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Posts Tagged ‘The Golden Girls’

 

So, on Friday we attended “The Sock Hop” at the Community Center in the Enchanted Forest at Campus Commons. Every month there is a themed TGIF party at the Center. This month it was the 1950s. I had been volunteered to bartender and Naida was a cashier. We were in costume. I more or less like a skinny rogue biker and Naida in crinoline and a poodle appliqué on her vest. We danced to 1950s tunes.
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The Biker and the girl in crinoline.

A group of ladies began things by dancing the Hokey Pokey.
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Doing the Hokey Pokey.

Now you may think we live in a senior center. Not so, there are a lot of younger people who live here. It is just the old birds who seem to flock together for events like this.

One old girl came up to the bar several times and asked me to “fill it to the rim with gin.” Senior fun.

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The View from the Bar.

Speaking of fun, a few days ago, while driving HRM somewhere or another, I asked him if he had done anything enjoyable recently. He said, “Yesterday, I thought it would be fun to walk up to random people and hand them a few dollars so they will feel something good happened to them that day. So I did.”

I never did anything like this for amusement. Perhaps I should worry.

A few days later while driving him somewhere, HRM suddenly exclaimed, “I am going to ace history in high school.”

“Oh, how so,” I replied.

“I already know everything about the Sikhs, even how to tie on a turban. I also know the history of Arabia and the names of all their leaders.” He then went on to name the current leaders of the UAE, Dubai and several other states in the area.

“That’s great,” I said. “How did you come by this knowledge?”

“Well,” he said, “don’t tell anyone but, I learn it in class when I am bored with what’s going on.”

“Oh,” I said, “I too used to read history books in class when I was bored.”

“I don’t read books,” he explained, “I get it all on my smartphone.” Then he added, “What do you think the accent of Sikhs living in Australia sounds like?”

Should I worry?

As for my health, The PET scan showed three places with a high probability of cancer. Tomorrow, I go for a biopsy again.

I am now back in EDH for a while. Dick has left for Asia for two weeks and I have resumed my nanny duties along with my ongoing chauffeur responsibilities. Mon, a young man from Thailand, is living there also. His job is to cook and clean.

On the way to school one morning. I mentioned to Hayden that he lives like one-percenters of old with his own nanny, chauffeur, and Asian houseboy. “Yes, I know,” he responded. “Don’t forget you are my lawyer also,“ he added.

Ok, now I am worried.

After I drop HRM off at school in the morning, I usually drive to The Enchanted Forest. There, to spend the day with Naida. She working on her memoir and I wasting time on my computer like I am now writing this. Then about 2PM, I leave for EDH to pick up Hayden from school and with a brief break at the Skateboard Park, drive him home. He to do his homework and me to waste more time.

Went to my biopsy appointment today. Told the Doctor that my previous appointment was inconclusive because that doctor’s sonogram could not penetrate the scar tissue on my neck. This doctor said his sonogram should have no trouble. I then told him that the subsequent PET scan report showed three high probability sites. The Doctor said he thought there was only one.

Then he got down to work and stuck a needle full of Lidocaine into my throat. After fooling around awhile, he said, “Oh-oh there was some air in the needle and it is now lodged beneath your skin. Let’s wait a half hour and maybe it will go away.” And with that, he strode out of the room.

Since the mass is lodged between my muscle, tendon and my carotid artery, I had the pleasure of lying there imagining my sudden death from a brain embolism. After a half hour or so he returned and applied his sonogram to my neck and after some more fooling around said, “I can’t see anything. The air bubble is probably still there. Let’s schedule another try at it next week.” And he walked out.

After dressing, I approached to nurse to schedule a new appointment. She was giggling. After we agreed on a date she said, “Oh Good, a really good doctor will be there then.”

A few days ago on Wednesday, I picked up the entire Scooter Gang and brought them to the house to wait there until it was time to go to the teenage get together held every Wednesday in an overly large modern church complex labeled the Community Church. I do not know what denomination it is, probably Baptist. I know they sometimes like to hide their affiliation.

