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The envelope I received today from Price Waterhouse

I’m a winner!

So is Hilary Clinton. My brother called to tell me that one.

My envelope was addressed to my neighbors but it was in my mailbox along with the box containing their Signature Hardware copper claw foot bathtub. Finders/Keepers. I have a really big mailbox. You could fit 140 of Donald Trump’s hands in it.

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This is what you want to hide under when there is an earthquake, if it doesn’t run away on those fat little legs. Body shaming aside, they are a bit tubby.

Why did Price Waterhouse pick me? Probably because I am from Manchester by the Sea. I am one of the former residents who, like Casey Affleck’s character, moved away to make less money than they could at home. Manchester is a really pretty place but you have to be really rich to live there. Little did I know that you have to be pretty rich to live well anywhere.   Maybe the letter was meant for Casey but I think he already got one.

I hear P.W. has two copies of every envelope they give out, which is a bit excessive. I don’t write two checks when I pay my rent or have sex with individuals twice just in case they didn’t hear me the first time.

But what to do about the bathtub? I’ve already made a couple of speeches about it to my easily impressed co-workers. My neighbors might get suspicious if there’s a plumber’s van in the driveway tomorrow so I will probably have to sleep with a working man for a believable backstory.

Truthfully, I think the postman made the mistake because I am white and my neighbors are not. I don’t make as much money as them but I look like I do based on skin tone.

No that can’t be it.  I’m Catholic, like Casey Affleck’s character. I’m the one who is oppressed and just can’t beat my past including my genetic tendencies towards violence and ridiculous sensitivity to both the sun and the criticism of others. Don’t tell me I live in La-La land because I live in Alaska where no one has a tub like this and everyone is really just a loser from somewhere else. Don’t make me give it back.

 I have my doubts about the integrity of Price Waterhouse.  My first association with that kind of fancy-ass name is Fisher Price toys but their tubs are much smaller and apparently come equipped with photogenic bathers.

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Move over Sunny Pawar! I’m younger than you and I’m white!

 You may ask, what do all these references have in common? Do they all involve water? Yes but NO!  THEY ARE ALL FAKE NEWS!

I only got a catalog from Signature Hardware which is the Rock/Movie/Musical star of bathtub makers. It was not addressed to me. It was not addressed to my neighbors either. It was addressed to my roommate who is black and has a much better bedroom set than I have.

We do have a big mailbox.  We just got an upgrade. With three of us living here and about 10 old roommates who still get their mail here we needed it. Besides that, it has a lock so no one can steal our Academy Award letters.

I did audition for a movie the other day but I was funnier off script than on so I don’t think that is going anywhere fast. A girl can dream about playing an old alcoholic smoker who sees dead guys coming on to her but that doesn’t make her dreams come true.

I am from Manchester by the Sea. I recognize that the movie is not so much about that town but about the small town that many of us come from. The one that never forgets the best of people and the worst of them. The small town that is our family, our workplace, our culture that we can’t get far enough away from, because they’re inside of us. I’m proud to be from a town that will now be forever remembered for alcoholism and dysfunction.

I will probably not see the movie La-La land because I don’t need more fantasy in my life especially  anymore white people’s fantasy. This includes thinking I deserve more than I get and that life is fair. I should see Moonlight. Maybe I will go with my roommates.  Meanwhile I just had my taxes done at H&R Block. They only use one envelope.

Was Noah the first Viking?

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Was not surprised to see “Noah” was already playing at the 2nd run cinema up the street. I was surprised to learn that he was a vegetarian Viking.

Here is Ragnar, the “Noah” of the TV series “Vikings”

Ragnar getting ready to build an ark

Ragnar getting ready to build an ark

 

 

Here is Noah after killing about a thousand people with the help of his rock band

So you had a bad day....

So you had a bad day…..

 

 

Not to belabor the point but doesn’t this guy look like he fell from the same tree?

The God of thunder says it's gonna rain for a long time

The God of thunder says it’s gonna rain for a long time

 

Is it a coincidence or an omen that Anthony Hopkins is in both Thor and Noah?

