Never a ‘Trekkie’ but I did admire Spock’s steely logic and ability to cope with Shatner all those years

spock laffs

There was a funny line (to me at least) in an episode of Big Bang Theory in which Amy asks bodacious Penny what the difference is between Star Trek and Star Wars. “Not a thing,” was Penny’s rejoinder.

Now, I don’t mean to make light of the demise of Leonard (Mr. Spock) Nimoy, though it may surprise the more avid aficionados that he wasn’t really part Vulcan and was actually an actor who even performed in other vehicles than the Star Trek franchise.

I’ll be honest, I was never much of a Star Trek buff because I couldn’t muster the avid fan enthusiasm that for some is literally (not figuratively, folks, but literally) a way of life. Kim Cattrall told me a few years ago how, after she had appeared in one of the ST movies she attended a Trekkie convention. I asked her what that was like. “Kind of creepy,” she replied. “In the movie I played a Vulcan and there were people who talked to me whom I am convinced thought I really was a Vulcan.”nimoy mr spock

For me, as it stands, I’ll get my intergalactic wisdom from Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, and Hitchhiker’s Guide. You know, the real goods.

However, I am prepared to give any vehicle a break, though Sci-Fi is not my cup-of-tea (except maybe Alien, that kind of scared the crap out of me). The other one, Star Wars, I found to be vastly overrated and remarkably silly. Space vehicles do not go “whoosh” in space. Harrison Ford was much better used in Blade Runner; just sayin’. kim and lennie

So, as for ST, I have tried over the years to get into it. I have only ever watched the first incarnation with the insufferably egocentric Shatner, Spock, Scottie and whoever else with all their charmingly clunky old analog dials. I haven’t really watched to any degree the one with Picard, though Wendy attests it is a superior vehicle and I’ll take her word for it. And I gather there are 20 or 30 other incarnations of Star Trek on TV, too including one with a female captain, which I think is a jolly good idea.

I also have heard that Nimoy and Shatner did not really like each other so very much because of a case of two raging egos causing a bit of conflict. Things were not always calm on the bridge of the Enterprise. kirk

So, all things considered, I was sorry to hear of Nimoy’s passing. Very much an icon of an era and he made the role a well-considered one. So, RIP sir and a blissful eternity in wherever it is that deceased half-Vulcans go. He lived well and he prospered. None of us can ask for anything more.

“You got a problem with it, me bucko? Because I sure don’t. I love public mortification”

cool with it

A few years ago on a ferry trip on a summer’s day (back in the days when a body could still afford a ferry trip without destroying any hopes for a comfortable retirement) I was seated on an outside deck across from a middle-aged woman.

I looked at her, as one does with fellow passengers, just to observe the scene. She was wearing jeans and what became highly obvious was that she had, rather voluminously, wet her pants. A misfortune that could happen to anyone considering the duration of some ferry waits. But what struck me was that she seemed to be quite comfortable in public with her very stained denim and was making no attempt to hide her misfortune. I kind of admired it since I know if it had been me I would have sequestered myself on the car-deck.

That’s probably because I have a fairly acute sense of embarrassment. This good lady obviously didn’t. She was like: “So, I peed my pants. Hasn’t anybody here ever done that? If you’ve got a problem with it, it’s your problem.”oops

Embarrassment is an acute sense of discomfiture that arises when something happens that is a bit on the mortifying side, rendering the individual vulnerable.

The inspiration for the topic stems from a thing I saw on YouTube in which a young lady recounted her most embarrassing moment. In her case it had to do with flatulence at an entirely unwanted time on a first date with a chap she was hoping to impress. Few are the people who can brazenly pass such an incident off with the equanimity in which seemingly can pass gas in public.

This set me to thinking about how we generally have public and also very private personae. When we are out in the public we are generally mighty fastidious about our behaviors and yes, our politeness. But in private well, we are in a different realm. It’s just us and us alone and I challenge anyone to deny that they don’t break wind with impunity if nobody else is around. Although, Wendy assures me that women ‘never’ fart. She lies. Likewise, rare is the person who hasn’t experienced the odd incident of ‘latchkey urgency’. You know, when you are frantically trying to get the key in the lock and doing the pee-pee dance at the same time in a moment that takes you back to the days when you were first out of diapers. But you don’t generally broadcast the fact and merely hope you get to the loo in time.

