Saturday, August 30, 2008
Last week, the mainstream press reported that a worker on payroll at a factory back east fessed up that a handful of fellow card-carrying union members, wouldn't vote for Obama because he is black.
On the other hand, one white middle class man - who asked to remain anonymous - confided to a reporter that he was specifically voting for McCain because the Republican is "white".
The writing is on the wall.
Barack is a likable-enough fellow, capable of running the country, without doubt.
But, when a handful of Americans gaze into their crystal ball, an Obama win appears downright threatening.
Some argue that once the candidate for change unpacks and settles into the sumptuous digs at the White House - that he may be inclined to not only swiftly "clean house" - but make a concerted effort to bring other "blacks" into the fold.
For example, Obama may opt to hire administrative staff from his pool of friends and business associates, who - for the most part - may have roots in the black community.
That's a realistic expectation, given human nature.
Have you ever gone into a local post office and noticed a predominant number of the workers are either African-American, Asian, or Latino?
The reason for this should be obvious.
The supervisors in charge of hiring are looking out for their "own".
To a visionary few (or a handful plagued by paranoia) an Obama stint at the White House has the potential to effect a significant shift in power from one race to another.
Something tells me - the wrinkly old white dudes running this country now - are sitting up and taking notice.
Expect skullduggery in the future, Obama.
After all, the stakes are getting higher!
In the Castro district at 18th street, City Officials have allotted a picturesque little park where dogs are allowed to run free off-leash and play with abandon.
You don't want to plunk down on the grass here - or else you'll end up with poopy pants - for sure.
As I perched on a quaint wooden park bench and marvelled at a unique perspective on the San Francisco skyline, I occasionally petted a rambunctious canine that trotted by.
As I was about to continue on a leisurely tour of the city, a friendly young lady strode up to say hello, with an adorable pup in tow.
After her trusty pouch slobbered all over my foot, he raced off to sniff other resplendent dogs running wild in the park.
"So many dogs to lick," she sighed quietly.
And, so little time!
In the wake of the initial brouhaha over race issues in the current presidential race - and the subsequent feeding frenzy on the part of the media and pundits thereafter - the McLaughlin Group invited two well-known ”Black” personalities to appear on air to discuss the African American “elite” class from their unique perspectives.
For sure, it was an intriguing, lively, and insightful discussion.
To get the ball rolling - McLaughlin probed the two speakers right off-the-bat about a curious subject - exclusive private clubs for “blacks”.
For example, he quizzed them as to whether inclusion in a “member only” club was essential to secure a place in the rarefied air of the upper-crust in America.
And - in the event that were true - from the horse’s mouth sought to determine which organizations those might be.
I was surprised to learn there are a handful of “private clubs” that cater to select African American cliques. To gain entrance - a potential candidate not only needed a personal invitation - but was required to meet strict qualifications, as well.
The “Guardsmen” and “Jack and Jill” appeared to be two exclusive clubs at the top of the wish list for any black hopeful.
According to the founders of “Jack and Jill”, the mission of their group is,
“To create a medium of contact for children which will stimulate their growth and development, provide constructive educational, cultural, civic, recreational, and social and service programs for children, and aid mothers in learning more about their children by careful study. It is also the goal to seek for ALL children the same advantages we desire for our own. And, to support all national legislation aimed at bettering conditions for children.”
In sum, “Jack and Jill” seeks to raise community awareness of the needs of children, concerns within the African American community - and likewise - prompt action in respect to these and other pressing relevant issues when appropriate.
Through national incentives like health programs and collaborative partnerships with other organizations, local chapters of “Jack and Jill” allegedly make a difference in the lives of their members, as well as the communities they serve, according to insiders.
Obviously, said clubs are worth joining, if the advantages are there.
But what about the issue of “exclusivity”?
The guests noted that the clubs are not unlike those that exist in white communities or in any other ethnic group around the nation.
In addition to inclusion in prestigious organizations like those aforementioned, Blacks who seek a coveted spot in the upper reaches of the black community are required to meet other standards or “litmus tests” as well.
For starters, lineage is quite important.
For example - “Where your grandfather went to school” - is a contributing factor for “acceptance”.
No riff raff, please!
In fact - when the subject turned to the issue of skin “tone” - the conversation got touchy on occasion.
In fact, a couple of McLaughlin’s astute observations, appeared to rile the edgy guests.
For instance, when Lawrence Graham mentioned the “brown paper bag and ruler test”, the pundit was given the old run-around when he sought to determine the origins of the “test”.
Understandable - since the “test” created a “class” system within the Black community - according to critics.
Any Afro-American with skin “lighter” than a brown paper bag (and with hair as straight as a ruler) was accepted into the higher class - while those with distinctive negro features - were relegated to the lower strata.
Graham and Horton were adamant that white plantation owners created the test during a period when slavery was legal and prevalent in the south.
It was stated point-blank - as a matter-of-fact - that a light-skinned black was favored by slave owners for employment in the “main house” as service personnel to carry out menial chores.
For this reason, darker-skinned African Americans were relegated to the status of field workers - which ultimately - affected their standing in the community for decades to come.
Along with the trappings of “house” privilege - came spoils like education - for the lighter-skinned of the race.
