Books · Diversions · documents analyses · Fiction · literacy · Migrants · observations · racism · research · white nationalism · white supremacy

How to Watch Gone With The Wind

Been wracking my brain for the past few days for a way to tell folks how to watch one of my favorite movies of all time. Everything would be much simpler if everyone would read the book. It is long, but extremely readable and will pull you along as it sweeps through one of the most turbulent times in our history. Reading Mitchell’s work did more to encourage my study of the American Civil War than any other work I’ve read.

Reading just the first two lines of the book will alert you to the fact that the movie is strictly a production based upon the book. Much of Scarlett’s life is not depicted in the movie. The war provides a backdrop to the foregrounded “romance” but GWTW is not a romance, but an historical novel that records many of the significant battles that took place from 1862 forward. People tearing down the statue of US Grant don’t know their history. Hell, his affiliation is in his initials. It is true that he owned one slave, but he came through when it really counted.

Line one: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” Vivien Leigh was pixie cute, white folks think of her as beautiful. She definitely did not look like Scarlett as she is described in line one. Hence, the movie is a production designed to bring folks to the theaters. Remember, too, this movie was released in 1939; America was in the grip of Jim Crow segregation and the Great Depression, in need of diversion. The film is beautiful, the costumes are beautiful, the players are beautiful. The film was supposed to divert and make everyone feel better as they struggled to live.

Line two: “In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father.” For me, this line tells me that Scarlett’s parents are not white because whites of the time were Anglo-Saxon Protestants. French descent and florid Irish say immigrant past to me, and if one was an immigrant or emanated from immigrant stock, one was not white. Gerald O’Hara married up when he wed Ellen of the aristocracy. His ownership and management of a successful plantation was his entreĆ© to acceptance as a white man. People were suspicious of the O’Hara’s because they did not brutalize their slaves. They were Catholics, Papists. You can’t come to this interpretation unless you read the book and know some history.

Some folks are dredging up the old nonsense about the portrayal of stereotypes when it comes to the Black characters, particulary Hattie McDaniel’s portrayal of Mammy. I still quote her and I first saw this movie when I was ten. “It just ain’t fittin’.” Mammy spoke her mind, she called white trash white trash and wasn’t reprimanded for it. In fact, Mammy was the disciplinarian in the house, firmer than Scarlett’s mother or father. All deferred to Mammy. I don’t believe this was the stereotyped behavior of house slaves, particularly in the houses of true whites. Butterfly McQueen’s portrayal of Prissy paid her royalties until her death in 1995. She said she took the role so she could pay for her furniture. Two hundred dollars a week in 1939 was a queenly sum. She thought no one would come to see a movie “about slavery.” McDaniel said she’d rather play a maid or slave than actually be one when subjected to criticism by the Black critics of then and now.

If you won’t read the book, which is great, second in popularity to the Bible, and I don’t believe that many people have actually read the Bible, at least read something that gives some context about the war. I’d recommend My Vicksburg by Ann Rinaldi. It is a young adult novel and won’t take a lot of your time to read. You’ll learn about the conflicts within white families when one brother fights for the Union and the other brother fights for the Confederacy. The Civil War was all about white boys killing the hell out of other white boys over the institution of slavery.

Watch GWTW with the understanding that it is portrayed as a romance, but the book is a Bildungsroman and a story about survival once all you’ve known of stable society is destroyed. GWTW is more rightly classified as an historical novel. The film is a romance with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. That’s how they got the box office. Remember it is a production meant to distract people from their economic despair. In 1957, Gable would portray a slaver in love with one of his purchases. Sidney Poitier was a major player in this film with Yvonne DeCarlo and Gable. I have never heard Poitier mention his role as Rau Ru in this movie based on a book, A Band of Angels, by Robert Penn Warren, who was a civil rights activist, journalist, and novelist. If you can find it, read the book, then see the movie. All about miscegenation, slavery, passing. Just think, in 1957 movies were still being made about slavery and related topics.

