Tag Archives: Charlie Chan Behind the Curtain 1929

A Lovely Little Morning in Crazeysburg!

Wow, gang. The temperature dipped down into the 50s Fahrenheit, making for just a delightful little morning here. I could still keep some of the windows open during the night, but also get snuggly in bed. Perfect sleeping weather.

And now the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and it just feels like a perfect morning.

I got good work done on the edits of Peitor’s new book yesterday — still have a few days worth of work ahead of me, though. But he’s written a really cool book —  a really engaging read, so I don’t mind editing it at all.

And when I wasn’t editing, I was continuing to read Sharon Olds’ collection of poems, The Father. And even though it is extremely well written, and some very arresting imagery is expressed (it’s a collection of poems chronicling the death of her father), I just kept going right back to Anne Sexton’s Complete Poems. She just inspires me to the moon and back, you know? And she’s really moving me along in Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.

It’s weird because this is certainly not the first time I’ve read Anne Sexton’s poems, or even The Complete Poems — Wayne and I had that book, back when I was still married to him, back in NYC. And I used to read it.  But for whatever reason, right now, I am totally hooked into it. Totally. Can’t put her poems down.

And even while she is not the aforementioned “Muse” I’m writing to (i.e., “erotic love letters to the Muse”), she is definitely “musing” me right along right now. And I am really enjoying that flow.

I’m reading the Sharon Olds collection specifically because I began reading an academic book that focuses on how the “confessional- style” poets Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Sharon Olds deal with the themes of father-daughter incest in their poetry.

(After Anne Sexton’s death, a previous psychiatrist of hers, violating the mandate of doctor-patient confidentiality,  released Anne’s private transcripts to the world (via a book about Anne’s life), revealing that she may have been the victim of incest with her father when she was growing up, and also that Anne herself had engaged in incestuous behavior with one of her daughters — with which that particular daughter concurred, later, in her own memoir.)

Sharon Olds doesn’t seem to have had that issue to contend with in her life, but some of the ideas she touches on in The Father poems could be construed as exploring a certain sexual energy, for lack of a better way of explaining it.  But, to me, it feels more like a human energy, a “thought-exploration” that opens all kinds of doors inside a woman’s mind when someone she loves has died. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as “incest” or even truly “Oedipal”, for that matter.

I’ve read a lot of Sylvia Plath in my life, but not a lot of Adrienne Rich poems, for some reason. But I still found that academic book (mentioned above) highly interesting because the incest theme is certainly a huge part of my own life and my writing (my biological father, not my adoptive one).  And the book did sort of indicate that, in regards to that specific theme in my life, I definitely seem to have never grown up. (I am paraphrasing, hugely.) But in that same regard, based on the author’s conclusions about Anne Sexton and Anne’s approach to that topic in her own work — and drawing from Freud and that whole crowd — neither one of us really grew up.

It could be that my intense immaturity is why I find Anne Sexton’s poems so inspiring! (I do, of course, jest.) (I think.)

Anyway. I appear to be deep into some sort of digression here.  Not sure how that happened. One minute, I was talking about the lovely weather, then the next minute, I was talking about incest…

But that’s just the splendiferous joy of spending time in Marilyn’s Room. We never know where my digressions will take us!!

Meanwhile…

Wow, I really enjoyed that movie I mentioned yesterday Behind the Curtain (1929). I finished streaming it last evening, and it did indeed have Charlie Chan in it — midway through, the location switches to San Francisco and that is where Charlie Chan is living at that point. AND, I might add, they had an actual Chinese actor playing Charlie Chan!! Something they don’t seem to have ever again done, until some remake in the early 1980s, or something like that.

Plus, Boris Karloff puts in an appearance, as well — playing a Persian manservant (!!).  But overall, I just felt the story was really good, really engaging. I mean the morals are outdated, but the storyline was really good for its era.  It was certainly a much deeper film than any of the Charlie Chan one-hour movies that Hollywood began making in the 1930s, when Warner Oland began starring as Charlie Chan. (And the Charlie Chan movies get even more formulaic after Warner Oland died and Sidney Toler was playing Charlie Chan — well in the 1940s. It gets to the point when I can no longer even watch them; they just become paper-thin.)

Anyway, Behind the Curtain was a nice surprise.

Overall, I had just a wonderful day and evening yesterday. Today, I’m scheduled to work again with Peitor on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff. Plus chat with Valerie about design-related stuff for my upcoming novel The Guitar Hero Goes Home.

