Friday, October 31, 2014

Skid Row Diary 35

17   October   2003   Saturday    Day 97

   My dear maid, although she had cleaned the room next to mine just yesterday, waited until 8:30 today to clean mine, waking me from my gentle slumbers in the process. I went to the showers while she performed her fine work.
   I spent the morning writing, and reading from the Koontz book, avoiding anyone who was outside of my lonely room until 1:19pm, when I went to the library. I spent two hours searching for facts and figures, any news concerning Odalys and other issues. I also borrowed some nice video tapes to take back with me. 
   Upon returning to my room I watched the 1965 comedy/western “Cat Ballou,” starring Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin (in two roles), and Dobie Gillis. I choose this one to watch first as I hadn’t seen it in years and had forgotten how it ended. I had forgotten the song Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye sang throughout the film as well. 
   Coincidentally I had a dream involving the beautiful and talented Jane Fonda. In it she was a television news reporter doing a story at the Ventana nuclear power plant outside Los Angeles, and I was one of the plant engineers down in the control room, when an incident occurred, causing a turbine trip, and a heavy, throbbing,  monotonous alarm to sound, all the while Jane was filming from the visitor’s gallery above. I noticed that one of the water level indicators on the control board was stuck. After tapping it with my pinky, it registered true, and we had to pump massive amounts of sea water into the reactor vessel. But we didn’t have any sea water, so we had to use tap water instead, thereby avoiding certain destruction.
   After saving the day, I went upstairs and took Jane out to dinner.

18   October    Saturday       Day   98

   “All phenomena the Buddha says are empty and void. Why does the Buddha say this? Because all phenomena arise and exist through the combination of many different elements. Since what exists depends upon other things for existence, it lacks an immutable core of independent actuality and is, therefore, considered in itself, void.” -Thích Thiên-Ân

   I spent the morning writing. What a surprise. 
   Frank Valdez, the weekend case manager, knocked on my door and asked me to supply him with some fresh urine at my convenience. He didn’t want any of that stale stuff.
   I continued writing, and began drinking a lot of water.
   I finished reading from “Winter Moon,” Koontz’s inter-dimensional chaos monster story, set mainly in beautiful Montana. I thought the ending was a little too contrived for my taste. The monster, who up until the very end had been fairly passive, all of the sudden starts chasing the mother and her son. But why? For what reason? There’s no indication that it can, or even desires to hurt the humans. It can hunt them telepathically, but it can do that from out in the fields.
   Why Dean? Why? I have to know.  
   And for a creature that boasted it was immune to death, it turned out to be fairly easy to dispatch, although Koontz does leave open the possibility  of part of it surviving, with the ability to grow again, another day.
   I took a little nap and dreamt I was horseback riding in the mountains of Santa Monica with Karen Kopins, the beautiful and talented star of “Once Bitten,” and who I used to enjoy so much on television commercials during the 80s. We were headed to the beach when I woke and cooked up a smoked sausage for lunch. 
   I gave Frank the sample. He just gave me a bottle and let me go on my own without him bothering to supervise. 
   Trusting soul.
   I had computer time reserved at 3:00, and so walked to the library at 2:20, stopping at Rite-Aid to buy tomorrow’s paper and pick up some badly needed 3 Musketeers bars.
   I wrote a letter to Odaga Corp, and John Manzano. The letter to Odaga was apart get well card, and part request for information, and went almost exactly like this:

To ODAGA Corp    Oct 18, 2005

   My name is Richard Joyce, and for many years I have been a fan of Odalys Garcia. 
   Recently I was dismayed when while looking through the Univision web site I discovered an article which implied she was involved in an automobile accident in Los Angeles, CA. I do not read or speak Spanish, so except for a few words that have a similar meaning in English, like accident and traffic, I did not wholly understand what the article described. I tried to use other sources to gain information on the possible accident from sources such as our local Spanish newspaper, La Opinion. Also the L.A. Times, but received nothing back. Odalys’s website had not been updated to include recent news, so I was hard put to find out what happened.
   Since then I’ve had the short article translated and learned that an accident had occurred and she was injured. I am very sorry to hear this and wish her a speedy and complete recovery. The article implied that her injuries were slight, and I hope that this is so. We need to have her well so she can continue her work, to dance and sing, and making the world a happier place for it.
   I first became aware of Odalys several years ago when I saw a picture of her wearing a black dress in a television novella magazine. I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, but more importantly I would soon discover that she was a very nice person as well. I continued to watch her on “Loco Lente,” and although I rarely understood what she was saying (except for the words “Blockbuster” or Balley”), I was constantly mesmerized by her grace and talent.
   Before ODAGA Corp. became the huge multi-international conglomerate it is today, I sent a request for an autographed picture of her to the Univision address in Miami, along with $5.00 for postage and handling, and very soon received wonderful picture of Odalys with my name on it, and her signature... and the $5.00! I have never forgot that generous act. Giselle Blondet, upon the same request, didn’t send me any pictures, or my $5.00, so she still owes me five bucks, which I’ll ask her for the next time I run into her.
   Anyway, I’ve been a passive fan of Odalys ever since and have tried to follow her career as best as I can, and was so sorry and alarmed when I found out about the accident. 
   Please send her my best wishes. I know she has many friends looking after her, and that she must be getting lots of letters such as this, but I could not sit back and do nothing. I wish for her the very best in life; peace, love, and happiness.
   Please, if you could send to me any information on her condition and recovery, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Sincerely, Richard Joyce

