I Love Men

Then I just shouldn't have named him Jack, is the thing.

I never meant for my ongoing story character Jack D’Abruzzo to become my Lord Peter. I inserted deliberate flaws from the beginning, eight or nine years ago. He never used his broadcast degree; he lives with his mother and owns a donut shop. He’s previously always dated women who are way too young for him. He started out goofy and kind of manic. But I let him be the theatre director and then I let him buy the building, and then I let him grow interested in Violet, who is not that much like me, but is something like I’d probably be if I never had children.

But now he’s stuck in my head all the time, and since I made him up, well, that’s super awkward. I thought he could be handsome like Russ Columbo, but I didn’t want him compared to an idiot, plus, he wouldn’t be because no one knows who that is and I probably already use too many arcane references. Maybe like Jerry Vale, but with less face in his face. But more like one of those guys who is just perfectly pleasant and ordinary-looking until he hits the late 30s and suddenly has a strength to his face that nobody saw coming except maybe his mother, because she married the guy he resembles an awful lot. Maybe kind of like Perry Como only four inches taller, because I really don’t feel like overthinking this.

Although, I have to wonder at myself for thinking only of singers. His mother’s maiden name was Cassotto, so I guess it turns out like if Alan Alda and Bobby Darin had a baby, and that doesn’t really bear consideration, does it? It doesn’t matter. I describe him only as over 45, about 5’ 10”, black hair with threads of silver, and reasonably fit. That’s good enough, enough.

Anyway. I’ve resisted just handing him over to Violet, but it isn’t quite reasonable that all these characters in their late 40s all stay single. They can’t just up and get married, though. His mother still needs him, but there’s no way she could live in Violet’s old Victorian mansion. And why would I make Violet leave that place? I would not do that to her.

Maybe my personal ideal is that sort of relationship. They’re firmly together, but drift in and out of each other’s houses as they like. If I had my own house all those years, I might resent someone else taking up permanent space in it. And that house has been in her family since it was built in the 1860s, so it has to be lived in. If you don’t live in a house, Nature tries to claim it for its own. So I think Violet can have Jack in her own way and Jack can have Violet in what I have masterfully deemed pretty much the same way, and bits of me will find rest in that, for now.  

Well, I guess I’ve worked a couple things out so that I can carry on. But I want the computer to just shut right down if I start having him quote Wilde for his own.

Okay, Jack can look like Matteo Garrone, only I’ve let him keep his hairline for now. He's pointlessly vain about it. 

Time travel, characters, NaNoWriMo, and the ways I love men

In the past two days, I've seen two references to Johnny Carson at Google+. I'm taking that as a sort of serendipitous force leading me to consider a topic some like to call "fuck, marry, or kill." Or those actions in another order, but I like this one, as it takes a logical progression.

For the next couple of weeks I'll try to write 1500-2000 words here every day as a sort of warm-up to NaNoWriMo. But I'm not breaking any new ground. I'll write about what I enjoy thinking about; self-indulgent blather, mostly. You know I love story. I love characters. I read biographies but not much other non-fiction, because stories of lives are what interest me most. For a person who spends very little time with other adults, this might seem odd. But it's so.

And I do love men. Rarely have I been entrancingly intellectually attracted to a man I didn't also want to know intimately, but it does happen from time to time, and that's cool by me. Occasionally, as well, I'm wildly physically attracted to a man with whom I would not find intellectual common ground, or else I know he's some kind of sleazy bastard, but some fairly dynamic area of my brain really doesn't care. Especially since it's all largely theoretical. It's story, you know. I can't live it, but I can read it or imagine it in my head or try to tell it.

So I guess I have two "types," or thought I did all along, but lately I've confronted the honest fact that I have a third. Let's let Johnny Carson represent that category, for now. First, though, James Garner. James Garner, that is, when he was roughly the age I am now, or a few years younger. Tall, black hair, direct, uncompromising, charming. I idolized him when I was a child. He was my cowboy detective super hero who also looked good in formal wear. I mean, I knew even then to separate the actor from his roles, but I never could with him, and I'll confess it; I still can't. He's kind of my hero. In the girly sense of things, at least.

The second type is currently represented by Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock on the TV show Elementary. He's the new Dr. House, only really really fit. Miller's Sherlock is dryly funny, enigmatic, well-meaning but often seems rude to other people, detached, but enthusiastic about his pursuits. Out here in the real world, he's the one I'm usually drawn to, something of a mirror to myself, only with a maleness to his guts that I admire. And of course, he's not much in the way of relationship material, is he? But then neither, perhaps, am I. I like a quirky misfit not because I am a quirky misfit, but because I'm content with myself this way.

Right now, if you know me, you're wondering where Bill Holden fits into this picture. Well, you know he represents a time period, largely, but he's also a lot more like Sherlock than he might charmingly appear. Kind of moody, but self-aware. Someone you keep yearning for even though you know he's no good to wake up next to every day, because he has problems. We all have problems, but his are the kind you aren't allowed to touch. He wants to let you in, but he doesn't really want you to find out how vulnerable he is.

Let's change the game name to bed, wed, or dead, because there are only going to be so many times I can type "fuck" without starting to feel silly. Or something. The second group is the kind you'd I'd go to bed with. The first group, maybe that's the guy you'd marry, if he'd have you, because he's the kind of rich ideal that you behave awkwardly around and it confuses him. That makes the third group the dead group, but maybe you I don't want them to actually die.