Anyway, the Gang consisted of five burgeoning adolescents – Haden (HRM), Jake (Big tall longhaired Jake), Graham (the Genius), Tyson (who gets blamed whenever anything goes wrong) and Ethan (the first one to have a girlfriend).
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HRM, Ethan, Graham, and Jake
(Hayden is wearing something he picked up in Dubai when he visited there this summer. He is holding a magic lamp that he also bought there.)

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Ethan has an interesting history. His mother and father had made a good deal of money in a trade that recently became legal which will soon end the growth of mom and pop millionaires as the industry consolidates and becomes a subsidiary of something like General Foods or Coke or some super large drug company — alas, so it goes.

Anyway, about three or four years ago, Ethan’s mom was murdered. His father discovered who did it, tracked him down and beat him almost to death with a large iron rod. Ethan’s dad was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. He got out a month ago. Ethan, who has been living with his grandparents leaves next week to stay with his father for a month or two so they can become reacquainted. HRM decided to throw him a going away party at the house on Saturday.

After picking them up at the Church event, They talked about Christianity and Heaven. Hayden thinks there were many heavens a person lives through, here on earth is the most recent one and the next one is the last. Graham said he was a professional atheist but now he decided to become a Christian —whatever that is.

Okay, now I am really very worried.

After an evening back in the Enchanted Forest, I returned to the Golden Hills to chaperone the going away party. Actually, it was not so much a party — about six or seven boys gathered to spend the night. After giving them the rules of the house — no bragging things, no spilling of liquids on the floor and no getting hurt — they joked with me awhile about the various things that were included or excluded in the rules. For the rest of the evening, they stayed quietly together in HRM’s room except for when they came into the kitchen for Pizza or coke.

The next morning I drove one of the gang, Caleb, home. He lives in the “low-income” side of town, a group of apartments hidden in a depression, behind some trees and on the far side of Town Center. During the drive, I ask Caleb what he wanted to be when he grew up. He quickly responded, “A forensic scientist.” “Interesting,” I responded. “What made you decide to do that?”

“ Well,” He answered. “My uncle was murdered. He died in 7/11. He was one of those people who you saw on television that jumped of the top of the buildings.”

“Oh,” I said. “I am sorry to hear that.” Then, unable to think of anything else to say, said, “Well I guess that will be a good profession for you.” Then, with my feeling like an idiot, we drove on to Caleb’s house in silence.

Well, I finally had the biopsy and now wait for the results. The next day, I met my new primary care doctor, my previous one retired as of September 1. His office is in a gym. Apparently, he doubles as a sports physician He is in his late 30’s and looks more like an ex-NFL linebacker than a doctor. We set a follow-up appointment for next week when the results of the biopsy become available.

After the appointment with the doctor, I rushed to a regular Parent teachers meeting at HRM’s school. The day before the school changed his classroom schedule to separate him from the rest of the Scooter Gang because the teachers felt that the socializing that went on in the classroom was adversely affecting his school work. Although it was done for his benefit, he took it as an attack on him specifically. Frankly, I thought they could have handled it better by reassigning several members of the gang instead of just him.

After the meeting, I was as exhausted as I have ever been and so I returned to the Enchanted Forest and slept through to the following morning.

Ha, Ethan returned from his uncle’s house where his father was living. He stayed only one day there before returning to EDH. He told me his uncles house burned down and so he had no place to live. After a little more prodding the story emerged. He said that the room in the attic of the house where he was to sleep also contained the circuit-breaker for the house’s electricity. His uncle fiddled around with it. He went for a walk. On his way back, he heard an explosion and saw that the house was on fire. He rushed back to the house, woke up his three cousins who had been sleeping in other bedrooms, and lead them out of the house. Almost as soon as they emerged the entire building exploded. It seems that Ethen’s prospective bedroom, the one that contained the exploding circuit breaker also contained 5000 assorted fireworks (yes — 5000) that also exploded and leveled the house when the fire that was consuming the heat of the bedroom reached the fireworks. Ethan seemed relaxed about the fact that only by a stroke of luck he escaped death.

