Saturday, December 27, 2008

Year of The YTube

Huffington Post Did a piece on the top ten youtube videos of the year. CLICK HERE.   I thought for sure my cat Dinah eating the record off of the turntable would have been amoung them, but alas; Maybe next year I'll catch her doing something darling that will go viral.    

Most of the videos I'd seen, and if you owned a computer, had e-mail and friends how could you miss them.   I had missed the 3 year old re-telling Star Wars (cute) and the partying teenager in Austrialia (who is now a star). 

I am glad to see one of my favorite youtube series was featured, Drunk History.  The first piece I thought was a brilliant ode to anyone who has ever tried to have a serious conversation while intoxicated. I've not been keeping up with the series beyond the first one about Alexander Hamilton.

A few of the later ones feature a tad too much vomiting by the storytellers.  But this one with Jen Kirkman the telling of the story of Washington's slave Oney Judge is funny and at the same time informative.  It's a story that they must have left out of the history books.   And her hiccups are hysterical.  

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope that all of you are having as much fun
as my family did in this 1949 Home Movie.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve is always been sort of melancholy for me. Growing up my parents were usually in bed by ten leaving me to watch as each of the television stations went off the air after their showing of A Christmas Carol or watching Midnight Mass from Holy Name Cathedral. On the rare occasions we did go to church it was at Our Lady of the Snows where the mass was done in Polish.

I always had jobs where I worked on Christmas Eve or when I moved away from home I usually spent them by myself with some rare and fun exceptions. One year Thax and I watched Zombie movies all night, that was fun. And when I was dating Robert we went to a sleazy bar and drank Long Island Ice Teas until we were both sick. I think that was the year my mother asked me on Christmas if I was mad at her... when I was just barely hold it together with a massive hangover.

Don't worry about me this year, I've got plans for a dinner with other Christmas orphans. But getting back to the album. This is one of my few and favorite Christmas albums. Jackie Gleason along with being a comic was a great conductor of "mood music". As the liner notes says it's meant to be played after the day is over and you have time to reflect on this and past Christmases.

It's also a chance to hear the slowest renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland".

Have a Happy Christmas Eve

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hello Gentle Readers

This month is just slipping by me like my wheels trying to get out of my frozen parking space. I've hardly had any energy or time to post silly youtube videos let alone sit down and think about something interesting to pull out, scan and post... However, I thought I'd do a post catching you up on some odds and ends in my life. 

I really should write some observations everyday. I've begun trying to write my dreams down. I did it pretty regularly for a while, when I could pull myself out of bed to write something half asleep. It's fun and a little scary to read them later when I have no remembrance of the dream. For example: 

I had this dream that I was with Burguss Meredeth. He was giving people tattoos and drilling holes into people’s bodies. He gave me an elaborate tattoo on my right arm. It filled up my whole arm and the images were so dense that I couldn't make them out. 

He then wanted to drill 20 holes in my body. I stopped him at the last minute and he started to do it to someone else. I was horrified and had to walk away. 

The mind is a spooky thing. 

This last week has been exhausting. Not because of Christmas. I've not gotten anybody anything. Even shopping on-line seems like a chore. My office is moving to a new space and I've been in charge of basically anything that plugs in; so on top of my usual duties I've had lots of dealings with Networking people and American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) workmen. (I've tried to talk my boss into going with an all telegraph office to save money on phones.) I've nothing to say about this whole process of moving. Just typing this paragraph has bored me, so I can't imagine what it's like for people to read it. 

This week I also had the dreaded phone call in the middle of the night. My parents are now in their 80s and my mother is pretty much bedridden. While in the deepest of sleeps, with two blankets, a patchwork quilt and Dinah, my cat, snuggled sleeping on my leg, the phone rang. After four rings I realized I was really hearing the phone ring and I wasn't dreaming. I laid there thinking it must be a wrong number, but knowing that something was wrong. I picked up the phone too late, and then tried to figure out with the caller ID who called. Before I could it rang again. My father sounding scared said that his heart was racing and he wanted me to come pick him up and take him to the emergency room. I told him to call an ambulance because it would take me at least an hour to drive to his house.  He protested saying he didn't want them to take him to some hospital that he didn't know.  I told him to calm down and to call my sister; I would be there as soon as I could. I threw on some clothes and crawled into my freezing, freezing car. It was about 10 degrees . 

