Sunday, September 14, 2008

Other News, plus word of the day

George Putnam died the other day. He was a local news guy on the LA scene for trillions of years, usually appearing on the more budget-minded broadcasts. George had a very over-the-top delivery that amused me ever since I was a kid. If you click on his name, you'll learn that he had a long-standing grudge match with another perennial news anchor Hal Fishman, who also died this last year. Fishman was the model for the self-important news anchor you see in the Simpsons; Putnam was the inspiration for Ted Knight on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
putman/fishman together again?

Good luck on the other side you two, and stop your fighting... There's plenty of broadcast bandwidth in heaven!


Word of the day: Compersion. [quoting from Wikipedia] Compersion is a term used by practitioners of polyamory (another word to look up) to describe the experience of taking pleasure when one's partner is with another person.

You may wonder how I came upon this word. Well, it's the convoluted maze of Google searching, mostly. See, while looking up George Putnam, I found this curious page written by a Polyamorist activist. While it's not about the same George Putnam as mentioned above, she's claiming that Amelia Earhart and her fiance George Putnam were brave pioneers of open relationship, not stuck in "mediaeval" social codes. After reading the evidence, I'm not convinced but you could say that Earhart was pretty kick ass on many levels.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lassie Come-Home!

Walking down Hollywood Blvd has got to be THE most ridiculous place to find oneself on a Saturday night. That is, unless you're visiting from Pittsburgh or Germany and totally green to the soul-draining vortex feel of the place. For those of the aforementioned category, heads up. What you will find are purposeless droves of lost souls shuffling over stars' names inlaid into the sidewalk --and most of 'em dead ones. There's a sadly misguided notion that any average schlub might make contact with real celebrity magic by just by showing up here. Maybe you'll meet Bing Crosby, Howdy Doody, or Lassie ...or perhaps you'll be cast as the new Lassie! Being Hollywood, however, you quickly learn that it's all scaffold and facade and you wisely decide to drink in excess to quell the crushing disappointment.

tip to the kids:
Lassie the movie star Collie ate only human flesh.

Yes, and Hollywood Blvd is exactly where I was tonight (Saturday), holding my own amid the touristy ranks; keeping my head down pretending not to be there. Why I was there was accidental, trust me. I won't get into that now.

I crossed Highland going west, trying to find a place to eat, as I hadn't had a bite all day and was getting woozy. There was a Baja Fresh food chain about a half a block down. While not my favorite choice, it seemed more desirable than one of the innumerable 24-hour "eateries", where they re-heat giant slabs of plain cheese pizza held under hot lamps for centuries. So I scarf down a fish taco that the food preparer had haphazardly spattered with green chili sauce, looking like it was dispensed from a sneezing Chihuahua's snout.

Done with that delicacy, I launch myself back out on the street with a plan to turn around at the Grauman's Chinese Theater, desiring to keep my time there to a minimum due to the sensory overload of intoxicated joy riders and overall insanity. But just as I'm waiting for a light to change, a guy who looks slightly like a character actor from Beach Blanket Bingo strides up. He's vaguely medium build, salon tan, brown slightly shaggy hair, wearing a casual Hawaiian print shirt. He's holding a large plastic bucket, which you'll sometimes see street performers use as an improvised percussion instrument. Whatever.

The light goes green and I'm focusing down again, quickly moving through the crosswalk. My intent stride plus no-eye-contact technique seems to glide me through patches of slow moving folk with ease. But I do notice peripherally that guy from curbside is keeping pace with me and looking over. It's not comforting.

I'm coming parallel to the Roosevelt Hotel entrance. The building is a rare Hollywood architectural landmark from the old days which I like very much, and my brain just says, "go in now!". I'm walking into the lobby and the guy with the Hawaiian shirt holding the plastic bucket comes through the door close behind me yelling, "Hey brother I LOVE YOU! Will you promise me you'll come to the drum circle?" I turn around. "I don't know where that is", I answer while still walking into the hotel, laughing nervously. Bucket drummer guy responds, "It's in Venice beach. My name is Evan! Meet me at the drum circle and I'll buy you dinner!" I'm really quickening my pace, nearly running headlong into the wall at the opposite end of the lobby. His voice, echoes louder as I increase my distance. "I LOVE YOU MAN!!! I LOVE YOU!"

At this point, I'm not sure if Evan the bucket drumming guy is still following me and I don't want to know. I go up the stairs and wander about, finally giving a reluctant look back. He's gone.

I have no resounding conclusion here, other than it's not the first time I've attracted very strange people (men and women) into my orbit out of nowhere. Whereas, I have a reasonable amount of mostly sane friends in my circle, it's the odd characters occasionally bursting through the fabric of space-time who are magnetized to me in such a way that give me pause. OR, maybe I just don't know how to appreciate an honest guy expressing love for his fellow man (?), without wearing my phobia on my sleeve. OR... maybe that guy is me, time-traveling from the future, just trying to give myself some encouragement in these troubled times and the very real prospect of Sarah Palin's meteoric rise to fuhrer.