Johnny Carson is a good example of this. He was a hilarious and seemingly gregarious person who was actually quite a brooder, emotionally detached, impulsive, and selfish. Maybe that guy isn't even good in bed but you still want to find out. Why? I don't know. Plenty of women did, though. He was like someone else I know, who heavily dated only after getting married. The first or second wife wouldn't know this about him, but the third one had to. Being someone's second wife is understandable, I think. Being the third starts to look a little silly. My dad married three more women within about a 15-year span after my mother died. He and Mom were already divorced, but he didn't start his wife train until she was gone. What possessed these women to keep making it legal with him? He didn't even have any money.

I have to theorize that my dad was either, in fact, some kind of Great Lover, or really good at pretending his emotional and intellectual sensitivity made him someone worth trying to keep around. Me, I'd probably just want to kill him.

That's speaking of my Dad, though, and this isn't Shakespeare.

It's some kind of cliché that women are drawn only to this "bad boy" type. I'm drawn to no one who thinks of himself as a "boy," but that's for another topic. However, clichés develop from reality, of course. So what makes us physically drawn to a sleazy bastard we know our hearts should avoid? Biology says we see one kind of man as a good babymaker and another kind as a good protector/provider (shhh, that's another topic, as well,) and of course, the golden ticket would allow us to have the man who is both. Also, supposedly, we are drawn to different types of men at different points in our cycles. I think that's neat, except that in reality we don't get to take advantage of it…

When I was a girl, I loved the TV show Barney Miller. I thought Barney was fairly awesome, but can you guess which character I had a crush on? It was Dietrich. I thought someday I'd probably marry a man pretty much like that, only able to see myself in my mate at that point. Dietrich had a similar personality to my own, though I wouldn't have known it at the time. And I did end up married to someone who is kind of a mirror image of myself in certain ways, only as it turns out, he is better suited to someone who is a lot different instead. I've been thinking about that lately, and it led to this bloated examination of whether I truly have a "type" beyond some physical and superficial characteristics. That keeps leading me back to Johnny Carson, and in a certain way, my dad.

My dad wasn't so bad, as dads go, and I didn't grow up seeking one in a mate. At the same time, he wasn't so great as a family man, either, and I never thought of him as a role model for a husband and father. I'm more like him than I am like my mother, whom I also loved dearly, but I don't know that a male counterpart of her would suit me all that well, either. What makes any of us think we're great marriage material? I would have no real idea of that, even after all this time.

You only truly want to kill the ones you loved and poured yourself into, after all, once you learn that the "forever" vessel has a leak in it. Yet some people seem to want to keep trying at that, like Carson and my dad. I've had my fill, personally.

I don't like even thinking about that. I like thinking about conversation and sex, and sometimes romance, instead. It's good, you know, getting past the age and vulnerable stage of needing a suitable mate for raising a family, and living in a world in which we have the freedom to explore what else we might like in a relationship or in a series of them.

So in a perfect world, I'd time-travel, and have what I liked for as long as I liked, then move on to the next adventure. I had a brief exchange with a man yesterday who said we should time-travel back to the days when Johnny Carson went nuts for an hour or so because his wife was supposedly sleeping with Frank Gifford. He'd take Gifford and I'd have Carson. But only for like a weekend, because I think we'd have to make a murder pact beyond that point, since they'd both end up being extremely annoying. And I doubt Johnny'd really be that good in bed; his problems were the kind that get in the way. No, in the real perfect world, intellect and sensuality would fuse like magic or physics, and the yearning that comes from intensely driven conversation would be equally or even more fulfilling in physical union. Scientists say that phase of a relationship usually lasts for only seven months or so. A couple of seasons. Apparently, though, people are lousy at parting as friends when it's all over. I'd still want to be friends.

In another perfect world, though, we were never really friends at all, just a stellar collision, drawn together by unstoppable gravity, and we create gold when we collide, then each take our share when we part.

I'm going to let my NaNoWriMo book character create some gold this season.


Time isn't holding us

Everything about this song is gorgeous, from the original writing of it to every aspect of the Talking Heads' treatment of it.  

I've continued to listen to David Byrne over the years, enjoy his collaborative works and his writing. I feel certain that if events had only played out differently, we were probably meant to be together, even if only for a brief astronomical experience. But oh, alas. It was never to be. 

He turned 61 today! That hardly seems possible because he's just not that much…older than me…and so anyway. This is my favorite recent thing that I've heard him do, from 2010, but I just downloaded the album he recorded with St. Vincent and am looking forward to hearing that and seeing them play live this summer. 


One more thing, just because I always always love this song. This is from 1996.  

High 5 over 50?

EW, I'm not linking, go find it if you want, had this thing, um, "hotties" over 55. They were okay. But not my thing. I might add Joe Mantegna, as I don't think his wonky eye would bother me much. 

Anyway. Here's my better list. (And really. If you had to set aside every man with a slightly wonky eye, you'd miss a lot of good territory.)

5 TV Guys Who May Offer Me Their AARP Discount.

John Slattery, age 50. 
Screen Shot 2012-10-05 at 9.47.30 AM

Aiden Quinn, age 53
Screen Shot 2012-10-05 at 11.15.07 AM

Brian Williams, age 53

Thomas Gibson, age 50

Craig Ferguson, age 50


Holodeck Musings, part eleventy-one

Off the top of my head, the living actors I sometimes have thoughts about in idle or not-so idle moments are Simon Baker, Rupert Graves, Dermot Mulroney, David Tennant, Ewan McGregor, and then if you just create a nice fantastical scenario that would fit a certain personality or three, I'd still include Hugh Laurie, Craig Ferguson, okay, that's seven, which I think is enough to be going on with. :-)

Yes, I just typed a smiley. Deal with it. 

It was brought to my attention that I left out Robert Downey, Jr. And...that needed to be corrected, because. Is all. He's just my age, too, which means he's always the correct age to be. 

The age range of this fantasy pool is currently 41-53. That's -6/+6, slightly wider than the range I've been considering appropriate lately, but I think, really, that this isn't something to quibble over. 