   I met Clyde Foster on the way back to the Weingart. Clyde was one of Harold Eversley’s kitchen helpers back at the Pasadena ARC, and was now working as a cook at Harbor Light, the Salvation Army’s downtown facility. 
   I hadn’t seen him for awhile. He wants to see the new Denzel Washington film, “Out of Time,” next Saturday if the buses and trains are running. He wants me to go with him.
   He’s stood me up for movies before. I don’t trust him.
   The World Series, between the Florida Marlins and the New York Yankees, pre-empted the “X-Files,” again. And Fox, in it’s infinite wisdom, has replaced the 11:00PM Sunday night broadcast of the “X-Files,” with “M.A.S.H.”
   I may have to boycott the Fox Broadcasting Corp., possibly even News Corp. itself. It is a drastic action which I dislike taking, but my hand has been forced. 
   I tried to tape, “Once Bitten,” which by chance was airing on UPN at 8:00. The local station was transmitting the film in such a way that that the picture and sound were alright through my television, but the VCR recorded it only in black and white, with the sound distorted. I stopped taping it.
   One of the tapes I borrowed from the library was Woody Allen’s “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” which I had not seen. David Ogden Stiers (who I’ve never trusted) hypnotized  Woody, whose character was an insurance investigator, and instructed him to steal some jewels and bringing them to him. Starring Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Berkley, and Helen Hunt, it was one of Woody’s lesser efforts.
    There is a gnat that’s been flying around my room for several days now, and won’t go away, even though the window is open, and sometimes the door. There is nothing for it to eat or drink here. I’m beginning to worry about it’s well being.
   I’ve named it Wally.
   After the Allen film, I put in an Avengers tape, the British television show from the 60s. Tonight’s particular episode was from 1965, and in black and white, when Diana Rigg had just taken over from Honor Blackman (so she could go off to be a Bond girl, in “Goldfinger”) I loved this show as a kid, and still love it. It boasts one of the best theme songs ever (thanks to Laurie Johnson), and has an eerie, idiosyncratic, and isolated feel about it that I’ve never encountered in any other television show. You rarely see crowd scenes on “The Avengers.” 
   Patrick Macnee,  who played secret agent John Steed, went on to appear in the classic, “The Lobster Man from Mars,” along with Tony Curtis and Billy Barty. And Dame Diana went on to star in “The Hospital,” written by Paddy Chayefsky, and starring George C. Scott, and can still be seen each week on PBS’s “Mystery!”
   I happen to be one of the 2,422 people who actually liked the 1998 film version of the show, starring the lovely and talented Uma Karuna Thurman (Uma, which means "Light" in Sanskrit. As David Letterman once said, “ "Oprah...Uma. Uma...Oprah," "Have you kids met Keanu?"), with some help from ex-Nazi Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, and the indomitable Sean Connery. I didn’t care for Mcnee’s cameo (if you can call it that) as an invisible bureaucrat, or them walking across a river inside a giant beach ball, but other than that I thought it was great, and very much in the spirit of the television series.
   Next up, I watched David Lynch’s masterpiece, “Blue Velvet,” starring Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini, and Laura Dern, both exceptionally beautiful... and talented.
   A surreal (if you can call it that), crime/suspense story, Lynch described it as a “suburban comedy, only different.” Different yes. And I don’t believe I laughed once during the entire movie. 
   Dennis Hopper, God bless him, played a sadistic, drug addled villain, who was probably happier in death then he was in life, a part Hopper seems to be particularly suited for. 
   He used to be such a nice young man.
   Tonight I had a dream in which Isabella Rossellini offered me a potion that she promised would give me eternal life and an ever-lasting youthful appearance. I was very happy at the way things were turning out. I went home and waited until February to invest all of my money in this new business venture founded by this college kid from Harvard which I thought might have great potential, something called the facebook. I would soon became a multi-billionaire and retired to the island of Rimatara, in French Polynesia with Diana Rigg and Carmen Miranda,  living happily ever since.    

19      October     Friday       Day 99

   “I have… seen things you people wouldn't believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like tears… in… rain. Time… to die…”  -Roy Batty from “Blade Runner”

   I got up before 9:00, showered, and made coffee before going downstairs to sign in. I had missed the last two days, so had to make sure it was done. It is a good thing not to give cause for anyone to bitch, especially if it’s not to hard to do.
   I wrote in the morning, cleaned my little room, and watched another episode of “The Avengers,” about an atomic bomb masquerading as a department store. 
   John Steed was certainly a randy bastard in those early black and white days, chasing every skirt that happened his way. Mrs. Peel kept in his place though. He may not have lost interest, but was certainly less obvious when the show turned to color. He did make those annoying “We’re needed,” messages to Emma still, like a smitten schoolboy.
   A real hamburger for lunch, not one of those compressed patties of vegetable matter. I read from Hermann Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game,” his final novel, prior to walking to the library to return videos and use their computer.
   I was there until 4:30 or so, then returned to my room to continue writing and reading the newspaper. I listened to an NPR story concerning Pentecostalism, a protestant renewal movement that places special emphasis on direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit, and which involves speaking in tongues, faith healing, and withering about on the floor as the spirit of God fills each member. Like dancing, this seems to be a good, socially acceptable (to other pentecostals) way to make an absolute fool of oneself in public. This sect is experiencing rapid growth at present, and is wide spread, which to me is rather alarming. A reaction to hard times and feelings of helplessness perhaps.
   At 6:00 I taped the UPN broadcast of the classic, “Spy Hard,” starring Nicollette Sheridan, Leslie Nielsen, Andy Griffith, and Dr. Joyce Brothers. 
   I got fairly good reception throughout, I’m happy to report.
   I was somewhat disgruntles to observe that the TV censors had changed the phrase “Wouldn’t want to blow it!” uttered by Academy Award winning actress, Marcia Gay Harden, with an emphasis on the word “blow,” changing it to “Wouldn’t want to blunder it,” with no emphasis whatsoever. 
   I don’t know what the censors were thinking. The phase “blow it,” is a harmless reference to making a mistake. Gee wiz TV censor people... I can handle references to making a mistake. Even little kids should know that making mistakes is part of the learning process, so the censors are actually doing the Nation’s children a grave disservice, and should be taken to task for harming America’s yoots... excuse me... youths. 
   Bad TV censor people. Bad.
   Save our children! Let Marcia blow!
   Anyway, there was nothing on television after that. I continued reading the paper and listening to KMZT, the classical music station. At one point I stopped reading the paper, and read the second chapter of my namesake’s book, “Ulysses,” then wrote some more.
   Close to 11:00 I put in the tape of “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s (who became a Knight this year) expose on life, our experience in it, and the impermanence of being, all disguised as a futuristic, Sci-Fi, dystopian crime, drama. I can watch this film over and over... and then some more, and often do. The movie boasts arguably Rutger Hauer’s and Sean Young’s most accomplished and memorable performances. Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford, and pretty much the same in every film he appears in, yet he was particularly poignant in this role, demanding love from the replicant that he’s been ordered to kill. The movie was dedicated to the writer, Philip K. Dick, whose novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (why yes, they do)” was the basis for “Blade Runner’s” screenplay. I always get all misty upon seeing the “Tears in the Rain,” scene with Rutger, near the end of the film. 
   I have been told that the actor edited the script’s version of this short monologue, which was much longer, the night before it was shot, without Ridley’s knowledge, and performed his version, which everybody agreed was much better. Some say this is "perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history (the a Welsh writer and philosopher, Mark Rowlands says it at least)," and is an often quoted piece of science fiction writing.
   Heck, I quoted it too!
   Frank Sontag doesn’t like the movie, but what the hell does he know?!
   Speaking of Frankie, I turned on his show briefly after the movie, listened for a while as he defended whatever position it was that he was defending at the time, became distracted, then watched another Avengers before going to sleep at 2:30AM.  
   I dreamt I was in downtown Los Angeles, near the Bradbury Building on 3rd and Broadway (built oddly enough, by another California science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, who constructed buildings in his spare time. Parts of the film ”Blade Runner” were filmed inside) in the year 2019. I was being chased by Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah, all of the “Blade Runner” girls, who had big ass guns. The forced me to the roof, and I ran from them with all of my might, on a cold, rainy night.
   I tried to leap across the street onto another building, and didn’t... quite... make... it...

