Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who likes short shorts? We like short shorts!

Being out and about in summer weather exposes one to various sights of the season, some good, some not so. I like the short shorts look on women.

The upcoming July 4 holiday gives us a chance to celebrate our patriotism in our own way.

Some may wish to stay indoors to avoid the sun's rays on so much exposed skin, but there's no reason they can't stay fashionable.

Some may find that intellectual stimulation is increased when wearing apparel that may stimulate onlookers.

Some say the denim short-shorts fashion started with actress Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke on the old Dukes of Hazzard tv show. She gave these denim shorts a name, Daisy Dukes:

Celebrities take to Daisy Dukes really well, like Julianne Hough of Dancing With the Stars:

Heidi Montag:

Surely Cameron Diaz, the Bad Teacher herself, deserves two pictures for her excellence in Daisy Dukes-wearing fashionability.

I mustn't forget their namesake, Daisy Duke.

Catherine didn't invent short-shorts; remember the 1957 song by the Royal Teens?

And in 1970 someone changed the name short-shorts to Hot Pants, here worn by the fabulous Raquel Welch. Thou art swell, Raquel! -

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy belated birthday, Carly Simon

Was Carly Simon the sexiest singer of the '70s? Based on my recollection of us young guys standing around record stores ogling her album covers, yeah, she probably was.

Carly turned 66 yesterday, so happy belated birthday, Carly. You made many of us boys a lot less lonely, spending the nights with your records and their covers.

When I saw the video for "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" I had an instant flash of nostalgia, having seen it on ABC in its original 1972 airing. I remember her introductory line about "a weird song about marriage." To ask in a plaintive way for her boyfriend to marry her seemed pretty normal, not what I'd call weird.

Are there longer legs than hers, displayed when she sits on her piano bench?

This video from a 1987 Late Night With David Letterman is set in a hotel room; Dave pulled a guy into the room and he sat on the couch, listening to Carly sing "All I Want Is You," a song about out-and-out sexual desire.


Carly was married to James Taylor for 11 years, and had two children with him. They split up, and reasons vary depending on the story you hear. While they were together they did some collaborations. This is one of my favorites.


Monday, June 20, 2011

"Let's play 'cops and illegals'!"

Alcides Souza, who is a Brazilian citizen living in Orem, Utah, attending university in this state on a student visa, was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign, and detained by a citizen pretending to be a police officer. The fake cop, Mark Vreeland, asked Souza, who Vreeland described as "of ethnicity," if he was in the country legally. At the time Vreeland was wearing a hat that said ICE and Police, even though he belongs to neither organization.

Mark Vreeland, the "all-American bullet-headed Saxon mother's son."

Real cops showed up and when they sorted it out they let the student go, but issued a Class B misdemeanor citation to Vreeland for impersonating an officer.

Vreeland is an anti-immigrant type who doesn't want any illegal aliens in his town, and has apparently set himself up to harass people "of ethnicity," without proof of them being here illegally. In Vreeland’s words, "I'm not your usual guy. I'm outside the box. I'm a little grain of sand on a big beach, and I try to make a difference in our community."

No, he's not your usual guy. He's a poser and a jerk who passes himself off as law enforcement so he can throw his weight around. Looking at a picture of Vreeland, who is 58 and bald, he looks like he could be on the outer end of a career in policing, but he actually owned a pizza joint. He must like the idea of pushing people around, because he goes out with a firearm (not unusual for Utah), Mace, a stun gun and handcuffs. I've known at least one other person who pretended to be a police officer, with a red light in his car, pulling people over and scaring them with threats of arrest. In my opinion a person doing that is psychotic.

In an incident related only by the immigrant factor, in 2010 a list of 1,300 purported illegal aliens was released anonymously by two women working for the Utah Department of Workforce Services to the news media, demanding that the people on the list be deported. It caused a real uproar. After an investigation by the state it was determined that over 1,100 of the names were genuine, but the rest weren't, so at least some of the people on the list were illegal (but far from the 1,300 the women identified). The plot backfired against the women who thought they were doing the right thing. Their identities were discovered, they were fired, and then charged with a crime of misusing the state database. In May both pleaded guilty and were assessed fines. At least one of the women had her fine paid by a third party, who believed she had done the right thing.