As a result - this sector of the black community was able to “move up” - according to the scholars.
When McLaughlin suggested that the “class system” was perpetuated by the Black community itself, there was a heated debate on the issue.
At this juncture, the talk drifted to blacks who tried to “hide” their roots, to get ahead in what they perceived as a “white man’s” world.
Graham noted that he knew one young man who took his College credit off his resume because it was known as a learning institution for black students. Then, he proceeded to slip into the community-at-large to “pass” himself off as white to strive for goals he thought were out of reach as a consequence of his skin color.
It reminded me of the Hollywood Movie - “Imitation of Life” - which starred film legend, Lana Turner (1959).
A socialite employs a black woman as a maid in her home.
When the daughter of the humble African American worker comes of age - and surmises her life as a “black” will be a stumbling block to her dreams - she runs away, lands a job in a nightclub as a dancer, then turns her back on her mother and her black heritage.
When the maid passes away, the mistress (Lana Turner) honors her wish for a dignified funeral service replete with horse-drawn carriage.
When the daughter hears of her mother’s passing, she quietly stands on the edges of the gathering crowd in the street, to pay her respects as the procession passes by. Suddenly, she becomes so overcome with grief, that she spontaneously breaks through the mob and throws herself on the casket.
Whoa, what a powerful moment in the cinema!
I recall being all teary-eyed and emotional when the dramatic heart-wrenching scene sprang to life on the silver screen.
In spite of these Hollywood-style exceptions, the speakers were mindful of the fact that those who achieved elevated status and recognition in the black community were inclined to “give back” to the community with the express purpose of nurturing the culture along.
For this reason, Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Justice) was chastised for not making any significant effort to “belong” to the Black Community or taking it upon himself to help others less-fortunate in his race.
Although the subject turned to those who “met” or “did not meet” the long-standing “brown paper bag and ruler test” - for some inexplicable reason (and in spite of the fact it was an obvious question) - no one chose to discuss Barack Obama’s status in that regard.
Did the parties make a pact not to discuss the issue on-air prior to taping to avoid any controversy or bad press in the wake of such a pronouncement?
In recent years, I’ve noticed that children playing in school yards and on busses around the nation - of all racial persuasion - appear to be comfortable in their skin.
Now that interracial marriages are accepted (and more the norm) I expect that somewhere down the rocky racially-charged-road - as the races intermix - there will be one distinct “skin color” on the planet.
As a result, racial conflicts will end.
I have a dream!
Although Sarah Palin (the VP hopeful plucked out of obscurity to be McCain's running-mate) is hardly out of the starter's gate, she's already managed to step in a heap load of caribou sh**, nonetheless.
In spite of glaring evidence to the contrary, Palin has stated for the record, that she does not think global warming is "man-made".
The silly arctic come-lately is not only uneducated and misinformed - but, quite frankly - an idiot, as well!
Unless the self-proclaimed hockey mom takes a crash course in the obvious in the next few weeks, I expect that her shocking ignorance will cost the Republicans the election in the fall.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once opined,
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Negative impact of global warming in Alaska. Duh!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I dropped two quarters in the box, snapped up the latest edition of the daily newspaper, and headed off to breakies at McDonald's.
As I thumbed through the first section, I stumbled across a publicity still of Barack Obama and his family - all lined up like darling ducks in a row - which was snapped for posterity on the eve of his glorious speech in Denver at the Democratic National Convention.
The shot of the Obama clan was familiar, though.
Ah, it hit me like a bolt of lightning.
"The Wiz", of course!
Are the Democrats sending a subliminal message?
Yes, Barack, just follow the yellow brick road.
But, watch out for a posse of scurrilous characters bent on derailing your dream for change, along the long and treacherous path to the Emerald City.
When the breaking news splashed across plasma screens around the country - for most Americans tuning in - the media jolt was startling.
On the heels of an announcement by the balmy ex-fighter pilot - that Sarah Palin was plucked up from relative obscurity to be his toasty second-in-command - voters were left scratching their heads.
Was this a clever ploy by McCain to gender ingest his political landscape?
Or - was it just a whimsical "throw of the dice" - calculated to blast wide-open a glass ceiling fraught with a million cracks by virtue of Hillary Clinton's failed bid for the Vice Presidency?
Meanwhile - a handful of frenzied analysts in the mainstream media - theorize that McCain's surprise "turn-of-the-screw" is a bold-faced effort to snatch up votes that are most surely twisting in-the-wind at the behest of disenchanted suburban housewives.
Think twice, buster.
As one Congresswoman quipped this morning,
"Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton."
In spite of it - pundits are now pouring over her qualifications like flies on sh** - what little there is of 'em.
In fact - one news anchor laughingly noted - she resorted to perusing Wikipedia to get a take on the former Ice Queen who holds sway as Governor of Alaska.
For those who accuse that McCain is in thick with the oil big-wigs - Palin taking a shot at the VP ticket - amounts to a stake in their heart.
Palin's husband, after all, holds a top-level position at BP Oil.
Notwithstanding, Ms. Palin has been stridently arguing to anyone within earshot - that drilling for oil in Alaska is not only conceivable - but falls way short of threatening wild-life environmentalists and animal activists are concerned about.