20   October    Monday      Day 100

   I over slept, and was a little upset with myself because of it. I’m such a lazy bastard it’s unbelievable.
   I certainly don’t believe it!
   I checked in today to see what Giselle was wearing. A beautiful dress, so I knew the rest of the day would be fine. Mark and Brian, and Kelly Gates were bitching about stuff that is stolen when they leave it lying around their work spaces. Frankie was silent. 
   Very suspicious.
   While listening to the radio, and watching Giselle and Ana Maria, I read the paper until 10:00, when the respective programs came sadly to an end. I showered.
   I had to drastically alter my plans for the day due to the time I had woke. Instead of checking in at One Stop and visiting the DPSS, I watched Sir Carol Reed’s (everyone’s being Knighted except me!), “The Third Man,” starring Alida Valli, Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard (who turned down a chance to be a Commander of the Order of the British Empire), and that Martian propagandist,  Orson Welles. A true classic. The only film that I’m aware of that the writer Graham Greene wrote a screenplay for, which he later published as a novel (originally written as preparation for the screenplay). Imagine that. I have a copy of that novel somewhere around here. Stylishly directed, this movie captures the essence of what post World War II Vienna must have been like, incase anyone was wondering, and tells the tale of a visiting American trying to investigate and clean up the reputation of his black marketeer friend. Orson plays Harry Lime, the marketeer, who only appears briefly, and not at all until three fifths of the movie is over, as he’s thought to be dead at the film’s beginning. I never felt sympathetic toward his character, and was at a loss to explain Alida’s deep commitment to him, other than women are crazy of course, and don’t know what’s best for them. The end shot with her walking past Cotton with stupendous indifference, is one of the best end shots I’ve ever seen. Subtle, real, and understated.
   The mesmerizing zither theme music by Anton Karas would continue playing in my head for the rest of the day. Thanks a lot, Anton! 
    I exercised before going to lunch, and after I ate (barbecue chicken), I walked through the year’s last great heat wave (over 100 degrees F) to the 1:00 ASAP meeting at the VA.
   Kathy had forgotten to bring her Internet jokes with her, so I shared the “11 Minute Joke” which was received quite well, if I do say so myself. We went on to talk about what we like to call, “Gateway Drugs,” i.e., marijuana and alcohol, drugs that she maintains lead to other, stronger and more harmful drugs, like heroin, or speed. In my opinion the issue is moot. A drug is a drug, is a drug. They’re all drugs! Even nicotine. Especially nicotine.
   Afterwards. I took a DASH to Arco Plaza and collected three letters from my post office box. One from Amnesty International, asking for money, one from the appeals board recognizing that I had canceled my hearing for next month, and one from the food stamp people at the DPSS, letting me know I had to come in November 13th in order to re-confirm my dire need for food stamps. 
   I then walked across the street to the library they have there, and looked up various oddities on the Internet, and borrowed more VCR tapes.
   Sloppy Joses and fries for dinner. John Marcellus Huston’s, 1948, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” was for the evening’s entertainment. Houston and his dad, Walter, won Academy Awards for directing, writing an adapted screenplay, and for supporting actor, respectively. The film’s star, Humphrey DeForest Bogart, got  diddly squat, with the emphasis on squat (he would get his, for Best Actor, four years later for another Houston film, and my favorite of both men, “The African Queen”), I remember seeing this movie for the first time on TV during my Jr High School days. It was in the little back guest room in my house in Northridge, right on Nordhoff Street, The same room I had watched Goldie Hawn announce that George C. Scott (oh, how he keeps popping up) had won the Academy Award for Best Actor for “Patton,” in 1970, after telling the Academy that he would refuse it if were to be awarded to him on philosophical grounds. 
    "The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don't want any part of it," he said.
   That sounds pretty philosophical to me.
   I had taken some windowpane LSD before hand, and thought the whole episode highly amusing.
   The first time I ever saw Treasure I was huffing lighter fluid fumes, and thought it was the strangest movie I’d ever seen.
   I laughed and laughed.
   After that I switched to “The Avengers,” but moved forward in time, after Mrs. Peel’s husband was found in the Amazon and they reunited, to the sexiest of Steed accomplices, Tara King (played by the very beautiful and talented Linda Thorson), who had taken over.
   Al Bundy didn’t care for Linda’s performances, but who cares what that loser thinks? 
   I always thought she was marvelous.
   Steed’s ladies, English roses all, and we know how they are.
   I dreamt that Linda Thorson, Goldie Hawn, Alida Valli, and myself, were running through the sewers of Vienna, which emptied into the mountains of Sierra Madre, where we dug for gold, struck it rich, and moved to Finland.

21   October   Tuesday   Day 101

   “Master Ekai meditated on “mu” for six years, until one day he heard the monastery drum and became enlightened. He gave the following advice to students meditating on the koan: 'Concentrate on mu with your whole self, every bone and pore, until it makes you a solid lump of doubt. Day and night, without stopping, keep digging into it. Don’t view it as “nothingness,” or as “being” or as “non-being.” Make it a red hot ball which you have swallowed down and want to vomit up, but just can’t. Forget all illusionary thoughts and feelings that are dear to you. After some time making this effort, mu will bear fruit, and quite spontaneously, inside out will become one. You will end up like a dumb man who has woken from dreaming. You will know yourself... but only for yourself.  Mu will suddenly explode shaking the earth and opening the heavens.’”

