Wednesday, October 28, 2015

To Serve Man Part Deux


It has been 50 years since the Kanamits landed and fifty years since their book was discovered to be a cook book. In the decades that have past, Earthlings have not broken relations with the Kanamits or their planet. On the contrary, there is valuable ore in the Kanamit soil that is vital to our economy. In mutual cooperation and a spirit that admittedly was fueled more by corporate interest than genuine brotherhood, we have learned to get along. Many Kanamits live here on Earth and would never dream of eating a human. They still honor their Kanamit traditions but cooking people is an activity they strongly reject. Kanamits are a part of Earthling society and have come a long way. One Kanamit was even sworn into congress using the cook book to take his oath!
Kanamits and Earthlings have come a long way and both have benefited from each other’s knowledge. Sure there were Earthlings who teased young Kanamit children for past indiscretions of their forefather’s culinary habits. There are still many bigoted types who stubbornly refuse to trust them but those closed minded individuals are largely scorned for their ignorance and intolerance. The majority of Kanamit children were born and raised on Earth and have never even been to the Kanamit planet. Most do not even speak the Kanamit language. For them the cook book is seen as an example of historical literature and while some of the recipes might be read aloud in the native tongue, it is viewed as a cultural tradition and the children do not even know what these passages are saying. They are told that they are poems and the beauty of their recitation is undeniable - even to Earthlings (as long as they are not able to understand that these are recipes for cooking them!)

However, on the Kanamit planet, an Earthling is still in grave danger of being killed for food. They are allowed to live as long as they agree to live as a second class citizen. They are not allowed to build any of their own restaurants on Kanamit soils yet some older ones that were built long ago still exist but they can not make repairs to them.  In spite of this allowance, their restaurants are often attacked by “Fundamentalist or radicalized” Kanamits. These are the Kanamits that wish to live according to the old ways and as such have benefited little from the cultural and technological exchanges between these two worlds. There are Earthlings who visit the Kanamit planet to try to help these Kanamits understand the benefits of a modern society. For some Republics in the Kanamit world, this has been a welcome exchange but in other regions, these Earthlings are viewed as intrusive and downright evil. When trying to introduce a vegetarian diet to these Kanamits, they are seen as promoting an evil agenda which goes against the very core of the Kanamit culture. Kanamit Clerics may brutally punish any Kanamit found with Earthling cooking utensils or food stuffs.

Another curious thing that was learned is that the Kanamits eat each other. Rivaling sects amongst the Kanamits will practice cannibalism against their enemies and oddly enough it is the one vegetarian sect of the Kanamits that is the most persecuted. The more fundamentalist Kanamits have even been known to eat their children. This practice was not considered a crime in ancient times but is now seen by Earth bound Kanamits as an unsavory practice. Still several incidences of this behavior have taken place on Earth but when discovered, it is dismissed in the news media as domestic violence so as to not raise old suspicions against the Kanamit culture.

Now and then news of a slaughter of humans will reach the media but it is soon obfuscated for fear of dredging up past grievances and old feelings of hate and fear between the Kanamits and the residents of Earth. These incidences are viewed as happening only in the remote and uncivilized regions of the Kanamit planet and when they do happen on Earth, we are assured that this is only a tiny minority and that they are twisting the Kanamit culture into something that it does not truly represent.

And that is the puzzling part of this; there is an inconsistency that is disturbing to some. It is not just the idea that Kanamits no longer do these things but a denial when it is found thatsome still are doing these things. This denial is not just within Kanamit society but among humans who put a great deal of effort into covering up any evidence that such behavior still goes on. Effort is also placed in denying the history of these acts. Text books have been rewritten to eliminate any discussion of the days when Kanamits openly ate humans. While historians bristle at this lack of integrity, progressives feel it is necessary to engage in revisionist history for the sake of cohabitation and peace among Earthlings and Kanamits. Many think this has gone too far but it is difficult to control since the Ore industry has made many Kanamits extremely wealthy and their money funds the major Universities of Earth.