In sum, it appears McCain chose the "hockey mom" because of her energy expertise!
The out-of-the-blue upstart sure is lacking in the ethics department, though.
No cigar there, for sure.
For those of you not up-to-speed, the Gov is under investigation for unethical conduct which doesn't bode well for McCain or the Republican party out of the starting gate from the get-go.
Unless - their corrupt behind-the-scenes cronies are prepared to do her bidding with the power-elite behind the probe - of course.
In passing, it is duly noted that Palin is 44.
A double-barreled number, eh?
Which reminds me - she's pro-gun - and is a card-carrying member of the NRA.
In leisure hours, she thrills to the scent of blood and pines for the heart-pounding excitement of the hunt.
Stalking and mercilessly slaughtering the Lord's creatures is big in her neck-of-the-woods, I guess.
Given time - she'll be raping the land - left right and center.
On a slow-news day, Palin has managed to stride into the landscape and offer up a lot of juicy fodder to chew on, when hearts and minds would otherwise be idle.
There is a God, Obama!
You snooze, you lose...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wouldn't you know it, as I headed down the street back home from the grocery store on the eve of the big holiday weekend, one of my crowns popped out of my mouth, bounced off my knee, and sprang into the inky depths beyond!
A thousand bucks down the drain?
As luck would have it, "Happy Hour" was upon us, so all the muscled studs in festive Boys town were heading out to the local watering holes to toss down a few.
And yes, there I was - the total fool - crawling around on hands and bare knees (no nasty jokes, please!) widely-scanning the terrain for the well-crafted elusive dental appliance.
Yeah, I used to have a gap between my two front teeth like top fashion model - Lauren Hutton - until Dr. Newman (no kidding, that was my dentist's name) fitted a glittering set of natural-looking crowns front-row-and-center.
Great workmanship, they don't even look like chicklets.
The secret, the dentist whispered in my ear, was in the backing.
Because a cheap or poorly-conceived alloy on the reverse is capable of distorting the natural light as it passes through the porcelain, the crown may end up smacking of a phony a mile away.
But, getting back to my sad tale!
As a few hotties scurried by - and guffawed under their breath - I frantically tried to locate the little sucker.
Then, a knight in shining armour happened along, in the form of a concerned resident who lived in the neighborhood.
When I explained my predicament, he not only displayed a lot of sympathy, but pitched in to help!
To passers-by - now there appeared to be two lost souls scrounging around on the pavement - for no good reason.
At one juncture - it was evident to both of us - there wasn't enough street light to facilitate the task.
But, the good-natured dude turned out to be resourceful, as well.
He snatched up his cell phone from its resting place on his belt, flipped it open smartly, then shone the eerie blue light onto the pavement improving the circumstances somewhat.
"Just how far could a crown bounce," I wondered aloud.
Now, he put his thinking cap on.
Turns out, a handful of buddies worked in "A Different Light" bookstore, so he darted inside to locate a flashlight.
Yes, as Bette Midler would croon, 'ya got to have friends!
The long and short of it?
The scamp was spied just off the curb under the front end of a late model sedan about to pull into bustling city traffic.
When I complimented the good Samaritan, he turned beet red!
"I'm blushing," he stammered self-consciously, as his male friend gave him a huge bear-sized hug.
I headed out the door, elated.
I toyed with the idea of popping in to a drugstore - to buy some denture cream to affix the crown to the chiseled pin protruding from my jaw - but figured I'd just leave the trouble-maker tightly wrapped in a handkerchief to avoid mishaps the rest of the evening.
Then, I encountered a new dilemma out-of-the blue, as I sashayed down the strip.
It seemed that everywhere I turned - as sensual balmy breezes pulled me this way 'n that under the night's mysterious cloak - potential hook-ups starting materializing out of the woodwork to put the make on me!
Must be the "humping" law, eh?
Go out on Safari for quick nookie, 'ya get nary a nibble.
Show up looking like you've been hit by a mack truck, and the babes are all over you, like a condom on prom night.
One major problemo!
If I sidled by to chat - I'd no doubt shock the bejesus out of 'em - when they caught sight of the ghastly menacing gap beckoning from the caverns of my not-so-sexy or very effervescent Pepsodent mouth.
Don't suppose you'd like a chain saw bearing down on your *!@%*+!
But, a couple of suitors were persistent.
Consequently, I found myself glancing down a lot, to hide my mouth.
The hopeful ones fantasized I was checking out their bods, I guess.
Sex therapists have noted (by the way) that when two flirts engage in an encounter - the first one to glance away - is allegedly the dominant one.
Or maybe, the anxious Lotharios mistook the body language for shyness?
Heck, you know what they say about the quiet ones.
Wild in-between the sheets!
Did anyone suspect?
Obviously, not the stunner I ended up in the sack with.
Next time we hook up, as "Ricky" on "The Lucy Show" would say,
"I've got some 'splainin' to do."
Unless, the ardent lover thought I was just two sheets to-the-wind.
Typical horn dog sex theatrics on a party night in West Hollywood, fer sure.
The unstoppable flawless Cher will explode onto the Las Vegas stage on the evening of August 30th.