One evening we went for dinner at a Czech-Italian restaurant on J. Street, after which, as we walked down the street we passed a group of young people one of whom said as we walked past, “You two are adorable.” We are now old enough that doing what people normally do is considered “adorable.”

Watched the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing. I do not know about the assault but he lied in just about everything else — a Golden Triangle is not three glasses of beer.

And then the weekend came drifting by as I waited to find out whether I am a dead man walking.
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During my several visits to Costa Rica, I met an artist named Miguel. He was well known in the country for his heroic actions during the Costa Rican War of Independence and for establishing many of that nation’s wonderful ecological reserves. He was in his mid-eighties then. He told me he used only his current nine girlfriends as models. They all would gather at his home most days to cook and take care of him and watch him paint.

I liked his painted images very much. He painted primarily in a pointillist style — applying small points of color rather than brush strokes to build up the images. I took photographs of several of his paintings, cut out those images that I liked and applied them to my canvas replacing the pointillism with brush strokes. I eliminated Miguel’s more colorful backgrounds, exchanging them for solid black as in this photograph.

I created about 15 or so paintings this way, including a triptych that hung in my bedroom. The lower quarter of the center panel contained a woman lying with her back to the viewer. Only that portion from her hip to just below her shoulder appeared, producing an elongated S-curve between it and the blackness. The panel on the right contained the same woman’s back but above it, I included Miguel’s image of a forest fire, all reds, blacks, and yellows.

The left panel had the same S curve but in the space above were painted three women I called the graces. This panel was a disaster so I never hung it hoping to try again sometime later but instead, I gave up painting.

The painting here contains images from two separate works of Miguel’s that I joined together. The elongated shoulder of the woman on the right occurred because I had photographed Miguel’s painting at an angle. When I projected the image onto the canvas I noticed it but left it that way because I thought it looked cool.

I was never happy with the black backgrounds. They looked empty. I wanted them to appear full the way Rothko’s do in his paintings, but that was far beyond my ability.

Now that I think about it, I could have just let the black brushstrokes feather off towards the edge of the painting leaving it with the color of the canvas showing through — sort of like someone painting the side of a barn and walking off with it unfinished.

I got a similar effect by using the matting control on the photograph.
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Rossana Petrillo 4

Artist: Rossana Petrillo born in Campania in 1957. 

Petrillo may refer to: Petrillo (surname) Myrceugenia correifolia, evergreen shrub commonly referred to as “petrillo” Petrillo Music Shell, amphitheater in Chicago named after James Petrillo

One day while looking for inspiration about something to write in this blog, I thought it would be amusing to author a semi-autobiographical fable based upon some historical person bearing my family name, Petrillo. A cursory exploration of the internet revealed, as would be expected of an Italian-American surname, a number of criminals and minor mafia members.

My research also led me to review the execution records of several states in the Northeastern portion of the US which produced at least one Petrillo executed for murder.

It appears, from those records, that those states eventually ran out of Indians to execute or free black men (In the case of the black men, primarily for sleeping with white women which appeared to be a capital crime at that time.) So, starting in about 1860, the number of yearly executions not only increased markedly but the executioner moved on to a strong run of people with Italian surnames. This continued until about the middle of the Twentieth Century when blacks took over again (the Indians, I assume, all having been eliminated), not so much for just sleeping with white women but now for everything else as well, including even things they did not do. I am sure other sections of the country featured other minorities from time to time that similarly heard the executioners song.

There were also the notorious Petrillo brothers from Connecticut, tried, convicted and executed for a scheme of insuring individuals who they subsequently murdered to collect the insurance money.