What is one to make of those who insist so strongly their cook book is a book of poetry when it is obviously not? And what of the Kanamits who still broil bake or fry humans? When asked, they say quite frankly, “We are Kanamits. This is what we do. This is what our cook book tells us to do.”  But the Earthlings rush to explain that they are just a small number of Kanamits that are going against their culture. How is that going against their culture when the recipe used is right there in the book? We are told that they have misinterpreted it. There is little room for misinterpretation. While some translations call for different spices, the main ingredient of human flesh is inarguable. There are Kanamit organizations set up to address any instances of cooking humans and to dismiss speaking of these events because they perpetrate “Kanamiphobia”. We still see this happening although the news often does not report these events. One Kanamit cooked several of his co-workers but the word “cooking” was omitted from the report and the whole ordeal dismissed as “work place stress”. In cases where Kanamits have eaten their own children it is labeled “domestic violence”. While these things are not blatantly threatening, and those who call attention to them are seen as alarmists, one has to wonder why there is such collusion between Earth Leaders and the Kanamit culture to silence honest dialogue. Even those who believe strongly in freedom of speech have little to say when this very freedom is silenced on the topic of the Kanamits. It is a gnawing concern to many Earthlings who dare question what is going on.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Enigmatic Elephuck

Have you seen me?
My friend, Jeanna took this photo after I told her about this mysterious creature. In So CA, I see it often. I first noticed it when  my son was small enough to ride these little coin operated kiddie rides. You can see them outside groceries stores and such, many have three horses and appear quite normal but some have two horses and this strange creature. When my son was four, I gave him a ride on one. I said "What is this strange half elephant, half duck creature?" Without missing a beat he replied "It's a elephuck."

So I have been wondering just what the manufacturers had in mind. I've looked up mythical creatures and kiddie ride manufacturers. So far I've had no luck but I can assure you that now that I have pointed him out to you, you will begin to see him.

You will see him EVERYWHERE.

And when you do, please take a picture and post it here.

Together, we can figure out the mystery behind this strange and wondrous creature.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fluff's Just So Stories: How the Pooperman Got His Name

My taste in men has sometimes been questionable. (I’m not even talking about my son's sperm donor, he never appealed to me) I’ve always found the most attractive thing to be talent, that and good looks.  I was drawn to the tragically flawed but brilliantly talented misunderstood artistic types. I wanted the Jim Morrisons of the world but the big difference between Jim Morrison and and a total loser is success. You see without success so many of these brilliant guys would be just another asshole who gets away with shit because they’re talented and good looking. Without success they are losers who are completely impractical and wind up being very expensive pets who’s parasitic tendencies become less endearing as they grow more bitter.
This was the case of Huck. He was truly gifted. He was also handsome. Huck undoubtedly had some of the Bubble effect that Tina Fey made famous on 30 Rock. Good looking people often get away with things and don’t have to be good at what they do because they are in a bubble. This was true of Huck not because he was given credit for being better at things than he was but because he got away with doing the awful things that he did. He was a hopeless alcoholic. On the rare occasions that he was actually sober, it put him in a bad mood and the entire world was more than happy to buy him the next drink to see him flash that charming smile again. People were also willing and even eager to give him things, he got furniture, money, clothes. He was a drunken male version of Blanche Dubois always relying on the kindness of strangers. He was exceptionally charismatic and exceptionally handsome. It was the bubble, he could vomit on someone’s couch and they would forgive him as quickly as he could wipe his dimpled chin.

What I loved most about him was how he lived as an artist. He viewed the world and everything in it with a quirky and entertaining point of view. I always believed that he was an artist who if given a couple of exhibits and a spot on a late night talk show would win the world over. People would flock to his openings and trip over their own feet for a chance to buy his paintings. They would make him a success and then at last I could feel proud to be his girlfriend. In the mean time, it was often embarrassing.