   Near 9:00AM I woke screaming from a frightening dream involving the Changi prison camp, Katey Sagal, Jennifer Connelly, Keisha, Christina Applegate, LeeLee Sobieski, Erika Christensen, Traci Lords, Lacey Chabert, Gillian Anderson, Angel, Denise Richards, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Giselle Blondet, Holly Marie Combs, Shannon Doherty, Connie Peterson, Brittany Spears, Samantha Strong, and Pee Wee Herman.
   I rushed to the showers to wash the sweat of of my shaken but well toned body.
   I cleaned my room and turned on “Despierta America.” Giselle was there, thank God, and wearing a polka dot blouse, with a black mini skirt. Happy days!
   She changed into an orange cowboy outfit later in the show, donning a blonde wig, while dancing and prancing around like a country bumpkin.
   It was quite entertaining.
   Just because this show, and ODAGA Corp, are based in Miami, I hope the Marlins win the world series, which I can’t watch due to its being on Fox.
   I read the last chapter of “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Grey Havens,” and smoked my last two cigarettes.
   I wrote, and at 12:30 went to lunch. Fried chicken today. 
   Beef stir fry was on the menu, but they must have run out of that. 
   Poor chickens.
   I walked down the Nickel to return my VCR tapes at the library, stopping at the SRHT office to turn in the paperwork I had received last week. Ron McCree was in the office as I walked in.
    “Hey man, what’s going on? Give me three bucks.”
   “Are you kidding? I don’t have any money. I haven’t been able to get to the blood place since the bus strike started.”
   I turned in the paperwork that Labren had filled out. Ron asked me to wait for him while he spoke to someone in the office.  When he finished he decided to kill some time and walk to the library with me. The heat wave was still in fine form. Ron kept bitching about two ladies that had stood him up last weekend for the Aids Walk. I kept going, “Uh huh... uh huh.”
   It was nice and cool in the library.
   Ron said, “Man, I haven’t been here in a long time.” I turned in my videos, and canceled my computer reservations. Ron looked at CDs while I sought more movies.
   “I’ll have to pay them the money I owe them so I can check out some of these,” he said.
   “How much do you owe?”
   “Five dollars.”
   “Shit, I owe two hundred and twenty,” I told him.
   He gave me a strange look. “And you still checking stuff out on your card?”
   “It’s not my card.”
   He continued bitching about being stood up as we left the building, and began to walk back. I bought a paper at Rite-Aid and picked up two 3 Musketeers bars and two Milky Way Midnight bars. 
   Ron and I made plans to meet on Saturday, and left each other at 5th and Main. He went to the Midnight Mission to try to get some free food. I returned to the Weingart, to feed and water Wally.
   And write. I exercised and meditated, and read from “Zen Training Methods and Philosophy,” by Katsuki Sekida.
   I caught Jackie Guerrido’s weather forecast. We’re still going to have some tomorrow.
   I listened to Natalie Imbruglia’s version of “Torn,” and her “Pigeons and Crumbs,” then Venus Hum’s “Montana,” and “Soul Sloshing,” Elton John’s “Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Honky Cat,” “Crocodile Rock,” Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” “Going to California,” “When the Levee Breaks,” Sophie B Hawkins “Savior Child,” “Before I Walk on Fire,” “Did We not Choose Each Other,” and “As I Lay Me Down.” I had a few problems with the CD player, but I kicked it and it began working again. I read the paper while singing along. Very good.
   At 7:00, I watched Charlie Rose talk to someone defending the current administration’s policies in Iraq. 
   That’s hard to do in the real world.
   I then watched one of the borrowed tapes, choosing the first Avengers show from 1963 with Honor Blackman as Dr Cathy Gale (anthropology), a widower. Apparently the series began as a televised play, sort of, using just a few sets, with several cameras set in strategic places. Lots of shadows, one could almost call it, shadowy. 
   At this point the show had one of the worst theme songs ever, and the start of a long history of silly and short fight scenes, reminiscent of the “Batman,” television show which began three years later.
   Next, I started watching the first part of the original British (I’ve been watching a lot of British stuff lately. I don’t know why) mini-series, “Traffik,” which I believe influenced Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 film “Traffic.” 
   Or it could be a coincidence that both films have similar names and deal with drug trafficking. I’ll let you decide, dear readers.
   Quite late, I started watching Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” Anthony Burgess’s moralistic and prophetic tale of societies gradual degeneration.  
   Has technological advances correspondingly advanced the average quality of life for the world’s people.
   This is without question Kubrick at his most stunning, sardonic, and ironic best. I believe it’s the best thing Malcolm McDowell has ever done, as well. 
   I had once used this film’s sound track to scare small children at Halloween.
   It was near 1:30 when the film ended and I finally went to sleep. I hadn’t remembered the movie being so long.
   I had a dream. In it I was asleep on the bed in Clockwork where McDowell’s lads fight a rival gang. My one time friend and co-editor, Michelle Chandler, came from backstage to my side and gently shook my shoulder. 
   “Rick, wake up,” she urged.
   “Michelle? Is that you?”
   “Yeah. Get up, it’s time to go.”
   I sat up and noticed I was dressed in a racoon coat, shorts, and tennis shoes. 
   “What are you doing here?” I asked. “You’re not still mad at me, are you? You look wonderful by the way.”
   “We don’t have time, but thank you.”
   “Where are we going?”
   “You know. And I must say, it’s about time.”
   “What do you mean?”
   “You know.” We began to walk toward the rear of the theater, which slowly dissolved into a long tunnel with a bright white light radiating from the far end.
   “Am I dying?” I asked.
   “Not yet, silly. But it is time to move on.”
   “Move on?”
   “Yes. Oh. by the way. You’re using too many “buts,” “as wells,” “ands” and “thoughs,” again. Especially the “thoughs.”
   “I am?”   
   “Umm  Humm. And you’re being a little sententious.”
   “Sententious? What the hell is that?”
   “Given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner.”
   “Oh. Well, you know, this is just the first draft.”
   “Get it right the first time and you won’t have to change it later.”
   We continued on, arm in arm, singing “Singing in the Rain,” until we disappeared into the light

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Hillary Rodham Clinton!

Picture Legend:

1.  Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton
2. Age 11
3. Age 15
4. Some other age
5. I'm madly in love with Hillary,  and it's not just because of her brains or personality
6. Seymour
7. 1969, during the Wellesley years
8. Kick’en it, 1969
9. Standing up now
9. The Graduate
10. Bill and Hillary
11. Again
12. And again
13.  Luther Burger
14. Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
15. Hillary and Chelsea
16. 1992, The first Presidential campaign
17. First inauguration
18. Second inauguration
19. Extraordinary
20. Senator Clinton
21. Dancing
22. Secretary of State Clinton
23. Watching the death of Osama bin Laden
24. Selfie with Meryl  
25. With possible rival, or successor (?), Elizabeth Warren
26. The next President of the United States
27. Hillary

