C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rue's New York Apartment - For Sale

You might not expect this of your Head Trucker, but this old shitkicker sometimes likes to browse through the real estate ads for high-end NYC apartments and townhouses, just to admire the beauty of them.  I tend to favor traditional, well-crafted homes over modern or minimal, and another time I'll share some gems I've run across with you.

But right now, here's a sad but fascinating peek into Rue McClanahan's midtown apartment, now available if you got a hankering to live in the Big Apple.  Which I don't, not a bit - so have at it, fellas.  Here's the listing if you want to see the floorplan and all.

If I did live in New York City, I would damn sure want to have some outdoor space like our Oklahoma gal did.  Who wants to live in a birdhouse where you can't even go out and pee off the back porch if you feel like it?

The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives

My good buddy M. Pierre sent this along.  Which does explain a lot.

Do you agree, guys?

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Stage Door

Steve Hayes highlights the wealth of female acting talent in 1937's Stage Door:
It's an all-star free-for-all, when Katharine Hepburn squares off against Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller and Eve Arden in Gregory LaCava's classic story of life in the theatre, Stage Door.

Taken from the hit stage play by George S, Kaufman and Edna Ferber and using his trademark technique of overlapping dialogue, director LaCava puts these young fillies through their paces, along with veteran character actors Constance Collier, Adolph Menjou and Jack Carson.

There was no love lost between Hepburn and Rogers, which fueled their on-screen chemistry and made for funny and fascinating viewing. Newcomer Andrea Leeds received an Oscar nomination, over some stiff competition, as the sensitive and tragic Kay. The witty dialogue moves fast and furiously with each of the actresses getting a chance to "strut their stuff." It's everything about the theatre you wish the theatre would be. Gregory LaCava's Stage Door is a sure-fire hit!

I love that line, "Fancy clothes, fancy language and everything."  Wish I could find a way to use it sometime.

Your Head Trucker recommends this movie for some great early performances by Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, and Ann Miller - the last was only 14 at the time she made this picture, having lied about her age to the studio.

Constance Collier is also a treat as the faded grande dame of the theater; in real life, she was a megastar of the English stage back at the turn of the century, famed for her glamorous portrayal of Shakespeare's Cleopatra, among other things.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Waitin' for the Weekend

Your Head Trucker hasn't found much to blog about lately - the summer heat and other things seem to have drained most of my mental and physical energy away, so I'm just in a state of lassitude right now.  It's too hot to do anything here in Texas; even staying cooped up under a/c in the house, somehow the summer sun seems to suck all the life out of things.  Most of my flowers are all burned up now, and the lawn is looking more and more like a piece of well-done toast.  I'd take a picture to show ya what I mean, but even that seems like too much effort at the moment.

But thanks to my good buddy M. Pierre, I do have these smoking hot pics of one of our favorites:  sexy-innocent Steve Sandvoss, who starred in Latter Days.  Enjoy, fellas - I'll catch up with you all down the road.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Strangers on a Train

Steve Hayes reviews one of Hitchcock's most hair-raising thrillers from 1951:
"We swap murders! Criss cross!"

This is the proposition made to tennis star Farley Granger by a neurotic fan, the brilliant Robert Walker, in Alfred Hitchcock's film version of Patricia Highsmith's "Strangers On a Train."

Hitchcock always maintained that the villain had to be the most interesting character in the picture. For the role of the psychopathic Bruno Anthony, he decided to go against type and cast veteran comic actor Robert Walker, to stunning results. Walker's Bruno is like a spoiled child, funny, cunning, naughty and lethal. It's a bravura performance that should have led to many more, but Walker died soon after the film was completed. He surrounds his leads, Ruth Roman and Farley Granger, with an array of the best character actors in Hollywood. First, there's Leo G. Carroll who appeared in more Hitchcock films than anyone else, Marion Lorne as Bruno's eccentric and hilarious mother, Laura Eliot (Casey Adams) as Granger's unfaithful wife and eventual murder victim and Hitch's daughter Pat as the wisecracking, comic relief. The premise is fascinating, the plot twisting and the suspense unbearable. It's summer Hitchcock at it's best!

