merkin. From Laura’s limerick to Rhonda’s taunting of a defenseless Mormon and all persons around and in between, I was greatly warm-fuzzied by the entire experience. To add even more G.L.E.E. than one would think could be had over an arcane word dating back to the 15th century (at least), I rented the wonderful film STAGE BEAUTY, starring the phenomenally talented Billy Crudup. Not only is Merkin used in a line of dialogue...but as a costume piece. I raised both arms, raised the forefingers and pinkies of each hand and yelled “Rock on!” at the screen.

So...Nobody Walks in L.A. That was the title of a fabulous song from the 80’s. I was feeling a bit nostalgic having gone “shopping like an 80’s girl” yesterday – prompting me to put on my favorite Richard Blade compilation CD of 80’s music after arriving home to do the Saturday housecleaning; subsequently dancing around the house with the Swiffer®. This disturbs my precious princess the Jack Russell-Pit Bull mix terribly because (a) she doesn’t understand what I’m doing when I clean, (b) thinks the Swiffer® is there to do me some sort of unspeakable harm and (c) dancing inspires her to jump 5 feet into the air vertically…and repeatedly… (If you don’t know what 80’s dancing is, it’s a sort of alternating from side-to-side hop/skip in place, while flailing your arms in opposition to the skipping and was predominantly danced by white people with big hair in the heyday of the genre)…So I’m ‘80’s dancing and cleaning, she’s jumping and taking growling nose-dives at the Swiffer®, and Nobody Walks in L.A. is blasting. Now THAT’s a Kodak moment...Oh, and if you are too young to get all my ‘80’s references, as I have stated in previous postings - you are too young to be reading this and should get off the computer, go outside, and play.

As respects the topic of “shopping like an ‘80’s girl” I want to emphatically state that none of it was done with plastic, thank you very much. After seeing that frightening and infuriating program on PBS about U.S. credit card companies and their current practices, I went and cancelled all of them. I think of it as a sort of Cave Man Diet for shoppers. Remove plastic and see how creative we can get with the money we actually have. One of the creative ways I have implemented working with the money I have - and due to the fact that gasoline prices in L.A. have risen to $3.50 a gallon or more in some places - I have been taking the subway to work. That’s right. Public transportation in Los Angeles. Anathema to the citizens of greater Los Angeles, particularly people of the West Side who do not offer subway transportation on their side of town. The great majority of L.A. inhabitants define their social status by their vehicle of choice (certainly not by their fashion sense) and their ability to behave with any degree of courtesy, civility or for that matter, obey California driving law (which, among other things like turning left in front of oncoming vehicles, prohibits honking unless under emergency conditions), seems to move in direct opposition to the cost of the vehicle. What this means is that by the time one can afford to, and does purchase a Humvee, that Humvee owning person has regressed to a level of human civility one can find in a person capable of flinging their own feces at others...or at the zoo.

To those of you in metropolitan cities both here and abroad that have public transportation and far more toned thighs as a result, you must understand that since the motor car industry bought out the Red Cars of Los Angeles back in the early part of the 20th century (some of those relics are now being used as breakers in Santa Monica Bay), forcing Los Angeles to be a vehicle only city - having a subway now is an extreme novelty.

It’s not bad actually. In addition to feeling like I am living in an advanced society, I get to multitask by getting my cardio in for the day - hoofin’ it to the station, taking all stairways and then hoofin’ it up the hill at Grand Avenue to where I work. I’m down a pants size, oh happy joy. I’m saving about $30.00 a week (after the cost of the subway ticket) – so there’s a weekly pedicure right there. With tip. “Vixen Cherry, please.” I get in my weekly dose of people watching, from the wide-eyed six-foot-four man declaring “I did NOT have mangoes yesterday, and I WON’T have them today!” (repeat several hundred times)...to the woman wearing the I-Pod singing “Ain’t that a Shame” at the top of her lungs while applying an entire make-up job of bright blue eye shadow under her brows, silver white on the lids, bright fuchsia lipstick, followed by a liberal spraying of perfume...I have saved significantly on the amount of stress and anger at sitting in traffic for an hour each way to drive a mere 16 miles. I, dare I say it, actually get to decompress by zoning out on the subway after work. But wait, there’s more! It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping! No, seriously, in addition to all those perks, I have noticed a distinct difference in the behavior of the subway rider vs. the vehicle driver...specifically they are significantly more courteous and considerate to the people around them than the average driver. So my review of public transportation all points east, north and south of La Brea is quite positive and well worth the infrequent occurrence of someone chanting repeatedly about what fruit they chose not to eat or being choked with L'AIR DU TEMPS.

Oh, and having thinner thighs doesn't suck.