Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cannabis Club Haiku

I don't have a prescription for medical marijuana. I believe it costs between $99 and $200 to track down the correct doctor who will write you a script. It used to cost more but now there's so much competition out there, the doctors had to price accordingly. I think some are offering a rewards card, like Safeway. Just type in your phone number for prescription discounts. I am kidding. I think.

Anyhoo, there's an abundance of marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area and even though a win for Proposition 19 would make it legal for Californians to finally just grow our own, no one's writing haiku about the illustrious medical Mary Jane. Perhaps one day medical research will receive the funding to try and find out just how medicinal pot can be. Since I can't just waltz in and check out the situation myself, I'll have to go by the colorful ads keeping the SFWeekly afloat. The selection is dizzying!

Northstone Organics
Super Silver Haze
Blue Cheese or Blue Dream on sale
Farm to door service

Berkeley Patients Group
Affordable, pure
with on-site vaporizers
No loitering please

1944 Ocean Collective
Kush and edibles
Nice people. Nice dogs. Nice weed.
Free gift with this ad

Compassionate Health Options
Dr. Hanya Barth
Keeper of goats, horses, hens
Will match any local price

The Divinity Tree
Good bud for good price
Do your self a favor. Woot!
According to Yelp

View more news videos at:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TheGrandSpectacular - Being a Dickhead's Cool

Making fun of hipsters is like shooting a bunch of American Appareled fish in a micro-brewery barrel. Nonetheless, this song does a good job dealing with the scourge of youth who will inherit our polluted war-torn world. Good luck, kids.

As seen on The Daily and LATFH.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ricky Gervais has forced me to laugh

He is determined to make you laugh too. You cannot resist the power of Ricky Gervais. You. Will. Laugh.

Having trouble getting to sleep? Who isn't? Ricky Gervais is here to sing a celebrity lullaby.

Ricky Gervais talks about God and the Bible. All our needs are met by one man. Ricky Gervais.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This is me, dealing with bureaucracy

I don't actually want to knock my healthcare provider. I'm eternally grateful that my husband's job helps us every month by providing a big chunk of our healthcare. We need it on a regular basis. And for the most part it's worked out very well for all of us, especially for Jackson.

But when it's is bad--it's very very bad. To the point of my mental and physical detriment. Overworked, understaffed and disorganized are generally the three culprits. Sometimes an evil incompetent comes along to destroy all health in its path. But that's rare (though certainly a possibility, no matter where you get your coverage).

Today, I simultaneously feel like the Three Stooges and also like I'm dealing with the Three Stooges when it comes to healthcare. It's enough to make me ZOINK! Why I oughta... Plink! Blump! Bonk--OH!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Songs of Addiction

Celebrity rehab: everybody's doing it. Not really--I just wanted a grabby topic sentence. If you are a celebrity and you are in rehab, you'll need good downloads for your iPod as you hasten your way towards sobriety. Why so many musicians gravitate toward drugs and alcohol is a study unto itself. Let us heed their been-there/done-that wisdom as we open our eyes to a clear-headed view of the world.

"When Uncle Bill Quit Dope" - There's no question that Johnny Cash is one of the coolest cats in the universe. Even in the after-life, he is no doubt wowing his peers with his marvelous story-telling through song. Here's a surprisingly cheerful rendition of the werewolf-like horrors of withdrawal.

In 1971 Black Sabbath wrote a classic love song to marijuana called "Sweet Leaf" that I would argue was the birthplace of grunge. By 1987, The Butthole Surfers were the perfect band to cover this song and make it their own. I'm including their version here, entitled "Sweat Loaf," because it's massively strange and it rocks. But also because it's a little scary, like the paranoid feeling when you can't find your keys after smoking a doobie. Or like when you fear you're turning into your friend's ugly plaid couch and the REO Speedwagon video on the TV isn't as bad as you remembered it when sober. Not that I have any experience with either of those scenarios.

"Sunshine Superman" - Did Donovan write any songs in the 60s that weren't about drugs? Pick any of his hits--they all sound druggy (in a good way). He's underrated among composers and songwriters. They tend to dismiss him as a light-weight. But his songs hold up; they're unique and interesting ditties. It didn't last though. He had his moment--a color-drenched, swirly moment in time...

"Purple Haze" - Hey, what's going on there in that purple haze? Jimi Hendrix was the Mozart of rock and had the rare experience of being ahead of his time just before everyone was completely ready for his sound. Imagine if he was happening just five years before his breakthrough in the late 60s. They would have called him undisciplined, pointlessly loud, a sub-par singer. In fact, they did call him that, when he was touring as a hired guitarist with Little Richard and other performers. But after he heard Bob Dylan and found his voice as a soloist, the world fell right into step. Then the abundance of drugs ruined everything.