   This morning it is my great pleasure and honor to be able to give a great big Joyce’s Take happy birthday shout out to a former First Lady of the United States, a former U.S. Senator from New York, former Secretary of State, former Brownie and Girl Scout, current author, and the next President of the United States, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton!
   Like some of us, young Hillary was born at a very early age, in her case as a tiny female infant, in Edgewater Hospital, in the north side of Chicago, Illinois (41° 50′ 13″ N, 87° 41′ 5″ W 41.836944, -87.684722), where Barack Obama lives (in Chicago, not the hospital). The hospital is also the birthplace of the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy, Jr., an  American serial killer and rapist. Oh, my! 
   Edgewater closed in 2001, and is now “an abandoned neighborhood eyesore.” Isn’t that interesting. 
   At the age of three she moved to Park Ridge, Illinois (42° 0′ 43″ N, 87° 50′ 30″ W 42.011944, -87.841667), 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, and where the bricks come from (they used to have good brick making clay in Park Ridge, which Chicago ate up), presumably with her family.
   Speaking of which, her dad, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, was of Welsh and English (well, they’re almost the same thing, aren’t they) descent; and who managed a business in the textile industry. Her mom, Dorothy Emma Howell, stayed at home to take care of her, and her two younger brothers, Hugh Jr (a lawyer and businessman) and Anthony (a consultant and businessman), and was of English, Scottish, French Canadian, French, and Welsh descent.
   I use the past tense “was” because unfortunately for all of us, Hugh and Dorothy  passed away (in 1993 and 2011 respectively).
   On the occasion of her 50th birthday (I don’t think she’ll mind if I tell you that Hillary is celebrating the beginning of her 67th trip around the Sun today), the city had taken it upon itself to rename the southeast corner of the intersection of Elm and Wisner streets, next to her girlhood home, "Rodham Corner." Wasn’t that nice of them. Among all of her other accomplishments, now she has her she has her own corner.
   The actress Carrie Snodgress (“Diary of a Mad Housewife,” “Pale Rider,” “Easy Rider”) was born in Park Ridge, as was Karen Black (“Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces,” “Nashville”). Carrie, Karen, Hillary and Captain Kangaroo’s Mr. Green Jeans (Hugh Brannum) Jami Gertz (“The Lost Boys,” “Twister,” “Still Standing”) and actor Harrison Ford (“The Mod Squad,” “Dynasty,” “Jimmy Hollywood”) served time at the Maine Township High School East (located at the corner of Dempster Street and Potter Road). Hillary participated in the student council, the school newspaper, and was selected for the National Honor Society, displaying an early and annoying tendency to overachieve. She spent her senior year though at the Maine South High School, which is south of Maine Township High School East. There she was named National Merit Finalist and graduated in the top five percent of her class of 1965 (again... overachiever).  
   All I can remember from my high school days was trying to save my lunch money in order to buy acid that I would take on Friday’s to watch Seymour on “Fright Night,” on KHJ-TV here in Los Angeles.
   Elvira (the Hostess with the Mostess), Mistress of the Dark’s dad.
   That’s pretty sad, isn’t it?
   You don’t need to answer.
   Even before high school, as a small adorable child, Hillary, in what I used to call Elementary School (Grades 1 through 6), was active with swimming, baseball, ulama, and earned many awards as a Brownie and Girl Scout.
   I already feel so inadequate and depressed. Please excuse me while I commit seppuku, the  Japanese form of ritual suicide by disembowelment. 
   Alright, back now. 
   Listen. Hillary Clinton grew up as a conservative. Yes, it’s true. She even took it upon herself to detect voter fraud (I assume real voter fraud, not that fake kind that Republican’s are blathering about these days) in the 1960 U.S. presidential election while helping to canvass South Side Chicago... when she was thirteen!
   If there had been more like her perhaps Nixon would have won.
   She met civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago in 1962, then volunteered to be a special military advisor in Vietnam the next year, but was turned down because she was too short.
   In 1965 Hillary enrolled at Wellesley College, a sexist, private women's liberal-arts college in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States, 15.9 miles southwest of Boston, where she served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans (an organization for members of the Republican Party at Wellesley between the ages of 18 and 40). She majored in political science of all things. 
     Martin Luther King Jr. must have had some effect upon her as she began to slip from the dark side and come into the light. In a letter to her youth minister at this time, she described herself as "a mind conservative and a heart liberal." 
   She attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, and became upset by the way Nixon's campaign portrayed Governor Nelson Rockefeller (Tricky Dicky. Nixon whipped Mitt Romney’s dad, George, first though), and what she perceived as the racist tendencies at the convention, and left the Republican Party for good, becoming a supporter of the anti-war presidential  Democratic nominee, Eugene McCarthy (he lost).   
   Early that year Hillary was elected president of the Wellesley College Government Association, effectively taking over the school, and served through early 1969, helping to stop some of the campus unrest that was predominant in other schools at the time due to widespread protests of the Vietnam War, civil rights struggles, and the murders of Robert F. Kennedy and  Martin Luther King.
   She became a peacemaker, and a negotiator. 
   In 1969, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, with departmental honors in political science. She became the first student in Wellesley College history to deliver its commencement address. Her speech received a standing ovation lasting seven minutes, so apparently Barack Obama is not the only one who knows how to give a good speech. 
   She gained national attention by being featured in an article in Life magazine because of that speech (in it she had criticized Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA), who had spoken before her at the commencement. She also appeared on national television. 
   That summer, she worked her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez. No one knows why. I also have no idea what “sliming salmon” is, other than to intentionally add slime to the fish that are already naturally slimy... because their fish. Perhaps Alaskans prefer their fish with extra slime.   We should ask Sarah Palin this. 
   The cannery fired Hillary when she complained about the working conditions. One wonders how well she would do on “Deadliest Catch.”
   After that Hillary entered Yale Law School after being told by a professor at a student recruitment party at Harvard, "We don't need any more women at Harvard." Now one would think that statement might not be particularly conducive towards student recruitment, but what the hell do I know? I’m just a guy who lives in a box. 
   She served on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action, worked with children at the Yale Child Study Center, and worked on cases of child abuse  at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She also worked pro bono at New Haven Legal Services to provide free legal advice for the poor. 
   Hillary researched migrant workers' problems in the areas of housing, sanitation, health, sexual dysfunction and education for Senator Walter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. She got her first job in politics after political advisor Anne Wexler recruited her to work on the 1970 campaign of Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffey.
   In the spring of 1971, she began dating Bill Clinton, another Yale law student. No, it’s true! There’s several pictures above to prove it.
   That summer she got mad at Bill and moved to Oakland, California. Once there she interned at the law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, where she continued her work with children, working on child custody cases. 
   Bill came out to live with her in sin, which they continued to do after returning to Yale. 
   Hillary received a Juris Doctor degree (a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law)  from Yale in 1973, staying on an extra year to be with Bill, who also graduated that year. 
   He first proposed to her after they graduated, but she said, “Hell no!”
   She was playing hard to get.
   I don’t blame her. That Clinton guy looks kind of smarmy in the pictures above, doesn’t he? You know how those Yale guys are.
   Anyway, Hillary spent a year of postgraduate study on children and medicine back at the Yale Child Study Center. There she wrote "Children Under the Law", which was published in the Harvard Educational Review in late 1973, where apparently they needed articles written by women, but not the women themselves.