Those two set themselves up as cops, too, by compiling the names of those who they suspected—without proof--were breaking the law. Maybe the women had good intentions, but by making their own rules they violated some pretty strict laws on privacy. The women would have been smarter to speak those suspicions to someone in authority, and let them do the work of investigating. By releasing the names of people not proven to be illegal the women committed an offense.

There is a serious debate on the problem of illegal immigration in this country right now, but these people picked the wrong way to go about a solution. It goes back to that “of ethnicity” line by pretend cop Vreeland. Would people be suspected of being in the country illegally if they were Norwegian, German, British? And by that I mean white people? Probably not. People can say what they want about enforcing laws on immigration, but much of what they say is a smokescreen to cover old-fashioned racism. Racism in and of itself isn’t illegal, just wrongheaded; impersonating an officer of the law or releasing confidential state information is definitely illegal.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy birthday, Paul

Paul McCartney is 69 today.

I just told my wife, after looking for videos to show, that listening to these songs is like having an hour on a therapist's couch. You come away feeling better, and all's right with the world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A chicken with its head cut off

Mike the headless chicken was a wonder of the age in 1946 and 1947, after Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, cut off his head. Rooster Mike continued to live, and with some help, thrive, for 18 months after being decapitated.

My mom used to warn me about acting like "a chicken with its head cut off." As a child I saw it happen to a neighbor's chicken, which my friend's dad decapitated. It ran around the yard spouting blood until it finally dropped dead, impressing me greatly. I only remembered vaguely the story of Mike until seeing this story in the October 22, 1945 issue of Life magazine.

Mr. Olsen, according to the article, cut off most of Mike's skull but left intact one ear, the jugular vein and the base of the brain, which controls motor functions. He was originally exhibited in my home town of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was taken so the University of Utah could verify he wasn't a hoax. Mike lived on until March of 1947, being fed by an eyedropper. According to Wikipedia Mike died in a Phoenix motel.

As is human nature, according to Wikipedia, people tried to imitate what happened to Mike with other chickens, but none of them lived more than a day or two. Mike was a big money earner in his time. The Olsens toured with their headless rooster, charging 25¢ to see Mike, and made a pile. At one point Mike brought in about $4500 a month. In the mid-1940s that had today's purchasing power of about $50,000. Very impressive, and that's not chicken feed.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Giving the paparazzi what they want, and other lewd acts

Seeing this picture of a young woman about to expose her breasts to a mob of eager males with cameras begs the question: haven't these guys ever seen boobs before? Well, of course they have. With the internet any male is about two mouse clicks away from a virtually unending supply of any female parts we like. But the chance to see more will always get a guy's attention. It's the way we're made, to have these responses to such stimuli.

This picture isn't pornography, but it begs another question I've had about female behavior. I've never asked any woman whether she's particularly offended by pornography or not. I suspect most are, at least if they were asked to participate in making it. I think most women, or at least the women I know, would not want to go in front of a camera and expose their parts to the world. So I’m always interested in what reasons someone would have for being contrary to the majority.

I had a little inkling into the mindset of women who participate in pornography when I read a quote by a '70s pre-internet pornstar (Annette Havens?) who said she liked to think of men watching her and masturbating. It jibed with the Nancy Friday book, The Secret Garden, which came out in 1973 and told of the hidden world of female fantasies. I remember some interview where Friday said many women shared a fantasy of men masturbating while looking at them. I wouldn't like to qualify exhibitionism as the sole reason some women cater to male fantasies, but it is probably at least one of them. Some people are turned on by flaunting what they have in front of other people. We could say the cameras the men are pointing at at the girl in the photo are helping to create her need to show off.

We could also call the cameras extensions of their penises, that once alone with the pictures they can do what they want in private.

What I'd ask any women reading this, is it part of a fantasy to have several dozen men jockeying for position to see your boobs?