One night we were on our way a see his friend’s band. We were there watching the opening act and earlier in the evening had stopped at an authentic Mexican eatery. Huck was very into authentic Hispanic food and liked the places that served tacos made from the more often forgotten parts of animals. He loved tacos that were filled with what I called "Working meat" things like  tripe and tongue and other flesh that bore the distinctive flavor of having once had a function.  On this night I didn’t join him in eating and am glad that I didn’t. It would seem that he’d consumed a bad burrito and was now feeling the effects in his lower intestines. Undoubtedly it was not just the pet food grade meat but the hearty amount of Jim Beam dancing around in his gullet. He told me he wasn’t feeling so good and that we needed to find a bathroom. I pointed to the bathroom in the club. He said “No, there’s only one bathroom here and there’s a line. I’m not going to go in there and stink it up and come out to a line of people who know that I made the stink. I understood his desire to not embarrass himself and agreed when he suggested we leave to find another rest room.

We had parked in front of another friend’s mother’s house. He suggested we walk the couple of blacks back there to her home and use her bathroom. We arrived at my car and before heading to the house he grabbed his bottle of Jim Beam out of the trunk and took a couple of swigs to reinforce his buzz. We then went to the front door and knocked. There was no answer and there were no lights on, things didn’t look good. Huck knocked and even pounded to no avail. There was nobody home. After cursing a bit we decided to go back to the club but not before getting another swig or two. I suggested we find another place, maybe a gas station. Huck said he’d be lucky if he made it back to club Fuck. About half way there he announced that he definitely would NOT make it. “You’re kidding! Oh come on!”
“Not gonna make it”
“I think you can! I think you can!”
“NO! I can’t!
And with that he ran into a phone booth.
I braced myself, was he really going to use a phone booth as a toilet? I immediately turned my back to the horror and the noises I soon heard gave me my answer. I proceeded to try to be useful by looking for various things he could use to clean himself with. I was looking for napkins, kleenex, ooh here’s some leaves – a camper’s best friend. Ooh a paper cup! The noises from the phone booth continued and sounded like they came from the very bowels of Hell. I was just crumpling up a piece of paper I’d found to make it softer and more absorbent when the noise stopped. It was silent, very silent.
“Are you OK?” I asked cautiously.
“Yes”
“....Are you ....done?”
“Yes”
“Can I turn around?”
“Sure”
I turned around and there he was standing in the booth with his pants up. I admonished him.
“Huck! You didn't WIPE!! I’ve been gathering all these useful items you could use to clean yourself;  Why have you already pulled your pants back up?”He looked at me with an expression of disgust and pain.
“I never got them DOWN!”
“WHAT?”
“I couldn’t get my belt undone!”
I nearly soiled myself laughing. I laughed and laughed and laughed until I couldn't breathe. And Huck just stood there looking disgusted with himself. But I still wanted to see the show. “Maybe we can find a hose or run you through a car wash”
“We can’t go anywhere! LOOK AT ME!”He turned around slowly and his light colored pants were just covered in crap. It was disgusting but more than disgusting, it was FUNNY!
"Do we have to go home?”
“Of course we do!”
The good lord took care of me that day because for reasons unknown to me, I left one bag of non perishable groceries in the trunk of my car. In that bag were garbage can liners. I lined the passenger seat with them and took the T-tops off the car and we drove home.I was making jokes the whole way, “Your Khaki pants are now Caca pants! Bwahahahahaha!”I couldn’t stop laughing to the point where he was like “OK, stop already, this is embarrassing.”“Oh don’t you give me that! You are SO lucky that I find this funny. If I was like a NORMAL person, I would have left you on the sidewalk.” “True …true” he muttered and suffered through my laughter because it was a far better fate than an incontinent drunk should ever expect. We got home and before jumping in the shower, he looked in the mirror and nearly died laughing himself. “This looks like a Rorschach!” he screamed. I then pointed out that I couldn’t help but compare him to a super hero; after all he’d made this amazing transformation in a phone booth.

From that point on, he was "Pooperman".

Monday, November 12, 2012

Abuse

I write this on November 25, 2010: An update will follow, when I get around to it.