What movie am I in now?

What movie am I in now?

 

ah, this is the movie where I like berries!

ah, this is the movie where I like berries!

 

Then there’s the fraggle rock creatures who are disappointed in the human race but help Noah build the ark because he kind of reminds them of Adam.  I admit, at first I thought they were an entirely fictitious departure from the biblical text until I saw this.

Thor battling the last of Noah's rock warrior angels

Thor battling the last of Noah’s rock warrior angels

 

If that’s not proof of The Circle of Life then I don’t know what is!  Remember we’re all a little Viking, so  watch yourself around hammers and axes.  If you become obsessed with building a big boat and killing lots of people, you might want to chill.  One thing I did learn from the movie Noah is that vegetarians can be just as dangerous as people who eat meat.

 

 

 

Star Trek over lightly

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Into Darkness - An Enterprise in Risk Management

Into Darkness – An Enterprise in Risk Management

The new film “Star Trek Into Darkness” did not go far enough. They settled for places we’ve all been before.  I’ve come up with a few tweaks that could remedy a film which was more of a laxative than an adventure.

1. It’s not sexy enough to have Kirk in bed with one woman, so you add another. I would have been more impressed if Sulu popped out from under the covers as well.

2.  Dr. McCoy looks like the only person in the film who eats meat. Mssrs. Quinto and Pine may need some of those low -T pills I keep hearing so much about.

3. As in 3-D. I know it was there because when I took off the glasses I couldn’t see. But why did Enterprise kept zooming away, not towards me? Please see the 80’s film “Comin’ at ya” for the proper use of 3 dimensions in cinema.

4. Death scene. What happened to disfiguring radiation poisoning where people’s skin gets all gross? It would have been far more dramatic to have Kirk come back pockmarked and continue that way in the alternative universe for films to come. William Shatner was pretty but he wore a girdle!

5. Khan? Really? Why didn’t you just call the villian Snape and capitalize on a different dynasty? Was it too soon to call him Thatcher? Mr. Cumberbatch is such a great actor that his combination of Kirkiness and Spocktricity  outshine the two playing the parts. And have you heard his Alan Rickman imitation?

6. Scotty’s sidekick “Keenser” needs to stop being a wingman and get some action for himself. Perhaps a little lady or Kirk? He is afterall the cutest thing in the show.

7. A dead tribble is troubling, a sad statement on the creative fertility of this series. Instead of using Khan’s blood to re-vivify Kirk, why not use the tribble/Khan blood and  Mr. Pine could be reborn pregnant.

8. The use of Spock prime was too great in the last movie and too little in this one.  Maybe a dance number or dream sequence with Kirk prime for the next one? Is that too much to ask?

9. Did Kirk really say, “Take those red shirts off, do you want to get yourselves killed?” Or is that something I just think he should have said?

10. Renew the dream. Just watch this risky performance by William Shatner and stay faithful to the vision that once was STAR TREK!

My Mother, Deanna Durbin & Me

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IMG_0075          I’m not sure how old that fly is

My mother kept a Deanna Durbin scrapbook. This is one of the few items I have that belonged to her since she died 30 years ago this month.  I kept a scrapbook at her age as well. It had pictures of The Beatles, programs from the plays I was in and later rock concerts I attended.  Her book was all DURBIN, no exceptions.There are hundreds of pictures.  I had no one I was in love with like she was with Deanna, except maybe Captain Kirk. Both Deanna and Kirk  lived in fantasy worlds, but the actors who played them were/are  long lived and showed a shrewd intelligence with age. They beat the Hollywood odds. They got out alive.  I don’t think anyone but me would ever put Edna and The Shat in the same category but I believe they shared the capacity to “shat” on their Hollywood image.

Deanna Durbin died last week. She was born 3 years before my mother.   Deanna Durbin was the Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus of the 1930’s .    My mother loved Deanna, Barbara Streisand and Beverly  “Bubbles” Sills  for their voices and the dream they stood for.

