26 February 2009


the instructions for my life are on a piece of red paper lodgd in a crack in the wall beside my house. I pull it out   unfold it   & wake up.

25 February 2009

I was a bad citizen

during the last administration. for the 1st time in my life I didn't watch a single presidential address during the entire 8 dreary years. seeing & hearing that man upset me in ways injurious to my health.

so I was pleasd to hear Obama's address last nite. finally a president with intelligence & ambition & vision.

24 February 2009

the give & take of nature

you may recall my anguish last spring to learn my beloved Spanish Broom had sufferd death by gopher.

this afternoon while clearing some dried plants next to the front of the house I was excitd to see a few tiny Spanish Broom plants. I hope at least one of these volunteers may some day flourish.

23 February 2009

yard work

for 2nd day in a row.

it's 60 & climbing. & my 1st daffodil is abt to burst open.

21 February 2009

20 February 2009


an old friend sent me a cheer package yesterday. one of the special items was this lobbycard for "Compulsion" which was releasd a half century ago. my scanner isn't big enuf to show the whole image. but we do see Diane Varsi with Orson Welles.

I met Varsi in San Francisco 31 years ago. she was a beautiful intelligent woman with many interests. her Hollywood debut as Lana Turner's daughter in "Peyton Place" brought her an Oscar nom. she developd a reputation as being difficult & suddenly left Hollywood. altho her film career continued on & off afterward she never regaind that initial momentum.

we once had a long phone conversation abt poetry. I no longer recall the details but it was apparent she knew what was happening in the literary world.

Varsi's last years were challenging ones with a myriad of health problems. she died at 54. the day after this year's Oscars is her birthday.

19 February 2009


2 very different auctions are looming. at one Ghandi's glasses will be sold. at another the pair with the paintd eyes used by Ernie Kovacs when he playd "poet" Percy Dovetonsils.

18 February 2009

in my dream last nite

Arnold Schwartzenegger arrivd early at a university event I had palnnd. he was wearing black eyeliner.

in reality the 1st time I saw the future governor was at the American Film Institute salute to Bette Davis in Beverly Hills in 1977. he lookd ill at ease in an outsize tux & escortd a rich older woman. wink wink.

13 February 2009

comings & goings

when I visit Winckles St I have to read both morning papers before Mom. she clips as she she reads. crossword puzzle goes to one neighbor   horoscope to another. she sends medical items to Dr. John & dog things to Bill Berger. I get show biz & writing as well as obits.

in today's mail was the obituary of David Fulford. many years ago he had the area's best summer stock theater. Canal Fulton Summer Arena was intimate enough that you cd become involvd. in addition to presenting such "normal" summer stock diet as Tab Hunter doing Neil Simon & George Nader as Mr. Roberts   Fulford challengd his audiences. I've already mentiond here Sal Mineo's jolting production of "End As a Man." there was also Mercedes MacCambridge in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." & how cd I ever forget how beautiful Brandon DeWilde was when he playd Tom Jones.

12 February 2009

the face on the locker room floor

as I was packing up to leave the gym this ayem I saw a penny on the floor. it's Abe's 200th birthday today. I like when those kinds of things happen.

10 February 2009

party for Carmen's birthday (1989)

Henry Van Dyke

Bill Berger

Tom Beckett

P. Craig Russell with the infamous snatch shot

lift me to the tip of Sugar Loaf

one measure of the depth of my depression is the fact that I forgot that yesterday was Carmen Miranda's 100th birthday.

altho synchonistically she was on my mind & even in my e-mails.

2 decades ago I threw a big party for her 80th. one of the guests -- Tom Beckett -- referencd that joyous evening in "Prolegomena to the Study of Great Cartoons." if I summon the strength today I'll search for some of the photos.

08 February 2009

chica chica boom chic

some time ago I mentiond here that historically a personal antidote to depression has been watching "I Love Lucy" reruns or a Carmen Miranda movie. & in yesterday's comments the Brazilian Bombshell came up again.

those who have copies of Gildzen at 50 have seen the photo of me placing a banana on Carmen's grave 21 years ago. on that trip to Rio I also visitd a musuem devoted to her & purchasd an album of her songs.

2 years after that I took the Grave Line Tour in Hollywood.

the limo pickd us up on a side street next to Grauman's Chinese which I think disappeard when the Hollywood & Highland construction took place. we were driven to spots where stars died. this was the house in Beverly Hills where Carmen died.

in 1998 I visitd the new Carmen Miranda Square at Hollywood Blvd & Orange. the woman lives on & never fails to cheer me.

07 February 2009

what a world

the rodent pope takes tea with one of his minions who doesn't believe the Holocaust happend. Mormons spent over $22 million to back Prop 8. Shepard Fairey has been arrestd for making art. Trudy Steuernagel was beaten to death by her son. reports are that rats & roaches are dryroastd at Peanut Corp of America. a woman with too many children burdens the world with octuplets. Ted Haggard cast his penis for his very own dildo. & Bernie Madoff still isn't in jail.

06 February 2009

go west young man

this Kodachrome print I suspect was taken from a slide. I was 11 when my Eastern Heights classmates & I were photographd as part of a project on the western states. I'm the one holding the totem pole. my recollection is that we did our research for a presentation to parents.

as someone who now lives in the southwest the one item in this photo that's of interest to me is the kachina being held by the Girl Scout.

05 February 2009

the passage

in "Foolish Wives" in which Dale Fuller locks a pair of would-be lovers in a room then sets the place on fire is an entire world.

Fuller becomes one of the silent screen's greats with this moment. we see not just madness in her eyes but a whole life condensd into a few moments of acting.

von Stroheim's 1922 million-dollar classic creaks a bit but has delicious moments. & it makes me want to see more of Fuller. some say her best performance was another at the hands of von Stroheim. but most of her footage in "Greed" has disappeard. she seems a woman worth rediscovering. her mother was a western legend -- the first female stage coach driver while still in her teens. & Dale began on screen doing Keystone comedies before her work with von Stroheim & Lubitsch.

02 February 2009

blog alert

"I'm photographing LA. -- All of it."

so says Kevin McCollister. I try to make a daily stop at his blog Jimson Weed Gazette. he's a former Ohioan who obviously loves the city of angels. he makes no apologies for being a completely digital photographer. claims he's more Whitman than Ansel Adams.