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Monday, May 23, 2011

Dreams of Hitler

May 23, 2011: I had a long, detailed dream about Hitler last night. It was quite vivid, and just a bit odd, because I've never dreamed about Hitler before.

Like with most dreams, now that I'm trying to recount it, the sequence and many of the details are sketchy. I can tell you that Hitler was riding on a bus, seated at the back. It was modern times -- at least modern dream times, because Hitler was an old man, though I guess reasonably not so old as he would be were he still alive now, so perhaps it was circa 1975 (which kind of makes sense, because as many of you regular Blah-ugh! readers know, I've been watching a lot of "All In The Family" episodes lately, and I think the better part of my mind is staying rooted in that period.)

(NOTE: 1975 is, in fact, a very interesting year, and I believe may well date the demise of modern civilization, but I don't have time to talk about that right now, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)

Anyway, back to Hitler. So it came to light, somehow, that I knew he would be riding on this bus -- it was some sort of tour or something, and while he had a kind of celebrity status in the dream, I think his being there was more recreational. I think it was taking place in Germany, or certainly Europe, and his presence was known, but overall I don't think anyone was making a big deal of it. But I decided that a good friend of mine, who's a big World War II buff (and a bit of a minor anti-Semite, actually) would really love to have his autograph (Hitler being an important figure in that war, as some of you know), so I thought I'd try to get him one. (What's interesting, I realize as I'm writing this, is that I actually got this same friend an autograph from Mina Souvari (sp?) when I lived out in L.A. -- having run into her at Whole Foods in Santa Monica -- so it's kind of a natural dream extension, if you think about it, though I don't mean to equate Souvari to Hitler, for in fact she was very nice, and obviously Hitler wasn't.)

In the dream I struggled to decide what it might be best to have Hitler sign, for I had paper, but I also thought a book might make the autograph more valuable, and as it was a dream, I suddenly had limitless volumes at my disposal. (Again, as I'm writing this, I realize my son and I were over at a memorabelia shop this week, and spent some time looking at how much certain celebrity signatures sold for.) Anyway, I considered asking him to sign a favorite Hermann Hesse volume -- two, in fact, because I was considering that his signature might be worth something one day -- but then I realized that, even though Hesse was German, he was something of a liberal thinker, and I didn't want to offend Hitler. (How's that for some weird, radical story title: "Offending Hitler"; I could see a film starring Michael Caine and Courtney Love.) And isn't it just hysterical how I'm concerned with offending Hitler in my dream. I mean, am I the pathetic product of a celebrity-awed nation or what?!!

Anyway, anyway, the dream gets sketchy after that -- as it it weren't sketchy enough already -- and I don't think I actually got the autograph (although I feel like we spent a few moments on the bus together). But what's interesting to me was the realization in the dream -- a quite vivid realization -- that I saw that Hitler would be forgiven everything if he had a chance to publish his memoirs and, perhaps, go on television, and in the dream I started hoping he would die before he got a chance to have his book published.

And it's true, isn't it! It's G. Gordon Liddy revisited, and Nixon, who we put on a stamp after all the embarrassing atrocities of his presidency, because he got older and we're a stupid culture with the damaged attention span of acidheads.

But this is HITLER, I hear you saying, and I can't/shouldn't be making such comparisons. (Hey! Don't tell me what I should or shouldn't do ... Matt!)

No! In fact, the comparisons are completely justified, and despite the breathtaking extremity of such a prediction, I think it's absolutely true. Were Hitler still alive today, he'd write an apologetic autobiography, make appearances on the Fox TV talk circuit, become a born-again Christian while serving his three years in prison, and then very well could end up running for governor in some midwest state. Therein lies the weird, profoundly prophetic, perhaps twisted but, owing to the madness of post-1975 modern times, completely believable fact of our reality -- Hitler -- despite being the pinnacle of the evil man, could find that skin-deep redemption in our backward times.

Quentin Crisp called it so eloquently (as a gay man will) in his second book, "How To Become A Virgin." "Just go on television," he said, and all will be forgiven!

I saw it in my dream so clearly -- the sour, silly-mustached fanatic no longer as threatening as he was in the WWII newsreels, demurely replaced by an aging, timid vision of contrition, just riding a bus, trying to get along, aware of his shortcomings, like a Watergate burglar, or an arms-dealing Reaganite, or a philandering U.S. senator, or a girl-drowning Kennedy, and on and on ...

And what would the name of his book be? Perhaps, "After The Furnace Fires," or maybe, "I'll Forgive Jew, If Jew'll Forgive Me." Who knows?!

Oy!! As Margaret Hamilton said in her most famous role, "What a world, what a world!" I just hope I sleep better tonight!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Playing Catch Up ...

May 18, 2011: Oh, ho-oh! ... Where does the time go?

What I want to know is why I still only have 20 Followers when I know there are at least 23 of you out there reading this thing. Are you uncomfortable being labeled a "Follower?" Would you feel better if it said "Supplicant?"