It was creepy driving on the empty Lake Shore Drive wondering what I was going to find on the other end of the highway. I listened to an old radio show from 1939 of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre production of some 1920's melodrama about two men and a woman who crash land in a faraway Indian country where the king decides to put them to death to revenge the death of his brothers who were about to be hanged by the British. I should have had something cheerier on, but it seemed fitting to listen as the heroine said she would rather die than be the king's "wife". The roads were just icy and awful, and the few cars that were out were whipping by me at 80 miles an hour. It's funny how 3:30 in the morning seems different when you are up all night rather than when you just get up. 

I got to my parent's home and went into their living room. My sister was sitting on the couch and she said as I walked in, "He says he's fine now and he doesn't want to go anywhere..." She offered gratefully to stay and take him to his regular doctor later on that morning. I sat for a while asking, "Well what should I do...?" Should I stay? Should I go home? Should I go to the gym? Shopping? They were predicting a huge storm that evening. I said after twenty minutes of making sure he was o.k. and watching the Weather Channel that I was leaving. My sister said, "Let's just consider this a dry run..." 

I drove home barely keeping my eyes open. I had gone to bed at 12:30 the night before so I was only going on a few hours sleep. Orson Welles voice drone on as he threatened to take the young heroine for either his wife or "his slave". As I drove back up Lake Shore Drive at a little after five in the morning, two young women jogged next to me along the lakeside. I just don't understand where that dedication to physical fitness comes from. Not only to get up early, but to go outside and run in sub-freezing weather, along a large choppy body of water. I vowed to not complain when the steam was too hot in the sauna at my gym again. 

I pulled back into my neighborhood and drove up the street that runs past Blagojevich's house. In the distance a huge bright light was in the sky. I thought it was the moon, but it was an enormous tower on top of the ABC News van. It looked like the star of Bethlehem. I don't know what was going on, but the press was out in force. Back in my warm apartment, the cat looking curiously at me, I crawled back into bed. It was 6:30 in the morning; I could sleep for at least an hour. Suddenly I heard the whoosh-whoosh of the helicopters hovering overhead. I looked out my window and watched as they floated around the neighborhood looking for a glimpse of the governor jogging in the frozen streets and floated off to sleep.

I've been exhausted ever since. Not to mention two more trips there to take my father to a couple doctor's appointments. Plus the cold has been awful. I hope it's warm wherever you are... It's been just painfully cold. In a way I like it a lot when it's like this, it's so bracing; and introspective. But then the uncontrollable shaking happens and I just want to be warm. 

So thanks for indulging me in a daily diary entry. Maybe I'll do more. They are a bit cathartic. Stay warm... 

Johnny C...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

30 Ways to Die of Electrocution
A lovely Flicker set from blogger Bre Pettis of scans from a German illustrated book Elektroschultz in 132 Bildern.   Some extremely disturbing images.  And if you were paranoid about taking a bath before...   30 more drawings HERE

Check out Bre Pettis's Blog.  He's cute and clever...  Here is one of his videos. 
Things - Zoetrope from Bre Pettis on Vimeo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lana! On the Tube...

It's been two years since I wrote a post about the singer Lana Cantrell. Click Here if you haven't read it.

It's been one of my most read posts. There is still so little written about Miss Cantrell, when you type in her name my blog is right at the top of the searches. I've had many wonderful e-mails from cyber-friends concerning their love for this forgotten diva. Recently, a reader William S. wrote me and informed me that there was a youtube video of her on-line. It's very exciting for me. I've never "seen" her sing. She does have a touch of Streisand about her, but Barbra never performed among such amazing 60's golden flotsam.

