The look you get when someone you know asks you to be in a Do You Know a Celebrity Contest.
Sure, you may feel like a bitch for not wanting to do it. After all, they could get TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. And what kind of friend wouldn't want a pal to get TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?
(And the celebrity can send 5K to the charity of their choice. Guess they figure we need a dog in that hunt, too.)
But there is another look - albeit less obvious, one that's attached to the heart.
The way you feel when you realize that perhaps other friends have thought of this very same thing, then thought better of it: perhaps thought that friendship - maybe even my friendship - was not worth the way it might make me feel.
Please don't tell me if you're one of those people. That you thought about it. Um, I would rather not know, in case this isn't clear enough. Besides, that's not what this is about. Without you telling me, just take these deep thanks just the same.
Btw, when my response to the request was that I hoped it was a joke, the answer was, "You never know if you don't ask."
Just thinking of all the times that I have known. Without asking.
As usual, this probably points to something untended in my own little energy field. An inadvertent lesson that happened a few years ago was that if I resent something/someone, I will often resemble that very thing.
And sometimes - hallelujah - not.
So tonight, my real friend circle might feel smaller, but it sure does feel real - across miles and strangers and time and those of you I'll never meet in person and places I'll never go. But, in the cosmos, it's no distance at all.
Lastly. I'd like to thank my friend Gail for letting me post TL's photo by way of illustration. He just gave me this very look last night.
My crime? I brought a ridiculous treat from home: A Milk Bone with preservative-free, non nitrite real meat wrapped around it. (I keep that to give my own pups pills.) Once TL realized that only a lousy Milk Bone was inside that meat, be gave me this side-eye, stink-eye combo.
Now my crime is tenfold because, y'all?
BOY, did I laugh. He's just sooo dramatic in his wounded expression. Maybe like I am being about that stupid ass contest, eh?
I love TL very much and the darling little so and so knows it. Our friendship will survive my disappointing offering. I think.
The Lucky Ones
I try to write big things on the big machine. But I'm not at home and this little phone will have to be my monitor. So with Swype and a full heart, do I submit a post for the great loss of today. Thank you for your forbearance.
The Lucky Ones
Legacies can be monstrous things - especially when we're forced to assess them prematurely. Then the enormity of grief is almost beside the point as memories gather in gusts, almost literally blowing in, mixing with real tears because sometimes the ones we lose wrote the theme to our very lives.
This man - tiny only in the physical sense - was built of mystery, prolific, not only marching to his own beat but, in its wake, becoming a cosmic permission-giver for us to groove with him... His strangeness was our beloved familiar.
Issac Bashevic Singer said that if you tell about of place really well, you tell about the whole world. That is, I venture, how it was possible that Prince rearranged the storm surges of his own hard path, turning it into not only sounds, but images, too, almost too powerful to simply call music. The low blows of his childhood were turned inside out like flipping all the petals on a tulip so that it looks like an entirely new kind of flower.
The aluminum, damnable taste of grief is a shock to the system, but even more so when it arrives unexpectedly and from afar.
Some obituaries are written well in advance of their time: Michael Jackson was so far out on a sliver of a limb that by the time he died, the surprise was that he stayed as long as he did. Maybe that's what he and Prince had in common: Although loaded with immense power and vision, they were each frangible, radiating ethereal qualities not to be confused for weakness.
And so the satellite dirges begin. The litanies of "if onlys: They rush, whispered through the ranks of strangers and now, because it's possible to document each waking moment of any given life with a mere click, crop and save, there will be those who claim to know his last hours. Let us not go there. Why? Because that path belongs to the hideous: The death reenactments where blame morphs into virtual prosecution, persecution and chronologically determined final steps. It's bullshit and it doesn't matter anymore.
Every legend has those to whom they're truly beloved - the actual family, the real friends, loving them the whole while, past the insane pomp and through the pimptastic crazy ride of fame. It's hard to find the needle, much less the skinny thread to send our prayers for their comfort.
Yet grief is nothing if not efficient: It cuts into time, distance and even old misunderstandings. Let then, our decency move like invisible bodyguards into their circle now to protect and comfort them.
Grief commemorates, too. In real and fake ways. Perhaps folks will find partially written songs, troves of unreleased ones: things they'll presume to dissect. What he left was enough. (In my dream, I can see him thirty years older, rocking on a porch doing nothing and being the richer for it.)