All this pandering by corporations to remove Uncle Ben (never liked that plastic rice), Aunt Jemima (I can make my own damn pancakes), and the gentleman on the Cream of Wheat box (he always reminded me of a Pullman Porter and I like remembering those working men of the past). Why are white people trying to erase history now? They just discovered racist iconography? Sumbitch.

Get with me after you read the book, see the movie, read Rinaldi, or you just want to talk history, slavery, and the living history we’re making and living through right now.

Peace, Beloved

aging · Community · death · Disaster · excess death · Health and wellness · Migrants · observations · power · racism · social observation · sociological imagination · trauma

What I’m Seeing

Don’t go for a run in Georgia. Don’t try to enforce masking rules and laws. Don’t respect your neighbor’s legitimate fear of infection and go right ahead and wipe your nose on them or spit on them. This is what I’m seeing.

Sick people are processing the meat some people desperately want. We have no decent information about this virus, which seems to have mutated and become more virulent while it has the ability to hide in plain sight in asymptomatic people. If the virus could jump from meat to humans just through exposure, not consumption, might it have the ability to jump from asymptomatic meat handlers into the meat? The virus does not like warm, moist environments. Could it possibly like cold, raw meat? I don’t know about you, but I’m going meatless unless I know for certain where the meat was processed. I loved Peculiar, Missouri. There were meat processors in the rurals who hunted, slaughtered, and dressed all the meats they sold. They catered to the exotic selling squirrel, opossum, and chitterlings! Of course, I didn’t eat these meats, but it was interesting to know there were some people who still possessed the skills to get their own meat independent of the corporate processors.

I want to see the sick people get care. I want to see them get food and shelter for themselves and their families. I want to see corporations place people before profits.

I believe I’m gonna go blind.

aging · Community · Disaster · Diversions · friendship · Health and wellness · observations · social observation

Ramadan in a Time of Virus

This is a fascinating time. La Peste taught me that you do not go back to normal before the virus has been eliminated. I liked that book because it really did suggest how to get through a pandemic. Keep busy. Do something for someone else. Reflect on yourself and make yourself better.

I said at the beginning of this stay-at-home interval that Americans have no discipline and they are proving me correct. Ramadan is a discipline as well as a requirement of Islam. Military service will instill discipline, but who wants to serve under the Orange Menace?

Can you believe this government that does not want to have the people access safety-net benefits? Employers do not want to pay unemployment benefits. That’s why the big push to “reopen the economy.” Codswallop. Cheapskates.

Have you gotten the idea that our government does not give a rap about any of us? Have you gotten the idea that those muckety mucks who want their mani-pedis and haircuts and other frou frou perks just want to be catered to at the expense of the working classes? Working classes better wake up and rise up, else we’ll all be dead.

Every time I read the Qur’an I learn something new or read something new. My Qur’an has many notes of commentary, appendices, and a copious index. It is very easy to get lost in the commentary and get behind in my daily portion reading.

Hope you are all coping as well as you can. May you avoid infection.

PEACE

aging · AS · Books · Craft · Diversions · Health and wellness · observations · social observation · Therapeutics

A Good Day

I found the new Phryne Fisher movie on AcornTV through Prime Video. I confess a great fondness for the adventures of Phryne and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne has a very healthy sexual appetite, uses a diaphragm, flies a plane, is polyglot, dances tango, has a diverse set of friends, and always looks like she just stepped out of a band box even after being pulled from quicksand! I adore Phryne. I can watch her for no additional charge for 30 days. I’m going to enjoy myself some more for my birthday.

Birthdays are to be celebrated for an entire month. They should be danced in and danced out, as with death. There must always be dancing.

Reading a most hideous book by Willie Faulkner, who was a dark and dirty guy! Jeez, Sanctuary is a wreck of a story. Good competition for reality.

Got some beautiful cotton yarn today. I imagined I’d make myself a blanket, but maybe a dress or skirt.

Actually had a really positive time on Twitter. Lots of fun watching people think Patrick of TX should fuck off or lead the way to the gas chambers because he thinks seniors, grandparents should be willing to die for the Dow. What a putz.