 The Great  Depression was not as hard on my mother as it was on many people.  Her father had a job with Pillsbury flour then eventually, he and my grandmother started their own funeral home. They and their six children lived over and in the funeral home.  Perhaps this led to dramatic tendencies.  Despite being quite a practical person,  my mother had dreams that didn’t die with her adolescence.  She didn’t go to college, neither did her sisters. Her brothers did.  She had ambitions to sing and be in the movies.  She was star struck. She passed the habit on by buying us movie magazines, those old black and white versions of People magazine when we were sick. I got sick a lot.

Would she have traded lives with Deanna Durbin? I think so. Hell, so would I! She got to be a movie star and got to have a long marriage, kids and live in France.  My mother had a lovely voice which she passed on to my sister Beth, who now lives and sings in France. I have a loud voice but live in Alaska where no one can hear it, except through my blog.

  Here’s  some photos of Deanna at the height of her popularity.  Her real name was Edna Mae.

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Here’s a some photos of my mom  after high school. That’s her in the pin stripes.

mompinup momsecretary

My mother’s middle name was Winifred. I took that as my confirmation name.  My middle name is Cecilia, the patron saint of music. If my mother meant to offer me up as tribute, she chose the wrong kid. Yet, in a sense, I am still singing. Yesterday at work we sang about twenty karaoke songs.  We did this out of joy, which is sometimes difficult to locate in the constellation of symptoms and regulations which restrict the lives of those who are recovering from mental health disabilities.  Singing is a tool to release feeling and move out of the spectator role. It’s helpful to feel like a star once in a while.

 Edna Mae got tired of  being Deanna Durbin. Like Pinocchio, and the I Robot robot, she wanted to be a real person. Even though Anne Frank had two pictures of her on a wall in The Secret Annex, even though both Churchill and Mussolini were tremendous fans, even though she was one of the highest paid stars at the time, she opted out.  She moved to France where they have socialized medicine.

From The New York Times article by Aljean Harmetz

 “Ms. Durbin, who gave almost no interviews after she left Hollywood, did send reporters a letter in 1958 that read in part: “I was a typical 13-year-old American girl. The character I was forced into had little or nothing in common with myself — or with other youth of my generation, for that matter. I could never believe that my contemporaries were my fans. They may have been impressed with my ‘success.’ but my fans were the parents, many of whom could not cope with their own youngsters. They sort of adopted me as their ‘perfect’ daughter.”

(Clearly Ms. Durbin did not know my mother.)

….” she also wrote: “I was never happy making pictures. I’ve gained weight. I do my own shopping, bring up my two children and sing an hour every day.”

(On the subject of carrying the cross of fame…)

“When my first marriage failed, everyone said that I could never divorce. It would ruin the ‘image,’ ” she told Robert Shipman in Films and Filming magazine in 1983. “How could anybody really think that I was going to spend the rest of my life with a man I found I didn’t love, just for the sake of an ‘image’?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/movies/deanna-durbin-1930s-star-of-universal-pictures-dies-at-91.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

My mother did her own shopping, when she didn’t make us do it. This was good training. I ‘ve been doing shopping for the kitchen at my job for the last ten years. My mother was a pretty woman and a good singer. She entered a Miss Television Contest and was a runner up. She sang at The Massachusetts State House, where she worked for a time and in our church choir. Like Edna Mae, she raised a family but she shat on the image of a mother being just that. She was herself, kind of a combination of The Shat and The Durbin.

After my father died, she seemed to come out of her girdle.  She dated, wore mini skirts and swore.  She had some white patent leather boots and sewed me a home made bikini because I was so tall the regular ones wouldn’t cover my nether regions.  This said bikini was made out of an old dress of hers and I busted the butt out of it in the water at the beach. Luckily is was lined. I still like fashion but usually wear things no one else would wear. I have another sister who lives in L.A. and has made TV commercials. I am not commercial material.

Me in my vintage look

Me in my vintage look

 Deanna Durbin figured in a good number of advertisements. She sold Kotex, soap and Desotos. She not only  saved the movie world she was also saving the economy. Like the former Lance Armstrong, she was a marketer’s dream, if not a reality.