I  do not believe in abusive partners. Co-dependancy is not a language I speak.  While relationships can be very complicated things to see clearly when you are inside them and you can find yourself slowly lured into a place you would never have agreed to had you seen it from the entrance, I was raised to have enough self esteem to know when I’m being compromised in a way that is not acceptable.  When it comes to any physical abuse,  game over.  That’s just not negotiable. I’ve never had much experience with that  attitude being challenged because I’ve never been attracted to the kind of men who have the need to display physical domination over women. Machismo? No thank you.
So why am I sitting here with an ice pack on my face where I got hit? I’m hoping I can keep it from swelling and turning into a black eye because I have a pitch meeting to go to tomorrow. I don’t want people to think the wrong thing.  People see a woman with a black eye and immediately assume she’s in an abusive relationship. One has to wonder what is wrong with this woman to make her put up with such things. What makes this bad is that it would not be the wrong assumption. Yes I am in an abusive relationship I have to be honest with myself about that.
So why am I? How can I be in an abusive relationship? I look at how every door in this house is cracked from being kicked in. My vacuum cleaner has a broken handle because it was thrown to the floor several times replacing me as a punching bag in a fit of rage. There are holes in the walls and plastic replaces a broken window. Remote controls don’t last long around here because they get thrown. They hit the wall or the floor but they are usually aimed at me. I have needed to wear long sleeves in the summer to cover bruises and bite marks – yes, bite marks!
We’ve gotten professional help. We’ve been in some form of counseling for years, we seem to move forward but then move back. The criticism and lack of respect eat at my self esteem and focus. The stress makes me scatter brained and compromises my short term memory. Sometimes I want to leave, I really do. I get in the car but rarely go further than around the block before I come back. I park somewhere and cry into my cell phone to a friend that is close enough that I am not embarrassed to discuss it with them. I don't want  people to know; I don't want them to think he is a bad person. He has such a wonderful side. After a while, he calls to say he's sorry and I know it's safe go back home.  
I really can’t live without him.
I can’t, I won’t. I am dedicated to him. He is my life. 
I love him unconditionally.
I refuse to  give up on him! We will work on this, it WILL get better! We will try other therapists. He can go on meds. Something will have to work because I don't want to live without him.
I can't leave him. 
He is my son.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Kelly Thomas Art Exhibit at the PAS Gallery

Friday night was the Kelly Thomas exhibit sponsored by Art With an Agenda. It was truly a great thing to be a part of. My friend (and soul sister) Cherie Currie and I arrived at the same time. There was just so much good work there and such a huge variety. Here is what Cherie did. She sculpts with a chainsaw! 
Cherie's piece
Her piece is very positive and uplifting and if you've read the previous post here, you know that mine is not. Cherie and I feel a strong bond and enjoyed the fact that we are so much alike but came at this from polar opposite places.

Of course our choice in mediums couldn't be any more different. Cherie literally takes great risk not just artistically but physically. There are only a handful of chainsaw carvers in the country and we lost one in 2009  dangerous business!

Me, Ron, Cherie
Most poignant about this experience was hearing from Kelly's family members. His sister contacted me on Facebook and soon his father did too. I had listened to his father, Ron Thomas, on KFI right when the news story broke and was always riveted by it. I loved that his Dad got involved in pursuing justice for his son and in so doing uncovered a whole lot of corruption in the Fullerton Police Department. Bear in mind, I am not painting with a broad brush here, I think cries of police brutality have become as frivolous as the use of the word "racist". For the most part our officers are not appreciated enough for the job they do; but power does have that funny way of performing brain surgery on some folks' psyches. So does living with too much adrenaline and let's face it, some folks get into the work (despite the psychological screening) because they have been bullies all their lives and just want to get paid for it. It haunted me that Ron had to listen, repeatedly,  to the tape of his son being murdered in order to get some justice. The fact that Kelly cried "Dad, Dad, Dad" as he was nearing the end of his beating and his last experience of consciousness, was brutal and was horrible for Ron to have to hear. The fact that these same cries didn't stop these thugs is unbelievable.

Mine's on the far left
I had several people come up to me expressing how much they "totally got" my piece. And they did too! Several mentioned the doughnut being pink and knew that I meant it in an insulting way. Cool people. Ah but it's nice to get our of Stepford and mingle with people who "get" things. One lady told me that one of the officers always ate pink doughnuts. Hmmm.

