Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas After The Rains 2

Food on the Nickel


The 6th Street Bridge with L.A.



True Grit

Christmas in Alabama


Mistress of the Dark!

Since we were not to have a Christmas Party this year, myself and the other residents of the Las Americas were forced to roam the streets of Skid Row in search of sustenance.
Last Friday, Christmas Eve, there were hundreds of people on the streets, very nice people, who brought all kinds of food and clothes for the folks who found themselves living on Skid Row this year. I went out at about nine o'clock in the morning to get in line for a Christmas dinner at the Los Angeles Mission because I wanted to write about it and I was hungry... and we would have no Christmas Party this year.
But I never made it there. I walked west on The Nickel (5th Street), past the Fred Jordan Mission who was getting ready to serve a Christmas breakfast for the 200 or so people waiting in line. I could have stood in line there and had some nice breakfast (eggs and everything), but they tend to preach too much for my taste at Fred Jordan, so I moved on, and at the very next street (Stanford Ave.), there was another smaller line waiting for a small group of Skid Row visitors to hand out Christmas meals.
I thought to myself, this line is a lot smaller than the one I'm likely to come across at the L.A. Mission. As a matter of fact the L.A. Mission won't even start serving for two more hours, let me try this line instead, then I can go home and get some work done. That's what I thought to myself, and that's what I did.
Within three minutes of getting into that line they started to serve. A group of white people, men, women, and children, about 20 of them, had set up some tables on the sidewalk and had laid out all kinds of food. There was only about twenty people in line in front of me, and very soon an eight year girl handed me a Styrofoam container which others in her group soon filled with spaghetti, dressing, ham, turkey, several cookies, a small piece of pumpkin pie, and a chocolate cupcake with a little Christmas bulb (red) on top.
I hurried away with my new booty and took it to my box for storage, then returned and got another one.
I not only would not starve on Christmas Eve, I now had a nice dinner for Christmas itself, and I didn't have to cook!
I love this place!
I would work the rest of the evening, writing and doing research. I have to do research because I'm not very bright. But during my research I came across a story about the people over at the Fox Propaganda Network, which hosts defenders of Christmas like Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, and the rest. You remember. Bill keeps on clamoring about how liberals have declared a "War on Christmas," by not using the word "Christmas," in greetings. Anyway, I loved this passage from the AlterNet post by Mark Howard of News Corpse. Here he is quoting Billo:
"'Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable.'

Heartwarming, isn't it? O'Reilly's gratitude for the birth of his savior isn't due to the gift of eternal life. It's for the prospect of higher profits.
I'm sure the O'Reilly's wrath will be suitably deployed when he hears that Fox News has joined the pagen hordes who insult Jesus by taking Christ out of Christmas. During today's broadcast of Fox & Friends they brazenly wished their viewers a happy holiday. And once again, Rupert Murdoch sent a memo to all employees wishing them a happy holiday."

People at Fox... why do you hate the baby Jesus so?
The Sci Fi channel was showing a "Star Trek, the Next Generation," marathon sort of, and I watched several episodes as I worked at my computer Christmas Eve. I could watch this show forever. Every episode is meaningful in some way. They broadcast STNG until 8:00PM, when they put wrestling on. Friday Night Smackdown.
Alright, I agree that wrestling is certainly fictional, but where does the science come in, and why is this on the Sci Fi Channel? Please tell me.
Later in the night I would go to sleep.
At 2:12AM someone tried to get in my door and I had to run them off with a big kitchen knife I keep near my bed for just such purposes. Some white haired fat guy in a red suit who escaped through the fire door exit.
He won't be coming back here anytime soon.
I got up at 3:57AM Christmas morning and posted a Happy Birthday Post for Annie Lennox. Don't take my word for it. You can scroll down and it's right there.
I showered and meditated. During the night the Sci Fi Channel had begun playing STNG again, so I watched two episodes before they switched programming to infomercials at 6:00AM, then took a walk over the 6th Street Bridge. It was very cold and foggy though. Not at all like the picture above. I couldn't see the L.A. skyline for instance. Hell, I couldn't see 100 yards in front of me and the cars and buses came out of the mist rushing past.
When I got back to my warm box I began working while watching KTLK's broadcast (KTLK is a local L.A. station, channel 5) of the Yule Log. They had a TV camera focused on a burning log in a fireplace while Christmas music played. It went on for hours.
On the cable channels TBS decided to play "A Christmas Story," continuously throughout the day, as AMC did with "Scrooged." I thought AMC was going a bit overboard with this particular film, especially since we had just gotten through "Can't Get Enough "Scrooged" Week," when they showed it 8 times in 4 days. I guess they thought we needed to see it some more though.
Thank God for the Sci Fi Channel, which did away with Christmas programming altogether.

Why does the Sci Fi Channel hate the baby Jesus so?