One of them was two of them were born in the United States. One of them has light-colored hair, how weird is that? But these things can't always be helped. 

What I was realizing as I typed all this nonsense just now is that although the urge is always present, the will to create some scenario for it usually appears only in what we used to refer to as "winter."

Here are the rules, though, if you are new to this game. This isn't about you as you actually are. The fact that you love romance or commitment or whatever is terribly sweet and all, but this is a game. You do not get to take it seriously. You do get to woo or be wooed. You get to have the most dirtiest sex you can imagine, if you like to call your sort of thing dirty, which I do not, or you get to just end the night with the most impossibly amazing kiss you could ever dream up. Matters not to me.

What you don't get to do is think about it the way you think about real life. You already do that, all the time. In my Holodeck game, you go where you will never get to go, anywhere you choose, and do what you like there, and then you leave it and get back to your thing, that you do, the rest of the time. 

Someone said recently, "But the holodeck isn't real. It would be just a hologram person you'd be with!" If this was the thought you were just having, I have no help for you. For all the rest of the regular-type people, where would you go? Who would you go with? I have an ongoing dead famous person list, too, but today I'm talking people who are still among the living, but annoyingly far off, too famous to get near, and, like, married or whatever. On a holodeck, they aren't any of those things if you don't want them to be.

So maybe Hugh Laurie and I take a motorcycle ride up the west coast into Canada to see my friend the lost dwarf. Maybe we never quite...make it there. She'd understand. She's busy with some tall red-headed character, or Twitter, or looking for her pants, I dunno. (Please don't hurt me, funny lady.)

How 'bout it? 

The Holodeck: A Review

The most pertinent posts are missing. But I'm going to do a new one later, anyway, that is like those. Only better-written.

And I was 37 when I started these! Such a baby. Two notes: A) For a few years, I had this computer with a wonky shift key so I used to just not capitalize i most of the time. Sorry. B) I was an okay writer then. But I'm much better now. Makes you wonder...


Holodeck List #1

March 10

i love making lists, but then they seem so unsatisfying afterwards. they're exciting and inspiring while i'm making them, then all i can think of is who or what i left out, how i could get more out of the experience, is it inspiring to someone else, or only me?

so, yes, a one night stand on the holodeck, as opposed to anything approaching, say, a meaningful relationship based on reality. totally different vibe, totally different set of blokes. men i'd pretend to have something ongoing with would have more stringent requirements, in a whole range of categories.

here's my top ten. wait, does that seem sorta skanky? like i chose just a few out of this whole crowd of fictional sex partners i'm clammering for? cause, hello, fiction. that really is the point. i'd never be jaded or whatever people are when they do this sort of thing for real. and some of these men are actually figments of the imagination, so, pretty safe there.

as far as these one-night stands are concerned, i didn't go too far back in time, because it somehow felt unclean. so that makes me think there should be a historical one-night stand list as well, separate from the other one. maybe a list should have more consistency: i mixed both real and fictional, dead and still living. on the other hand, that is why it is the top ten. a sort of K-Tel compilation of men.

Mer's Current Top Ten List of "I Brought Him Home From the Holodeck Bar" one-night stands:

10. Dean Martin
9. Fox Mulder
8. Agent Dale Cooper
7. Bobby Darin
6. Bruce Wayne, as portrayed by Michael Keaton
5. Mark Darcy, from Bridget Jones' Diary (book, not movie. Colin Firth characters themselves would probably belong on the 'other' list. )
4. Steve Martin
3. John Cusack
2. James Bond (as played by Sean Connery, not the book character, and not any other actor.)
1. Robert Smith, of the Cure

Continue reading "The Holodeck: A Review" »

I've Got A Crush On You and this thing about men

Okay, this is Frank singing for Columbia Records in 1948. He was 32ish. This is a little over 3 minutes long.

I've Got A Crush On You

And here he is for his own label, Reprise Records, in 1960. He was 44ish. And it's about a minute shorter, which is too bad, but it's because there's not so much horn action.

I've Got A Crush On You

I mean, you see what I'm saying here? They're both very good. But only one of them sends me. 

Youth is wasted on the wrong people. 



middle-aged middle ground

The ten or so of you who've followed my blogs off and on over the whatever know that I go through a period of time each month in which I…experience a heightened degree of…tractability, let's call it. At this point in my life, it's about 3 of every 4 weeks.

"I do seem somewhat soaked in nature's fecund blessing." (Yes, Mybug was speaking of rain, but whatever.)

Anyway. I was thinking lately that over the past few years I've expanded my imaginary boyfriend horizons to include a few candidates outside my "composite male" profile that I developed about 29yearsago. It's originally why I came up with the Holodeck idea, well, not only for ones who are very short or dead, but also those British ones who still smoke cigarettes, and things like that. I can either manipulate reality or just ignore bits of it. 

Where was I? 

Oh, yes. 

A couple nights ago, I was at Petsmart buying the obnoxiously expensive food I feed these two cats who live at our house, and I saw him. The Composite Male. Don't get me wrong, I've seen most of him before, once in a great while, but I mean, there he was. 100%. Okay, 99% because originally, the Composite Male was 6'-6' 2" and this man was about 5' 10" with extremely nice shoes on. However, I am not 17 anymore. And those were awfully nice shoes. 100%.

He was in line and I was behind him, and then a cashier called him to a new line, and so I just followed. I had to, and never mind the small child with him and the fact that he was holding a bag of crickets. 

He had black or nearly black hair, short and sharp, with bits of grey flecked through it, and just the perfect face that stays in my head, I mean, perfect to me, not necessarily anyone else, a little lined, a nicely carved mouth and intelligent eyes, and he was wearing a very nice dark suit and a black overcoat. And he was quite slim, but not skinny. 