And then there are those, often women, who will disguise their natural functioning as when they go to a bathroom and will then run the faucet so that nobody can discern that they are peeing or, God-forbid, doing something more serious. In fact, such people even try to disguise their intentions by saying the are going to “wash up”, or “powder my nose”. In fact, politeness decrees we don’t even call the can what it is in polite discourse and hence it becomes the lavatory, the restroom, the washroom or (most preciously) the little boys/girls room.

So that said, and for the lady on the ferry who experienced what for most would be like a worst nightmare realized and to be able to seemingly pass it off as an “oh well” moment, I have to profess I cannot help but be impressed by her ability to rise about an unfortunate occasion.

And then I fell in love with a beatnik chick: Sasha, where are you now?

mo beatnik

Back when I first went off to college I also had my first significant exposure to a female who was definitely a departure from the naive highschool girls I was used to. Sasha manifested in my sophomore year and I have never forgotten her. This is a brief excerpt from a sort of memoir I have (perhaps foolishly) been toiling on. I hope you enjoy.

She wore her jet-black hair severely pulled back in a kind of bun; had cheekbones lesser popsies would die for; a large-lipped and sensual mouth; huge dark eyes with an Oriental cast to them; wore leotards and skirts and black, always black, turtleneck pullovers which accented her strikingly trussed tits. I was very much and instantly in love with her. She also scared the crap out of me. She was a person who shouted intimidating sophistication from her every pore and was also an avowed communist. Or so she said. sasha

Sasha (I’ve changed the name here and that’s not really her in the photo but it’s not a bad facsimile if memory serves) was kind of a proto hippie. Or actually more of a retro-beatnik who was also intensely political. She intimidated me because she seemed so sophisticated. In retrospect I think she was likely a poseur, but for a naive Burnaby boy she seemed like the real goods. And while she intimidated me she also attracted me. Her manner was aloof as she sat sucking on Export A cigarettes – in the days when you could do such an outrageous thing in a classroom – and looking like a character from a novel – a Salinger novel and the sort of female who would have made a Holden Caulfield cream his undies. I was Holden in a few ways back then.

Anyway, as Sasha shared her odd cryptic (and always unsmiling) drolleries with me and made supreme judgments on our prof (whom I rather liked) I never thought for a moment she actually noticed me as a male personage sitting next to her who was idly wondering what sort of underwear (if any) a beatnik girl wore. Then one day, and utterly unexpectedly she hit me with:beatnik

We’re going to Victoria on the weekend for a demonstration and I was wondering if you’d like to come with me?”

Well, blow me down with a bolt from the blue in an unacceptably mixed metaphor, but so flabbergasted was I by this that I verbally seized up and wondered if I had heard her correctly. Accompany her? Did that mean stay with her? Like overnight? I was, at that consideration, gripped by an awful terror.

I sputtered out a negative response, muttering that I had a commitment and maybe some other time and whatever other platitude I could muster. In response Sasha merely shrugged and didn’t look disappointed at all. I mean maybe she was utterly crestfallen but her face revealed no such thing.

She was that kind of girl.

I, unfortunately, was the kind of boy I was. Just a little less worldy than I thought.

I wonder what she’s doing these days.

You can ‘boo’ all you like but you won’t scare me

graveyard

When I was little – about 5 I think – I saw a ghost. It was in the woods near my grandmother’s house, and I was tramping through the underbrush with my cousin when I saw it., It was a face peering through the bracken. Scared the poop out of me – I don’t think literally, but I was only 5, so you never know.

I went home and told my mom about my ethereal encounter. She was quite conciliatory and was no doubt envisioning nightmares right up until my puberty as she tried to comfort me.

But, at the end of it, all was OK. I mean, I’ll still swear I saw a ghost, but I was left with no residuals. By that I mean I do not actually believe in ghosts for a second. I liked the premise of the film Ghost, but didn’t believe it was anything but romanticized nonsense. Wendy believed in it more, not because she believes more in ghosts, but she believed there was value in a surfeit of Patrick Swayze. ghost

I don’t believe in ghosts mainly because the stats don’t bear out any factual evidence of unfortunate encounters with ghosts. Oh, I mean there may be apocryphal accounts, but I’m talking ‘real’ here, not the sort of Enquirer ‘real’ of the ilk of UFOs and Yeti sightings.