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Here’s a clothing tag my mother stuck in with the photos.

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Deanna mellowed a bit concerning  her career as she aged,  courtesy of Michael Freeland, The Guardian.

“In a rare interview, given in 1983 to the film journalist David Shipman, she said:

 “I did not hate show business. I loved to sing. I was happy on the set. I liked the people with whom I worked and after the nervousness of the first day, I felt completely at ease in front of the camera. I also enjoyed the company of my fellow actors … What I did find difficult was that this acquired maturity had to be hidden under the childlike personality my films and publicity projected on me.”

The light comedy For the Love of Mary (1948) was her swansong. The Universal producer Joe Pasternak constantly tried to change her mind, but Durbin told him: “I can’t run around being a Little Miss Fix-It who bursts into song”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/01/deanna-durbin

This is where I fall in line with the dream.  My mother put me in a pageant once. The infamous Jody Jordan contest in Boston.  Only I did not want to be there and could not even pretend to hide my dismay.  I’m not that good at acting. I’m good at being absurd and making people laugh. I’m passingly pretty, but isn’t everyone until they get really old? I’ve  recently gotten tired of my role as “Little Miss Fix it.”  Like my mother I’ve lived through some difficult economic times but I’m not too bad off and I still have my dreams. I’ve worked in Community Mental Health for over ten years now and I would love to be able to retire to France but that’s just not going to happen. It’s silly to think you can change the world but we all try either through social work or singing or politics or ice cream.  I can hardly fix myself, let alone the people I serve.  I really should spend more time just being me.

We are made in our own image. God may be in there somewhere but when we try to remake our image into what we think is God’s we run into trouble. I keep thinking if I dye my hair I will meet men. But I always meet men. The men are just as odd as I am. If I dye my hair I will just meet odd men who would rather me not look as old as I do.  Better to save the money for brownies and a trip to see my sister in France.

So for all you dreamers and travelers, here’s the weather report for your travels where no man has gone before. and Deanna Durbin singing  one of my mother’s, and my, favorite songs.

IMG_0074 All photos from my mother’s scrapbook and photo album. (Yes, that is a giant sausage in that dog’s mouth)

Negative Woman’s Oscar Picks

Negative woman opines again!

Negative woman opines again!

I’m not picky, just depressed. Some films make me want to die more than others. I like meaningful movies and really funny ones. I tend to vomit at romantic comedies. I believe in love but not what Hollywood is usually selling. So here are my violent reactions to this year’s crop.
Best Picture
Amour, if I were capable of watching it, should win. Mortality is a favorite topic but my mental health was too fragile to bear a feature length death scene. I hope the female lead wins best actress before she dies. Now would be a good time.
Lincoln will win. I didn’t see it because I know it will come to the cheap theatre soon. I hear it has lots of death in it. I think the lead character also dies.
Argo – most entertaining, but Oscar material? To honor the story or because it’s a movie about a movie? That’s depressing in itself, but that’s how awards work.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – This movie sucked. It irritated me in so many ways. I wanted to like it but the noble savage in an ideal community of happy drunks idea did not lure me in. Magical realism smells of J.R. Ewing getting killed in a dream sequence.
Zero Dark Thirty – No, don’t care. I read/watch the news for this sort of thing.
Django Unchained – Really? The poster looked like a Harlequin novella. For a second I thought it might be about guitar music.
Les Miserables – I heard they sang live. Nice but people do that at karaoke. I was not a fan of the musical, even though I like musicals. It’s trying too hard to be sad if that’s possible. I heard no comments about excellence of acting so I skipped it. Also, Anne Hathaway is pretty even when she is trying to look all fucked up. I can never forget she’s a movie star trying real hard. At least Russell Crowe looks like he doesn’t give a shit.
Silver Linings Playbook? – Too close to a romantic comedy trying to be deep. Good luck with that.
Life of Pi ? – NO, NO, NO! This is a movie about special effects. It’s like Jonathan Livingston Seagull for Christ’s sake. Have we sunk that low?
My preference for best film which is not nominated would be Flight because of the story and the acting. It made me laugh and it made me scared, (that part isn’t too hard.) It broached the always timely topics of narcissism, dishonesty and belief in God. If you think of the lead character as The United States piloting a plane of nations it seems even better. Denzel Washington earned an Oscar in my book, but no one reads my book.
On a more positive note -I love Alan Arkin so I hope he wins. I also loved Skyfall especially Daniel Craig if he’s reading this, also the theme song. I was both shaken and stirred. Has there ever been a bad Bond song? Even Paul McCartney was able to pull off a good one. I wish Kon-Tiki had played up here in Alaska but what were the chances of that?
The idea of giving awards to people who are already very successful is genius. They need something to fight for since they have everything else. I wonder how many of them are doping? Remember the Flashdance drama where someone wasn’t credited with doing the lead’s dancing? I wonder if that was really Daniel Craig’s chest? Denzel Washington’s butt? Anne Hathaway’s lice?  I guess that’s the magic of movies. We’ll never know.