When I was a Young Person, I was more attracted to the baseball physique than the football one. Remember how baseball players used to trend kinda slim? Maybe you aren't that old…but only some of the pitchers and catchers were ever on the larger side of the scale. Well, I was a very skinny young person, so large men sort of alarmed me. Plus they seemed to my childish mind to be accompanied by cans of cheap beer or voices that were too loud, or referred to themselves as themselves. Forgive me, internet stranger who might wander by, but we're all really only as deep as we pretend to be, most of the time. 

I like a man who looks (and hopefully actually is) active and fit. At my age, this is probably an important consideration in an imaginary mate, because there'd be, like, heart issues and things to contend with. But on the other hand, unless I know he's active and fit, one who is too thin probably isn't a good idea, either. There's a reason most of us put on a few more pounds as we age. Sure, we might be less active, but also, one good flu will carry off an old person if they don't have any fat reserve to draw on. 

So as I'm watching the cheesy Christmas movies this season, I'm noticing that many of the males (the ones who don't seem too gay to be very believable in the role, which is an unfortunate truth with some of the ION entries, but of course they're often inexperienced in movies and also with girls, but at least the movie experience can bring improvement,) are very attractive even though they aren't all thin, and that while I'm never going to be attracted to those men in firefighter calendars with all their pectoral bulges and whatnot, there's a lot more good stuff in the middle than I had previously bothered to notice. 

As well, I mean, consider Simon Baker. Not only is he a rather small person, but he has light-colored hair. Yet he is very attractive. Go figure.

I figured out that it's all because one side of my brain has worked out I no longer need to find the correct physical match for continuing the family line, while another side has decided I still need to find as many matches as possible, on a much broader scale. 

And that is why I have so many more imaginary boyfriends these days, and why William Holden zoomed to the top of the dead celebrity list over the past year. The "father of my children" part of the deal is no longer the most important part. 

Still, I wonder if that man goes into Petsmart for crickets every week…he drove a Hyundai Tiberon…I don't know, I mean, in 1982, the Composite Male drove a cooler car than that, but times have changed. 


dream lover, part two

For a week or more, a couple months ago, I made a nightly effort before sleep to imagine a romantic scenario which could appear in a dream for me to enjoy, though not usually with a specific person, even from my giant catalog of dead actor loves and the dozen or so living ones I'd meet at the jazz club in the holodeck if only our paths ever crossed. But I kept getting distracted. I have so little focus lately, and so my thoughts would turn toward simply shutting my mind down for rest. Yet I always feel that if I could put myself in the right frame of mind, I could have many more such dreams, as I used to quite often. This morning's dream took me by surprise and now I feel rather unsettled and curious.

There aren't, by the way, certain defining characteristics possessed by every dream man except that he's fit, knows how to talk...well, that's about it, really. They've come in a variety of ages, heights, levels of confidence, etc., otherwise. This one was in that indistinct time of life one thinks of as 40, and was, shockingly, someone I recognized.

It's too late, you know, to remember more than impressions and sensations. I had to get up and get moving a little earlier than usual, and my focus was instantly removed. Our brains immediately put away all the unnecessary elements and then, too, reshape and define what we can't recall but wish to retain. 

So I remember this: he took me down, on a bed in the middle of a room, and made love to me. I remember the feel of his hands on my skin, light and firm and serious. I remember how his skin felt beneath my hands; taut, that is to say, perhaps slightly younger than my mind tends to conjure when I picture him (if you happen to be my age or older, you may know what I mean by that) muscular, but in a strong or sinewy sense, not overly large or overly developed. I don't remember some of the things you remember about a real man, like how the hair on his legs feels when they are intertwined with your own, or running my hand down the length of his spine to rest my fingertips in the hollow at the back of his waist. I wish I could remember that. I remember his scent. I remember my hands at the back of his neck, and recognizing the tenor of his voice, not fully polished, but soft, confident, and retaining that unique resonance which is so charming on screen. I remember my hand on his chest, just below the hollow of his throat, and I remember the way his eyes looked as he bent forward to kiss me, with one hand on my shoulder. 

When we stood, he was just perceptibly taller than me, his nose above my own, but he was speaking then, and I kept thinking about the way he sounded; I was really focused on it, and I felt completely drawn in and taken over. That sensation hasn't left me. Also, I hadn't before considered how dark his hair really was, but I kept touching it as he spoke, and then we would fall together, connected all over again. That happened two or three times. 

We talked a lot, like people who really know each other and have spent solid time together. But the only topic I remember is the lake nearby, and him telling me we'd spend a lot of time there. He was playful when he spoke, but when he touched me he became very serious. 

Well, the dream went bats, and there was a baby, and I was feeding it a bottle attached to my breast with some kind of Nuk nipple, and an old female celebrity whose identity I can't recall was talking about the silliness of Playtex bottles and when they were invented and we commiserated over that, which is strange, since my six kids were mostly all breastfed, with two short-term exceptions. And I remember thinking back then that those Playtex ones were a good idea.

And I kept drifting in and out of sleep, realizing in half-waking state what I'd just conjured and wanting desperately to go back to the more precious moments of it. 

Why did my semi-conscious brain choose this man as an object of desire? He wasn't on my mind last night. As I said, I've had many romantic and/or sexy dreams, and it's not usually anyone recognizable, which at the moment I'm thinking is a good thing, because in this case, I won't be able to look at him now without wondering if I know something of what it would have felt like to have his arms around me, but that doesn't, after all, make him any more real or corporeal, does it? 