Seriously, what could a ghost do to you? And why would he/she want to? Why are ghosts always deemed malevolent? Maybe if it was Hitler’s ghost there might be some residual beastliness, but as a general rule ghosts are assumed to be ‘after death’ plain old folks.

And physically what ‘can’ a ghost do to you? Remember the problem’s Swayze’s ghost had in crashing through the wall of the subway coach? I mean, they really have to work at doing physical stuff, don’t they? They are ethereal, after all, and that prevents them from doing a lot of heavy lifting in terms of stabbing or clubbing you in your bed one night. casper

I mean, I like a good ghost story, like Turn of the Screw, for example, a classic that should not be read with a full bladder or only a single candle burning.

Otherwise, I like my ghosts to be more like Casper, the cartoon ghost, who is a friendly little chap, even though the picture here looks uncannily like a spermatozoa.

My only other favorite ghost is the ‘succubus’, who is a female equivalent of the male ‘incubus’, and she comes in the night and has her sexual way with a fellow. Personally I think the idea was developed in ancient times by adolescent boys to explain to their moms the stained sheets. But, you never know. I personally am still waiting for an encounter.

So just how frivolous are we in choosing our life partners?

sexy bride

Have you ever spied somebody new and thought immediately, I’d really like to marry that person whom I know absolutely nothing about but really like the cut of her/his jib?

I have. Often.

We like to think the rules of attraction are complex and deeply rooted in the human psyche and not impacted by frivolous considerations like: “Nice tits.” Ladies, please use whatever male equivalent physical attractant you choose for what strikes you as an instant allure for a new life partner. I’m not about to presume.

In fact, when women have periodically told me about some feature they find attractive in a man I tend to think, ‘really? Who would have thought that? Not any male of my acquaintance for sure.’ That’s just one reason why we’re all so screwed up sexually. That and about 30,000 other lacks of understanding.

Anyway, this morning I’m at a drugstore in the mall and a woman comes in and she is, to state the case as delicately as I can, stacked like gangbusters. Now I’m not particularly a breast fetishist, but hers were so outree that I could barely avoid the impulse to stroll over and say: “Hello, I couldn’t help but notice you and even though I’m married I could get divorced and marry you. OK? And if you are married you could do the same.”

Now I am just funning, of course, I am really quite happily hitched, but I honestly suspect people are more facile than we give them credit for. I mean, think about it, people develop passions, and even physical sexual sensations in terms of arousal over movie and TV stars, and singers. Just ask Deborah Harry if I haven’t had carnal thoughts about her. She knows I have. She knows because she and I are psychically connected.

Well, of course we’re not because I don’t believe in that shit, but make sure you lock your doors at night because there are those who do.

But, in terms of choice of life-partner how deep really are our processes in taking that trip to the altar? How well do we truly know our intended? Would you be just as satisfied with an arranged marriage to a stranger, as is done with some cultures? Surprisingly, statistics suggest that you would. mrs apu

We buy cars, stereos, houses, electronic junk and other things on impulse. How about somebody who is to share bed, board, and genitals? Considering the contemporary divorce rate we cannot help but wonder at the frivolous motivations of people as they choose a life partner. I do know from experience, however, that it all has nothing to do with secondary sexual traits and everything to do with love, commitment and honesty. As a veteran of three marriages and a few relationships I can attest to that.

There is an argument that even horrific legacies are worth keeping intact

st michaels

In my esteem the only questions in life worth considering are those that don’t have a clear-cut answer. From debate can come some elements of truth.

Many years ago, on a European tour, my wife and I spent some time in Munich. We also took a sidetrip from that German city and went out to Dachau – the notorious former concentration camp – one of many such hideous manifestations of human awfulness. We took the train to the little town and as we got off and we walked along the station platform I couldn’t help but wonder what locals thought of their awful fucking place being a tourist destination.

If those locals were past a certain age I only hoped that they felt pretty dreadful about it.