Then, there’s the Hate Yam and his ill-advised and ill-considered desire to get the economy rolling again. He cares not a whit for anyone, ya know it? He seems to be running scared. I want to see the showdown between him and the States if he tries to override the lockdowns to send people back to work, vulnerable to the virus.

Have you seen what has to be done to try and treat the pneumonia that results from the virus infiltrating the lungs? Haven’t worked in hospital in a long time, so I was fascinated with the gear that looks like a bubble, placed over the head of the patient, pumped with O2, to attempt to equalize the pressure in the lungs. I read something that said just before things really go south, patients bring up a pink froth or foam. That’s bubbling up from the infiltrated lungs. Next comes high fever, then unconsciousness. I couldn’t unsee that post, though I tried.

The day started off particularly well when I saw people proposing a general strike if the Hate Yam wanted to send people back to work against the advice of public health medical professionals. He must be unfamiliar with the 1918 Spanish Flu. That spread because people refused to follow admonitions from public health officials to not gather in crowds. The people had a parade to welcome the returning soldiers home. The rest is history.

I found I, Claudius on AcornTV. This is my last bit of advertising. I love I, Claudius as much, or more, than I do Phryne, but for different reasons. I don’t watch much television because I can’t stand the commercials. Always selling crazy sounding drugs for ailments they try to convince you you have. Ridiculous. But there are movies and documentaries, theatrical productions, and music that I can access through a tv, and I’m grateful for the entertainment and company sans commercials.

A little reading, a little social media, a little creative craft planning, new yarn, and I am well.

Thanks for reading. Hope you had a good day, too.

aging · AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Class · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · documents analyses · Economic Anger · ethnography · fraud · gentrification · Homeless People · Homeownership · housing · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · observations · Paralegal Studies · power · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · racism · social observation · trauma

What I’ve Lost

I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.

My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.

We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse.  We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.

I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.

All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.

I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.

I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.

The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.

I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.

In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.

I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools.  Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.

I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.

I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.

Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either.  This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.

If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.

I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.

I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….

aging · Craft · death · friendship · observations · Religion · Sexualities · social observation

Type, Don’t Write – Take 2

The wind is high. Already, several tree limbs have hit the house. The first one was slender, showed signs of termites, hollow inside, ripe for being blown down.

Anxiety. What good would it do to call the insurance company? The tree should have been removed instead of my home. What good would it do to call the contractor who botched this job royally? I hope he used my claim funds for something worthwhile, like curing HIV/AIDS or the Oval Occupier.

Women are under attack, but they have always been under attack. We are not counted among those created equal. It is no accident that only men are mentioned. Just like it is no accident that God is allegedly a male. That’s sex. I never thought God had a sex. What need of sex has God? When the myth got started that Jesus was God, I lost all interest in Christian religions. I know they’re gonna be struck by something and I don’t want to get smote.

The Old Testament God was angry, jealous, would tear shit up, or inflict horrors on pretty innocent people. At least, I understand this God. He’s petty.

With the New Testament we throw out the petty God and claim Jesus is God and his son. That’s some hellified double relationship. God made a baby who was Himself. A woman was used.

Women constantly get used. I’m ’bout fed up with that. But women find it difficult to stand together. Wasn’t always this way, but it seems to be the case today. Maybe it’s generational. Women were in competition for men, so they were bitchy to one another. Let a woman get a man and she will abandon her women friends in a combination New York/LA minute. Cisness is death to women friendships.

My best friends were always lavender ladies. They know how to party. They know how to be quiet and comfortable together. They know how to be friends. I wish everyone was multisexual, especially the Christians.

Why do Christians have so much interest in other folks’ naughty bits? Why are they always trying to make women have babies they can’t care for? Why don’t they have as much care for the living as they do for the “pre-born”? I’d like to see a 6 week foetus survive on its own, no machines, nada. Just pretend it is born.

What happened to procreation being a job for two? If the women are being penalized for getting pregnant, why aren’t the men who impregnated them getting some sort of punishment? Punitive. That’s what Christians are. They are sadistic and mean.

Of course, there are sadistic and mean people everywhere in America. They exist in every religion, every ethnicity, every age group, every sex. But Christians, maybe evangelical Christians stand out for their love of death. They would rather see you dead than not believe the way they do.