Dream Lover, part one

this is about 1200 words. not for everyone. self-indulgent, but almost honest, and very much me. and there's a lot more to come. (other things to come include a short book review for my friend Alex, and a couple quick movie reviews this weekend. i feel like writing again, yay.)

First, the shoes. Proper shoes, from a time before men could get away with wearing so-called athletic shoes all day every day. Shoes that don't look quite right with jeans, because they were meant for something better. 

The digression spirals. It's a game I'm no longer very good at. At which I'm no longer very good. Further digression into concerns over syntax for sentences that were never going to be written, because they're all forgotten by morning. And then, as though I'm 17 years old again, bored in class and working over my list of requirements for the Composite Male, I suddenly start worrying about the feet inside the socks inside the shoes. Of course the socks are all right; a man with the correct shoes will naturally be wearing the correct socks. But what deficits do they hide? 

When you are 17, this can seem to matter greatly. When you are 45, it shouldn't even enter your mind. But it enters mine, because I can no longer easily trade in idle fantasy; reality intrudes and keeps me from sleep. Because that's all this is: an exercise for sleep, my own version of counting fire engines. 

The point is, or was, the shoes are a deal-breaker, or would be, should a situation ever again arise during which a deal might be struck. This is the theory, anyway. 

I've always been a very good sleeper. And whenever I have been not such a good sleeper, I play a game; the exact same game I have played for 30 years. Creating a man to find in my dreams. At 15, these men were most often major league baseball players, classic film stars, or exotic Mediterranean men who were looking for just the right girl to coax them fully into heterosexuality. I had no experience with men at that time, of course, or even boys. Externally, that was my Awkward Year. I had all the right clothes and shoes, but my skin and teeth were a mess, my hair frizzy and unmanageable, my countenance still sometimes too quirky for comfort—not yet balanced out by my growing inner confidence. I wasn't thinking about sex yet, at least not in the way I came to understand it later. That sort of hunger that takes hold of most of us just hadn't presented itself yet. I wanted to experience the tension that comes before the sex; the little tastes of pleasure that lead us toward more, though more of what I did not spend much time considering. It was largely about the drama, and it was also about the presentation. 

He'd have a short, sharp haircut with dark hair that set off his angular features and well-chiseled lips. He might have a slight early bit of grey over the ears. With strong, squarish hands, he'd be slim and possibly lanky, standing four to seven inches taller than me, and he'd know how to dress and how to walk in what he wore. 

My tastes in this regard have changed little, though the typical baseball player's physique has changed considerably, and I'm no longer interested in showing any man on which road his sexuality should naturally travel. He will have already sorted that out in the Navy, or college, presumeably.

The thing about the shoes is that it demonstrates a particular strength of character; one that fits well with my own, indicates an attention to detail, and also reveals a becoming sense of self-satisfaction. So it's not just one certain style of shoe, you see. It is a manifestation of personal style. But to think on this too long spoils the game, and that's the problem I'm dealing with lately. 

When I was younger, it was enough to compose a picture of someone with an attractive countenance, and then decide what I wanted to happen next. I'd drift off to sleep in the midst of a cool or cozy date, and not unoften, end up seeing it played out in my dreams. Lately, burdened with a sensation of being permanently stuck on an elevator going down, I keep stopping at the shoes, mind wandering off in no good direction, restless and bothered by the heat of the pillow. 

Because, of course, now I know what comes next. All the excitement, pleasure, joy, misery, pain, loss, confusion and loneliness. Neverending grief over what was, and what was, what is, meant to be. But at night, none of that should matter at all. At night, only the sleep and the dreams should matter. The dreams should be composed of anything I like, and not merely the unravelling knots of consciousness that tangled themselves through another endless, relentless day. Even if the combination Jimmy Stewart/John Slattery/Craig Ferguson of my creation doesn't appear during sleep, and he rarely does anymore, the counting still leads to a more peaceful rest. Only the numbers, worse than appearing out of order, keep getting stuck at one. 

So. The shoes. I chose them for him, and although he wouldn't have stopped to look at them twice, he's delighted with how they fit and how he somehow thinks he looks taller in the mirror. I warn him they'll take a little breaking in, but once he has, he'll feel like they always belonged there. He strides away with confidence, attracting the eye of a woman younger than me as he passes out of the store and sets off down the sidewalk. She catches up to him and I watch them both laugh as they disappear around the corner.

Well, that's hardly the guy, is it? I never even got to imagine loosening his tie and unbuttoning his collar. Just handed him off to someone younger, the same way it happens to women my age in real life. 

(No one ever tells you about that when you're 17, and that hunger begins springing to life. You think you'll be 17 forever, and, worse, you have no inkling of how much that hunger grows, demanding to be fed and to feed another in turn, only to learn that a man's hunger is often fickle, desirous of newer, if not always more raw, energy. Sometimes the hunger still comes alive at night, in dreams, and these are not the dreams of a girl fumbling through the newness of sexual identity. But neither are they, by now, the dreams that startled you awake, sated without quite understanding or remembering how. So, like Ernie counting fire engines, I surround myself with pillows and compose a scene that will never happen, but might happen, in the enchantment of sleep. It's a romantic scene I attempt to compose, but it is not the romance I had in mind before I'd ever experienced any of my own. And much less exciting than fire trucks.)

(Now, it's easier to love a dead celebrity than a live one, and if you're good to yourself, you never imagine the real person, only some character he played, or one you imagine him playing. Because let's face it; we now know too much about anybody famous to be able to imagine one of them as the guy with whom we spend an enchanting afternoon exploring the cemetery, or the art museum, or just sitting outside a cafe, sipping coffee, watching people walk in and out of the big beautiful hotel across the street before he whispers in our ear, "Let's go in.")

(Plus, a fictional man will always be wearing the correct shoes, if he's the man for me.)


