Monday, September 22, 2014

Gotham -- Of Heroes And Parental Advisories

As many of you probably know, "Gotham" starts tonight. I am VERY excited about "Gotham". Because of "SouthLAnd". Yes -- all roads lead to "SouthLAnd". You see -- Ben McKenzie, who was one of the lead actors on "SouthLAnd" is playing the lead role of Jim Gordon in "Gotham". And -- as a very dear friend of mine said -- "I will support the "SouthLAnd" actors until the day that I die." Yep.

So, if you don't know, "Gotham" is a "Batman" origin story. It follows the newly-hired Detective Jim Gordon as he tries to deal with the chaos that is Gotham City until he finally can't take it anymore and thinks up Batman. Yes. I believe the whole Batman thing will end up being Jim Gordon's brainchild. Bruce Wayne will be like, "Have you lost your mother f***ing mind, Jim??? You want me to do WHAT??? That's just f***ing crazy." And Jim Gordon will be all like, "You have the money. You have the education. You have a very large basement and a cool old house with mysterious spaces. You have the athletic ability. And I'm just plain tired out from chasing around bad people who like to pretend they're animals and stuff. And Barbara is tired of me never being at home. In fact, I think she's got a little something goin' on the side. Who can blame her? She's never been the same since the time I cracked my skull up against that concrete pillar. (Points at forehead.) Yes. That was years ago and you'd think she'd have gotten over it. But -- nooooooo. So, I think I've got to go home and start gettin' some sexy on with Babs before it's too late." And -- thus -- Bruce Wayne, in a moment of sympathy for his old friend and realizing that his fun afternoons with Barbara had to come to an end at some point, relents and goes to the PLUS SIZE lingerie shop to get some black tights and such.

So... What was the point of this whole thing again?

Oh, yeah.

Parental advisories.

I read a parental advisory for "Gotham" last week. I forget which group posted it. I don't remember the exact wording. But, I'll strive for accuracy.

The parental advisory people said that "Gotham" is not suitable for children. I agree. It probably isn't. To each his or her own, though. I wouldn't have let my kids watch it when they were little.

The parental advisory people also said that "Gotham" wasn't suitable for young teens. I'm a little bit more unsure about that point. I probably would have let my kids watch it as young teens.

The thing the parental advisory said, though, that really made me roll my eyes was something to this effect:  They weren't advising the show for kids or young teens because the hero -- Jim Gordon -- isn't going to win in the end. He's basically going to be a defeated hero. And, apparently, this sort of hero is very bad for children and young teens.

Say what???

First of all, I'm sure he's going to have at least a few little victories along the way. Yes, in the end -- exhausted and suffering from Barbara withdrawals -- he will have to think up Batman. But, that doesn't make him a defeated hero. It just makes him realistic and a little bit humble. I mean, one guy against a whole evil city??? Come on.

Seriously, though, what is a hero? Is a hero somebody who inevitably overcomes his obstacles single-handedly. Who never admits defeat? Who is never actually defeated? -- OR -- Is a real hero somebody who makes mistakes, makes the wrong choices sometimes, goes down some wrong paths, has serious falls (even moral ones), trusts the wrong people occasionally, ends up lost -- maybe even completely lost -- and then has the humility and the moral strength and the fortitude to admit his faults and his failings (at least to himself) and get back up and go on and try to do the right thing.  To me, this second kind of person is a real hero. The first kind of hero -- the unfailing, unerring, inevitably undefeated/undefeatable one is not a real hero. It's easy to be that kind of person. The authentic hero -- to my mind, anyway -- is the one who has to face down his wayward humanity and keep on pushing forward, even when it would be easier to give up and run away. It certainly would be easier for Jim Gordon to give up and run away. But, he doesn't. And that, at the end of the day, is what makes him a real hero. He doesn't run away -- either from himself or from the city that needs him.

So -- perhaps -- Jim Gordon is just the kind of hero our young teens need. Because -- in life -- that's what most of us have to go through. Most of us are not Captain America (bless his heart). Most of us are more like Jim Gordon. We screw up. Badly. We have disappointments -- from others and from ourselves. And we need to learn to rise up those screw-ups and disappointments and stay the course. And there are times when we have to call in our own Batman (a.k.a. bestie). And if my kids were still young teenagers watching "Gotham", this is what we would be talking about.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Schubertiade Moment

My beloved dad passed away when my daughter, Bridget, was a sophomore at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula. We live in San Diego. My parents lived in Redwood City. Santa Paula is in between those two places, so we made arrangements to pick Bridget up en route.

Now, Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) is sort of a sophisticated place. Kind of formal. I am neither sophisticated, nor formal, as you may well have surmised if you have previously read this blog. My daughter is more sophisticated and formal than I, however, which is probably one of the reasons she chose TAC. Every time I went to visit her, though, I kind of blundered around. I always felt like an elephant in the room, so to speak. Though it is a lovely place, it is not my kind of place. And this particular visit went -- typically -- awry for me, but in a more extreme fashion than usual.