Artistic legacies are heaviest when exits are premature, and, man, there will never be enough chairs for its entourage. You know. Talkin' 'bout the sunglasses in the nighttime crowd. But some folks' talent is so big, with so many layers that only time will give it the room it needs to fan out.
Losing someone so magical, illuminating, cosmically funky and important to planetary coolness, makes it seem like all the water is sloshing out of the pool at once. And these deaths of late have been hard ones! Stars falling and falling like a mean ass game of lead dominoes: Bowie, Haggard and now Prince, proving the ghastly axiom of bad things happening in threes. (I will not defer to those insisting Merle is not in their ranks. I'm a leftie from Alabama: Take it up with me and Dickie Betts.)
And though we didn't really know them, in a way, we're exactly the ones who can see how far their wild beat blew. And know just how crazy good they were. That such talent existed in our lifetime is the blessing which circles back to the pain...
We're getting drenched in the sweet rain of that remembering - huge, unrelenting drops of it - OK. Purple rain. Blue tears. Faded stripes on ticket stubs. We had seat numbers to the revolution... And weren't we the lucky ones?
Little Baby Orchid Pot Thing
Given the utterly promiscuous nature of our other orchid, it's probably no surprise that this is happening in the house.
Actually, we'd never thought of the little baby orchid pot thing before. Not a very good photo but I wanted to try and take their photo while they weren't.... you know. Fooling around.
Man in the Waxing Moon
Walking the pups when the moon's really bright takes a bit of extra caution around here. This is when the coyotes come out to play...
Perhaps 'play' isn't the operative word:
Bunny screams are chilling, but as loud as they are, get totally drowned out beneath the coyotes' vocal tracks.
It's probably pretty funny watching/listening to us walk on these nights:
The "Mama" carries a flashlight, using her lowest voice repeating the mantra, "Nooooo coyote,, nooooo coyote" til we make it safely back up the hill again.
And the moon man? He might be laying low, too. We caught him in this shot, seeming to hide behind the lacy leaves of a big California scrub oak.
And we're all present and accounted for, SIR.
April in Paris...
.... is pretty darn cold and rainy. But it probably sounds better to a lyricist than "May", so that's why a bunch of first-timers - representin' - end up shivering - albeit still thoroughly entranced - with our maiden visit to the City of Lights.
Because of a fortunate connection in Houston, a dear friend, Martha Terrell, a fantastic artist in her own right, told me about a buddy of hers with - you gotta hear it with the Texas twang - 'an atelier in Angers'. His name? Butch Peace. Best expatriate Texan name in all of France, we venture to say.
And although he ran with a very European crowd of accomplished abstract expressionists, Monsieur Peace, as you can see, was clearly grounded in the real.
There is a long story to this drawing, but best left in my memory bank. Suffice it to say that I modeled for this inadvertently, at the end of a tiring, wondrous day gallivanting through museums and galleries of Paris, ending up in a real studio in Montparnasse - even negotiating the public transport there with, oh, so little French at our command.
It is reflective and can see traces of the woman I'd age to become in his work. Spot on - on a good day, I might add.
Butch sure did surprise me with this:
I was staring at the watercolors of Odilon Redon at the time - right before I began to weep at the sheer, delicate beauty of his work, in some redneck version of Stendhal's syndrome. True story, on this last. And it is worth looking up.
Thank you, Butch.
Thank you, Martha.
And to Paris...
Je vous remercie toujours
"The debbil made me do it!"
Yippee in the house...
In other interesting news, we're happy to sign for two more episodes of HBO'S The Leftovers, recurring in a very interesting character. Shooting this month and we'll sure let you know when they air.
She finally is aaaallll the way bloomed, blossomed, all of it....
Gonna have to put her in bigger digs...
Mighty proud of her and thank you all for ROOTING for her. Heh.
Quality Problems and a sudden affectionate thanks...
Having lived in a variety of neighborhoods in my half century plus on the planet, from the most urban imaginable to plum in the middle of nowhere, I'm surprised at my reaction to this "event". And if I hadn't glanced down from one (justice served after over a decade YeeeHAAA) news story to see this headline, perhaps this would be the first some of you would hear if it.
The phrase "slow news day" does and doesn't really fit here. After all, this is southern California, where car chases take up entire afternoons both on and our off screen.
To be clear, I empathize with the woman in this story. And, in a way, with the guy they're all talking about.
But the distances humans are from one another has never seemed greater to me.
Make no mistake: It's not about the woman and the stranger on her patio.