Long, slow, self-indulgent cocktail: Jack Lemmon, Herb Alpert & a drop of Steve Martin

It's a day off for the kids because schoolkids are out whooping it up for Columbus Day. One of those beautiful October days that sneak in and trick you into thinking impending winter might not be so bad after all. All the boys have congregated for it elsewhere, and it's very quiet here.

So, after a weekend spent largely in bed with what would manifest itself as a simple cold in other people, but in me takes the form of a vague, sinking malaise, along with experiencing up-close the mysterious ebb and flow of life's energy in the form of a tiny cat, I decided to indulge myself. 

I'm cleaning the bedroom. It takes me all day, because I use it for catharsis. Dusting, rearranging, vacuuming, etc., just a little bit at a time, and in between bits, putting together the following:

Today's Love is still Jack Lemmon. I watched Cowboy (1958) this weekend, and How To Murder Your Wife (1965,) and lots of bits and pieces of other things on YouTube. Here's one of them. 


[I noted that in the Netflix reviews for Under The Yum-Yum Tree (1963,) which is a silly movie I meant to watch but they screwed up the Instant streaming for—and I think it was in a review for that movie, but could have been another—someone stated it wasn't credible for Lemmon to play a character who was such a swinger, with so many women interested in him. I guffaw. Surely this statement was made by a man, because so many men just have no clue what attracts women in reality.]

Then I scanned the May 1964 Jack Lemmon Playboy interview for your perusal, while listening to Herb Alpert, because that seemed right for the magazine. 



I have 7 or 8 Herb Alpert albums on vinyl, but the songs in this post are from the Definitive Hits digital recording. 

whipped cream

A Taste Of Honey



When I was a young girl and teenager, Crown Center in Kansas City held these international festivals several weekends each summer. My favorite was always the Greek Festival. It was fairly authentic, as there was a travelling group from actual Greece, who would go around and put these things on. One year, when I was 13 or 14, I met a boy there, who played bouzouki in his parents' band. He was just dreamy. We stared at each other a lot, then took a walk around the festivities, him speaking in broken English, me probably giggling too much. He squeezed my hand when we said goodbye. I don't remember his name; his last name ended in -olopoulos, but then, so many do, don't they? 

Going Places

Zorba The Greek


An actual living crush of mine made a gorgeously asinine tribute to Jack Lemmon:



And, well, the fact is, when I was an even littler girl, I also had a deep giggly fondness for Herb Alpert himself. I would get really moony every time I heard this song. 

beat of the brass

This Guy's In Love With You

I still do. But then, I'm like that most days these days, anyway.



the Holodeck: an update

You know I do this once or twice a year or all of the time in my mind; decide who I'd like to keep company with in a holodeck. There's the live version, the dead version, and the never was alive or dead version. 

I'm pretty sure that after last night's episode of House, Hugh Laurie tops the one list this week or month or something. But anyway, this isn't about that. I mean, well, yes, it is, but also. 

Here's my current Top Five on the dead guy list, in semi-random order:

A. François-Marie Arouet, aka Voltaire

Voltaire was a happening guy. He wasn't just part of the Enlightenment, he kind of was the enlightenment. He used a jillion pen names, and seems to have come up with them in much the same way I think of mine, meaningful yet slightly tangential. Anyway, I'm aware there's an ongoing view of how much French people didn't used to bathe, but a man who says plain truth like this to me, en francais, is worth the price of a bar of soap. 

Put two men on the globe, and they will only call good, right, just, what will be good for them both. Put four, and they will only consider virtuous what suits them all: and if one of the four eats his neighbour's supper, or fights or kills him, he will certainly raise the others against him. And what is true of these four men is true of the universe. 

(Mettez deux hommes sur la terre, ils n'appelleront bon, vertueux et juste, que ce qui sera bon pour eux deux. Mettez-en quatre, il n'y aura de vertueux que co qui conviendra à tous les quatre ; et si l'un des quatre mange le souper de son compagnon, ou lo bat, ou le tue, il soulève sûrement les autres. Ce que je dis de ces quatre hommes, il lo faut dire do tout l'univers.)

Being French means examining society, its contracts and your role in them. He understood that, too, pointing out that each society chooses its rules based on who its people are. What tastes good to the French does not necessarily taste good to the Germans. I've been thinking a lot about that lately, so I'd let him pour me some wine and tell me these things, and then whatever. 

B. Thomas Jefferson

I'm not really into the ginger thing, like the lost dwarf, but Jefferson has to be an exception. I think it's pretty clear he knew what it was all about, when it came to women. Also, nature, liberty, and the cultivation and preparation of good food. That's sexy, my friend. 

I bet Jefferson and Voltaire would have an interesting holodeck discussion of this statement:

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. 

And these two, as well:

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned—this is the sum of good government. 

C. Dean Martin

Dean Martin - One For My Baby...

D. Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan - 4th Dimension
You can see more of that at YouTube, here

E. James Clerk Maxwell

I know you're thinking Michael Faraday was a hotter-looking 19th century physicist, but it's my contention that Maxwell had a lot more going on where it counts. I mean, I don't even know what I mean by that, but anyway. Maxwell was Scottish. At some point in his career he started growing this manky beard and just let the thing go, all willy-nilly, but before that, he was a handsome young man. 

I'd happily bore you with actual facts, but I won't, so if you are interested, you can start here for a light overview.

Basically, he invented what became modern physics. Maxwell led to Einstein, Planck, and the fictional invention of the holodeck, which is not 100% fiction anymore. 

Plus, he was Scottish. 

Craig Ferguson/9-11/blather

This is part of an ongoing conversation I've been having with my best online mate. Later, I'll talk about the camping trip, share some pictures, and start the process of putting every blog entry I've ever done, backdated, into this one. That will be a long-term project, but I feel good about it.