Now all of these showed promise for a story or two. But sensitive as I am about the stereotypes of Italian-Americans, I continued my search in hopes of finding a more positive model to use.

I could only turn up three.

One was Sophia Petrillo who was played by Estelle Getty in “The Golden Girls” television series. Sophia was the Bea Arthur character’s mother. Unfortunately, she was a fictional character and anyway she was reputed to have burned down the retirement home before moving to Miami to live with her daughter and friends. (There also was an August Petrillo who, at the time the show was popular, was the racist mayor of Mount Vernon NY, a city I lived in briefly, but he was also not the role model I had in mind.)

Then there was James Caesar Petrillo, the head of the International Union of Musicians from the 1930s until the 60’s. There was a band shell in Chicago named for him. That had some promise. A story about a young musician and son of an immigrant who with the usual combination of guile and intimidation worked his way up to become one of the undisputed leaders in the American trade union movement and eventually played a well-publicized duet with then-President Harry S. Truman; James on his trumpet and the President on the piano, had a certain American success story ring to it.

There was also some guy named Petrillo from Pennsylvania who wrote a book called “The Ghost Towns of North Mountain.” I could see a reality series on the SciFi network coming out of it.

But for some reason that day, none of those stories really appealed to me.

Then I discovered that in the sixteenth or seventeenth century there was a famously pretty young male musician named Petrillo that was the plaything of the Prince of Tuscany, a Medici no less. Unfortunately, I don’t do costume dramas.

On the other hand, I thought I could possibly revise his story to make it more contemporary.

In that case, forgetting my temerity about stereotypes, the story I imagined, might go something like this:

Ferdinando, “Freddy Megs” Medici, the dissolute son of Vincent, “Vinnie the Hump” Medici a well-known Mafiosi, one day decided that he wanted to be a producer and manager of rock bands and using his father’s money started doing so.

Francis “Franny” Petrillo was the backup Bass guitarist of the band “Pepperoni Suicide” that was managed by Freddy Megs. Franny was the product of a series of abusive foster parent situations. He was also an exceptionally pretty boy and Freddy Megs fell for him, hard. They began an affair.

Since the homophobic mafioso leadership frowned on such things,  Freddy Megs kept his dalliance with Franny very secret. He also had very public affairs with women that convinced most of those that knew him that Megs was no finocchio.  Anyway, he was not yet a made man so something like this, if it did get out, could always be considered just a youthful indiscretion.

Freddy Megs promised Franny that one day he would have his own band.

Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs was also having an affair with a transsexual drummer in a punk grunge Dyke band called “The Bloody Rags,” also managed by Megs. The drummer’s name was Melanie.

When Franny found out about Melanie he became very jealous and decided to do away with her. He rigged up her drums to burst into flames when Melanie struck them in a certain way.

And so, at the concert where the Bloody Rags were performing, Melanie’s drums burst into flames on cue. Unfortunately for Franny, Melanie escaped without a scratch and the pyrotechnics were so well received by the audience that the Bloody Rags incorporated it into their act and as a result became famous.

Melanie and the band, now insanely popular, promptly hired a more successful manager then Megs and took off for a tour of Europe, leaving Megs pissed off and Franny temporarily happy.

Freddy Megs soon grew tired of the music business, sold off his bands, told Franny it was over between them and joined an artist community in Taos.

Franny distraught and hoping to punish Megs with guilt, then hung himself from a telephone pole by the E-string of his favorite guitar, right outside the door of Freddy Meg’s house.

Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs had already moved to New Mexico and had sold the house to Franny’s father, a mega-millionaire who had made his money as Bernie Madoff’s silent partner. Franny’s father spent his life making money and feeling guilty for abandoning Franny when he was an infant. He had recently tracked Franny down and was planning to reveal himself to his long-lost son.