   In the article she stated that "child citizens" were "powerless individuals" and argued that children should not be considered equally incompetent from birth to attaining legal age, but that instead courts should presume competence except when there is evidence otherwise, on a case-by-case basis.
   Well, I’m sure we can all agree on that.
   In 1974 she impeached President Nixon. Well, I should say she helped in the possible impeachment process, but personally and successfully impeaching him sounds like something she would do.
   For all of you history buffs and sticklers for accuracy, Nixon was never impeached, but resigned the presidency on  August 9th, 1974, before he had a chance to be impeached by the House Committee on the Judiciary (and then the full House of course) during the Watergate scandal, of which Hillary was a staff member, helping research procedures of impeachment and the historical grounds and standards for said action.    
   Good job, Hillary! Well done.
   FYI Richard Nixon suffered the stroke that led to his death on April 22nd, 1994, in his home in Park Ridge... New Jersey though, not Illinois. He was just about to dig into a nice, fresh, imported Luther Burger, from Mulligans Bar, in Georgia, when his brain rebelled and manufactured a blood clot to stop him.
   It worked.
   Bill kept asking her to marry him, and she kept saying “No!” Yet, after uncharacteristically failing the D.C. bar exam (it’s very hard, as all of the questions are written in Romani), she tried  Arkansas’s, which of course she passed, it being written in Arkansonian. "I chose to follow my heart instead of my head," and followed Bill to Arkansas, Fayetteville to be precise, rather than staying in Washington where her job prospects were much better. 
   Bill was making a living teaching law in Arkansas, and running for the House of Representatives on the side. Hillary became one of only two female faculty members in the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, teaching criminal law.
   The couple bought a house in the summer of 1975, and Hillary finally agreed to marry Bill (actually before he proposed marriage, Bill had secretly purchased a small house that she had remarked that she liked. After he proposed marriage to her and she accepted, he revealed that they owned the house. Bill was pretty sure of himself).
   Their wedding took place on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist (a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their inspiration from the life and teachings of John Wesley (an Anglican divine ("divines" are clergy whose theological writings have been considered standards for faith, doctrine, worship and spirituality and whose influence has permeated the Anglican Communion in varying degrees through the years. I guess this is equivalent to a Catholic Saint) and theologian who, with his brother Charles Wesley and fellow cleric George Whitefield, is credited with the foundation of the evangelical movement known as Methodism) ceremony in their living room. She decided to keep the name Hillary Rodham, for professional reasons, and in order to maintain her sense of individuality. "It showed that I was still me,"she maintained. Her and Bill’s mom didn’t like it though, but they weren’t the ones getting married, now were they?
   Bill lost his bid to the U.S. House of Representatives that year, but was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976, so they moved to the state capital, Little Rock, 125.9 miles southwest of where my dear mother was born in Walnut Ridge.   
   Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm, and specialized in the exciting field of patent infringement and intellectual property law.
   In 1977, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a state level alliance with the Children's Defense Fund.
   She had worked as field operations director in Indiana for Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid in 1976, and after he won, as so often is the case in politics, she was rewarded by being appointed to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation (a publicly funded, 501(c)  non-profit corporation established by the United States Congress, and based in Washington D.C. It’s stated goal is to ensure equal access to justice under the law for all Americans by providing civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it. It survives to this day despite Republican efforts to defund it), for which she served from1978 until the end of 1981.
   She was doing other stuff as well, you know, keeping busy and all.
   And so was her husband. 
   Bill Clinton won the election for Governor of Arkansas in November of 1978, and Hillary became First lady,  in January of 1979. That would be her title for twelve years (1979–1981, 1983–1992).  
   While First lady Hillary became the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm. One has to make good use of the time given to you, you know. From 1978 until she became First Lady of the United States in 1993 she enjoyed a higher salary than Bill, which is another reason to hate lawyers.
   Hillary also made a pile of money trading cow futures contracts (a standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell a specified asset of standardized quantity and quality for a price agreed upon today (the futures price) with delivery and payment occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date, making it a type of derivative instrument, in this instance, involving cows. Hillary’s initial $1,000 investment had generated nearly $100,000 in ten months). 
   This was all legal, and all, but would become one of the so-called controversies that would haunt, or trouble, the Clinton Presidency, (like their investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation real estate venture with Jim and Susan McDougal) due to the douchiness of Republicans when a Democrat is in the White House (President Obama is experiencing that douchiness as I type this, but a more severe form as their is also ill-disguised racism involved). 
   On February 27th, 1980, Hillary gave birth to a small female infant, who they named Chelsea  (in honor of the American comedienne, actress, author, television host, writer and producer, Chelsea  Handler, who oddly enough was only 5 years old at the time).
   In November 1980, Bill was defeated in his bid for reelection for Governor. 
   But he would return after winning the 1982 election (in 1984 the gubernatorial term would increase to 4 years).
   Hillary began to use “Clinton,” as her surname during the campaign, or “Mrs. Bill Clinton," for political reasons (Bill’s advisors thought that the use of her maiden name was one of the factors that caused his 1980 loss. She has never legally changed her last name from Rodham). 
   Hillary served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services (1988–1992),  and the Children's Defense Fund (as chair, 1986–1992). She also served on the boards of for-profit corporations, some of them quite prominent, like TCBY (now Country's Best Yogurt, formerly This Can't Be Yogurt. A U.S.-based chain of frozen yogurt stores), from 1985 to 1992, Wal-Mart Stores (she was the first woman to serve on the Wal-Mart board, after the company’s founder, Sam Walton, was pressured to add one. Once established, she pushed successfully for the company to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. Unfortunately she was unable to help get Wal-Mart workers a living wage) from 1986 to 1992, and Lafarge (a French industrial company specializing in cement, construction aggregates, and concrete (in general terms, the word cement refers to any kind of binder that tightly holds other materials together. Concrete, on the other hand, is a mixture of materials like sand, gravel, and small rocks combined with any type of cement and water) from 1990 to 1992.
   In 1988 and 1991, The National Law Journal named her as one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in America.
   Hillary stepped into the national spotlight yet again after her husband became a candidate for President of the United States in 1992.  
   It was during this campaign that the first rumors of Bill’s possible infidelity came to light, involving Gennifer Flowers, a model and actress (in 1998 Clinton testified under oath that he had sexual relations with Ms. Flowers. Men! I’ll never understand them). There would be other instances such as this.
   During the campaign he denied the allegations. In other words he lied. 
   I don’t see why that would come as a surprise to anybody. He’s a politician. Lying is in the job description.
   And it has been said that that particular lie saved his campaign. 
   And Bill Clinton won the presidency and took office in January 1993. 
    Hillary Rodham Clinton became the First Lady of the United States, and stated she would be using that form of her name from now on.     
   And she has!
   In January 1993, the President appointed Hillary to head the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, in the hopes of repeating her success in education reform back in Arkansas. The task forces recommendations became known as the Clinton health care plan, or "Hillarycare," I s__t you not! A comprehensive proposal that would require employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations throughout the nation. 