Undoubtedly, there will be a number of dazzling costume changes for the Pop chanteuse - and a dizzying array of fabulous hairpieces to match up with 'em - sure to make any drag Queen envious!
In fact, I understand that the last time Cher was performing during her stint in Sin City, a well-known female impersonator was on stage elsewhere in town, with her best impressions of the mega star.
Gosh - who knows - maybe a handful of the out-of-towners jotted down the wrong reservation number and end up in a swirl of falsies, hair extensions, and tucked-away d**k.
Sounds like a scene out of LA CAUX AUX FOLLES, doesn't it?
I remember the early days when Cher and Sonny starred on their CBS Variety show.
At the top of the show, Cher usually sashayed out; then, a gasp would erupt from the rapt audience - followed by uproarious applause - at the sight of Mrs."B" in the latest outrageous Bob Mackie designer gown.
At this juncture, Cher would maneuver a little turn and joyously scream,
"Let's hear it for the dress!"
In fact, in those heady days when censorship was a tad tighter on the airwaves, each week there was a big brouhaha over racy outfits that often caused a multitude of migraines for the CBS execs. Indeed, on occasion, a dress appeared to be nothing more than a skimpy band-aid pasted on here and there about her tanned slender body.
Throughout the opening number, Cher was inclined to flip her long silky strands to one side, as she ceremoniously licked her lips.
Yes, the perceptible personality quirks stuck, and were great fodder for impersonators to take a poke at ever after.
Once the top brass at CBS got a gander at "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" on its debut in August of 1971 as a five-week summer replacement series, their collective gut instinct was that this was the hot ticket the network was searching for.
So, when "Sonny and Cher" skyrocketed to dizzying heights within weeks on the old boob tube, a pact was signed to return in December to replace "Chicago Teddy Bears" - on Friday nights.
By 1973, the slot became a consistent top-ten winner - due to the fact it was a high-caliber show which featured talented popular regulars such as - Terri Garr, Freeman King, Peter Cullen, The Unknown Comic, Ted Zeigler, and Chastity Bono (the couple's tot).
By 1973, however, the tabloids were rife with stories of wild scream fests, missed gigs (including one subbed by Johnny Carson) and reports of Cher trying with a black eye. When the show finished eighth in the 73-74 season, Sonny filed for divorce - and on the heels of the decree - the final episode of the 'Sonny & Cher' was taped.
In the aftermath, CBS signed Cher to star in her own variety series.
Not to be outdone by his ex, Sonny proceeded to sign a deal with ABC for his own shot on the airwaves backed by the same producers, writing staff, and regular players from the previous weekly variety show.
In a jab at Cher, Sonny joked,
"We'll have all the same players," then clucked, "We'll be missing one, actually".
Sonny’s shot at the big-time was a dismal failure, mostly due to the fact Cher - the cog that kept the wheels spinning - was out of the picture and unable to bolster his morale and the ratings. In sum, the writing was uneven and the guest stars were run-of-the-mill. In short order, Sonny's solo stretch limped into the sunset.
In contrast, the Cher show debuted on Sunday February 16, 1975 with popular guest-stars (and close buds) Elton John, Bette Midler and Flip Wilson.
"I'm scared to death,” Cher said at the time about her own humble offering.
"I'm so afraid of that first walk-out. Here I am alone, naked to the world (huh?). What do you think world? Do you forgive me?"
The series was produced by a long-time writer for "Laugh-In" - George Schlatter - and always started with Cher draped in a dark cape crooning inaudibly at a lone piano in a lackluster start-up. Then, without warning, Cher suddenly threw off the veil - and as the music thumped up tempo - the little whirlwind proceeded to strut onto the front of the stage revealing her latest navel-exposing Mackie gem.
The first-nighter was thrilling, but the show quickly slumped in the weeks that followed as the shtick failed to stick. At this juncture, Cher opted to go back to "square one” and team up with Sonny for a follow-up show.
But new problems surfaced in her life.
A quickie marriage to Greg Allman turned into a nightmarish fiasco.
What was the lady to do, with a bundle of joy on the way?
In view of the unusual events unfolding, the CBS censors were inclined to look closer at the new spot which was now slotted into the "family hour". With that foremost in their mind, the network complained to the star that her clothes and image were not appropriate for a recent divorcee.
"Suddenly I should start coming off like Julie Andrews?" Cher asked incredulously.
Over the next few weeks, the show's ratings fell steadily, as did the quality of the writing.
"Sonny and Cher" hovered near the bottom of the ratings for most of the second year before limping off the air without so much as a bang. In fact, Sonny and Cher were now a total write-off to the Network, and canceled for good after hosting four different variety series between them in just six years.
But, Cher hung in there!
One night I was at the Backlot in West Hollywood a number of years ago when she arrived with Elton John in tow. The idea is laughable now, but back then, the gossip-mongers wagged their tongues about a potential sizzlin' hot affair between the dynamic pop twosome. Well, maybe the clothes-horses talked about frocks and wigs into the wee hours of dawn.
Not much else was goin' down, I betcha.
Like the energizer rabbit, Cher has gone on and on and on.
There have been so many "final curtains under her belt", I can't count!
The Las Vegas extravaganza should be a hoot, though.