Hitchcock's daughter Patricia - a delightful personality on or off the screen - has a small but pivotal role in this film; here she is talking about the making of the picture:

BTW, the very truckable Farley Granger, now 85, came out as bisexual in his 2007 memoir, Include Me Out, revealing a long list of affairs with men and women in Hollywood and elsewhere, including a 45-year domestic partnership with production supervisor Robert Calhoun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Faulkner Speaks

The University of Virginia has put online its collection of tape recordings made during William Faulkner's two years as Writer-in-Residence there back in 1957-1958.  A very short clip can be heard here, but the collection is worth browsing through, not merely for the wonderful sound of Faulkner's old-time Southern accent - our modern accents down here, though still distinctive, are tainted by half a century of exposure to the daily barrage of television - but the collection also includes many fascinating articles by and about Faulkner and the South of those days, as well as photographs like the ones above and below.

What a marvel that we live in an age when such a collection is available at the touch of a few buttons, in the comfort of one's home; all this was just science-fiction fantasy a few short years ago, and now we take it all for granted.  Mind-boggling when I stop to think about it, what a vast distance technology has progressed in just my lifetime - though human nature has not changed one iota, of course.  It never does.

Looking over this collection brings up many thoughts about matters public and private, current and historic, that I don't really want to take the time to blog about right now, so I'll leave you all to make your own reflections if you're interested in this sort of thing. 

Faulkner at a hunt club in Virginia in 1960; the two men are holding a flask of whiskey.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grandicrocavis Viasesamensis

Your Head Trucker was never particularly excited with biology class, although he does take a continuing interest in the anatomy and physiology of certain bipedal mammals, genus Homo . . . especially the males of the species, their courtship displays and their mating habits.  In fact, over the years I've personally done a fair amount of amateur field studies in that area, and even now continue to add to my photographic collection on the subject as time permits.

Nevertheless, in the interests of the advancement of science, I present here for your edification a very well researched taxonomic study of a rare avian species, by zoologist Mike Dickison of Duke University.  Do take good notes; this will be included on the final exam.

Honk to Neatorama.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Park to the Future

No flying cars yet, but stackable parking is already here:

And if you think that's something, you'll be blown away by this, um, very personal parking spot - available right now at your local Home Depot for about $1200:

All I can say is:  OMFG.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Four Poems

By Philip Larkin (1922-1985).


What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.


A stationary sense . . . as, I suppose,
I shall have, till my single body grows
          Inaccurate, tired;
Then I shall start to feel the backward pull
Take over, sickening and masterful—
          Some say, desired.

And this must be the prime of life . . . I blink,
As if at pain; for it is pain, to think
          This pantomime
Of compensating act and counter-act,
Defeat and counterfeit, makes up, in fact,
          My ablest time.

To Failure

You do not come dramatically, with dragons
That rear up with my life between their paws
And dash me butchered down beside the wagons,
The horses panicking; nor as a clause
Clearly set out to warn what can be lost,
What out-of-pocket charges must be borne,
Expenses met; nor as a draughty ghost
That’s seen, some mornings, running down a lawn.

It is these sunless afternoons, I find,
Install you at my elbow like a bore.
The chestnut trees are caked with silence. I’m
Aware the days pass quicker than before,
Smell staler too. And once they fall behind
They look like ruin. You have been here some time.

Faith Healing

Slowly the women file to where he stands
Upright in rimless glasses, silver hair,
Dark suit, white collar. Stewards tirelessly
Persuade them onwards to his voice and hands,
Within whose warm spring rain of loving care
Each dwells some twenty seconds. Now, dear child,
What’s wrong
, the deep American voice demands,
And, scarcely pausing, goes into a prayer
Directing God about this eye, that knee.
Their heads are clasped abruptly; then, exiled

Like losing thoughts, they go in silence; some
Sheepishly stray, not back into their lives
Just yet; but some stay stiff, twitching and loud
With deep hoarse tears, as if a kind of dumb
And idiot child within them still survives
To re-awake at kindness, thinking a voice
At last calls them alone, that hands have come
To lift and lighten; and such joy arrives
Their thick tongues blort, their eyes squeeze grief, a crowd
Of huge unheard answers jam and rejoice —

What’s wrong! Moustached in flowered frocks they shake:
By now, all’s wrong. In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures. An immense slackening ache,
As when, thawing, the rigid landscape weeps,
Spreads slowly through them—that, and the voice above
Saying Dear child, and all time has disproved.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

America in Color, 1939-1943

An online exhibition at the Library of Congress with seventy color images of rural and small-town life taken for the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. 