Thankfully, the staff and students at TAC -- though tending to conservative formality and impeccable propriety -- are also very polite and forbearing of their visitors. And some of them, I suspect, are my kindred spirits. They just hide it well.

Anyway, the day of our arrival happened to coincide to a school-wide event known as the Schubertiade. It's this fancy type of classical music performance -- basically the polar opposite of a Van Halen concert -- where many of the students perform lovely classical pieces for their teachers and confreres. It is held in the library -- which, at TAC, is a VERY formal building -- and most all of the students attend. If you are a student at TAC, you had better attend the Schubertiade. And if you don't, you had better either be studying or doing your work-study job preparing dinner in the kitchen.

As we pulled up to the school in our minivan, Bridget happily greeted us and led us proudly into the library for this wondrous event. Those of you who know me are laughing very hard right now, thinking of me at such a thing. I have avoided classical music, at basically all costs, throughout my whole life. And my kid -- MY KID, for heaven's sake -- is excitedly pulling me into a Schubertiade. I mean, isn't this supposed to work the other way around?!?! I really don't know what happened. All three of my kids -- ALL THREE OF THEM -- are classical music afficionados, happily PAYING MONEY to go to the symphony.

I have to admit, though, that it was lovely. The performers were all dressed up, playing melodious things on pianos and stringed instruments (no synthesizers or electric guitars here). The student body sat all about the main floor of the library and on all the walkways that rise up from and surround the main floor of the library. Everybody was quite serious and respectful and quiet, as you would expect from properly raised young people. And -- okay -- the music was pretty good, I admit.

Bridget took us upstairs, since the main floor of the library was full. We were sitting on the third floor walkway, which overlooked the musicians below. And then...

It happened.

My elephant in the room moment.

In my purse was a zhu-zhu pet. Remember those? They were all the rage for a while. They were these little battery-powered hamsters that ran around and made a variety of cute noises. I had brought this zhu-zhu pet with me in order to cheer Bridget up because her grandpa had passed away, and she was sad. I didn't realize that it could turn itself on. Well... Maybe it didn't turn itself on, but something in my purse must have bumped up against it. And turned it on. On the third-floor walkway of the library, overlooking the main performance area of the Schubertiade, it started making all of its cute little squeaky, squealy noises inside of my purse. You could hear the little wheels going 'round and 'round. I reached into my purse to turn it off, but I couldn't figure out how. Zhu-zhu pets had something like 15 buttons, most of which were covered with "fur", and I couldn't find the one that would turn the thing off.

Down below me, a handsome young man in a tux sang away beautifully in a foreign language (I'm not sure which one), while a lovely young lady in a pretty dress elegantly accompanied him on a shiny black grand piano. I'm sure they could hear the squeals. I'm quite sure of it. But, they did not flinch. Neither did anybody else. Not really, anyway. Although, I did detect a few sly smiles from my kindred spirits in the audience. I was starting to get a bit desperate, though, so I pushed the elevator button. My goal was to toss it in there when the doors opened. Bridget, seeing what her mother was about to do, and realizing that the situation would only be made worse if the squealing, squeaking zhu-zhu pet were to ride up and down and up and down in the elevator during the amazing vocal performance that was concurrently taking place, grabbed the thing out of my hands and proceeded to hurry it down three flights of stairs and past all of her friends and teachers (to whom she had been so much looking forward to "showing off" her family). She looked so cute, cupping the little toy in her hands, quietly but quickly fleeing the scene. She kind of looked like Cinderella as she ran out of the ball. Now, more of the nice young people were overtly smiling and trying to stifle giggles. None of the faculty or staff looked amused, though. But, they were polite and pretended not to notice anything -- in the true Catholic tradition of charity towards tuition-paying parents.

I did not see anymore of what happened. But, Bridget tells me that when she finally got downstairs, the first door she got to was a fire exit, so she couldn't go out that one without setting off an alarm. She did find an alternate door and took the toy -- still making noise -- outside. I guess one kind faculty member saw her distress and -- thinking that she was holding a real live rodent -- went over to offer his assistance. That was very nice of him. Don't you think?

Anyhow, the Schubertiade continued on and was concluded without any further disruption. Everybody clapped politely and exited. Nobody said anything rude to me, or even acted as though anything unusual had taken place.

Was I embarrassed? Of course. But, over the years, I have learned that I am prone to causing embarrassing situations -- even when striving to the utmost to avoid them. I have found that it is really better for all involved if I just keep my cool.  So, I just laughed. And sent in a donation.