Which reminds me… I was chatting on the phone with my ex-husband, Wayne, in NYC, the other day. And he was commenting on a sample of the cover art I had texted him for The Guitar Hero Goes Home. Apparently, he had gone onto Amazon to see if the novel was for sale yet, and he told me he was kind of astounded by how many of my books are for sale on Amazon…

Well, this astounded me because nowadays I have only two-pages on Amazon, mostly for out of print books or for eBooks. Whereas, even just a few years ago, I had a couple dozen pages, and most of my books, from all over the world, were still in print.

Wayne commented to me, “Wow, you’ve really done a lot of writing.’

And then I thought, like: Wow, where were you the entire time we were married? You know? I was publishing tons of stuff the entire time we were married. I was winning literary awards all over the fucking place. Giving readings all the time — and not just in NYC, but in Boston, Cambridge, LA, London, Paris. I was using my advance money from publishers in Europe to take us on great vacations. And I was always, always, always working on one publishing project or another the entire time we were married.

It felt shocking to me that he seems to have no recollection of this. And it makes me wonder who he remembers being married to for 14 years, you know? It was actually kind of upsetting to me, but I didn’t say anything. We’re not married anymore, and haven’t been since 2007. There’s no reason to even go there, right?

However, it did sort of renew that feeling in me that the work women do is never deemed as important as what the men are doing. At least, in my marriage it felt that way.

Although, when I left Wayne and began living with Mikey Rivera, it was just so different. Mikey was unbelievably supportive of my writing — of every single thing I wrote. He was an under-educated Puerto Rican plumber, raised in a Brooklyn ghetto, but he was just so proud of my being a writer. And during those early years with him, I really began to write some of my best work.

Anyway. Life goes on.

So, I’ll close this now and get Saturday happening here! Thanks for visiting, gang. I was listening to the Essential Nina Simone last night while drifting in and out of sleep — and, eventually,  I was dead to the world as it played on into the darkness and turned itself off.

What a great collection! I’ll just randomly leave you with her version of a BeeGees’ song I’ve always loved, “To Love Somebody.” Listen and enjoy, but the entire selection is just stellar. And have a great Saturday, wherever you are in the world, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

 

Just Something Promising to Look At…

Well, the news continues to disturb and distress, doesn’t it, gang?

You know, if you aren’t American and have no idea where or what Minneapolis is — it always seemed to me to be a city that had a very open-minded and tolerant reputation. And it’s a northern city, to say the least. (Northern cities usually have a reputation of being more tolerant, in general, and Minneapolis is probably the largest northern city we have.) (Of course, I grew up in Cleveland, which is also a northern city, and all throughout my childhood, there were violent race riots and massive protests and the National Guard being sent in and fires set all over the place that destroyed lives, etc.)

I don’t know. Maybe Minneapolis’ reputation for tolerance was a little erroneous, or even subjective.  Or maybe the tension of the lockdown on top of the tragic, racially-charged killing, just caused the whole city to explode.

Just a great big horrible, awful mess. (And it’s interesting that so much of Instagram wants to blame Trump for what happened. I seem to recall all kinds of similar awfulness happening throughout Obama’s reign. And of course, I just mentioned how, nearly 60 years ago, this kind of awfulness was happening all the time, and Trump was still growing up out in Queens, so… It gets hard to follow the regrettable chain of ideas that springs simply from hate.)

A well-known writer from the rock & roll days that I follow on Instagram is a serious Trump hater.  Like, beyond your ability to comprehend. He blames Trump for absolutely everything imaginable. He even made a statement the other day that Trump dodged COVID 19 the same way that he dodged the Vietnam War. What the heck? This writer is old enough to have served in Vietnam, too, and didn’t, so, like why’s he even bringing that up?

I guess to give the impression that he’s blinded by hate.

And even though I’m not  a Republican — although I am definitely no longer a Democrat, since they became the Party of Supreme Intolerance — I have no issue with how Trump handled COVID 19.

During the peak of the crisis, even while I had the virus, I watched the President’s press conference every single night. The Federal Government seemed to be doing an amazing job of staying on top of the horror, daily — and it was intensely revealing to see how these alleged “journalists” would take the President’s answers to their intensely-politically-motivated questions and then turn the answers into headlines the following morning that were meant strictly to incite emotions and to not deliver actual facts.

I saw it happen again and again in the NY Times and with CNN — two news outlets that I used to swear by, you know? I saw it with my own eyes; heard it with my own ears: Wait, I saw that press conference and that’s not what the President said.

It was scary to see all that hate heaped into the NY-based news outlets by “journalists,” while all those New Yorkers were trapped in the quarantined epicenter and already struggling against so much tragedy caused by that Virus.  (New York City is also the epicenter of Trump-haters — followed closely by Los Angeles– so the headlines seemed to just be exacerbating the city’s fears.)