Me: Craig Ferguson is this year's top entry for a holodeck weekend. Discuss.

Chickengrrl: His monologue is truly a thing of beauty, a work of art. My only complaint (and granted, it is beyond minor) is that it's an eensy bit too long. I think I've gotten overused to Letterman's too-short one, so Ferg's seems extra long by comparison. I think somewhere in between (but closer to the length of Craig's) is more right.

The man, he is a genius. Maybe not my free pass, but a genius. ;-)

Me: I could listen to him talk for an hour. I am not very interested in the guests, unless they can really hold their own.

Chickengrrl: Yes - I think his one flaw as a host is that he's not a very good interviewer. Yet. I think he's improving, but he sort of turns everything around to talk about himself, or he obsesses about something silly (like Toni Collette saying she was menstruating). But he's better than a lot of people in that sort of position. And I think part of the problem with his guests is that he's on so late, he tends to get quasi-lame ones a lot of the time.

Chickengrrl: OK, I've found another minor flaw, and I hate to be critical of the little darling, but he does the "gay" thing way too much. Honestly, it's starting to get old.

Me: I'd probably have to agree with that. I wonder why it's so?

Chickengrrl: Please tell me you were watching last night, and saw Craig kiss Steve Carell on the mouth. I don't know what led up to it, as I was actually on the phone with P before then, but it was awesome.

Me: I didn't see it last night, but I saw it the first time it was on. It was awesome. (For those who don't watch Craig, and are now wondering at the possible hypocrisy of this conversation, let me point out that the "gay thing" we're tired of is frequent allusions to his sexuality being in question. Since it isn't, that can get old. However, watching him kiss Carell was another thing entirely, even though I have no credible way of explaining it. He's funny when he just does the gay thing, instead of talking about it, maybe.)

Chickengrrl: And tonight's is the awesomest awesome that ever awesomed. In honor of the 9/11 anniversary, his guests tonight were Aaron Brown, who was on CNN for 15 hours straight on 9/11 - and this just a couple of months after he started there, it sounds like - and Ralph Geidel, a retired NYC firefighter from Oregon who lost a brother in the North Tower on 9/11 and who worked for a year doing recovery at Ground Zero. While Aaron has officially become one of my new crushes - he makes me wish I'd been able to tear myself away from NBC that day, but I didn't know him then and I needed the familiar avuncularity of Tom Brokaw to soothe me, although it seems Mr. Brown has a special brand of palliative himself - but this firefighter guy is amazing. Not only did he help with the recovery and retrieval of hundreds of bodies, he got throat cancer for his efforts. I hope they rerun this soon so you can see it, or your DVR caught it. Any paltry complaints I've ever had about Craig's interviewing style have been permanently put to rest. He does know how to interview, and quite well. I just wish he would stop interrupting his guests to be funny, but still at least he's no Leno - not even close. He did a great job tonight. I'm so sorry I slept through his monologue, so I look forward to catching it in reruns He pointed out at the end of the show, too, that he had no politicians on. Good on him.

I'm having horrible deja vu today. I can only imagine what people for whom 9/11 actually hit close to home are going through.

Me: We watched it last night. It was the Emmy entry, wasn't it?

He really is a good interviewer. When he's "on," he interrupts more than usual, but I find he does that much less often than most other talk show hosts.

Anyway, I love him for this. Here is the monologue; as soon as I saw that he was wearing a tie, I knew something was up. It's not his usual sharp brilliance, instead, it's just a guy, talking about something he still can't get a grasp on. Very poignant.

We were talking about how we still feel funny when planes fly close overhead. For weeks after the attack, we had surveillance aircraft overhead every hour, day and night, sometimes many of them. The skyline north of Sandy Hook and to the east was brown for weeks, New York smelled bad for months. Every time we got on a train, we wondered if those were next. Sometimes we were told they could be.

I'd cross the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and look down the river to the bay, across which you can see the bridge to Staten Island. And beyond that the buildings of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the air towers at JFK and LaGuardia. Since moving to New Jersey, it had always been exciting to look over and see those tall landmarks on the horizon. So after this happened, I'd look over, to see the brown air where the buildings used to be. And it was startling when I realized that it wasn't brown anymore, sometime in the winter. But for well over a year, it still just felt like there was a hole in the landscape. And after that, I'd realize now and then I was beginning to get used to the changed shape of it, that the Empire State Building was the landmark, that Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia, and it made me mad, so I'd force my eyes to put the shape of the towers back in.

See, that's what I've been saying all along

Okay, I should warn anyone who reads this that the link below leads to an essay I thoroughly agree which is posted on a website I--don't thoroughly agree with. But Ilya Somin might be my new holodeck-boyfriend-for-a-day. He said this, "Perhaps the most fundamental cause of ignorance resides in the collective action problem created by the insignificance of any individual vote in determining an electoral outcome..." The essay quoting him is by Jacob Sullum and can be found here.

I have friends who really do pay attention to what's going on, what legislation means, who's running the courts these days, etc. They'd freak if they truly understood my views on "democracy." But at least they're attempting to be relevant. I won't argue with them on that.

more stuff that needs relinking

September 12, 2003

i forgot to mention the really great way Jim Kerr pronounces 'r.' it's the Scottish thing, i imagine. it makes me happy.

here are some book characters i've fallen in love with at various points in my life, and what's so special about them:

Calvin O'Keefe from A Wrinkle in Time and subsequent stories by Madeline L'Engle. he was a poor kid with a talent for basketball and math. and i loved him from the first time i read his description, when i was eight years old.

