Wing Flapping, Feather Pulling, and Love on the Wing
It’s a pleasure to announce the release on Amazon of my new book, China and Me: Wing Flapping, Feather Pulling, and Love on the Wing. Happily, word of the book has begun to spread through the Associated Press and many other entertainment outlets like Google News, Book Publishing News, ABC, KTLA 5, Daily Bookshelf, and Bookstore Newswire.
The book is a memoir of my relationship with my beloved China, a Moluccan cockatoo who has been part of my life for nearly 50 years. You’ll find it full of love, kindness, and compassion on the part of humans and animals. And scads of pictures by my favorite photographers and watercolor illustrations galore by the talented Tom Grogg. I’ll keep you up to date on what people are saying about my book, so watch this space for more news as China and Me gains in popularity. mvd
This week’s Clueless Douche Bag Award is shared by Louisiana State Representative, Danny McCormick, and by Baptist pastor, Brian Gunter, who teamed up to introduce legislation that would mandate prison time for a woman who receives an abortion. This breathtaking totalitarianism is sure to satisfy the streak of murderous misogyny sweeping the ranks of the Qanon Trumpazoids, while terrifying sensible folks everywhere. If you need to be told that McCormick and Gunter are evil rightwing women haters, then you might want buy yourself a new MAGA hat. Here’s the deal, kids: control of women’s bodies—pregnancy, birth control, health care—is job one for the rightwing fundamentalists. Creation of a real Gilead, with women subservient to the State and to men as vessels to receive cum and to produce children, is their ultimate goal. So a round of applause for McCormick and Gunter. Enjoy the Douche Bag Award, boys. Margaret Atwood foresaw the likes of you when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale—ignorant little piss-ants lusting after power. But watch out, douches. You don’t like it, but women can still vote.
Labor Day for me was always the red-headed step child of the summer holidays. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. And when you can’t get enough of the boys at muscle beach, you’re not focused on the labor movement in then U.S. I grew up to be a member of Screen Actors Guild, the powerful union protecting the rights performers in the movie industry. As President Biden is fond of reminding us, the labor movement is responsible for the growth and prosperity of the middle class in America. As such it has been reviled by the GOP, because the growing wages of union workers represents money taken out of the pockets of their corporate masters. Trump despised the unions and wanted destroy them. Biden correctly identifies unions as the still powerful ally of the middle class and a the life blood of the nation’s economy. So celebrate Labor Day today with a long nap and cold beer. We still have miles to go to strengthen the movement.
Trump has turned Ivana into a roadside attraction, made Mar-a-lago into a treasure hunt, and wished his generals were loyal like Hitler’s. There’s a tiny fake flower arrangement surrounded by brown grass to mark Ivana’s grave. And People still like this lump of rancid lard. If you’re that dumb, stay the fuck off my sites. I don’t want you here. We’ve seen the racist cluster fuck of a Trump administration. No more. No Trumpazoid zone. Strictly enforced.
Trump’s advantage is he’ll violate any law. Listen, he had those classified docs because HE WAS GOING TO EXPLOIT THEM. He owes the Rooskies hat, ass, & overcoat. A few TS/SCI docs might seriously reduce that debt. And who else? Saudis? Step up, MBS, and bring your checkbook. NKorea? C’mon, chubby, want to know about the nukes? Belly up to the bar. Make no mistake, Trump is a sociopath capable of any outrage. He has already shown us who he is.
Alan Mercer is a genius. You’ve probably noticed. (He’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. We’ve been friends for a long time.) This photo is the latest example of his remarkable work, blending whimsey, history, and hardcore glamor—a freeze-frame from an action-adventure fantasy anchored by an historic photo of me recording in Studio B of the iconic Capitol Records building. This is just the kind of stuff I love to read and write about. Settle in for a moment. This is more than a blog post. It’s a short history lesson.