There is talk of KCET doing a documentary on the exhibit. That would be fantastic. You can help make that happen by going to this page and voting for the Kelly Thomas Artwork.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kelly Thomas Art Exhibit


A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook and got a private message for me and my friend Cherie Currie. We were being asked to donate pieces of art for an exhibit / auction in memory of Kelly Thomas.  We weren’t necessarily being asked to make pieces for the show as much as donate something. Having been riveted by Kelly’sstory from the minute I heard it, I agreed, instantly. Cherie soon followed and went into how she would do a piece for the show.  I figured I would need to as well since a whimsical scene featuring a jar of marshmallow topping would seem fairly inappropriate. 
Cherie’s work is just plain awesome. She carves with a chainsaw. Her beautiful mind started whirring and spinning and creating. She wanted to carve a bench, something very positive. She was asking questions about what Kelly liked and clearly was going to do a beautiful piece that represented healing. I loved where she was going. I just couldn’t follow. I looked again at the video of Kelly beivg attacked at the hands of these officers. I posted it on my Facebook page and got a lot of reaction. But many were saying what I would normally say, things to the effect of what a tough job it is for the police. It's impossible to know what you might do in their situation, etc. I didn’t want to do something that might offend other law enforcement officers, I really do tend to look at things from their side, but not in this case.
The image of six, fairly hefty cops on top of Kelly wouldn’t leave me; nor would the question, “How many overweight cops does it take to sit on one skinny homeless guy?” The image of a doughnut immediately came to mind.
As the mother of a son who is neurologically atypical, I could not rise above the situation. I’m in the situation. My son’s paternal uncle is a paranoid Schizzophrenic. I pray daily that my son’s diagnosis will remain only Aspergers syndrome as he moves beyond his teen years and enters the age where Schizophrenia  could  manifest.  As he is now, my son is quite “normal” but tends to behave askew when nervous. I can see him getting into a misunderstanding with law enforcement so easily. A misunderstanding is not something one should die for. I made sure he watched the video and let him know “No matter what is going on, when the police are present, hands up, no arguing! No discussion! No gestures! Silence!” I think the video helped him to understand.
I talked to my friend, Andrea, in New York and told her I couldn’t do anything positive. “What do you want to do?” 
“I want to paint a doughnut in a pool of blood. Like one of these guys sat it down as if to say 'be right back, got to go beat up a homeless guy now'. All in a day’s work.”
“Then do that! You have to do what you feel.” was her response. OK. I did. I also got out the maglight to model for me because one of the officers had used a flashlight to pound Kelly’s face in. I wanted the light on the doughnut to represent justice shining on them. And I wanted that doughnut to be pink and covered in candy sprinkles to play up the clownlike antics of the cops and further insult their manhood. I wanted to do it in photorealism. This is a style I'm trying to veer away from because it's really constipated of me but I wanted  to use it here; I wanted the blood to look as real as possible.
Because this was real. This IS real.
Static, quiet, no movement.  
A life has been stilled. 
I started it digitally, no sketch on paper. I was under a bit of a time crunch and thought it would be a more direct approach. I don't recommend it. It looked sterile like this for way too long like a construction paper collage. I hated looking at it so I wasn't enjoying working on it.
I had to flesh it out ASAP. Once the blood seemed real, I felt better.
Almost there...
Here is the final, including the gallery wrap that goes around the stretcher bars.








Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sonny


Once upon a time in 1992, there was a live show I was involved in called “Seventies Celebration” or something like that. A lot of music and TV stars from the 70s were involved including me and several other Bradys. We were doing a "comedy sketch" which Barry Williams co-wrote. Florence was supposed to be Sally Jesse Raphael and I never did figure out what I was supposed to be. I couldn’t remember the lines because they came out of nowhere and made no sense to me. I just knew the thing sucked and I began to get performance anxiety like I've never felt before. I was sure that I would pass out on stage and make a fool of myself. It was hours between rehearsals and show time which was live on stage at the Wiltern. 