Well, we toured the camp and its grounds – all nicely sanitized those many years after the fact. But, it was still a stark reminder and it burns in my memory bank to this day – much as did the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam that we’d seen a couple of weeks earlier.dachau

I believe such reminders not only keep us connected to humanity’s grim past, they also serve to remind us of where we must never-ever go again. Unfortunately we learn little from history and tend to seek expediency as we face adversaries in the world. But it’s a dangerous path.

So, as I say about Dachau and what I say is that it’s good that it’s there and as awful as the place was in terms of legacy, I am happy I went because I saw it in its reality, it wasn’t just a mention in a history book.

And what I say about Dachau I am afraid I also feel about St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay. The school is slated for the wrecking ball and the majority of people, both white and aboriginal, are happy to see the last of the place with all its charged memories. But, there is debate and even in the Native community there are those of the opinion that it should stay as that stark reminder. A stark reminder of a racially motivated assault on a people whom we, in our white guy, Christian (so-called) ‘wisdom’ had officially decided should ‘assimilate’ and the Church of England and the federal government were dead-set on so doing with that school and others like it. They had already destroyed the potlatch and stolen all the artifacts they could, so why not ‘re-educate’ the people to a new form of ‘doublethink’. arbeit

I must confess I have never been to Alert Bay, but it’s a trip I hope to make. Wendy has been however, and she tells how that frightening old structure looms spectre-like over the town and Cormorant Island.

My opinion on the matter won’t make a whit of difference and I assume they are going to go ahead and raze the place, but I also feel there might be another consideration. Tearing it down lets everybody off the hook kind of easily.

Sex, lies and videotapes and encounters with somebody on a plane that was neve true

williams(I posted this yesterday but it went into the wrong spot so I am posting it again. OK?)

I once told somebody a big lie. It was a few years ago and I told this person that I was a member of the ‘Mile High Club’. Not sure who it was that I told and that’s irrelevant. The point is, what I said was a porky. Porky, by the way, is lovely Cockney rhyming slang for ‘pork pie’, hence, ‘lie’.

Of course, most people know that ‘Mile High Club’ refers to individual engaging in coitus way up in an airplane. I’m not saying there haven’t been times when I wouldn’t have minded using such an activity to pass away the time on a tedious flight. Not sure of the logistics of such an encounter but, according to others, it can be done. Unless they too are lying. I mean, who could prove it one way or the other?

Such ‘tarradiddles’ (as my Granny called them) are very much part of the human condition. We lie for a number of reasons, the most common being to protect ourselves when we’ve been caught in bad behavior – like screwing on an airplane, for example. Or, we also lie to self-aggrandize, like telling of screwing on an airplane, for example. We tell elaborate stories about an incident just to make the commonplace seem a bit radical and/or dangerous. The classic fisherman story is noteworthy here – I once caught a 900 pound marlin in Kona – or a male description (and possibly mistaken belief) in the magnitude of his genital equipment.pinnochio

I used to aggrandize incidents much more than I will today. I have actually gone to the point in telling a story during the process of which I have caught myself and said, “no, that’s not really exactly how it happened.” Problem with that is you have to prepare yourself for the glazing over of the eyes of your listeners.

And this preamble brings us to the case of NBC TV talking head Brian Williams. Mr. Williams, a heretofore highly respected broadcaster, once recited the tale of having been shot down in a Chinook Helicopter over Iraq about a decade ago. Turns out it never really happened. Indeed one chopper was hit, but not the one he was on. I make no judgment on Mr. Williams. He has already been suspended. It has also been suggested by some that all he did was actually read the copy he was given and that the lie wasn’t self-generated.

If that is the case, then I am sure it will all come out in the post-mortem wash. If he did fake the tale, then it is a disgusting lapse and a grievous insult to all war correspondents and frontline journalists who have paid with life and limb to get the public a story. Last year alone 61 journalists from many countries died while bringing reports from war zones. So, to trivialize that for the sake of a personal ego boost is a dreadful thing.

If that is really what happened in the case of Williams. Have other broadcasters told porkies and exaggerated the risks they took? Possibly, though it is difficult to think that dear old Cronkite did such a thing. And there was no faking the fact that Murrow did indeed broadcast from Blitz-torn London even as the bombs screamed down.