(Hop over here to read Bridget's side of the story)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What To Do When Your Nude Pics Get Leaked Online

First of all, let me say this. Although I am going to be a bit humorous in this post, I do not take the online leaking of celebrities' nude photos at all lightly. I think they should find the bastard who did it and then prosecute him to the full extent of the law. Why? Because it is illegal. Duh. Beyond that, though, it is an action that shows severe disrespect for the inherent integrity and dignity of a human being. There are probably people who think that if someone would pose for nude photos then she deserves what she gets. I say, "Bullshit." These were private pictures. And to show them to the world without the consent of the subjects is a sign of contempt for women -- and human beings, in general.

So there.


So, what should you do (besides having "The Law" track down the perpetrator) if your nude photos do get leaked to the world?

This is what I would do.

And -- yes -- I have nude photos. Sort of.

Do you remember -- years ago -- when Demi Moore was pregnant and she did that magazine cover where she was kind of naked, but covering up her "vitals" with a drapey sheet thing? She was quite lovely. And I -- being pregnant at the same time -- was quite inspired. So, I re-enacted the pose -- plus some of my own design -- using colorful silk scarf things. My hubs took the pictures, and it was kind of fun. I never showed the pictures to anybody. And I eventually got rid of them, because I didn't look quite as inspiring as Demi, probably because I lacked a professional photographer with professional lighting and professional make-up and hair people and professional air-brush experts. I didn't realize -- in my youth and with my hormonally-influenced brain -- that these professional things would probably make a huge difference in the quality of the final product. So, I was -- in the end -- not very pleased with the pictures. I kept them for a few years, and then threw them away. I also thought about the fact that my poor kids would come upon them when cleaning out my things after I die. That would probably cause them to have to spend their inheritance on counseling, instead of a grand European holiday, and that would be a true bummer. So, I threw the pictures out -- after tearing them up in little pieces first, of course, because I didn't want to traumatize any trash collection people or dumpster divers. When I think about it now, though, I kind of wish I had kept them. I bet I actually looked pretty hot, because I was all of 29 years old and had gained only the recommended amount of pregnancy weight for being 8 months along. Well, not really. I had gained more than that. But, it was all water weight. Really.


When those nude photos were leaked of those lovely celebrities, my mind went immediately to these pictures and how I would feel and what I would do if they got leaked. Because, you know, they still might be out there, somewhere. Because I sent them to the film developing place to get developed. And I realized, even as I brought them to the film developing place, that somebody in that little film developing business might make a copy of my pictures and hold onto them for himself. If he had a thing for 8-months-pregnant women, anyway. Or if he thought there was a chance that I might get rich and famous someday, giving him the opportunity to blackmail me and, thus, to free himself from his crappy film-development job. Because -- you know -- we didn't have much money, so I went to the cheap film development place where the people probably made minimum wage, at best. So, my nekkid pregnancy pictures might -- even now -- be in the hands of some pathetic middle-aged dude, just waiting for his chance to pounce. I mean, even if he didn't try blackmail, he still might want to gain some notoriety for his poor, pathetic self by posting my nude photos online the very day I become Executive Producer of "SouthLAnd -- The Movie" or am chosen by Hillary Clinton to be her running mate in 2016.

So, as you can see, I have had to think about this thing. It is not just some theoretical "what if" proposition for me. It might actually happen. And I have considered -- in the 20+ years since I posed for those pictures -- what I would do if it did happen.

(You may wonder why in the world I would bring that film to get developed at the cheap film developing place. After all, as you may realize, strange men would see those pictures, even if they didn't leak them online. Well -- there was no "online" at the time. The answer -- besides my hormonally-influenced cerebrum -- is that I really didn't care. I am really not that shy. And I had covered up my "vitals" with my colorful silk scarf things. So, there you have it. Judge me if you will. I don't care. I've had 50+ years to learn to cope with my personality, and I have achieved a certain level of self-acceptance. Take me or leave me. At least you know what you're getting.)

Back to what I would do if my "private" photos were leaked.

First of all, I would set "The Law" on the son-of-a-bitch who leaked them.

Secondly, I would hold my head high. I would refuse to be embarrassed. I would consider, instead, who really needed to be embarrassed -- the son-of-a-bitch who leaked the photos and all those who chose to look at them. Those are the people who should be embarrassed. I would also realize that the situation would give me an opportunity -- an opportunity to prove myself to actually be the classy, self-assured broad that I want to be. And can you imagine telling that story as an old lady??? It would be awesome, if you told it well. I would also ask my professional photography friends to put the pictures through their photo-shop device so that I would look like a true bombshell of a pregnant chick. And then "Rolling Stone" would put me on the cover. And not only would I be the VP of the United States of America AND the Executive Producer of "SouthLAnd -- The Movie", I would be offered a permanent position playing the Diner Waitress in "Gotham."

So, there. ;-)