Construction was begun on the Capitol Records Building in 1955, when I was a fledgling starlet at Universal International Studios. The shape of the building, of course, mimicked a stack of 45 rpm records—the overwhelming music delivery of choice in that day. In April of 1956, one month after my son, Perry, was born, I was recording the music track for Untamed Youth in historic Studio B. The picture in the glow of those searchlights was taken of me singing Oobala Baby. The night I recorded I was visited by music biz royalty: Dean Martin, Ray Anthony (husband, Perry’s daddy) and Frank Sinatra. For them it was a unique experience: they were hearing rock and roll music being made. In its day, the Capitol Building housed recording studios, rehearsal halls, echo chambers, and executive offices. Then and now, it is the one of the most iconic places in L.A. Whenever I drive the Hollywood Freeway, I see it and I can see myself at the mic, hovering in the searchlights.
Hot afternoon at the beach. Humid. I’m lying on my chaise lounge on the patio. The flowered canopy of the lounge is over my head blocking the hot sun. I’m looking at my rubber tree and palm trees in the garden downstairs, and the eucalyptus trees across the street. Crows are quarreling nearby and I hear the zooop-zooop of hummingbirds jockeying for position in the rubber tree. One’s mind may wander in the heat of the day to, um, inappropriate speculation.
What man, I wonder, would truthfully admit that he’d go to bed with a 91 year-old woman? When I was young, I preferred to keep company with older men. Men my own age held little interest for me. Conversation was halting and the love making clumsy and unsatisfying. Older men were considerate, mostly gentle, and grateful.
My question on this sultry afternoon, however, is where is the man who would tempt the fates for a nonagenarian tumble? And you don’t have to be 90-plus to wander into that fantasy, right ladies? Are you out there boys? All of us are listening.
When I performed my nightclub act, there was a moment halfway through the show when the music vamped behind me and I spoke directly to the audience. One night, I leaned toward an elderly couple at ringside and asked the man, “Tell me, honey, if I could grant you two wishes, what would the other one be?” And so help me, without a moment’s hesitation, the white haired gent chirped loud and clear, “To live through the first one!” It cracked up the house, including me. When I get right down to it, that’s my sentiment too. If I get lucky enough to find a youngish, skillful, and motivated stud, just let me live through it.
What if you had 77 minutes to live? What if you were at the mercy of some crazed teenager armed with a weapon of war? And when the crazy began killing everyone around you, and everyone was screaming and crying, and you were frantically smearing yourself with your best friend’s blood so the shooter would think you were already dead, would that be okay? Would you pray for the police to break down the door and save you as the clock on the classroom wall ticked off 77 minutes? It is a long wait for salvation when it never comes. And what if you were a classroom of 4th graders waiting for rescue by a timid gaggle of fat cops? And how long is 77 minutes if you’re a cop sworn to protect, yet you’re cowering in a hallway within earshot of the slaughter? Would you cover your ears to block out the screams of the children? Too many questions for those who love guns. Too many tears for the rest of us.
I greatly admire Cassidy Hutchinson. Not only is she honest, articulate, and smart, but she is brave. Yes, it takes a woman. Her testimony before the Jan6 committee galvanized the nation by describing the corrupt actions of Trump and his insurrectionists, giving us a clear picture of how close we were to losing our democracy. We always knew Trump, McCarthy, Giuliani, and the rest were liars bent on overthrow. Her appearance made it certain. In political scandals, someone needs to serve up the ugly truth. Cassidy takes her place in history along side John Dean as one willing to tell the truth, no matter the personal pain and danger. Now for the justice. Will our Justice Dept locate their balls and indict Trump and his fellow thugs? It’s by no means a sure thing, but if there’s no punishment for fomenting an armed rebellion, then we are truly doomed.
Yesterday the worst thing happened. The overturning of Roe v Wade was the worst thing for women—the loss of control over our own health, the bullying of women by a male controlled authoritarian state, and the not-so-subtle hard right turn of American culture back to the dark ages. In January of 1931—the month before I was born—a law went into effect which would send women to prison for aborting a fetus. If you were a woman coming of age then, the consequences of that law were in plain view. The screams in the night, the bloody toilets, the nondescript packages furtively tossed into an incinerator were all signs of the times. And they were symbolic of America’s concern for the equality of women. For me, the memory of those dark years lingers, when a woman’s only hope of ending a pregnancy was in some back alley abattoir, or at the tip of a coat hanger.
Women, this must not be allowed to stand. Against all odds we must resist, speak out, and, if necessary, fight. Men will not look beyond their power lust to give you a break. Take matters into your own hands. Cross your legs. Refuse to fuck. Do not allow another ninety years of darkness.