Three women over fifty see Seven Psychopaths

Technically, the guy third from the left is just an Irish alcoholic.

Technically, the guy third from the left is just an Irish alcoholic.

Now that everyone knows I’m depressed I’m obligated to take up all invitations to be social. Tonight it was girl’s night out at Seven Psychopaths. I’m pretty sure this film isn’t going to be boycotted by NAMI. I not aware that psychopaths have an anti-stigma initiative or if they are in alliance with DBSA or an organization for people with justice system histories.  If they are then I guess they should get over themselves as this was a comedy in more ways than I can imagine.

I believe this film came out a few months ago so it was at the $3.50 movie house where the hot dogs cost $4.95.  I got there before my friends so we didn’t have much time to talk until afterwards, which is good because we’re all pretty loud. The conversation went like this…

Friend #! :  “Wow, that was a lot of blood.”

Me:   “It was a movie about psychopaths!”

Friend #1:   “I know but I didn’t think it would be that bloody!”

Friend #2: ” I thought psychopaths were just people who couldn’t tell the truth.”

Friend #1:  ” I did too! People who never admit they’re guilty!”

Me:  ” You’re kidding me. You didn’t know they were all going to be serial killers?”

Friend  #1 :  “No way! I wouldn’t have gone. It was so bloody!”

Me:  ” That’s because there wasn’t just one psychopath. There were SEVEN!  That’s the definition of overkill right there.”

Friend #2: ” It was a little funny.”

Me: ” The alcoholic was the good guy, that’s funny.”

( General laughter)

Me: ” Can a person’s head really explode like that?” ( a callback to a line in the movie)

Friend  #1 & #2:   (a little too exhuberantly), “Yes, it can!”

Me:  ” Freakin’ nurses.  You’re as bad as psychopaths.”

This is why people tell you to get out of the house when you’re depressed.  I highly recommend this movie to anyone who’s feeling a bit blue. It may make you sick to your stomach but you’ll probably feel like you’re much more together than anyone in the film and perhaps better than the screenwriter as well. It helps to have good company.

I give this film  gun     gun

Two guns up!

Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein

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Left: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Creature)
Jonny Lee Miller (Victor Frankenstein)
Right: Jonny Lee Miller (The Creature)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Victor Frankenstein)
Photos by Catherine Ashmore http://www.londontheatre.co.uk/londontheatre/reviews/frankenstein2011.htm

Adapted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, The National Theatre in London was savvy enough to film this production for the balconies in America and the rest of the world.  If you’re a fan of the BBC series Sherlock, invest the time and money to see the film or rent the dvd when it’s available. Why?  The story, the acting, the theatrical setting, it’s all great. It’s a straight theatre show so might actually bore some folks but it’s fun to see Mr. Cumberbatch play one of those roles which Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder cautioned  Ben Stiller about playing. That would be the “special person”, the handicapped one with the odds against him. Not every actor can pull it off but some get awards for it. These guys did.