Love to hear from more Lana fans. Feel free to write your Lana memories in comments here...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Morning Update:
Since six this morning helicopters have been hovering over my house!  
This usually only happens when someone throws themselves in front of a train.   Which I guess politically, he did... 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Circus Has Come to My Neighborhood

You'd have to be living under a rock not have heard about this whole Blagojevich scandal. If not, then just look it up in Google News or something... It's quite the story of the year. What's interesting to me is that this is all happening just about two blocks from my house; He's lived in my neighborhood for the past eleven years. In fact, not a day goes by when I don't drive by his home; I've seen him mowing his lawn (rarely), watched while his family had Thanksgiving dinner, and often seen him in the morning leaving for the office with his strapping, State Police undercover agents with the big black SUV waiting for him. (His officers are always there in their black cars with their little TV's. During the day the Desperate Housewifes of the neighborhood would walk their dogs past them to stop and chat.)

My closest encounter with him was once after a night of much tom catting and drinking I was walking home crossing over the over the river just as the sun was rising. As I dragged myself over the bridge, Blagojevich came around the cover and ran right into me in his little red satin jogging shorts, his guards close behind. After a big "Aaah" from both of us and he grab me so I wouldn't fall down. We both laughed and said, "That was a close one... a couple more feet and I'd be in the river..." Now that would have been a scandal. Governor pushes boozed up barfly into Chicago River.

A few years later I organized a poster campaign in my neighborhood when the non-profit I work for almost got their state funding taken away. My idea was to knock on all the doors in the neighborhood and give big posters for people to put in their windows demanding that he restore our funding. It worked. He couldn't drive in or out of the neighborhood without seeing his name and our organization together. I'm sure he hated me, if he knew who I was...

Such memories. Now tonight when I drove past his house it was completely dark. News crews stood around on his neighbor's lawns waiting for a moment when he'd throw his garbage out or maybe shovel that ice off the walk. I thought if I really want a viral youtube video I should just go out there with a boom box and lip Lip-sync to a Judy number, maybe Get Happy. Or just hold up a sign that says: Visit It seems like a waste to have those cameramen out there doing nothing but waiting for something to happen.

But it's too icy for either of those ideas. I had however, to tell you about my current brush with national news. I'll update you if he knocks me over as he runs from the law.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Boy With a Heart to Lose
A Date With Tony

During all the news coverage of Prop 8 Tony Perkins from the Focus on the Family (or whatever evil group he belongs) was on all the talking heads shows spouting about why gays shouldn't get married. All I can think of when I see him is another closeted Tony Perkins.

Tony, probably better known as Anthony Perkins from Psycho. He lived an odd life of being a gay man in the conservative 50's and 60's, having affairs with Tab Hunter, Rudolf Nureyev, and Rock Hudson. In the "me generation" of the 70's he decided that he was not gay after having sex with Victoria Principal and then through therapy became 'straight' and married fashion photographer Barry Barenson and had two children Oz and Elvis. He died in 1992 from complications from AIDS.

I've always thought Anthony Perkins was one of the most handsome men that ever was. Anyway, thinking about Tony reminded me of this photo essay from a Movie Stars magazine circa November 1957. It includes articles like, "How Far Should a Good Girl Go? (Marriage? Not for Natalie Wood), Sal Mineo's Mystery Girl, Intimate Moments in John Saxon's Arms and Elvis' Rules for Love. The studios must have paid to have Tony go on a date with blond bombshell, Venetia Stevenson. Probably to squash those ugly rumors about Tony and Tab. Yes... "There's a new glow in Tony Perkins' heart these days. Is love, in the luscious guise of Venetia Stevenson, the answer? Tony's not talking, but our intimate peek into an evening they shared just might be a peak at the future, too!"
At Venetia Stevenson's apartment it's often Benson, her pet Siamese who greets her date first, and hew as on hand the night Tony Perkins arrived to squire Venetia to the Pride and the Passion preem. On the dot as usual Tony was glad to see Venetia was almost ready.

That poor kitty.

Tony'd had a long day's work at Paramount on Desire Under the Elms, changed his clothes and shaved in his dressing room. With no time to eat earlier, he wheedled Venetia to giving him some soup and milk, then fell victim to a little begging himself!