Curiously, in recent days, it was revealed that Cher had a novelty "john" installed in her high-end dressing room in Vegas for the upcoming gig. Imagine that, a potty that actually opens its lid automatically and blows up a waft of fresh air into the nether - um - regions.
I've heard of bl**-jobs, but this is taking it to the max, don't 'ya think?
Cher will wail - "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" - this time around and any outfit inclined to conjure up the theme.
Yeah, she'll excite the crowd with "Half Breed", too
Did you know that Cher used to practice signing her signature for hours on end when she was a pimply-faced teenager because she knew she would be famous one day?
Amazing confidence, when you consider her humble beginnings.
Born in El Centro in California in 1946, Cher was a sad fatherless child. And, her mother was an eight-times-married failed show-biz performer who struggled by on occasional singing gigs and brief movie roles.
According to biographers, Cher delightfully watched her mother’s nervy career pursuits from the sidelines and pined to be in the spotlight, as well.
For personal reasons, the starry-eyed youth ended up dropping out to take acting lessons in Tinsel town.
She stumbled along her new path without a lot of to-do until she met an intriguing man - Sonny - who would change her life at the age of seventeen.
The moment was a turning point for the shy teen.
Cher met her future husband at Aldo's Coffee Shop, the place where celebrities used to hang out. Since Cher was basically a nobody with fantasies about pop stardom - Sonny, a bit of a celebrity at the time - swept her off her feet.
In fact, shortly after their first encounter, Cher became attached to the homely - but engaging character - and moved in with him. In those early days, they both swore up-and-down that their relationship was platonic. In spite of the fact they shared an apartment, Cher alleged they slept in separate beds. (!)
Cher's mother tried to separate them, but to no avail.
Curiously, one day out-of-the-blue, they did an about-face and professed their love for each other!
In spite of their long drawn-out break-up years later, Cher noted in one biography - "The First Time" - that Bono was the ultimate love of her life and that the two remained amicable despite their personal differences and subsequent hardships.
Cher confessed in one intimate moment,
"What you saw on TV with Sonny and Cher was a good representation of our personal life, always laughing and having fun".
Perhaps the solid footing between the two is the reason why Sonny and Cher hit gold with their single - "I've got you Babe" - when it first hit the charts.
For some inexplicable reason, the song - and the curious couple - resonated in the hearts of teenagers and parents alike, around the nation in those innocent days.
"The Beat goes on" and "Baby Don't Go" followed, boosting their image in the industry somewhat, too.
Sonny's off-beat attire and Cher's far-out fashion schematics - featuring festive blousy pants that hugged the hip, skimpy tops, shaggy hair and fur vests - appealed greatly to the hipsters and fans who wanted to emulate them.
Life turned in a different direction after their daughter Chastity was born in 1969, though.
The intense spotlight caused problems; consequently, the home life of the winsome threesome became hectic and unstable.
On stage Cher was calm, but she noted to the press that - "backstage was turbulent" - and that she felt trapped.
Cher stated in her biography,
"The only way I could continue life happily was to split with Sonny and bring our show to a premature end." She continued, "This devastated our fans, as well as CBS executives, but it had to be done, I was simply, unhappy with my life."
In the end, stardom pulled Cher's marriage down; but, the media attention on Cher propelled her into the super stratosphere as she dated new beaus. Usually, quite young!
The brief marriage to Allman ended up in divorce due to the musician's addictions to booze and heroin.
When that sad scenario ended, it appeared that at 33 - the unemployed single mother was all washed-up - career-wise.
But then, as if by a miracle, Cher was cast in a movie called 'Silkwood', opposite film great Meryl Streep.
Cher recalls poignantly,
"I will never forget the time Silkwood premiered in New York. As soon as my name was mentioned, the audience laughed. I felt bad, but you can't argue with these things, it's just a natural organic response from the audience."
However, Cher had the last laugh when she was nominated for an Oscar!
In fact, by 1987, Cher was in such demand that she found herself in three important feature films at once, "The Witches of Eastwick", "Suspect" and "Moonstruck".
At 41, after twenty-five years in show biz, Cher was on top again.
To her surprise, she sauntered back into the music arena in a stupendous way with a surprise hit - "If I could turn back time" - in which she flaunted her sexy appeal - in an enticing risqué outfit as she wantonly pranced around on a ship full of young soldiers.
She garnered a big buzz in headlines around the globe, once again.
In the nineties, Cher re-invented her music persona, in fact.
But, as she was riding the crest of a wave of success, tragic news struck.
Sonny was killed in a skiing accident.
"I was in London in January 1998 when I heard the dreaded news. Chastity rang me and brought the news of Sonny's death. I dropped everything and fled to Heathrow Airport and the media watched my every move. Even though we'd been apart for 24 years I couldn't ignore the fact I spent a quarter of my life with this guy."
Full of remorse during her reconciliatory eulogy at his funeral, Cher praised the man who had been father, partner, friend, and foe - displaying a side of herself the world had never seen. Though hurt by endless criticism that her appearance at the funeral was an attention-seeking devise (they didn’t look like crocodile tears to me) Cher continued to mourn openly and pay tribute to Bono in a sentimental CBS documentary.