I don’t know about this type, don’t write thing. I get to saying stuff I think but don’t say. I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like hurting other people. However, there is more room out than in. So, there you go.

aging · AS · Craft · Homeless People · observations · Religion

Type, Don’t Write

All sorts of info, directive filters into my headspace. The title is a result of this seepage. Either I read this dictate, saw it in passing on television, likely in an ad, or it was splashed at me through subliminal advertising. Who knows?

Doing so many things in a day. Ramadan always calls for a period of adjustment, generally a turning around of activity. Eating and drinking can go on during the night, but dawn sees the resumption of the fast. Day is now for contemplation. Night is for getting things done.

Night offers quiet. Getting things done must be accomplished in quiet. It is a blessing. It is calming. It is a refuge from the surrounding madness. The homeless remain, increasing in number. What need have I for pictures when the blind cannot see them? Mummy could ignore a lot of things because she was deaf in one ear. Ceaseless drips from a faucet set my teeth on edge.

Type, don’t write. Need to read more Faulkner and O’Connor. 1955 was a significant year. Read Faulkner’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby of 1955 in Sports Illustrated. Got no need for sports, but I do love horseracing. So many Black men built that sport. Built the South. Built the nation. But The Misfit runs the nation right now. Flannery said so.

The recitation continues. May your Ramadan bear fruit.

aging · AS · observations · Paralegal Studies

I Need a Lifeline

Haven’t knitted a thing in days! Thought April would never end. Now, the day after May Day, International Workers Day, I must pick up my work in progress and add a lifeline as an afterthought because my Bird’s Eye Lace section is off.

A day without knitting is like a day without knitting, I tell you what. I don’t like having to do without. So many tasks to accomplish in April, but at the least my property taxes have been paid and should be lower the next time I have to pay them. Nothing is more sure than death and taxes.

Completed my interview with Pissed Consumer. That was difficult as it was hard to find a neutral background in this rectangular rat trap.

Spoke with Building and Safety and have to laugh every time I think of the excuse I was given for the CFO (Certificate of Occupancy) that was issued to Vince Paglia having an issue date of 21 September 2017 when the structure wasn’t given final approval for occupancy until 11 January 2018. CONSUMER ALERT A contractor submits the CFO to the insurance adjuster to receive payment. It is a form of proof of work completed. Vince Paglia had this document in February though the Permit Date on the CFO is March 2017. My home was demolished in February 2017, the month the first check was issued to Paglia. There is no itemized statement in my claim file to provide a breakdown of the payment and Kent Stiles will not provide the statements no matter how many times I request them.

I asked the representative from Building and Safety if it was usual to issue a CFO when there was no structure standing on the property and was told no, the issue date was a “typo”. In 30 April 2019, the CFO issue date of 21 September 2017 is damn near two years old. Helluva duration for a “typo”. If I’d never brought the discrepancy to anyone’s attention, that “typo” would be word.

It takes a long time to get over being gaslighted for a couple of years and then having to go through the grueling ordeal of uncovering the evidence, following clues to get a documentation trail established. Research and investigations is long, tedious, hard work.

A typo. Picture me laughing.

observations

About What to Talk?


Too much happening all at once. Plane crashes killing too many Ethiopians and some poor man at the airport around the corner. Gun happy, people hating white supremacist trying to kill the Umma. Too many dead.

An economist with the world on a string commits suicide. What on earth was wrong that you take your very accomplished life at 58? People starving in Yemen. We’re in bed with Saudi Arabia. Orange Slush and White Bread in the Oval. This is a nightmare of elephantine proportions.

I want to say something meaningful, something with malice, snark, sarcasm ’cause I can see that all day. I don’t want to contribute to that. There is too much that is not humane in the air. Every time I see Orange Slush or any of his ilk, I cringe. How is it that they are continuing to destroy the nation and cannot be stopped? The nation has always been divided.

Prime Minister Ardern is a wonder to behold. There is no comparing her to Orange Slush. I want to be a Kiwi. Look at the response to a cultural crisis. Immediate change. If only we had any competent leadership.