Anyway, here was this NYC-based rock & roll writer, spewing so much hate in his Instagram feed, while I was actually faring just fine with the Federal Government’s handling of the pandemic.

Because I’m a writer, I have to file a Schedule C every year with my taxes, meaning I am also responsible for paying for my own healthcare, at a premium rate.

Health insurance is ridiculously expensive in America — most Americans simply cannot afford it without assistance of some sort, myself included. And I don’t believe in health insurance — while I do believe that it is unconstitutional to force Americans, by law, to buy health insurance. That was Obama’s legacy, btw, and he was allegedly a Democrat (that I voted for) (but he was actually a Socialist).

Anyway, because Obama forced into law something that was unconstitutional, I joined a Christian healthcare cooperative, that costs me next to nothing every month and keeps me within the law.  But because we were in lockdown, the Federal Government started sending out special weekly payments to people like me who are alone and have to handle all kinds of expenses — i.e., ridiculously expensive health insurance — with next to know opportunities for money to come in until the lockdown is completely over.

Because of the Federal Government, I have survived just fine — but, then, I don’t have to pay for health insurance. The pandemic has been beyond “regrettable,” but Trump didn’t cause it — Trump, a Republican whom I didn’t vote for. (Whereas Obama, a Democrat whom I did vote for, did in fact create this horrible economic situation where Americans are forced by law to have health insurance that most of them cannot possibly afford, with or without the added awfulness of the pandemic.)

So it is, indeed, a great big mess for a lot of people right now. But I do honestly believe that a huge portion of the national media makes things a whole lot worse — purposely feeding people emotionally biased “news,” intentionally manipulating them, until feelings and facts have become hopelessly blurred.

And unfortunately, I have found that I did have to jettison CNN  and the NY Times, in order to find out what was actually going on in the world.

So, well, I guess that’s how I feel about that. (“And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?”)

Oh — and here’s something I realized the other day — when Abraham Lincoln was heading by train to Washington DC for his inauguration as President, he traveled on the Baltimore & Ohio rail lines, and stopped overnight at the Buxton Inn in Granville, Ohio. (The Buxton Inn is across the street from my beloved Granville Inn –itself a National Landmark, but nowhere near as old as the Buxton Inn.)

But it occurred to me the other day that, even though my house wasn’t here back then, the railroad tracks were, and Crazeysburg was already here, and I’m thinking that Lincoln’s train probably was on those very train tracks that are outside of my house! Just so cool, right?? (Assuming you don’t also hate Lincoln — a Republican– which I don’t.)

Well, all righty!! I know I try not to get political on this blog, but some days I just have to give in.  It really just gets to be too much sometimes — how all the faces change, and the sides rearrange and the issues have different names, but the bad news stays exactly the same.

Today is going to be full of thunderstorms, so that should be suitably dramatic and will see if my breathing becomes once again affected by the intense humidity of thunderstorms. I still have to do a ton of editing on Peitor’s new book. Then meet with him for a few hours over the phone and work on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff. And then also do some more work on Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.

I’m guessing the day will be over in a heartbeat. Currently, I’m streaming Behind the Curtain — a movie made in 1929, which is technically a Charlie Chan movie, but I’m halfway through it and so far, Charlie Chan hasn’t put in an actual appearance. It’s more about Scotland Yard getting help from Charlie Chan, via overseas letters, in solving a local murder. It is actually a really good movie. And it’s “pre-Code” so it has its salacious elements right out front. No innuendo needed.

Okay. I’ll close this and get on with my day, gang.  Thanks for visiting.  I hope Friday is okay to you, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with something I happened to see on Bad Seed TeeVee last evening and then was reminded of on Instagram this morning! Rather timely, as it were. I sure hope the tragedy in Minneapolis can find some sort of balance before more people die and the whole city  goes up in flames. Okay. I love you guys. See ya.

“In The Ghetto”

As the snow flies
On a cold and grey Chicago morn
A poor little baby child is born in the ghetto

And his mama cries
Cause there’s one thing that she don’t need
Is another little hungry mouth to feed in the ghetto

Oh people don’t you understand
This child needs a helping hand
He’s gonna grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me
Are we that blind to see?
Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way?

And the world turns
And the hungry little boy with the runny nose
Plays in the streets as the cold wind blows in the ghetto
And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal and he learns how to fight in the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
The young man breaks away
He buys a gun and steals a car
He tries to run but he don’t get far
And his mama cries
A crowd gathers round an angry young man
Face down in the street with a gun in his hand in the ghetto

Oh people don’t you understand
This child needs a helping hand
He’s gonna grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me
Are we that blind to see?
Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way?

And as her young man dies
On a cold and grey Chicago morn
Another little baby child is born in the ghetto

c – 1969 Mac Davis