By March 1999 - looking as glamorous as ever - Cher was ruling the Top 40 charts and holding the number one spot four consecutive weeks with her new title song, "Believe".
How to define Cher?
Well - she's a survivor - first and foremost. Then, a pop singer, TV Star, Academy Award-Winning Actress, Disco Diva, home decorator, fleeting expletive tosser at Awards Shows, and a fashion icon.
Although Cher's been written off countless times in the past, she just springs back and conquers anew each year, each decade.
For an original ugly duckling, you've come a long way, Babe!
Now, for more glorious moments in the sun in Las Vegas.
See 'ya there!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
At the Democratic National Convention last night in Denver, Hillary noted in her much-anticipated speech - which tripped trillingly off the tongue - that she was a proud mother, proud Democrat, and proud American.
But, there was no mention of being a proud "wife".
Is slick Willy currently in the dog house?
News at 11!
Well, we're always reading in the newspaper about some dumb thief who screwed up because of a lack of smarts!
Can't win, eh?
Maybe it's time to put the boot on the other foot!
The dumbest cops must be the two I spied on Lincoln Boulevard the other day in picturesque Santa Monica, California.
As I sauntered by their squad car, one officer on the passenger side fumbled with a set of keys trying to gain entrance to the vehicle.
On the driver's side, a second copper struggled to effect a break-in.
Was the remote left behind at Winchell's Doughnut House?
By the way, the criminals went that 'a way!
I'll take that with sprinkles, ma'am...
Well, I find it totally awesome that web surfers are still hankering to yuck it up over a post about Paris Hilton and the "wrinkly old dude".
Although the tidbit peaked in the mainstream media over two weeks ago, the hits keep coming.
Just goes to show 'ya - contrary to the scuttlebutt - self-styled Paris Hilton continues to pique the public's curiosity!
The post I penned on Barack Obama's "stolen prayer" has held sway, too, if the blog stats are any indication.
Web surfers are still clicking on the commentary, daily.
The fascination with Elvis - and the subseqeunt efforts of fans to rustle up a star for the legendary crooner on the Las Vegas strip - boggles my mind, too.
Of course, there is one no-brainer.
Both die-hard fans - and the public-at-large - are still hungry for every scrap of news about Michael Phelps they can focus their grubby little keypads on.
Trailing behind in their wake, posts drumming up interest include features on:
The morning daily touted Ariana Huffington as "Queen" of the blogs.
I thought that Perez Hilton held that title?
Huffington still a bit green in scintillating blogger circles...
At first I didn't recognize Tucker Carlson kibitzing about at the National Democratic Convention on a morning news show.
After all, the high-profile pundit wasn't sporting his ubiquitous signature bow tie!
But, for the most part, his wardrobe choices were right on the money.
A classic Navy Sport coat was teamed with a coordinated dress shirt and understated - but tasteful - burgundy tie correctly knotted at the neck.
But, the white slacks the perky talk-show personality chose to team the ensemble up with bordered on flamboyant.
Especially for the occasion - even if the MSNBC run-down on the Democratic goings-on in Denver - was being labelled the "Unconventional Convention Coverage".
A grey or charcoal slack - even one in taupe - would have been preferable.
Unless Tucker intended to take a short break from the convention hall for an afternoon jaunt on his yacht in the - um - harbour?
Naw. Didn't think so!
Remember Tucker, it's style - not the clothes - that make the man.
And, proper conservative attire that assures a coveted spot in the anchorman's chair!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Some have been grumbling at the Democratic National Convention that bloggers don't get any respect.
But, you've come a long way, newbie!
At the convention in 2004, those who loved to "post-it" in the blogosphere were issued press credentials, granted.
And, allowed to mingle with the elite in the mainstream media.
But, the relations were strained a tad.
At the Dems' big bash this year, illustrious bloggers have not only been given the "green light" for access to all the relevant (and not so relevant) political events, but given asylum - if you will - under a "big tent".
The grandiose digs herald a new dawn for Internet pundits who have gained momentum and power in recent days on the political landscape.
Just ask Obama and Clinton - who are still stinging from a spiteful blogger's word-stalking - on the campaign trail in recent days.
Although blogsters were required to cough up one hundred bucks for their credentials, the joyride include wi-fi access, free burritos, and never-ending kegs of beer to wash the high-protein snack down with.
Heh, they're making out like bandits in Denver.
I'd better hop on a plane, pronto, and join the fray!
But, there have been some glitches in communication - in spite of the state-of-the-art presence of gizmos provided by two generous sponsors - Google and Digg.
When MSNBC tried to hand over the reigns to a newsie in-the-field for coverage on the blog presence at the Democratic Convention this morning, a number of technical difficulties delayed broadcast of the reports.
The anchor man joked,
"This is all the way from the Bloggers' camp in the Ukraine, so the feed is slow."
In view of the way some of the legit high-powered media types treat 'em, they may as well be!
All kidding aside, the bloggers appear to be happy as clams in their comfy digs.
One web writer noted on-camera that the free-standing canvas facility provided an independent base for their cerebral musings to emanate freely from.
This savvy blogster didn't intend to be influenced - nor did he plan to kow-tow to - the Democratic machine spinning their own wheels just outside the tent flaps.