This was the entire day's lineup for the Sci Fi Channel: "Sea Snakes,"-- Snakes on a Plane transfered to a submarine with Luke Perry as the Captain, Tom Beringer as his boss, and the lovely Krista Allen (the "X Files," Bambi) as a snake scientist. And these weren't just your average ordinary poisonous snakes mind you. Oh no, they were giant mutant poisonous snakes... the best kind. Next came "Frankenfish." Enough said. Next, "Eye of the Beast" (a giant squid movie), Lake Placid 2 (Giant Crocodiles), Malibu Shark Attack (goblin sharks), ending up with the night's finale, the two part, four hour "Shark Swarm," with Armand Assante and Daryl Hannah.
Unfortunately I was unable to watch the entire line up.
At 11:00AM, just when "Frankenfish," was about to come on, I left for Universal City's Citywalk, and the AMC (no relation to the television station) movie theaters they have there.
If you remember dear readers, a while back I attempted to see the film "Inception," in Santa Monica, but the theater was unable to show the movie due to focusing difficulties. Everyone was given a pass to another AMC movie to make up for it.
Well I used mine to see the Coen Brother's version of the Charles Portis novel, "True Grit."
Of course, one year after the publication of this novel (1968) a film adaptation was made starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross. John Wayne won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of U.S. Marshall Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn.
I've seen that film a few times and liked it. But it was a prisoner of the time it was made, and a bit different from the novel it was based on, a bit more sanitized, a bit more "Hollywood," happy ending.
Well, the Coen Brothers would have none of that!
They set out not to make a remake of the 1969 movie of the same name, but to make their version based on the book, which apparently the first film had deviated from a bit. And the result of their efforts was amazing.
That Jeff Bridges guy again. Well he shined as the "one eyed fat man." Rooster, with Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger, and Josh Brolin as the bad guy they're both after. Damon had been after him for a while, but Rooster was hired by Mattie Ross to hunt him down, played by new comer, 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld. Mattie's father had been murdered by Brolin.
The film was more realistic, more violent, more potent, and much funnier that the first film. I think it really is one of the best, if not the best film of the year.
A weird kind of American dialect is used throughout the movie, which supposedly takes place in Arkansas near the end of the 1800s. As the actor Barry Pepper (who played the part Duvall played in the first film) explained it:
"It was more like doing American Shakespeare. There’s almost like an iambic pentameter, a musicality and a rhythm to the dialogue...Charles Portis has such a specific vernacular of the period. It’s so authentic in my mind because most people were probably pretty illiterate back then. They were maybe schooled on the King James Bible and that really infused the way they spoke..."
That's the way Portis wrote it, and that's the way Joel and Ethan Coen filmed it.
Before I read Pepper's description I too thought the dialogue resembled that of Shakespearian characters, many of which are portrayed as being from lowly origins with similar positions in life while speaking with this tremendous delicacy and richness of vocabulary. If nothing else this utilized in "True Grit," made it very unique and interesting.
And I have to say this. Even though these big time stars, Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, received top billing and all, with Hailee Steinfeld's name not even appearing on the movie poster, in my humble opinion she stole the whole film from those guys. I think she and Jeff will be nominated for Academy Awards, but I think Haliee was the best thing about the whole movie. The scene with her "bargaining," for the sale of horses was worth the price of admission alone. Hell, she's already won 6 awards for best supporting actress (which I don't understand at all, considering she, for all intents and purposes, was the only female in the movie. Why supporting actress? Her age? What, you have to be old to get a Best Actress nomination? That wouldn't be true either, as they did the same thing with Jennifer Connelly in "A Beautiful Mind." I really don't get it. I hope she gets a Best Actress nod from the Academy), and has been nominated for 11 more. I look forward to seeing her career advance (she was 13 when she was selected for the role from a pool of 15,000 applicants).
I left the theater feeling good, and glad that I had come. Then back home I went.
To see "Shark Swarm," on the Sci Fi Channel of course, starring the lovely Daryl Hannah, of "Blade Runner," fame. It was about a bunch of hungry sharks who swarmed.
And those sharks were hungry. They ate up half the movie's actors in the first three hours before people caught on to what was happening. Poor Armand Assante got eaten at the end.
My lovely friend, and sort of niece (she calls me Uncle. I like that) Shannon, posted the beautiful picture above taken near her home in Alabama that day. According to the weather service it hadn't snowed there on Christmas since they had been recording measurements, since the 1950s.
Me being a smart ass from Los Angeles, wrote this comment: "What's all of that white stuff on the ground? Asbestos?"
I read of a massive snowstorm that was pummeling the East Coast, which was causing the snow in the picture. Further north in New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., the snow really reigned down, and was responsible for closing the airports of those cities, leaving houndreds of thousands, maybe millions of holiday passengers stranded. My lovely friend Erin, would be one of them.
And I found out a wonderful thing. Our friend Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), the Mistress of the Dark, is back on selected stations nation wide with "Movie Macabre," the show she first began her career with here in Los Angeles at KHJ, channel 9. This is the show in which she plays the most God awful movies while making smart ass remarks throughout. I had no idea she was back on the air, but there it was in my TV guide, "Elvira's Movie Macabre," on channel 29, KDOC, an independent television station based in Orange County, at midnight.
I was so happy, but no way would I be able to stay up that late to watch it.
That made me sad so I went to bed.
And woke up for some reason an hour later to see Elvira!
And this weeks movie? The 1964 Christmas classic, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!" starring a little, tiny, very young, Martian Pia Zadora.
And I'll tell you this, for a woman who's four years older than I am, Elvira is STILL SO FREAKING HOT!
And watching her... I mean Movie Macabre, was a great way to end my Christmas after the rains.

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