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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 The Algonquin  it ain't, and I'm hardly Dorothy Parker, but the luncheons that have become a sort-of monthly event with our friends, published authors Jim Morris and Kenn Miller do put me in mind of that pinnacle of American literary levity. 
That's Jim at the head of the table. Kenn is to his left.
These veterans of various military conflicts have little reason to be amusing and entertaining about the world, but they are. I love their books. They recently introduced us to Steven Rothblatt, across the table from me. His film, Oh Baby, is currently in the festival circuit. The best single link for it may be this one, for when it screened at USC . Here's the trailer and here’s a cool link to photos from the premiere of the film (in Hollywood at the Renberg Theatre) and other pics related to the film:
I asked Steven how he came to make such a film. Here's what he said.
My spouse, John (author of Where The Sun Sets) says we've started a buzz in the neighborhood. Well, if they weren't already buzzing, it's hardly my fault.

Our coterie hasn't come up with solutions for ALL the world's problems, but it ain't for not trying. I'll not mention the wonderful neighborhood cafe where we meet by name because the last time I did that, you couldn't get in the place at lunchtime for two months.

Another recent meeting of note: 
There was a reunion of the publications department of the L.A. Country Medical Association Sunday, September 5th, at the home of Howard Bender: former editor of the in-house organ, LACMA Physician magazine.
Back row from left, Randy Lander, Andrea David, our host, Howard Bender and Mike Villaire; in front on my left is Summer West.

Howard went on to greater executive duties elsewhere. His successors were Summer West and Mike Villaire. Andrea David was the advertising manager. She and I have, at least, lunched occasionally through the years. I hadn’t seen any of the others since I left the place twenty years ago. Andrea’s job fell into my lab when she left for greener pastures. (I had been secretary for the department up to that point.)

Andrea and Randy. Randy was our department secretary for a while - in between numerous other positions at the association.

The magazine’s printing company asked us if we would please, please, please send them our copy digitally! They even furnished the computer for us to do so. As department secretary, I got the job of jockeying the infernal machine. That was in '82. You'd think by now I'd have figured out how to use the damn things
Our host put in his years putting out the magazine, but his heart was always in producing game shows, so at this party, he directed us to form two teams and try to answer questions he had prepared about our years together. He even furnished little punch bells to ring in on.
Well, it's official. My memory is shot to hell. I don't think I answered a single damn question.  Oh yeah, I did get one about me, but I can’t remember what it was.
Summer's husband and son were the only guests other than yours truly to take advantage of the gorgeous pool, but everyone had a glorious time anyway.Of course, nobody got a picture of me doing my famous swan. Oh well.

Thank you, Elissa (Mrs. Bender), for the great spread. And thank you, number one son, Fletcher, for the great grilling. 

Daughter, Amanda, was away – I think at school – so I’ve yet to meet her.
Thank goodness Summer West (mother of the swimmer) had a good camera and the skills to provide these pictures. Many thanks.

PS.  Would the person who brought this lovely plant to our Fourth of July party please e-mail and confess.
ALSO – we found a stack of pristine posters for The Devil in Miss Jones on a shelf in the bedroom recently. I vaguely remember someone handing them to me at the party and my stashing them on the shelf – but I have no idea who it was, nor can I remember if I was supposed to sign and return them, or what. If anyone has any information about this matter, please HELP.

Georgie and John

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 - The DEADLINE for completion of Goin' Down in Flames - the ongoing adventures of Georgina Spelvin.

I haven't even started.

Oh there are bits and pieces floating around all over my laptop like the wispy hairs too short to be captured in my top-knot that blow in my face and drive me nuts. Will it ever get scrapped together into some sort of comprehensive whole? Will Manny Ramerez... oh never mind.

Well, damnit, I'm RETIRED.
I don't know what I do all day, but it takes me all day to do it. Yes, we spend the morning lazing about with the papers and our rspective caffine hits: coffee for John - for me, tea. Then it's hi-ho, off to the gym, a fortuitous five minutes away. Welll, John goes to the gym. I go to the spa. He cycles energetically to nowhere while I perform my exotic regenerative routine.

To wit: I baste my body in Jergin's lotion and place it in a 110 degree sauna for 10 to 15 minutes, during which time I stretch it, wiggle it, and rub it where it hurts - which is almost everywhere, of course. Not bad hurt. Just the 74 years of service general complaints. Nicely sweated, I proceed to the ballet barre, looking as if I've already done some hard stuff. Whilst my hubbylover John stretches vigerously (an oxymoron - but more of that later) and then does a hundred - count them - hundred scruntchies, I hang out at the barre.

Literally. I let it hangas loose as I can and jiggle it in various positions. This I alternate with posturings that pull it all as far apart as possible in lines as long and graceful as I can produce. Yes, Ballet. Though I'd never a prayer of getting anywhere near the positions demanded for proficiency, just trying for them has kept it all where it should be and in pretty much the proportions I still dream of. Not bad for home brew.

So, after the gym, it's time for lunch. I try not to make lunch plans for more than once or twice a week, but I also like schmoozing with my buds. Monday's I take my pal, Joyce, to lunch. She will be 86 Tuesday, September 7th, so we'll do lunch that day instead of Monday next week. What an amazing woman. She was the "orchestra" for the improve company, War Babies. John was a founding member. Here's a link to a U-toob of them. You can see Joyce - making it up as they go just like the actors. Instant opera!

She can still play just about any song you might like to sing, but she can't tell you what day it is. What the hell. She doesn't need to know what day it is. I tell her, "Honey, these are the fuckit years!"

Days I don't have to meet someone for lunch, I have a crisp, cold pear sliced into thin pieces with little matching slices of Madrigal (Unborn Swiss) cheese that I can nibble with my left hand while my right hand works corssword and soduku puzzles. Ah, heaven.
Now, here I have the afternoon and early evening to write - one would think. So I open up Dilbert the Dell - and well, first I have to check the email - right? Right.Ne xt thing I know, it's time for dinner. John cooks Monday through Friday - as he did when I had my day job. I do weekends, using up the leftovers from all the deliciaous meanls he's made all week. His Italian half loves to cook. The Irish half is happy I like washing dishes.

Cash Cab is in the backgroud as I write. Jeopardy will accompany John's kitchen expoits, Wheel of Fortune will entertain us through dinner. Antique Road Show, or Funniest Home Videos will waft into the kitchen as I do the clean up. Then it's Animal Kingdom or - Sundays - From the Top at Carnegie Hall - my favorite show. That's pretty much our TV schedule except during baseball season.

I reserve an hour or two for reading a real book in the comfort of my bed beforeI dive into the Disneyland of my subconscious.
Now, is that not the most exciting life you've ever heard of or WHAT? But that's why Goin' Down in Flames seems to be going down in flames.