Google and Digg sponsored the 8,000 square foot facility which includes a theatre, lots of leading-edge gizmos, and all the blogger interaction you could imagine in your wildest web-surfing dreams.
But, what will the talking heads produce, I wonder.
I'll be cruising the net this evening to take a gander.
Let's hope what Barbara Ehrenreich once opined is not true:
"We who officially value freedom of speech above life itself seem to have nothing to talk about but the weather."
Depending on who you talk to, a melee that erupted last night in Denver which resulted in one hundred arrests, was due to either overzealous cops or unruly mobs who would not disperse.
The protesters allege that an angry battalion of police officers approached their peaceful perch at a park just a hop-and-a-skip from the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver, exploded tear gas in their midst, and hauled them away for simply exercising their right to free speech.
Law Enforcement issued a statement to the contrary.
Denver cops alleged that they were responding to tips from intelligence reports - that protesters planned to disrupt fundraising events at a handful of the local Hotels - with the express purpose of throwing a damper on the Democrat's premier party underway at the Democratic National Convention.
Although approximately one hundred protestors were originally placed in cuffs and carted off to the County Jail, thirty were later released without incident.
The balance of the protestors were released on bond and face charges stemming from alleged unruly assembly, failing to disperse, and possibly resisting arrest.
Originally, hundreds of thousands of protesters were expected to attend the rally.
Cynics on the sidelines chided that at last count the numbers tallied in the "hundreds of hundreds".
The protesters are expected to gather again later today.
Some wonder aloud,
Will the ranks swell in view of last night's outrageous show of force by the Denver pigs?
News at 11!
According to inside sources in the Clinton camp, former president - Bill Clinton - was not thrilled to be limited to the topic of the country's National Security in a speech he is scheduled to give at tonight's Democratic National Convention in Denver.
The charismatic speaker was allegedly miffed when he was tethered to a short leash - especially in view of the fact - former presidents are generally given carte blanche to waxing eloquently on whatever subject they wish.
A right they've earned - out of respect, at least - I expect.
Grumblers in the shadows hinted that slick Willy would prefer to elucidate on high-profile subjects such as defense and foreign policy when he charges the stage tonight.
But, I expect those topics have been left for the top dogs to expound on in their keynote speeches at the zenith of the convention later in the week.
For Bill, there is a a glimmer of hope, though.
If Barack is to be taken at his word, that is.
On the campaign trail, when asked about the delicate issue, Barack assured a reporter that Hillary's hubby could talk about whatever he wished.
"Bill Clinton knows a little about trying to yank an economy out of the doldrums and helping middle-class Americans. And it wouldn't make sense for me to edit his remarks to prevent him from making a strong case about why we need fundamental economic change in this country," Obama allegedly noted for the record.
Well, there it is.
Will Bill seize the day?
As Frank Scully once said,
Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today, Jerry Brown - the Attorney General for the State of California - released guidelines that direct law enforcement on how to approach encounters with medical cannabis patients and that explicitly acknowledge that "a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful pursuant to existing California Law."
These guidelines are a direct result of a cooperative effort between representatives and volunteers at "Americans for Safe Access" and the Attorney General's office.
In fact, according to my sources, the Attorney General's office approached ASA staff and volunteers for cooperation and assistance in drafting the guidelines.
As a result, there has been a fruitful outcome that represents a milestone in the legal acceptance of California's medical cannabis laws by State Officials and Law Enforcement.
In essence, the Attorney General’s guidelines represent a major turning point for the state of California.
Attorney General Brown - the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in California - has not only pledged his support, but joined voters, lawmakers, and the courts in reaffirming the validity of the State Law regarding medical marijuana use.
The guidelines provide a long-awaited directive for patients and police - as well as for lawyers, judges and public officials - so that everyone concerned can better understand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of "all" under State Law.
In sum, the guidelines firmly establish that as long as patients and caregivers are abiding by local and state laws, they should not be arrested and their medicine should not be confiscated.
Bottom line, the State Attorney General's office has reaffirmed that California's Medical Marijuana Law is not preempted by Federal Law.
Accordingly, the Attorney General shall direct all,
"State and local law enforcement officers [to] not arrest individuals or seize marijuana under Federal Law when an individual's conduct is legal under said state law," informed sources disclosed.
These guidelines did not come without a fight though, and represents five years of hard-fought battles around the State with various levels of government, Law Enforcement, and the citizenry itself.
For a review of the guidelines:
Last year, on the heels of the atrocities unfolding in Mayanmar - which shocked the sensibilities of the civilized world - Los Angeles hosted a peace walk on Saturday, September 29th (2007).
Citizens concerned about World Peace within shouting, walking, or sprinting distance attended.
The "walk" commenced at 9:30 a.m. at MacArthur Park and was led by world-renowned Zen Master - and honored Spiritual Leader - Thich Nhat Hanh.
I attended the rally for peace and it was an enlightening experience.
Shortly after the Master arrived at the podium to convey simple messages of peace, he led a contingent of young children out of the picturesque park along Wilshire Boulevard through traffic-free city streets, then back again.
The theme of the event was "peace" in every step based on the Buddhist teaching of mindfulness.
According to Thich Nhat Hanh:
"Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present, and at one with those around you, and with what you are doing."