   You may not believe this, dear readers, but some didn’t want this to come about, and were vehemently against it’s implementation. Who would be against revising a tired and inefficient health care system that was costing the nation and public more and more dollars each passing year, and providing less, and less service. Nobody sane would. So it was the Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and the health insurance industry (which stood to lose money if it was put into effect) who opposed it.
   Anyway, Hillary said this:
   “Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings. Millions more are locked into the jobs they have now just because they or someone in their family has once been sick and they have what is called the preexisting condition. And on any given day, over thirty seven million Americans—most of them working people and their little children—have no health insurance at all. And in spite of all this, our medical bills are growing at over twice the rate of inflation, and the United States spends over a third more of its income on health care than any other nation on Earth.”
   Her leading role in this project was unprecedented for a First Lady, but as we all know by now, she’s very hyperactive.
   And of course the plan was defeated. Opposition to it was initiated by the major conservative penis head, William Kristol, who maintains a remarkable record on being wrong on just about everything. I mean really, it’s extraordinary. Let Rachel Maddow extrapolate.  
   His policy group Project for the Republican Future, which is widely credited with orchestrating the plan's ultimate defeat through a series of now legendary "policy memos" faxed to Republican leaders, even though both chambers of Congress had a Democratic majority.
   The plan critics argued, was too bureaucratic and restrictive of patient choice, whatever that means. The holes of ass at the Heritage Foundation argued that "the Clinton Administration is imposing a top-down, command-and-control system of global budgets and premium caps, a super-intending National Health Board and a vast system of government sponsored regional alliances, along with a panoply of advisory boards, panels, and councils, interlaced with the expanded operations of the agencies of Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, issuing innumerable rules, regulations, guidelines, and standards." 
   Yeah.. so what’s your point?
   Democrats, God bless em, acted like wimpy little babies, which isn’t unusual for them, and didn’t back their President. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated, "there is no health care crisis, there is an insurance crisis." and "anyone who thinks [the Clinton health care plan] can work in the real world as presently written isn't living in it." 
   Democrats in Congress offered a number of plans of their own, which they never took action on. The Clinton Plan did not receive enough support for a floor vote in either the House or the Senate and was abandoned in September of 1994. 
   It would be another 16 years before health care reform was attempted again, but that time it passed.
   Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and the health insurance industry didn’t like it very much then either. They were hopping mad about it actually.
   Hopping mad.
   They said it would ruin the nation, but they’re always saying stuff like that when they don’t like something. They tend to exaggerate the negative. 
   The nation’s still here as far as I can tell.
   Yeap, I just looked out of my window. Still there!
   But life goes on.
   Hillary, along with Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch, was one of the major advocates for the Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, or (CHIP), a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses, despite the future Jenny McCarthy, and mammograms for detection of  breast cancer in older women, coverage provided by Medicare. She worked with the National Institutes of increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma. She  investigated reports of a peculiar illness that was affecting veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome. She helped  create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice, along with Attorney General Janet Reno, in 1997. She utilized the White House Kitchen to make a hell of a Azteca Chicken Chile Fajita Burrito for the weekly Burrito Night. She initiated and advocated the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as First Lady.   
   As we’ve seen, Hillary keeps herself busy.
   Like running for the United States Senate. 
   Well it’s better than crochet I guess (not that I have anything against those who crochet. I have at least one friend who is constantly crocheting, and she’s wonderful at it (Benita). As a matter of fact I wish I had one of her masterpieces here with me right now so I could fondle it). 
    In September of 1999, Hillary became the first First Lady of the United States to be a candidate for an elected office, Senator for the great state of New York.    
   It is an American tradition to actually live in the state that you’re running for Senator. Accordingly, and planning ahead, the Clintons purchased a home in the Quaker town of Chappaqua, New York (41° 9′ 32″ N, 73° 46′ 20″ W 41.158889, -73.772222), north of New York City, in September of 1999.  
   Her opponent was Rep. Rick Lazio, of New York's 2nd congressional district. The combined campaigns spent a record $90 million (American), and Hillary prevailed.  She won the election on November 7th, 2000 (while still the First Lady, of which she would remain until January 20th, of 2001), with 55 percent of the vote to Lazio's 43 percent. She was sworn in as United States Senator on January 3, 2001. 
   Hillary served on five Senate committees: Committee on Budget (2001–2002), Committee on Armed Services (since 2003), Committee on Environment and Public Works (since 2001),Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (since 2001) and Special Committee on Aging. She was also a Commissioner of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (since 2001). 
   After the attacks of September 11th, 2001, along with New York's senior Senator, Chuck Schumer, she was instrumental in securing $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center’s  redevelopment.    
   Hillary strongly supported the 2001 U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan, stating it was a chance to combat terrorism while improving the lives of Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban government. Laudable goals. 
   Unfortunately, I’m sure she felt pressured under all of the patriotic ferver the Bush administration was stirring up in the country, to vote in favor of the October 2002 Iraq War Resolution, which authorized Bush to use military force against Iraq, a decision she would later come to regret during her 2008 bid for the presidency.
   Senator Hillary made the right choices when she voted against Bush's two major tax cut proposals, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (who cuts taxes when the country is at war? Republicans. Alright, granted we weren’t at war yet when the 2001 Act was signed into law, but we were in 2003, and knowing that taxes had already been cut, to cut them again doubled down on the mistake of lowering taxes and increasing spending, taking a budget surplus Clinton (Bill) had graciously left him, and turning it into a deficit ASAP. Those at the Heritage Foundation claimed that the cuts would result in the complete elimination of the U.S. national debt by fiscal year 2010, and they were right... if you didn’t count the $13,561,623,030,891.79 the government owed. As Bugs Bunny would say, “What maroooons!”). 
   She also voted against the 2005 confirmation of John G. Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States and the 2006 confirmation of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, and as we now know through decisions like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and  Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, she made the right decisions.
   Hillary was reelected as Senator in 2006. 
   Her memoirs, “Living History,”  were published in 2003, and sold over 3 million copies both in the U.S. and abroad. 
   When Bill required immediate heart surgery in October of 2004, Hillary of course canceled her public schedule to be with him. 
   Some say, not me, but some, that Hillary was considering a run for the presidency in 2008 since at least October of 2002. 
   It’s good to plan ahead. 
   On January 20th, 2007, she announced that she was forming an exploratory committee and filed with the Federal Election Commission to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party. She then began raising money and campaign activities. 
   And according to the polls taken at the time, Hillary was the front runner on the Democratic side, until that rascal Barack Obama pulled close to or even with her.
   “Solutions for America!” was her campaign slogan. 
   In hindsight, it was a fairly sucky slogan.
   She won the popular vote in the Nevada Democratic Caucus (50.8% to Obama’s  45.1%), However Obama ended up receiving 14 national delegates compared to Hillary’s 11. I don’t know why. 