A friend of mine told me a story that recently a famous, elderly Hollywood producer was in the hotel where he works. The producer had a back problem, collapsed a couple of times, and my friend helped him, at which time the producer said, “I’ve won so many awards…”

Before he had the troubles with his back he was sitting at a table with a young woman, and as my friend observed, “…the guy had his hand down the girl’s pants and seemed to be rubbing her vagina.”

This happened in California. For some reason we aren’t surprised by the actions of the Hollywood hotshots. Rubbing her vagina? No biggie. The lewd act that is, not the vagina (although that I wouldn’t know, would I?) My friend later got a tip for $10.00 from the producer. When I looked up his bona fides on the internet I saw that he produced some of the most famous movies and box office successes of the past 40 years. So, only ten bucks? That’s a lewd act of its own!


Monday, June 13, 2011

The future from the past

I've written about this subject more than once, how we Americans viewed the future during or directly after World War II. It was a time of optimism and the wonders of fast moving technology.

It seemed every magazine, Sunday supplement and newsreel, got into the game of predicting the future. As the war drew to a close in 1945, some advertisers in Life magazine pitched their products as postwar vision. Belmont Radio, who to that time had not put a television up for sale on a furniture store floor, was capitalizing on what was sure to be the Next Big Thing. In the ad they show the television as furniture, very ornate, but fitting into the overall decor. Belmont finally got its televisions on the market in 1947.

Even though Belmont quit making televisions in 1957, at least they made them. Goodyear never got into the floating hotel business, as they advertise in this beautifully illustrated double-page ad from another issue of Life. Goodyear still uses its blimps for advertising purposes, but as for a fleet of airships cruising leisurely through the oceans of air, that was a non-starter. The Hindenburg tragedy was still fresh in peoples' minds. Also, Goodyear's most likely misjudgment was that in the postwar world there would be such a need for speed. People take ocean cruises still, but for wholly different reasons than for travel.

The future, as envisioned during World War II, was to be an era of technological wonders, and we certainly have those. But many things promised to the public in 1945 just weren't practical and didn't progress much past the dream state.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Weiner's a hot dog

My old first sergeant used to call it "stepping on your dick," which meant you'd made a terrible mistake.

Representative Anthony Weiner (D-New York) is another in a line of politicians of national importance who has stepped on his dick. In this case his weiner (ho-ho, no one can resist that joke even if it's too obvious).

For a week or more he claimed someone had "hacked into" his Twitter account and hijacked the picture of a man filling out his underwear.

He played coy, not admitting originally it was a picture of himself. Then the story, which wouldn't go away, caused him to have to make some sort of official public statement. It came down in a press conference that yeah, it was him. He'd intended to send it to a woman who was not his wife, but sent it out as a mass mailing instead.


Can you imagine how he felt when he realized what he'd done? Can you imagine the shock? I can because in my own way I've done dumb stuff like that; I've sent an e-mail or two meant for one person to another by mistake. It was very embarrassing. But I'm not a politician. I'm not in a position of public trust and responsibility.

Weiner has a new wife (married last summer by--of all people--President Bill Clinton, and there's some irony there), and yet is trading sexy tweets with chicks not his wife. Oh out today: Weiner's new wife is pregnant.

There is some justice in all this. The playboy found out that playing can have a price. Weiner isn't the first congressman from New York this year to end up in trouble over electronic transmissions of pictures. Representative Chris Lee, a Republican, screwed up. As soon as his bare-chested picture came out he resigned. You can see the picture here. The Democrats made a big deal of it but now they have their own fellow embarrassing them.

The calls are out from his own party for Weiner to resign.

The technology is still new enough that people play games with it, thinking they're getting away with something. They find out that anything sent out over the internet can suddenly be public property. I wonder how many other public figures are tonight sweating bucketloads, worrying about their own indiscretions just waiting to catch up to them?

I also notice that there is a pattern with public officials caught in these situations. They get up before the public, say their mea culpas, and tell everyone they apologize for "the hurt they've caused." There's no reason to believe that much of that isn't just earwash. If the guy hadn't been caught he'd have been doing it right now. He wouldn't be worrying about causing hurt, because he'd be thinking no one would ever know.