"My Drug Buddy" - Gee, The Lemonheads were a great 90s band until singer/songwriter Evan Dando spiraled down into his black hole of darkness. He's back now and touring again but he seems burned out. With his Andy Warhol-superstar looks, clever lyrics and excellent melodies, he should have been HUGE. Much bigger than his one-time cohort Courtney Love. Nobody said life was fair. "Drug Buddy" is sad and real. It depresses me and sounds achingly familiar at the same time.

"There's a Tear in my Beer" - Hank Williams (Sr.) was a drinker and a drug taker, which is too bad because his addictions ruined his health and he died before he reached 30. A singular talent.

"Good Morning Heartache" - Billie Holiday's life was very tragic. Growing up she went through every kind of misery imaginable and you can hear it in her beautiful, unique voice. Her addictions eventually affected her voice and prematurely ended her life at 44. I try to focus on her work, which was her gift to the world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mad Men Word Search

Another season of Mad Men has come and gone. The baffling and existential antics of 60s-era ad men and women will be put on hold until time unforseen. Meanwhile, here's a word search puzzle to tide you over. I know it's not stylish, tortured or timely, but Word Search, like well-fitted brightly colored wool suits, will never go out of style.

Willow Smith - Whip My Hair

Look how cute Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's progeny turned out! She's only nine but she is determined to add 80s-inspired new-wave color to a cold-app world. I don't know officially what a cold-app world is. But doesn't this set look like one? Until the hair whipping commences, of course.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time out for cupcakes

Once you hit the 40s, birthdays become kind of annoying. That's 40 years of cake and ice cream. Sometimes you want a change. I found myself making cake yesterday for Keith's birthday, ruminating that he doesn't like cake or frosting and would have one piece out of politeness and then leave the whole thing for me to deal with (not as enticing as it seems since my body is in "hoarding middle-age" mode--no doubt an evolutionary response to getting older and trying not to starve to death when the younger more robust villagers start neglecting to feed me).

We do cake yearly because Jackson LOVES the ritual of the candles and the singing and the wishing. He doesn't like eating it otherwise. Lately he doesn't like most every food other than Corn Flakes. But the ritual he loves. So I make the cake and stare at it balefully every day afterward before throwing most of it away. My mom had the brilliant idea of cupcakes, which can be stored briefly or frozen (or given away to grateful neighbors and school chums), so I went with that this year. Keith still didn't have one because someone at work gave him a humongous M&M-encrusted brownie for lunch. But the ritual remains charming. So anyway, cupcakes.

I share because sometimes (most times) I find myself wondering and questioning all the ritual things we do out of obligation. Especially when they're kind of pointless, like making cake for people who don't like cake. Jackson's brilliant preschool teacher taught me that ritual is really important for families and friends. It gives continuity to otherwise uncontrollable life events, and establishes close ties and bonding. Plus they're (in theory) fun. And I admit, singing "Happy Birthday"(TM) and blowing out candles in a darkened room while camera bulbs flash, is fun. Happy birthday, Keith. Happy birthday to you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns - It Gets Better

Joel Burns breaks down while encouraging gay teens to live. This is over ten minutes long but it's very touching and worth watching all the way through.

The recent suicides of so many young people due to bullying has been very much on my mind. One of the bravest people I ever met was a student at my East Bay suburban high school in 1979. He came out the year before and went through his senior year dealing with barbed jokes, icy stares and exclusion.

I didn't know him well enough to find out what else he had to go through. He regularly escaped to San Francisco and that probably helped him immensely. Although our suburb was only 35 minutes away by speeding car, it was hicksville compared to the city. There was literally a clique of guys at my school who called themselves hicks.

Since I had met this guy in drama class, I witnessed the straight guys of theater freeze him out of every group activity. This guy was wicked funny, but they refused to laugh at his improv jokes. I just didn't get it. They should have admired him for his bravery and honesty. He was really handsome too--he could have been in films or television. We should have been fawning all over him. Instead, he was treated like dirt and I was too shy to tell him how cool I thought he was.

The following year after he graduated, I became friends with a new kid my age who after several weeks of rehearsing together for a Neil Simon play, invited me to his house and showed me his GQ magazines. He told me he liked reading them and let me deduce the rest. After thumbing through and seeing they were full of cute guy models, I figured this was some kind of message. I think I just loved him more after that. I felt like he trusted me and that we had a special bond. I know he had to deal with teasing even though he wasn't officially out. His family moved to Texas the following year and I missed him immensely. He was so funny and nice and talented. I admired him and we had lots of laughs. He went on to great things, as I always knew he would. I am so glad I met him. He made high school so much better for me.