   Hillary then lost by a large margin in South Carolina.  On Super Tuesday, she won the most populous states such as California (I voted for you Hillary!) and New York, while Barack won more states. The two gained a nearly equal number of delegates and a nearly equal share of the total popular vote. 
   Hillary then lost the next eleven caucuses and primaries to Obama, and lost the overall delegate lead for the first time. 
   On March 4th, Obama’s consecutive wins increased to twelve when Vermont went his way, and then Hillary broke her string of losses with wins in the Rhode Island, Ohio, and in the Texas primaries.
   But then lost in Wyoming, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon, and won in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico and South Dakota. 
   On the final day of primaries on June 3rd, 2008, Barack had gained enough pledged, and super-delegates to become the nominee, and Hillary suspended her campaign on June 7, 2008 and endorsed Obama.
   And she’s hated him with the intensity of a white hot sun ever since. 
   During the general election of 2008, Barack asked Hillary if she would become his Secretary of State. At first she was very reluctant, like when Bill asked her to marry him. But like the marriage proposal, she eventually gave in, and on November 20th told him she would accept the position. 
    On January 21st, 2009, she was confirmed by the full Senate in a vote of 94–2. Hillary took the oath of office for Secretary of State and resigned from the Senate that very same day. She became the first former First Lady to serve in the United States Cabinet, making it very hard for future First Ladies to get in the Guinness Book of World Records on many fronts.
   Secretary Clinton, already well traveled when she was First Lady (she had traveled to 79 countries during that time, breaking another record which was held by Pat Nixon), made trips to cities and countries like Manama, Bahrain, Bishkek, Glubbdubdrib, Kyrgyzstan, Astana, Kazakhstan, Melbourne, Australia, Christchurch, New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Pristina, Kosovo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Islamabad, Pakistan (twice), Lilliput and Blefuscu, Tbilisi, Georgia, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Doha, Qatar, Manila, Philippines, Lahore, Pakistan, Moscow, Russia, Abuja, Nigeria, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nairobi, Kenya, Bangkok, Laputa, Thailand, New Delhi, India, Mumbai, India, Baghdad, Iraq, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Monterrey, Mexico, Brussels, Belgium,  Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan.
   After her resignation as Secretary of State on January 21st, 2009, Hillary has continued to be very active. 
   Of course! She’s Hillary Clinton.
   In a July 15th, 2009, speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, she said this “We are determined to channel the currents of change toward a world free of violent extremism, nuclear weapons, global warming, poverty, and abuses of human rights, and above all, a world in which more people in more places can live up to their God-given potential.” 
   On July 31st, 2010, Chelsea married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky (oh you just know she’‘d marry some creepy investment banker, or something. A plumber, or proctologist didn’t stand a chance. And that’s not a criticism. Her parents are politicians for goodness sake! I just advocate for  plumbers and proctologists, or any profession that starts with the letter ”P” (except  politicians) ). 
   In December of 2012, Hillary was hospitalized for a few days for treatment of a blood clot in her right transverse venous sinus (an area in the lower part of the brain). The clot, which caused no immediate neurological injury, was treated with anticoagulant (blood thinners) medication, and she has made a full recovery.
   Republican political consultant and pasty faced dip shit, Karl Rove was worried about her
   On September 26th, 2014, Hillary became a first-time grandmother when daughter Chelsea gave birth to Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.
    Discussing life after 60 in 2007,  she has said, “"Like a lot of people, I have gotten more patient, I have a better sense of what's really important in life. I'm not as, shall we say, workaholic, even though I work hard, it's not all-consuming. I just feel like I have a much more balanced view of life."
   "I'm lucky that I've got a good stamina," she added. "I try to take care of myself. It's much harder on the road [since] there's too much junk food and temptation around. I don't exercise as much as I did before I got into the real heat of the presidential campaign, but I try to get out and walk."
   Walking. Hillary and I have that in common.
   On aging, “I do lose friends all the time," she said. "I realize that is a part of my growing older along with them." Her dearest Arkansas friend, Diane Blair, died of lung cancer in 2000 at the age of 61. "I am someone who believes that death is part of life. I don't have any fear of it, I don't have any anxiety about it. I just want to live every day to the best that I can."   
   I share a similar attitude concerning death, but more like Woody Allen, “I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
   Is this the end of the story? Hardly.
   Although she hasn’t declared yet, there is a good chance that if she wants it, the candidacy for Democratic nominee to become the next President of the United States seems to be hers.
   “Clinton was the top choice of 64 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. She showed strong appeal among virtually every demographic and political group.” -McClatchy, October 3, 2014
   In an August 15th McClatchy-Marist poll, “In the new survey, the former secretary of state outpaces Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., by seven points, 48 to 41 percent... Against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Clinton holds on to a seven point lead, 48 to 41 percent... And matched against Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Clinton earns 48 percent to Paul's 42 percent.”
   The poll also went on to say her leads were diminishing, yet if potential candidates like New Jersey Governor Christie keeps making statements like he’s tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I’ll continue to bet on Hillary. 
   Some ardently object to her returning to the White House. Even so-called liberals.
   Harper Magazine’s, Doug Henwood, a longtime progressive economics writer, editor and publisher, wrote recently, “What Hillary will deliver, then, is more of the same. And that shouldn’t surprise us,” Henwood writes, saying the country would be far better served by anyone but Hillary the hawk, Hillary the centrist, Hillary the corporatist, and Hillary the appendage of Bill. “Today we desperately need a new political economy—one that features a more equal distribution of income, investment in our rotting social and physical infrastructure, and a more humane ethic. We also need a judicious foreign policy, and a commander-in-chief who will resist the instant gratification of air strikes and rhetorical bluster."
   Is Hillary Clinton the answer to these prayers?” Henwood asks, then answers, “It’s hard to think so, despite the widespread liberal fantasy of her as a progressive paragon, who will follow through exactly as Barack Obama did not. In fact, a close look at her life and career is perhaps the best antidote to all these great expectations.”
   And he has a point. Would I prefer a more demonstrably progressive candidate running for President, such as Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders? 
   Quite frankly no. Because they would not win the 2016 election. Maybe in 2024 when Hillary leaves office, but not now. 
   Would I like to see them as President? Why yes, I would. Still, Washington is so corrupt, and dysfunctional, it is hard to see what anyone can do to improve the situation and country.
   But it’s relatively easy to make it worse, which is exactly what would happen if a Republican were to take the Presidency, and which is why it is imperative that a Democrat, any Democrat (and I am certainly not blind to the many faults of Democrats), must hold on to the Executive Branch, and at present, our best hope is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
   Will she run?
   Of course she will.
   When will she announce her candidacy?
   January 16th, 2015... 2:13PM EST.
   Okay, what else. Hillary is 5' 7" tall, with blonde hair and penetrating blue eyes.
   She likes to swim. “I love to swim, [it’s] one of my absolutely favorite things to do,”
   She's a fan of "Dancing With the Stars." I don’t know why.
   “A perfect day is to end it with my family, go for a long walk probably with our dogs. Go out to dinner with friends, see a good movie, sleep late the next morning.  I mean, that's -- that's a perfect day.” 
   Sounds good to me.
   Oh yes, her name in Elvish is Morwen Ancalimë.
   That has a nice ring to it. President  Ancalimë.
   And all of us here at Joyce’s Take wish Hillary, Bill, Chelsea, Marc, little Charlotte, and anybody else they may happen to meet, continued good health and fortune, and for Hillary, a very happy birthday.
   Happy birthday Hillary!