Each individual was urged to be mindful of each step planted on the earth, to breathe deeply, and focus on world peace.
As we walked for peace, there was an intense calm - and except for the occasional helicopter buzzing overhead - a profound silence which was sweet and beckoning.
Each foot - whether clad in leather, sandal, or humble sneaker - took a mindful step in unison with the other. With great accord, we were keenly aware that a mere second of life (we often take for granted in the throes of our hectic daily lives) was so precious.
When the sun broke from behind billowing clouds, and beamed down on the peace walkers, a moment of sublime joy touched each and every one.
The mystical event brought a smile to the face!
Thich Nhat Hanh was born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Thừa Thiên in 1926.
A graduate of Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy in Central Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh received training in Zen and the Mahayana school of Buddhism.
Ordained as a monk in 1949, he is now recognized as a Dharmacharya, and as the Spiritual head of the Từ Hiếu Temple and associated monasteries.
According to biographers, he is the Elder of the Từ Hiếu branch of the 8th generation of the Liễu Quán lineage in the 42nd generation of the Lâm Tế Dhyana school (Lin Chi Chán 臨濟禪 in Chinese or Rinzai Zen in Japanese).
At Từ Hiếu Temple on May 1st (1966) - Thich Nhat Hanh received the "lamp transmission" - making him a Dharmacharya (known as a Dharma Teacher) from Master Chân Thật.
On these shores, some Buddhist precepts tend to baffle and confuse the seeker in the modern era.
With this in mind - Thich Nhat Hanh combined his deep knowledge of a variety of traditional Zen teaching methods with methods from Theravada Buddhism and ideas from Western psychology - to form a unique approach to modern Zen practice that is popular in America today.
As a result, Thich Nhat Hanh has become an important influence in the development of Buddhism in the West.
When Thich Nhat Hanh arrived in the US in 1966, his first task was to lead a symposium in Vietnamese Buddhism at Cornell University, and to continue his work for peace.
In 1965 - Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. - and titled the essay "Searching for the Enemy of Man".
Later - during that auspicious stay in 1966 - Thich Nhat Hanh met with the Spiritual leader and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War.
On the heels of this meeting, Dr. King gave his famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City in 1967, wherein he publicly questioned U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Subsequently, Dr. King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize.
In his nomination Rev. King said, :
"I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity."
Without doubt, it is due to Thich Nhat Hanh's inspired method of teaching, and insightful interpretation of the scriptures, that the truth of the Masters is understood in remarkable simplistic ways.
One of my favorite quotes:
"Looking deeply is to remove the frontier between our notions and reality."
In the event Thich Nhat Hanh returns this fall again for the peace walk in Los Angeles, I urge all of you to join in.
Walk for peace, perfect peace.
Sweaters saunter into the picture big this fall as the brisk night air descends on the city's mean streets.
There's a bumper crop of styles to choose from.
For example, cable knits, silky blends, and plain old practical cottons.
Elegant sweater-vests are crowd-pleasers this season. 'Specially those that sidle up to pristine dress shirts, a scintillating array of tasteful ties, and classic sport coats in Navy or Camel Hair.
But, anything goes!
The overwear fashion accent not only makes an entrance in stripes of all persuasions, but jazzy eye-catching patterns that jolt the senses.
The silhouettes are bulky, oversize, and comfy.
Great for layering!
Give it the college try with a bold textured scarf, slouchy hat, and one-of-a kind knit gloves that signal a discerning fashion touch.
On ESPN today, Tom Brady expressed regret that he was unable to fumble a few in the pre-season games, but assured football fans that come September, the hunky quarterback will be all primed for the gridiron and ready to toss the pigskin around a bit for the Patriots.
"The mysterious foot injury will make sense at that time," he assured the upbeat sports anchor.
Yeah, he's ready to play ball.
And, what about the night carousing?
Gisele, do tell!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Internet was all a-twitter overnight in response to an off-kilter remark Vice President hopeful Joe Biden uttered up at his "coming out" party yesterday afternoon at a rally with Barack Obama.
When he introduced his wife Jill - for instance - he joked that his better half had a doctorate which was a "problem".
Not for her, obviously!
I expect that when the two are head-to-head in an intellectual discussion - which she is winning due to her savvy maneuvers and overall smarts - Biden is probably inclined to give a nod to Roger Dangerfield and the comedian's oft-repeated phrase,
"Take my wife, please!"
While a handful of political analysts poohed poohed Biden's attempt at levity in respect to the issue of her brainier accomplishments, one pundit noted that it was "A-OK" for the candidate to gush about her looks.
While not all may have agreed with Biden's assessment - it is a known fact - that perceptions of reality are often colored by the eyes of love.
Especially, when it comes to spouses.
But, getting back to the comment about his wife's grey matter.
That sort of repartee is alright in the parlour room or around a card table with old friends.
But on the world podium, the "put down" was in poor taste.
Notwithstanding, it's a dangerous minefield to traverse over, even with the best of intentions.
A word of advice, Joe.
There are some blood-thirsty folks across the country ready to go for the jugular.
So, think before you speak.
Theophrastus once said,
"An orator without judgment is a horse without a bridle"
With Biden, there will be a lot of finger pointing...