Even though Weiner was finally frank, he's still a hot dog. The media has put mustard and chopped onions on him, slapped him in a bun and eaten him up. His career is cooked.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ghost at your back

Ghosts are in this year. Several cable channels have reality programs about ghosts ("reality" being a word taken with a grain of salt). SyFy has Ghost Hunters, Biography has Celebrity Ghost Stories, Animal Planet has The Haunted. Travel Channel has Ghost Adventures, which I watched a couple of days ago. An episode took place in Tooele, Utah, the town my mother lived and worked in for 15 years. The Ghost Adventures guys visited an old hospital which is now a haunted house attraction called Asylum 49, and the other side of the building is a nursing home for elderly residents. That's a creative use of space, if not out-and-out weird.

(Tooele, pronounced too-willa, is the home of Tooele Army Depot, where nerve gas is stored, and the gateway to Dugway Proving Grounds. Dugway is being called by some "Area 52" because some conspiracists and UFO buffs are sure some of the secret ops that went on for years at Area 51 in Nevada have been transferred to Dugway. Its out-of-the-way desert location makes it ideal. Tooele is no stranger to weirdness.)

The Ghost Adventures guys go into buildings at night with the lights off and their nightvision lenses taping everything, trying to get ghosts to appear. In this episode they were looking for the ghost of a child and a shadow man, a black figure of a man that sometimes appears in the corridors. I should mention the nurses from the nursing home are pretty spooked by all of it, and none of them like the graveyard (heh-heh) shift, when according to them the creepy stuff happens.

If you google this show you get a lot of Ghost Adventures fake! comments and blogs. I think if the show is not totally faked then it's certainly overblown in its claims of the paranormal, but that's show business in general. So the guys set up in the night, calling out ghosts. Whether they succeeded in finding anything depends on how you interpret it; someone would say, "I can feel a cold spot," or "Something just brushed my leg!" and we're supposed to just accept those statements as facts.

I went to Travel Channel's website and found a purported recording from the Tooele episode, of a child's voice on magnetic tape using an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. Taken at face value the recording is interesting if not conclusive.

I am intrigued by the technique of using white noise, which ghosts are supposed to communicate through, even though I don't know if any of that can be believed, either. It could be sleight of hand, a simple trick, running something pre-recorded through the white noise machine. My wife has a white noise machine she used years ago to cover noises by our neighbors so she could get to sleep. Maybe one of these days I'll use it, see if I can hear voices from Beyond the Grave. I know a couple of people I'd like to hear from given the opportunity. There are a lot more I'd prefer not to hear from, and that--and my natural skepticism--keeps me from doing it right now.

I went to YouTube for examples of the white noise technique. The video of "A Man in pain," is "really wierd [sic]", but besides the groans whatever the man is saying is unintelligible.

The video is accompanied by creepy music which sets up the viewer for something spooky. I have to give this one a D-minus or an F for realism. When you think about it even if you believe in ghosts communicating with their voices why do they need the white noise?

So I'm a skeptic, but sometimes a good story can override my skepticism. Perhaps it's superstition, or an ancestral memory of ghost stories told around the fire. I got a chill when I watched an episode of The Haunted on Animal Planet. A couple knows there is an entity in the house. The dog reacts to it (it is Animal Planet, after all, and they have to tie it to animals somehow). At one point all the lights in the house go out, and the woman goes down into the cellar to pull the breaker. She's standing in total darkness and hears someone behind her, laughing. The thought of that gave me a shiver. I was alone in the house that night, and when I turned out the lights to go to bed I thought of that, how terrifying it would be to think you are alone, and then suddenly hear someone laughing. It was a long walk to my bedroom that night, and that's no laughing matter.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

More big boobs!

As if I needed to be reminded, sex sells! Titling a blog post "World's Biggest Boobs" has gotten me more hits for Insomnia Notebook than almost any of the over 700 other postings I've done. My previous record for hits was with "Tit Tat Toe" and "Tat for Tit". More sex.