It was hard to choose just a few to show you here, nearly all of them tell a story.  Go check it out for yourself:  the world our parents knew, scenes that were rapidly fading away by the time we baby boomers came along - preserved here at the dawn of the Kodachrome era.

Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana, 1942

Homesteading family, New Mexico, 1940

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942

Vermont State Fair, 1941

Bomber factory, Tennessee, 1943

Tank crew at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 1943

Melrose, Louisiana, 1940

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Born Yesterday

Steve Hayes serves up Judy Holliday's delicious Oscar-winning role in the hilarious 1950 classic:
Comedy reigned supreme at the 1950 Academy Awards when Judy Holliday, swept past leading contenders Bette Davis (All About Eve) and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard) to capture the Oscar as Best Actress for her legendary comic performance as the irrepressible Billie Dawn in George Cukor's Born Yesterday.

Based on the successful stage comedy by Garson Kanin, Holliday had already performed the role countless times on Broadway, but Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn was not convinced he should hand the juicy part over to her and favored Rita Hayworth, for whom he bought the property in the first place. However, Cukor in cahoots with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy virtually used their comedy Adam's Rib as a screen test for Holliday and Born Yesterday was hers.

Cukor cast hunky William Holden as her romantic mentor and Broderick Crawford, fresh from his Oscar winning role in All The King's Men as her blowhard boyfriend Harry Brock. The sparks fly and so do the laughs as this unpredictable little blonde turns the tables on everybody, proving that she's smarter than they thought and wasn't Born Yesterday!

And here's another Judy Holliday movie that I think is even more hilarious:

BTW - Judy had a great career playing the quintessential dumb blonde.  But her IQ was actually genius level.  Go figure.

Ten . . . No, Really, It's Ten

Argentina made equal marriage a reality nationwide yesterday:

Check out the recent comments of Christina Fern├índez de Kirchner, the Argentine president - a very intelligent, very well-read lady:

She's in China at the moment on a diplomatic visit, but has said she will not veto the bill if passed by Argentina's Congress.

So that makes ten countries on four continents now that recognize equal marriage:
  • Netherlands (2001)
  • Belgium (2003)
  • Spain (2005)
  • Canada (2005)
  • South Africa (2006)
  • Norway (2009)
  • Sweden (2009)
  • Portugal (2010)
  • Iceland (2010)
  • Argentina (2010)

I liked what a commenter over on Box Turtle Bulletin had to say:
the arc is bending, baby. slowly, but surely, the arc is bending.
In celebration, here's an Argentine hunk to get your weekend started right.  Remember, it's ten . . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trains: Hot Shot Eastbound

That's the title of this old favorite of mine, found again today at Iconic Photos:

Be sure to click and enlarge so you can drink in the details of this masterful, very shrewdly composed photograph.  I think it speaks for itself, so I won't explain other than to say it was taken on August 2, 1956, by the great O. Winston Link, who famously documented the final years of steam on the Norfolk and Western.

I have a couple of books of his photos.  Click here to view the entire collection online.  Below, an N&W magazine ad from 1948 showing the territory it served.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lifeboat Talk

From Andrew Sullivan:
"You may be certain that the world is heading for destruction, but it's a good thing, a moral thing, to behave as though there's still hope. Hope is as contagious as despair: your hope, or show of hope, is a gift you can give to your neighbour, and may even help to prevent or delay the destruction of his world,"- Primo Levi, 1985

Last Things

Just a note to say that on Thursday I cleaned out my office and on Friday I finished up at work.  So now I'm effectively unemployed.  Another chapter of my life begun, and who knows how that will end.

The way things worked out, I'll still get a couple more paychecks, and I have a little savings to draw on, but not one freaking idea what do to when all that runs out.  I have no idea where I'm headed.  If anywhere.

All I know is I could not do what I was doing any longer.  I reached a breaking point, as I've blogged about before.  So when you simply can't function any more, no steam left in the boiler, and the waves lapping over the deck - you step quietly into the nearest lifeboat with whatever dignity you can muster.  No fuss, no muss. 

And wait to see where the winds and the currents take you.