Look. I have a feeling this will be one of those posts that stays up about six minutes because what some folks get from it - or regurgitate from it - can be harsh to/about any of the players. That's not my intent. In comedy they'd call this a set up. Reckon the punchline will come later.
I'm posting this for that wry, dear band of freethinkers who have winked at me across miles, on these FB pages without putting posters up or asking me personal things. That includes not assuming that anyone's past, in stage lights or not, is necessarily what they want to be reminded of. Thank you for not assuming who my friends are. And, when you do know, for protecting us both.
I never knew how manners could matter until I saw where they weren't. You don't know how your warmth and decorum make this a mostly fun place to be.
Wasn't expecting to say that. Bet you know who you are.
Anyway, check this out and if you beat me to a parody, the best man won.
We watched him get continual refills of a beverage we thought very hi test. Despite that, when we all got up to leave the restaurant, he seemed fine, which only made us believe he might be alcoholic.
Finally, when no one else said a thing, we spoke out.
"Sorry, but I can't let you drive after you've had so many drinks!"
He said, "I've only been drinking Arnold Palmers!"
Everyone was looking at the idiot then.
We spoke again, more softly., "That's not like a Long Island Iced Tea?"
Sound of guffaws and negative answers.
If blushing made noise, we would've broken the sound barrier.
Thankfully, apart from the stupid mistake, we actually got a great big hug from him.
We were never in danger of getting the Cool Award to start with. But now, we suspect we couldn't go to the museum if we paid admission.
"It's a bird! It's a plane! It's.... SOMEthing..."
As Mr. Serling used to say, "Submitted for your approval...'
Now look here, please. We're far from saying this piloted by little green men or even their big blue cousins. We have no idea WHAT this is. But it's pretty freaking cool.
Feel free to debunk, but know this:
Your civility will get you everywhere.
Here's the deal on this specific post:
About a year ago, someone sent us this MUFON submission from Houston. We're posting it because it's one of our favorite clips of an unidentified aerial object. Ever. And we've seen so much UFO footage over the years, even if you don't believe in this guff, perhaps the fact that it impressed us will be enough reason to check it out.
Although we're admittedly fascinated with UFOs, we're aware that a very, very small percentage of them fall into that unexplained category. (We saw a doozy of a UFO when we were 21 - and and sober. That alone has probably fueled our enthusiasm and curiosity as much as anything.)
We are aware that the leap from merely 'unidentified' to "who in blazes is DRIVING that thing!?" is a very big one. And where things get sticky, and rightfully so...
Luckily - and sometimes disappointingly -
we've a friend who's adept at figuring out what many of these things are and, in so doing, determining what they're not. He's pointed out that in this era of drones and easily rendered CGIs, it's tempting to think that almost none of the photos or footage is worth a second glance. By the way, it's taken years, but he only recently added 'almost' to his qualification.
Btw, he in no way committed to calling this specific video anything but unidentified, but he did say it was "fascinating" as these things go.
During the time we've known him, he has helped us learn to recognize some of the 'down to earth' explanations for ourselves: lens flares, insects, Chinese lanterns, experimental aircraft and even such detailed lenticular cloud formations, you'd swear you see a pilot inside them.
Apart from a new wave of butthead, yet skilled, tricksters, the former can factor in innocently submitted items which are, at face value, impressive and even, at times, breathtaking.
So for those of us in the diehard 'eye to the sky' patrol, two things are becoming increasingly clear: The first is that there are hundreds if not thousands of UFO sightings daily around the planet. (And these are only the reported ones.) The second is that the folks stomping their feet in belligerent certainty on either side of the argument aren't really contributing to what could be a collective, informed study of the phenomena.
Hey. At least we blush to admit we love UFOs at all. Add that to the fact that we lean toward believing that intelligently piloted crafts have been visiting earth for some time, and we understand why some might categorize us - among the kinder terms - as deluded.
That's not even factoring in that, in addition to UFO interest, we're pretty sure that human consciousness survives the death of the body. You know what that means, right? Exactly. We'll be eating at the kids' table for a looooonnng time.
One last thing; For those willing to consider possibilities, we have discovered a YouTube program called UFO Planet, produced and hosted by Darin Crapo. (Calm down, it's pronounced CRAY-poh.) It's a weekly showcase of internationally submitted videos from the ridiculous to the sublime. Mr. Crapo is also an armchair expert on ones that seem bona fide as well as submissions that don't meet the criteria for 'good sightings'.
Check him out on YouTube. It's worth fast forwarding to see the "Hot Video Clip of the Week".
And now, finally, the video clip from MUFON.