So I'm titling this to ensure more hits from horny guys like you. It's pandering, I know, but who do you know who doesn't pander? We're in the golden age of pandering, all the media including and especially the internet are shoving boobs in everyone's faces. I'm no different.

Behold, a bevy of bounteous boobies!

Just for a change of pace, here's a guy with great big boobs.

Remember Seinfeld and the episode where Frank Costanza and Kramer invented a brassiere for men? Frank wanted to call it a mansierre, Kramer a bro. Whatever the name, some guys need it.

Tell me, ladies, just how would you feel if your man had bigger breasts than you?


Friday, June 03, 2011

Happy birthday, Ian and Suzi

Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople is 72 today. Happy birthday, Ian!

Suzi Quatro is 61 today. Happy birthday, Suzi!

POSTSCRIPT: I usually don't go back in after the fact and update my postings, but when Kirk Jusko commented that Ian Hunter had done "Cleveland Rocks" I found a live version on YouTube from 2004:

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Prehistoric rockers

Anybody who listens to rock music today owes these pioneers--and many more like them--a debt of gratitude.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg doesn't need to prove his ability to create suspense in a movie. He's the guy who directed Duel (his first movie) and Jaws, after all. I watched his 2005 version of War of the Worlds with interest, because the original book is a favorite of mine, but also to see how Spielberg could take a fairly straightforward story with an ending well known, and add his distinctive touches.

The movie strays from the original novel by H.G. Wells, which was set in Victorian England, by updating it to modern day. That's what every version of the story has done since the 1938 Mercury Theater radio show that caused such a ruckus.* It's also reset in America, which makes me wonder how the English feel about that. In the original novel the unnamed narrator is a journalist going cross-country, traveling to get to his wife while staying ahead of the invaders. Spielberg makes the story more personal by having the main character, Ray Ferrier, a divorced father who doesn't take his responsibilities seriously. Ray is suddenly confronted with a parental nightmare, protecting his children from physical harm at all costs. Since the invading aliens have killed all electrical, Ray is the only guy with a working car. The aliens apparently zapped all the solenoids, which Ray figured out. The Army must've figured it out, too, because at a point they appear and their vehicles are working.

Tom Cruise wouldn't have been my choice to play the dad, although when I watched the film I thought he did a fine job. I was taken with Dakota Fanning, an amazing young actress, as his daughter, Rachel.

The two of them have great chemistry, and by the end of the movie they had sold me on being father and daughter.

The 24-minute segment of Ray, his daughter, and a stranger, Harlan Ogilvy (in an understated but effective performance by Tim Robbins), hiding in a cellar is where the real suspense comes in. The alien fighting machine is outside. It sends down a camera to see what's in the basement.

The scenes of the three humans dodging the camera are very well done; but even more tense is the scene where we see the actual aliens outside of their machine, when three of them explore the cellar.**

Besides having to duck around them, Ferrier and Ogilvy are engaged in a silent battle over control of a shotgun. Ogilvy is for shooting the creatures, Ray is for keeping him from doing it.

The basement scenes showing Ray and Rachel's tenacity, help set up the following scenes where they actually enter the fighting machine.

Special effects in this movie are top notch, as are the variations on the classic novel, but it'd be just another science fiction thriller without events that are critical to us feeling empathy for the characters. I don't know how many parents of young children watched this movie wondering what they'd do in Ray Ferrier's place, but I identified strongly with him.

Spielberg is a populist director; not the genius some make him out to be, but he is a director in a grand tradition of men who make each project seem more their's than a studio's. I'm thinking of directors like Hitchcock and Cecil B. DeMille, whose names went above the titles. They were in effect their own biggest stars, despite what actors were engaged in front of the cameras.

*I've seen the enjoyable 1953 George Pal production of War of the Worlds, which was a big hit in its time. I've not been able to sit through another 2005 version of the story, this time starring C. Thomas Howell as "George Herbert," a nod to Herbert George Wells.

**The aliens have a strong resemblance to the aliens on the cover of this 1926 issue of Amazing Stories, by artist Frank R. Paul.