Wish me luck, guys.  A little prayer wouldn't hurt none, either.

Sunday Drive: Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?

Sometimes my dear old Mama would say, when I'd done something nice for her, "There'll be many stars in your crown."  I knew it was an old Southern saying, but I didn't realize till now that it was from a song.  I 'spec a lot of our old sayings are from old songs, sacred or secular.  Like "if I'd known you were coming, I'd a-baked a cake," and such as that.

Here's some fine old-time bluegrass singing and picking by Alison Krauss and the Cox family.  Enjoy.  And think about your mama.

Lyrics here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Waitin' for the Weekend

You know you want some . . .

Alex Corsi, aka Alex Baressi

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: East of Eden

Steve Hayes titillates as usual with his review of the 1955 classic, showcasing the first of closet case James Dean's three starring roles:
An update of the Cain and Abel story provides the foundation for Elia Kazan's film of John Steinbeck's East Of Eden, starring James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Burl Ives, Richard Davalos, and in an Oscar winning performance, Jo Van Fleet.

Shot on location in several localities, including in Steinbeck's native Salinas, California, Dean plays Cal, the troubled and disfavored son of Massey, and Davalos his kinder, gentler and good brother, Aaron. Both are in love with the same girl and vying for their father's love in the days before World War I.

Under Kazan's direction, Dean displays all the angst and brilliance that made him a legend in just three films. His scenes between father and son, with the more traditional Massey, crackle with tension and are some of the most heartfelt ever filmed. Harris is perfect as the girl who finds she loves Dean no matter what and Van Fleet is the antithesis of the woman who could never compromise, nor be held down by anyone and as a result, has passed those traits on to the son she abandoned and never knew. Her scenes with Dean are remarkable and her Oscar more than deserved. Angry, passionate, raw, and seething, East Of Eden is perhaps Kazan's greatest film, and an amazing document of the comet that was James Dean.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perving on Sears House Plans

Your Head Trucker is not ashamed to admit he is queer for floor plans, especially old houses like the ones Sears and Roebuck used to sell by mail order.  Sometimes I'll take an old plan like these and redraw them on my Home Designer software, updating just a little bit around the edges.  Like I did all weekend.  Hey, it keeps me off the streets.

Anyway, just sharing a really cool site I found:  Sears itself has an (incomplete) archive of their old house plans, which I had a blast looking through.  Check it out for groovy old homes like these:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Drive: The Star-Spangled Banner

The Gaither Vocal Band singing our national anthem in four-part harmony.  Turn up the volume before you start, fellas.  If this doesn't move you . . . what will?

Happy Independence Day, y'all.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Have a Dream

As we celebrate the founding of our nation and all that the American idea has meant for us and for humanity, young and old, male and female, black and white, straight and gay, it is a good time to read and reflect on Dr. King's famous speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, that so beautifully enunciates the essential principles of our national life:
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Continued after the jump . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Only in America

Some cowboys and wannabes to light your firecracker for the Fourth of July, along with one of your Head Trucker's favorite songs. Crank it up, boys. Dream as big as you want to.

Y'all have a real good one this weekend, catch you down the road.

PS - all the pics I uploaded are clear and sharp, not sure why some turn out fuzzy in the montage. For best view, enlarge and then click "view in high quality."

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Thing

Steve Hayes serves up some horror with The Thing (1951) - and your Head Trucker can testify, it will scare the pants off of you:

A creepy short story entitled "Who Goes There?" provides the basis of Tired Old Queen at the Movies' 4th of July Sci-fi chiller, Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World aka The Thing directed by Christian Nyby.

A space ship crashes near a remote outpost in the North Pole. The rescue party finds something buried in the ice that seems to have been ejected from the crash and frozen on impact. They take it back to the post to examine it and when it thaws, all hell breaks loose. Although directed by Nyby, Hawks' steady hand can be seen though out. The fast pacing, over-lapping dialogue and funny sexual banter, traditional in all Hawks films is there.

The lack of big stars in the major roles helps to make the terror all the more real. You can see the influence this film had on future directors of the genre such at Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and John Carpenter's early 80's re-make.

Where is IT? What is IT? What will IT do next? And will IT do it to me? Who goes there? Howard Hawks' THE THING!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Waitin' for the Weekend

Uncropped (NSFW)
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