There's so much to speak of, and yet it's so hard for me to move beyond talking about television. And I'm not even talking about new television, which I guess is what most people want to talk about -- reality shows and the like. I'm talking about "All In The Family," and the first 3 seasons I just got on DVD. My god, but that show is brilliant. And it's been exciting having the chance to introduce it to my children, except I have to explain a lot of the racist jokes. ("Why's that so funny?" my son will ask. "Well," I explain, "the Polish people have traditionally blah-blah-blah ...") I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in a time when we were taught that all these stereotypes are wrong, and yet we were still exposed to them in great excess. Pity my poor children -- and yours -- who are growing up without a solid foundation in these precarious treasures troves of comedy, like bigotry, racism, homophobia, and mysogyny (which I can NEVER spell).

Speaking of comedy, I heard something at work today -- Thanks Gwen! -- about this Arnold Schwarznegger situation (and I guess I'm spelling that as well as it needs to be spelled for our purposes). I recall meeting him briefly in L.A. a few years back, and I was struck both by how short he was (certainly compared to the goliath heights he'd achieved in my imagination) and by how old he looked -- his hair looking so poorly dyed up-close, his rock-quarry features caving in on themselves amidst raucous wrinkles and -- I know now -- the derailing stress of dual fatherhood (or is it duel fatherhood). Anyway, he was at least polite, and now looking back I have to wonder if he didn't simply want to get me in bed too. Well, say what you might about his philandering shenanigans, I still think he made many great movies, starting with Last Action Hero, Sixth Day, Total Recall, and perhaps culminating with Predator, although they weren't even made in that order. As an actor he consistently showed a level of versatility that you wouldn't ordinarily find in an Austrian, certainly not since the Great War.

It's been raining a lot this week, and that's another topic worth exploring. I have a theory that certain factions of our totalitarian world government are hard at work trying to control the weather. Obviously they're not having any success, but I'm glad, because I love the rain, and if it were up to those people it would only rain at night, and we don't even need it then. I think you see my point. But if you don't, I don't care, unless you're one of my Supplicants ... I mean Followers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monster Model Memories & My Love of Horror Films

May 9, 2011: I've been thinking a lot about my old Aurora models lately, in particular the monster collection. These were a brilliant catalogue I used to get at a long-time local store called Klein's on Westport, CT's Main Street, which had everything -- an extensive record department, cameras and film development, books galore, jigsaw puzzles, and, of course, models. (Ironically, years later, I even got my wife there!)

Some of my best memories -- damn, perhaps my very best -- are of sitting in our little kitchen on Saturday nights watching Creature Features on channel 5 (which ran some of the best horror movies ever) on our little black-and-white portable Sony TV. I remember the Wolfman was my first model, and when it was finally together, I broke out that glorious set of Testor paints we had, in those little tiny glass bottles, and perfected my very favorite movie monster with a most carefully complimented melange of colors.

I think I got Frankenstein next, then the Mummy. There were 12 in all, including Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback, Godzilla, King Kong, a Witch, and the Forgotten Prisoner (which featured a very unhappy skeleton chained up in a dungeon). There may have been an Invisible Man set, but that might have been made later. Anyway, I didn't know about it at that time, and would certainly have bought it if I did!

There are few times in my life I can recall with such vivid awareness as when I used to construct those models, always using the silver and green tube of Duco Cement. The newspapers would be spread over my demented mother's precious tan and white formica counter. (Fortunately by then she'd have retired to an early intoxicated slumber.) The smell of the sticky cement mixed with the fresh cardboard scent of the opened boxes, which were like priceless treasures. Each model also came with glow-in-the-dark pieces, which I never used, but still saved for some poor reason.

It's hard now for people to understand (beginning with my own children) why I've such a monumental affinity for horror movies, why I draw such luscious comfort from that vast collection of camp and classic flicks, such as the Universal pics of pre-World War II, and the Hammer Films, and 1950s Sci-Fi ... Among the titles that take me to that glorious place of peace and serenity -- "The Blob," "Killer Shrews," "Horror Express," "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman," "Halloween III," "The Invisible Man," "Salem's Lot," "Invaders From Mars" ... and on and on ... And each year the list expands by a few select titles -- tasteful fantasy films that offer the right combination of subtle camp and unrealism.

One must draw comfort from whence one can, my dears. It's a diabolically cold and confusing world out there ... sometimes, so take it where you can get it!

Just thought I'd expound on one of my favorite topics ... Sorry for such a boring Blah-ugh! ... But, oh, those wonderful, wonderful monster models ...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Amos, Blane and I (a.k.a. Osama Bin Laden)

May 4, 2011: If you rearrange the letters in Osama Bin Laden, it spells out "Amos, Blane and I." I'm not yet completely sure what this means, but I feel it might be important, and I'm slowly developing some very viable theories ...