His father, coming out of his house in the morning to meet with his lawyers because he was under indictment for his association with Madoff, seeing Franny hanging there promptly dies of a heart attack leaving all his money to Franny. Since Franny is already dead the money goes to the alternative beneficiary in the will, a non-profit dedicated to reprogramming gay artists.

Eat your heart out Charlie Dickens wherever you are.

Ciao.

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Beatles And Maharishi

The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968. The group includes Ringo Starr, Maureen Starkey, Jane Asher, Paul McCartney, George Harrison (1943 – 2001), Patti Boyd, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon (1940 – 1980), Beatles roadie Mal Evans and Beach Boy Mike Love. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

One day in the late 70’s or early 80’s while sitting around with a friend drinking wine, smoking some dope and discussing the doings of mystics, rinpoches, gurus and yogis we had known — which is what we aging hippies often did in the late seventies or eighties — my friend, who I shall call Peter, told me the following tale:

During the Sixties, Peter worked for an American NGO in India. At that time, many of the young American groupies who frequented the sub-continent searching earnestly for the guru of the month traveled throughout the country like locusts. They were usually stoned, broke, homeless, diseased and smelly. Now and then, some of them would end up camping out for a while in one of the rooms in Peter’s home, where they would bathe, eat some food get a little healthier and move on.

After his stay in India, Peter settled down in San Francisco, which, at that time, was also often the disembarkation point for those returning from their Indian adventures. One day one of Peter’s previous boarders showed up at his house in not much better shape than when Peter had last seen him.  After a few days, he moved on. During his stay the often reminisced about the other sojourners that had camped out in Peter’s home and wondered what became of many of them.

Now it came to pass, as they say, that about a decade later Peter had the occasion to visit Boston for a few days. His friends, with whom he was staying while in Boston, invited him to a party in the prestigious Beacon Hill neighborhood. It was being thrown, they explained, in honor of a spiritual teacher and mystic that was all the rage in the city at the time.

When he arrived at the party Peter discovered the guest of honor, dressed now all in white linen, with long clean hair in a ponytail and a well-trimmed beard was at one time his guest at the squat in Orissa and later at his home in San Francisco. The Guru, recognizing Peter, grasped him in a warm embrace. Peter could only utter the obvious “What happened?”

The Maharishi as he was now referred to took Peter aside and told him the following:

After leaving SF and crossing the country by begging on the street corners of many of the nation’s best cities, he found himself broke, hungry, homeless, desperate and in Boston with winter coming on. So, he came up with a plan to better his circumstances.

First, he went to the supermarket and with the little money, he cadged that day, bought some rice. Next, he scoured some of the empty lots in Boston for a rock of just the right size and shape. When he located one, he took it and the rice to a local park and found a suitably imposing tree. Between the roots of the tree, he dug a hole. In the hole, he first placed the rice and then on top of the rice he stood up the columnar-shaped rock, narrower pointed end up, and covered it all with dirt that he carefully patted down so the ground looked natural and undisturbed.

Later that day he went around to as many people that he could, both those that he knew and those that he did not and announced that as a result of his stay in India and years of meditation, he had gained the ability to make the sacred lingam rise from the earth and that at a certain time the next day at the park he would demonstrate his power.

That next day he went into the park. At the appointed time, he fell to his knees by his chosen tree and began chanting and repeatedly bowing until his head touched the ground. He chanted and chanted, and bowed and bowed. Each time he bowed he sprinkled a little water. After a while, some of the onlookers became impatient and began to leave. Other passers-by, noticing the small crowd stopped to see what was going on.

Suddenly cracks appeared in the ground between the roots of the tree. He continued to chant, bow and sprinkle. Soon the pointed tip of the lingam appeared pushing through the earth. It continued to rise majestically until it stood fully tumescent in the sunlight.

“And that,” concluded the swami, “was how it all began.”

Peter could not help himself but to ask, “And what do you make of all that?”

The master thought for a moment and replied, “If you do not use the proper rice your lingam won’t rise.”

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