Archie Goodwin from Nero Wolfe stories by Rex Stout. i first read Nero Wolfe stories at about age ten, and Archie is still dreamy to me. he's Wolfe's right-hand man, a man-about-town, and has a way with words that could melt any smart girl's heart. the descriptions of him in the early books are not of my dream man, but that's okay, because Archie's inner qualities transcend the faults of light-colored hair and not-enough nose. plus, now that there's been a TV show of the stories, i can just picture him looking like Timothy Hutton, and that's a happy thing.

Mr. Knightley from Emma, by Jane Austen. he's just perfect. really. i first read Emma at the age of seventeen, and i thought how perfect the world would be if only Mr. Knightley would appear when i jumped down from the tree i was reading in at Loose Park in Kansas City. he'd be, interestingly enough, about the age i am now, but that would have done my precocious heart good then, i think. he owned land but was kind to those who worked it for him, and he was well-educated and refined, yet down-to-earth. when i learned he was going to be portrayed by Jeremy Northam i probably fainted. The Gwyneth Paltrow Emma is not perfect otherwise, but that's okay.

Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. this love followed on the heels of the previous one. he's not quite as perfect as Mr. Knightley, but he comes close. he has an inner passion that speaks to my soul, and a quiet spirit that belies the fire burning beneath the gentlemanly surface. Colin Firth was as nearly perfect to play Mr. Darcy as Mr. Darcy is for me. poor guy, i guess he's never lived that part down.

Harry Dresden from Storm Front and others in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Harry is my latest book love, as i only discovered him this summer, but i'm sure we're soul mates. Harry is a tall, lanky wizard who uses his magic for good, yet finds himself in trouble with dark forces on a regular basis. he lives in Chicago and has trouble making ends meet. if i lived in the fictional world of the Dresden Files i would sell articles, run a catering business or manage a bar if i had to, so that Harry could go on fighting the forces of darkness with no financial woes, and whenever we both had time off we'd spend it cuddled up before the fire in his basement apartment.

finally, i should put in a word for Lord Peter Wimsey, of stories by Dorothy L. Sayers. i'm not really in love with him, but holodeck possibilities definitely come to mind.

holodeck list #1

March 10

i love making lists, but then they seem so unsatisfying afterwards. they're exciting and inspiring while i'm making them, then all i can think of is who or what i left out, how i could get more out of the experience, is it inspiring to someone else, or only me?

so, yes, a one night stand on the holodeck, as opposed to anything approaching, say, a meaningful relationship based on reality. totally different vibe, totally different set of blokes. men i'd pretend to have something ongoing with would have more stringent requirements, in a whole range of categories.

here's my top ten. wait, does that seem sorta skanky? like i chose just a few out of this whole crowd of fictional sex partners i'm clammering for? cause, hello, fiction. that really is the point. i'd never be jaded or whatever people are when they do this sort of thing for real. and some of these men are actually figments of the imagination, so, pretty safe there.

as far as these one-night stands are concerned, i didn't go too far back in time, because it somehow felt unclean. so that makes me think there should be a historical one-night stand list as well, separate from the other one. maybe a list should have more consistency: i mixed both real and fictional, dead and still living. on the other hand, that is why it is the top ten. a sort of K-Tel compilation of men.

Mer's Current Top Ten List of "I Brought Him Home From the Holodeck Bar" one-night stands:

10. Dean Martin
9. Fox Mulder
8. Agent Dale Cooper
7. Bobby Darin
6. Bruce Wayne, as portrayed by Michael Keaton
5. Mark Darcy, from Bridget Jones' Diary (book, not movie. Colin Firth characters themselves would probably belong on the 'other' list. )
4. Steve Martin
3. John Cusack
2. James Bond (as played by Sean Connery, not the book character, and not any other actor.)
1. Robert Smith, of the Cure

okay, it's been pointed out to me that a number of these men smoke. well, duh, 24th century holodeck; no longer a concern. plus, this is why they are on the one-time only list, as opposed to the more long-term kind of thing.

starting out, starting over

January 17, 2003

when i typed that date just now, i started to type 19-! things like that make you feel really ancient and irrelevant.

i've been reading blogs on the web for several years now. sometimes they're funny, or clever, but mostly they appear to be weight-loss journals, or poorly spelled and poorly structured public rants about who dun me wrong.

we all want to talk to people, and command their attention.

so the web currently consists of news, porn, tv fan and hobby sites, blogs and retail businesses.

i often use the web to look at pictures of

James Marsters,

and Jeremy Northam,

and others. i can do that all day long,

but sadly, real life usually prevents me from doing that.

am i really me when i present myself to others? that is really the experiment i am attempting here. will i write this as it really comes to mind, and can i do it no-holds-barred? there are a number of people who thought they knew me only to discover i wasn't who they believed me to be. i am not sure if that was really my fault, but i want to appear only exactly as i am, quirks be damned.

here are some embarrassing** but true facts, at least for the moment, about me:

i *love* Captain Picard. (of course i think Patrick Stewart is a really cool actor, but that's not the same thing at all, is it?)

i do not own a belt, or socks.

my favorite meal is milk (2%,) italian bread and either those little black greek olives, or the green italian ones.

i am afraid to fly. i can, if i have to , but i don't want to ever.

i love family car trips! i love road signs, and highways and weird little towns that have speed traps and decrepit gas stations.

i like watching men kiss. if they're my idea of good-looking.

i still get acne, though i was born the same year as (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and The Voting Rights Act.

i would be willing to go back in time for a one night stand with Dean Martin.

ok, this brings up an interesting topic. of course i would not have a one night stand in real life, but who would i "bring home from the bar," in, say, a holodeck situation? this is worth considering.

**insofar as i can actually *be* embarrassed, which is not a great deal.