I was feeling pretty insecure which is something I really do have a talent for. Then I saw Olivia Newton John which didn’t help. Not that I don’t like her, on the contrary we had worked together and I found her to be wonderful in every way. I had done an illustration job for her. She and her psychic were writing a children’s book to teach kids about the environment. I had designed and illustrated the proposal. They loved what I had done but the publisher wanted to go with their own in house art department. It was one of those “Gee Susan, we’re really sorry but they have the final say…” things. It really wasn’t a bad thing but still mildly embarrassing and I just didn’t want to hear her say again, “I’m so sorry about what happened…” I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable mostly because that would have made me more uncomfortable.

So I was mildly avoiding Olivia Newton John which made me a little hyper aware of faces. I became aware that I was seeing the Bee Gees pretty much everywhere I looked. This was strangely unnerving, but everything was unnerving. The whole thing started to get very surreal with all of these oddly familiar faces. It would take a while to register if I actually knew these people around me or just knew them from TV. I think everyone was feeling that way so to play it safe they all acted like long lost friends. It was really very nice. Meat Loaf gave me a hearty “Hello” and I had no idea where I knew him until he started rehearsing and I realized who he was and that we’d never met. Coupled with the surreal hyper awareness anxiety imparts, it began to feel like I was coming on to a hit of acid. And there were those darned Bee Gees. It seemed that everywhere I looked, there was a Bee Gee – sometimes two. I was studying their faces and the brotherly resemblance. I know there were only three of them but it seemed like 20, maybe 50.  It was like they were inter-dimensional and could be in two places at the same time. I’d start to feel a little better and then I’d look up and see another Bee Gee. Totally nice guys but they were freaking me out. I was sitting in the Green Room, humming a little mantra to myself for comfort. “Bee Gees Bee Gees everywhere, in the green room, on the stair…” then someone said “Hi Susan”. It was Sonny Bono, always a friendly face. I had met him a couple of times before, but we weren’t what I would call friends.  Our mothers were in a club together and knew each other well, maybe that’s why he knew my name. Since most people don’t bother with our real names, having him say “Hi Susan” surprised me and drew me to him.
“Your sketch is cute, it will go over well.” He said. Poor guy was just making small talk and didn’t know that he was in for an interrogation. My nerves made what little social grace I have fail me, I just blurted my thoughts..
“Really?” I shouted.
“Sure, it’s funny.”
“REALLY, Sonny?”
“…Yeah?....Why, don’t you like it?”
“It’s terrible! I don’t even understand it! Do YOU think it’s funny?”
He could have lied again and walked away but instead I guess he sensed my distress and he came over to me with compassion. He nodded his head from side to side as if to say he’d seen worse – point being, no,he didn’t like it either. But he smiled and said, “Hey, it really doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. The audience will love it no matter what you do.”
“I’m really nervous, I’m afraid I’m going to pass out on stage.”
He laughed and said, “Even if you did, you would still get a standing ovation! No matter what you do, the audience will be on their feet. You can do no wrong, relax.”
“Really?”
“I guarantee, they will give you a standing ovation when you walk on stage and won’t get quiet enough to even hear the skit.There is absolutely NOTHING to worry about.”
What a sweet guy. He made me feel better.
“I promise, it will be great. I PROMISE!” He extended his arms to hug me.
I hugged him and I saw another Bee Gee over his shoulder.
“The Bee Gees are freaking me out.” I blurted.
“What?”
“Everywhere I look there is a Bee Gee.”
And it was like he could read my mind and now he decided to mess with me like one messes with someone who’s high; he leaned in close and whispered, “They’re EVERYWHERE!”

We did our bit and Sonny was right. The crowd was on its feet and never heard a line of dialogue. When we came off stage, God bless him, Sonny had come to the side to watch.
“See Susan, what did I tell you?”
I hugged him so hard I may have hurt him bad.


I got a little taste of what Sonny might have been like as a Dad, and I felt a tiny portion of what Chaz must have felt when he passed away so suddenly.

To prove this was not just an acid flash back: