I began this blog as a substitute for conversations with Barbara, who is now in her second year of grad school, mostly nights and weekends. As many couples are, we were in the habit of storing up our funny stories, our frustrating experiences, and our ponderings, and sharing them after work or during weekend newspaper-reading marathons. If B were here now, here is what I would tell her.
First, although I swore I wouldn’t do it any more, I’ve gotten myself into another one of those pointless on-line debates, this time on the folk-music presenter’s listserv “Folkvenu.” One presenter posted a story about a venue that used a copyrighted photograph on its Web site to promote a concert, which caused the photographer to threaten legal action. This caused a small howl from the usual suspects on the listserv, whose attitude was “what’s the harm”; and “so now I can never use a musician’s picture to promote a show”; and even one presenter/songwriter who said “It’s great that I’m such small fish that I can just use whatever I want and it’s not worth it for them to stop me. If they try, I’ll just pretend I didn’t know it was copyrighted, say ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ and walk away smiling.”
Of course, Bee, I jumped in as the contrarian, who believes that musicians and concert promoters should be the last folks to believe that images, and songs, and movies, are somehow as free as the air, to be copied and passed hand to hand, the creator be damned. I said to the presenter/musician: Would you feel the same way if someone made ten copies of your CD for her friends, and said it was “great” that she made only ten copies, so it would not be worth it for you to go after her, and if you did, she would just lie and say she thought it was ok, then walk away smiling? Yeesh.
Second, I still can’t get over how many of my Gruntled Mudgeon blog posts have been mirrored (intentionally copied? that’s hard to believe) by national blogs. In this November post, I suggested a new theory of sports betting, based on which of the teams’ anthromorphized mascots would win a mascot-on-mascot tussle. Well, it wasn’t long until NPR followed suit, in a blog with the suspicious URL www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee.” Is “monkeysee” their code word for “we stole this idea from someone else?” Am I then the “monkey” in this phrase? GAWKER was not far behind…at least they created this cool graphic to illustrate the Raven vs. 49er tussle:
In January, I wrote this post, exploring the unexpected Internet searches that led to my blog. Next thing I knew, I was seeing this same blog post everywhere….including posts that were created many years before mine. OK, so it turned out not to be an original idea. But, it’s still funny! Here are some searches that led to this blog recently. Any one of them would make a great band name:
Shawn Love The Dog Penis
Wounded Knee Ledger Book
Hindhi Film Actors and Plastic Surgerys
Robin Hurricane Carter
Nora Ephron Dopamine Stimulator (I’m totally naming my band this)
Goo Ha-Ra Sex (dissapointingly, “Goo Ha-Ra” turns out to be a Korean singer/model/dancer/actress…so rather than a wild and unintelligible cry of passion, this search is just another fevered quest for celebrity skin).
AND SPEAKING OF SEX: Bee, I’m almost done reading the most bizarre book of this publishing season: “Full Service.” Supposedly, this is a tell-all memoir by a fellow who discreetly provided sex partners to the biggest stars in the golden age of Hollywood. Fun read, no?
As it turns out, though, the book is an outlandish combination of your old uncle Billy’s most laughable fish stories and a the sort of Tijuana Bible where cartoon-strip characters unexpectedly get naughty.
I guess it starts out being almost believable. Our self-professed hero gets picked up by the director George Cukor, and learns quickly that finding sex partners for the stars is a brisk business. But then, the fish tales get out of hand. Our hero procures more than 150 women for Katherine Hepburn (who is actually a lesbian, don’t’cha know, with the Spencer Tracy romance story cooked up by the studios to protect her). He beds every man and woman in Hollywood, including Tyrone Power, Cole Porter, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, and even your old employer, Alfred A. Knopf himself (wonder if he ever asked what the mysterious “A” stood for). He listens to Spencer Tracy complain bitterly about how Hepburn treats him, leading inevitably to the first of many gay romps with “Spence.” For Desi Arnaz, he procures two or three women a night, several nights each week, until Lucy interrupts a party to scream that he should “stay out of my husband’s life!”
Then, there is no stopping him. Shortly after Edward VIII abdicates the English throne so he could marry his true love Wallis Simpson, “Eddie” begins a long-standing gay affair with our hero. When our hero meets J. Edgar Hoover, he watches as the FBI director has his way with his male driver. When Edith Piaf visits the States, our hero is in bed with her before she even fights off her jet lag; she then mails him constant gifts from Paris.
I’m now at the part of the book where our boy just happens to meet Alfred Kinsey. What do you know? Kinsey confides that he’s having trouble finding subjects for his sexual research at the University of Indiana; so our hero rounds up dozens of young-looking Los Angeles party boys and girls to fly to Indiana and pretend to be college students in Kinsey’s films, thus completely queering (pun intended) what the world believes are valid scientific results in the Kinsey Reports. (And, of course, he also leads Kinsey into sex parties and voyeuristic fun). In other words, the author weaves a story in which he is a sexual Zelig, literally in bed with every “name” in Hollywood.
I still haven’t gotten to the chapter about Mother Teresa. But, I’m looking forward to it.
So, Bee….how was YOUR day?