The creature appeared to me to be like a man who was damaged, not just by his lack of parents but through the unlikely survival of his birth.  I was reminded of  the folks like me, and possibly you, who might have been dead a hundred years ago if not for modern medications and procedures. I particularly thought of how many war veterans may return to a society who is so obsessed with conventional beauty  and “normal” parameters of behavior that they are considered monsters of sorts.

I read a few things about the show online  which made me think. Cumberbatch says the show is about bad parenting.  This is too simplistic for me unless we want to get all Universal and label God a bad parent.  I’m guessing Cumberbatch didn’t have bad parents because being abandoned by your father and being nurtured by a blind man doesn’t seem so harsh to me. I really don’t know what it would be like to be the only one in the world without a biological mother but I bet someone will as soon as science gets around to it. I will admit that my view is skewed as I have been in therapy of one kind or another for decades and have become a therapist so I have heard a number of more dramatic tales than this. Blaming the bad parent is common but  makes little sense since the monster might have just as easily absorbed the emotional lessons the blind man gave him as he did the intellectual ones. Everyone thinks that they are the only one of their kind, with the saddest fate possible. I think this is nearer to the crux of the story than bad parenting. It reminds me that Cumberbatch is a fine actor but I’m not sure if he’s a good psychologist. Although, that said, many people, myself included, chase after the parent who has abandoned us in various ways all of our lives. Some of us eventually find that parent within ourselves. Scary!  Aversion itself is an intense form of attachment which is certainly at play between the two leads in this production.

The next point I would like to differ on is that Doctor Frankenstein and The Monster are polar opposites of one another or mirror images. I would say, like father and son, they are very similar. They both appear to be intellectually gifted but emotionally stunted. There is a line where The Doctor’s father says Frankenstein was such a lively young boy which reminded me of Cumberbatch’s first moments as the monster, learning to walk like a toddler, feeling the rain, the grass. But when The Monster can’t control the feelings of others he needs to change them by destroying them. The Doctor would also like to create a human he can control. At first the chaos of the world is enticing to them and then as the chaos turns on them as it will, they attempt to control it with violence and mechanisation.

I thought the major difference between The Monster and The Doctor was that The Monster acted as if his temper were the result of a severe brain injury as might be expected in having an entire head transplant! The Doctor has no such excuse so his violence, though less physical and more emotional, is also less forgivable. It appears as though Viktor’s desire to question and break rules is a reaction to his father being a magistrate. Has that relationship then wrought the fate of the entire family down to The Creature? Doubtful.

One review said that Cumberbatch was not as effective in the role of The Monster as Mr. Miller was.I can imagine this might be true. I found Cumberbatch very interesting to watch but only sympathetic on an intellectual level.  It was the situation, the missed connections and longing for love from those who could not give it which I found sad.  The film was long and depressing, as it should be, so I could not convince myself to buy a ticket for the next night to see Miller as The Monster. I’m sure Cumberbatch would be a great Viktor as he plays a nasty intellectual so well on Sherlock.

As far as theatre goes,  I can see why it still thrives in Britain while we Americans have favored films. Theatre requires  the kind of work that most audiences here are not used to doing. I was exhausted after watching this film. Yet it works because the actors are working a hundred times harder than we are and you can smell their sweat. No matter what film actors tell you, it’s not the same. When the train ploughed onto the stage I was wondrous, when the fire was lit I was mesmerized. The light piece, which is the feature of several scenes, is at once lovely and frightening. When I watch special effects in most films they leave me cold as they are trying too hard to convince me. It takes much trust but few materials to do this.Perhaps  theatre is too expensive for the majority of people in the U.S. and can’t be mass produced like most of our products. Or maybe, as Mr. Cumberbatch says, it’s just a result of bad parenting.

I have been a mediocre actor, but a good comedian for years. I’ve seen many plays and know that this is a piece that feels epic in scope. I remember an acting class where we were told that all good theatre is about  sex, death and God. This one is. Don’t miss it. Let me leave you with one last image “KHAAAAAANNNNNN!”