I was surprised to learn last night that Osama Bin Laden was dead. Perhaps you've already heard about it, but my source just phoned me to share some startling details.

For starters, apparently it was some of our own (meaning the U.S.; my apologies to our international readers) armed forces who discovered him lurking in some Asian country. (It may have been either Pakistan or Afghanistan, but I'm definitely sure it ended with a "stan.") He was apparently living there out in the open, or dressing up like a woman -- my friend wasn't sure which -- and he was going to get a falafel sandwich (although it may have been chicken schwarma) when he was gunned down (or it may have been shot).

Apparently they took him out to sea and wrapped him in a white cloth for some reason, and I'm still somewhat confused why they wrapped him up so carefully if they'd already shot him. (Normally, you don't invest a lot of time primping the people you've shot, unless you're a lunatic, like in "Silence of the Lambs" and you're planning on dancing around in their skin or something.) Also, there was some confusion about whether the body was his, or whether they could prove the body was his, or something, so they took either some DNA (whatever that is; I mean, do any of us really know?), or they might have actually taken a whole hand, or a foot.

Now I don't want to start any controversy -- that's not my style -- but I'm confused why, if 9/11 was a covert NSC/CIA operation to begin with, we were still so focused on this character. He was obviously something of a creep, but was he that much creepier than a lot of people? (There's this guy who lives down the block from me who lets his dog crap everywhere. I mean, would you vouch for him!?) There are also a wealth of well-known ties between the Bush family and the Osama family (or is it the Laden family? I get summarily confused with Asian names, because they reverse everything, like the Jews. In fact, I'm not entirely sure you don't pronounce his name Nedal Nib Amaso, which actually sounds a lot less threatening.) But if he's friends with the Bushes, or the Bushes are friends with him, or do business dealings with him, or something, aren't one of them not quite so bad or something ... or am I confused here ...

Anyway, the point is he's dead, and I'm not, so my day's going that much better. And what I really started out to speak to in this Blah-ugh! entry was the fact that his being dead shouldn't be publicized as much as it's being. Aren't we just begging his family to write a tell-all book and make a fortune for his estate? Is that what we want? Wouldn't it have been better to shoot him quietly, or perhaps simply smother him with a white cloth, thereby more logically explaining the reason behind the cloth in the first place?

And what about that guy who lives down the block? When are some troops gonna land here and make him clean up that feces?!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

You Won't Have Jarret To Kick Around, Etc.

May 1, 2011: So this is what I get for trying to help -- some weird anonymous ninny whom I've never heard of backhandedly criticizing my Blah-ugh! (and me!), and none of my so-called loyal followers -- friends ... Ha! -- even raising one typing finger to come to my pitiful defense ...

So there you go! All I wanted to do was make you laugh, and perhaps more importantly express the inexpressible by raising my voice so you wouldn't have to ... Say the things you wanted to say, but may have been too scared or too uncomfortable to. This Blah-ugh! exists merely to spare you the embarrassment of having to make fun of the Prince, or racial stereotype, or say nasty things about your mother. I'm willing to put myself on the line and call your mother's bluff, so you won't have to.

And have I done it within the cowardice of anonymity (although that might have been smarter in the long run), like the oblique "Follower" who festers within my archives? No, I stand behind my words with that fetching picture, meaning what I say and saying what I mean, like the phone company, who said they'd shut off our service and did ... And sometimes I'm even said it mean, when I felt it was worth the balance of wit and wisdom and the potential hurt feelings of the filthy rich, famous and ultimately uninterested ... See, such risks I take, and not for me ... For you!

But where are you, dear reader, through all of this?! Have you taken the time to phone around for an agent for me? Have you contacted magazine editors you know, or book publishers, urging them to bring attention to my woebegone talents and tenacity? Have you spread the word about this Blah-ugh! or worked to drum up publicity for the publication of my first novel, which currently sits sadly on the shelf waiting for you to do something about it?!

Nein. Instead you've sat idly by and let such weird philosophers as you'll see somewhere below write long (and rather dull) answers to my probing questions and commentary. You've let them humiliate me, you see, and right here on my own Blah-ugh! Shame, shame, I say, for you may have not thought about it recently, but I don't get paid to grind out this crap. I do it to make you happy. Yes, you!

I can only hope that the next time you see your favorite writer (and I mean me, and you know I mean me, and you know it's true, so don't pretend!) being belittled (directly and indirectly) by anonymous scoundrels like this perpetrator, I hope you'll come to his defense and not make him devote an entire (rather flat) entry to figuratively spanking you!

As for that dodo who wrote that needling fatuous fluff in response to my sharp-witted bile -- I suggest you stop reading this Blah-ugh! altogether and spend your time watching Fox News, for which your cold, clouded sense of humor is far better suited. I mean it. This Blah-ugh! is not for the feint of heart, and if you can't stand the heat, I don't want you in my kitchen!

As for the rest you, you'd better pick up your support, and fast. Otherwise you won't have Jarret L. to kick around anymore!