Years later, he located me through email and wrote that he was glad he met me in high school because I was kind to him. My question: how could anyone NOT have been kind to him?--a completely lovable boy.

I want gay teens to know: there are people who love you very much. And there will be more, so stay here. We want you around.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Forgotten Monsters of Yesteryear - War of the Gargantuas

If you're over 40 and grew up in front of a television like me, you probably caught War of the Gargantuas on the afternoon movie-show multiple times (especially during the much anticipated "monster week" that seemed to come up every few months).

If not, well, I'm sorry. I'm not sure I ever sat through an entire viewing of Gargantuas. I always seemed to turn it on somewhere in the middle of the show. Or I'd lose interest halfway through and go outside and play. Even within the parameters of giant city-destroying Japanese monsters, Gargantuas were pretty weird. Mutant-looking with those weird flubby things hanging off their bodies, covered with matted hair. They were like tremendous crystal-meth addicts. I never found the charm in them, unlike Mothra, who was an oversized ecology-minded moth featuring tiny twin girls singing in tree branches for perplexing, mostly unsolved reasons.

Gargantuas were vaguely based on Frankenstein monsters and they were brothers. The green one liked to eat people. He's bad. The reddish brown one is nicer and has it out with greenie in the aforementioned war. Here's a pretty creepy scene involving airport havoc and human-eating (no clothes-eating though--ptooey!)

This excellent and unforgettable night-club scene features the worst chorus sung by a chanteuse in movie history. Yes, even worse than "That's how you stuff a wild bikini." This scenario instilled a high-camp aesthetic in me at a very early age.

The original inspiration?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Get yer Tim Lincecum Gifs right here...

Miraculously, The San Francisco Giants have won the National League West. And now the fun begins. Meanwhile, enjoy this humble squad.








All very well and good. But the orange towel waving is kind of stupid.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Films that give you the creepy-crawlies

It's scary-movie season and here are some recommendations. I tend to go for psychological horror—some might call it girly horror. But these are some of the scariest films because they seem fairly plausible, working from our own possible mental deficiencies. It doesn't mean men don't experience the creepy-crawlies too. They just drown them out with beer and football. But enough gender stereotyping. Here's my list.

The Innocents (1961) is an excellent adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. With a script punched up by Truman Capote, who was no stranger to creepy behavior, we get the best ambiguous ghost story committed to film. Is Deborah Kerr's governess Miss Giddens seeing actual ghosts that are haunting her young precocious charges? Or is the tremendously large and depopulated mansion they inhabit just working on her sexually repressed nerves? Capote added whispered ghostly dialog that hints at several sexual taboos. Great cameo by a spider as well.

The Haunting (1963) is another entry in the ambiguously haunted-lady genre. Masterly adapted from a Shirley Jackson novella, "The Haunting of Hill House," Director Robert Wise employs inventive camera and audio tricks to keep us unsettled. just like his group of paranormal investigators, holed up in an abandoned mansion built by a religious zealot whose madness is hinted at by the talking wallpaper, pounding hallways and breathing doors.

Maybe it's because I grew up in earthquake country, or perhaps because I saw this film on TV when I was very young, but The Haunting with its malevolent, breathing house, has always given me the heebie-jeebies. The scene where Julie Harris sits up in bed in the middle of the night wondering whose hand was clutching hers, is ingeniously low-budget and scary. It's a great horror-movie performance—right out of the book. Her character Eleanor is an annoying protagonist and Harris didn't shy from that—a brave actress who lets her fears show all over her face. Accept no substitutes.

What's more dream-like than silent film? Or nightmare-like, as in Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr (1932). Close-ups work so well when you have actors who can convey hopelessness, unspeakable hunger, and malevolence. Check out this scene. No special effects required--it's all acting and editing. And it's scary.

Night of the Living Dead - The original 1968 George A. Romero version, made for $100,000 in an abandoned farmhouse outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I saw this while babysitting in a dark split-level home in suburban Northern California. And I was scared. Oh yes.

The 1978 sequel, Dawn of the Dead is a better movie and excellent pointed satire of consumer culture. But Night... started the whole trend, which doesn't seem to be abating any time soon. Because it was so low-budget and couldn't show all the gore, due to censorship issues, it's more creepy than terrifying. But it'll stick to your ribs. Amazing what can be horrifically effective with a bunch of non-actors, stiffly-walking extras, a garden trowel, Bosco chocolate syrup, and several pounds of raw meat.