I guess I could make a joke about that's the closest that Tony got to any pussy that night... but I won't... that would be cruel.

Pesky last-minute crisis always happen when time matters! With Tony and Venetia, it was zipper trouble for her, a loose shirt button for him, but they saved their tempers and nerves by playing maid and valet for each other!

Even then, a girl's best friend is her gay.

A girl may be entitled to that important last minute primp session, but to Tony, being punctual counts, too! He often skips meals or extra grooming to be on time.

Yes, Tony is worried he's going to miss the credits, or is he anxious because he's expecting to run into someone at the event? But who could it be?!!!
Slight delay came while Tony made sure he had the premiere tickets and gave them to Venetia for safe keeping. That's Tony's Thunderbird in the background - no more hitchhiking for this boy! He used to hate big occasions because he's near-sighted, now has enough self-confidence to wear his glasses, expect in tete-a-tete conversations.
At start-studded post-preem party in Bali Room of Beverly Hitlon, Tony and Venetia exchange a champagne toast. He doesn't drink, except on very special occasions, but attacks any food served him as though he hasn't eaten in days, "tho I never gain weight!"

Sophia Loren, who co-stars with Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra in Pride and the Passon, was congratulated by Venetia and Tony during a rare minute when photogs weren't pursuing her. In Desire Under the Elms, Tony's her stepson who falls under her spell.

Sophie looks confused but her Tony sets her straight telling her Venetia is just his beard for the evening.

Tab Hunter, who also manages to date popular Venetia, stopped for a brief chat too. Since her divorce from Russ Tamblyn, Venetia's been on a dating whirl, but Tony's rare seen with anyone else. Insiders report he's really smitten. (Tony's in Columbia's This Bitter Earth; Venetia's in Warner's Darby's Rangers.)

Finally, this is the happiest we've seen Tony. His real date for the evening has shown up. Creepy that they say that Tab is also dating Venetia, the hot divorcee. I think this photo shows who he's really smitten with.

One of the benefits of Tony's 'goin' straight' turnaround and marriage to Berry Berenson are their sons Oz and Elvis. Oz is an actor and Elvis is an accomplished and really great singer songwriter. His album "Ash Wednesday" was dedicated to his mother Barry who died on American Airlines Flight 92 on 9/11. This song is wonderful.

And as an added bonus: I've always loved Anthony Perkins, the singer. I've all of his albums. Below is the Anthony Perkins Jukebox... Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Big h/t to Graeme

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nat Goldstein Follow-up
I received this annoucement concerning the book version of the story of the tragic story of the murder of the daughter of Nat Goldstein as I posted HERE. The story is going to run on CBS's 48 Hour Investigates in a couple of weeks, and the book is available on HERE.
e-mail from Ira, Donnah's father:
This is to advise you that relative to our daughter’s tragic story which has been shown on CBS’s 48 Hour Investigates program three times the TV producer Gail Zimmerman, has written a book entitled “Invitation to a Murder” which has been published by Pocketbook which is Simon & Schuster and is available for public sale at Borders or Barnes & Noble or Amazon and most anywhere.

CBS TV and the 48 Hour program brought Sara Jane and I up to New York to interview us and to re-edit and update the previous program on Thursday the 30th of October.

We do not earn any money from this book or the TV program and the only reason we did this, is to raise more money through your donations for Donnah’s Fund, which is part of Women in Distress of Broward County, Box 676, Fort Lauderdale, 33302, as CBS will list Donnah’s Fund on their website during the show and made a substantial donation.

To date, I have been advised that through the monetary disbursements to women who have qualified, the money from Donnah’s Fund has assisted 66 women and their families start a new life away from their abusers.

I have just been advised that the date for the 48 HOUR MYSTERY CBS PROGRAM is on SATURDAY NIGHT DECEMBER 13, 2008 AT 10 PM EST…….

This story has also been shown on Court TV’s “Forensic Files” and Tru TV’s “Murder By The Book” and on the Montell Williams show and written in Reader’s Digest.

Thanks for your kindness and please buy the book which is a soft cover pocket book and it sells for $7.99.

My best,