Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lynda Wiesmeier, a Remembrance

   This morning it is my great pleasure and honor to give a great big happy birthday shout out, and remembrance to one of my favorite models and actresses, and one of the three Playboy Playmates who I really like and admire (the other two being Rosanne Katon and Cynthia Wood) for their intelligence, good humor, moral objectivity, and compassion, Ms. Lynda Wiesmeier!
   Lynda would have been a stunning 52 years old today, unfortunately, and very sadly, she passed away from brain cancer on December 16th, 2012 in Ramona, California (33° 2′ 9″ N, 116° 52′ 14″ W 33.035833, -116.870556. Elevation is 1,391 ft (424 m). above sea level (at Ramona Airport) 36.1 miles northeast of San Diego). She was just 49 years old, and when she left us a little less sunshine existed in the world.
   Lynda Ann Wiesmeier (pronounced Wies-meier),  was born on this day in 1963 at a very early age, as a small female infant in our nation’s capital, which is sometimes called Washington, DC.
   Surprisingly we never talked, or knew each other actually, and there is scant information available about her, that I can find, on the Internet machine, so I will give what I can. 
   Lynda was an American actress and model. Well, I’ve already told you that, haven’t I? Let’s move on.
   She was selected as both cover model and Playmate of the Month for the July, 1982 issue of Playboy magazine, and her centerfold was photographed by Richard Fegley. 
   Now the above information is special to me for the following reason. Lynda appeared in the very first Playboy issue that was published after I got out of the navy (the significance being I did not have to share the issue with 300 rowdy sailors, but had it all to myself). It was the July issue, but it must have come out in June, and I got out of the service in May of that year . 
   Well that in itself is not so much a big deal. The big deal was when I saw the cover and I instantly feel in love with this gorgeous lady with the bright smile! At once anyone could tell she was not only devastatingly beautiful, but she was obviously very nice, playful, intelligent, with a good sense of humor and moral objectivity, with a dash of compassion, all rolled up into one.
   Now this was very awkward for me as I was engaged at the time to a lady from Australia, who was also very nice, beautiful... on and on, and I was hard pressed to choose between them. Fortunately, my fiance soon left me and scarpered back to Brisbane, leaving me free to seek Lynda.
   But I couldn’t find her, and I soon became overwhelmed with other pressing issues.
   So let’s move on again.
   Lynda also appeared in several Playboy newsstand special editions and videos, working steadily for Playboy for more than five years after she graced the magazine's fold-out page, first as a nude glamour and pin-up model, and then as a promotional model and a feature reporter for the Playboy Channel.
   And she was so much more than the above.
   Some have pressed me to include the following information. I don’r know why.
   Measurements Bust: 36"
   Waist: 22"
   Hips: 36"
   Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
   Weight 115 lb (52 kg)
    Lynda was the daughter of a United States Air Force doctor, and traveled with her family throughout the United States and Germany before the family settled permanently in Los Angeles, where I live. She was working part-time as a receptionist in a doctor's office when she was discovered by Playboy, though she was already working steadily as a bit-player actress and model. After becoming a Playmate, she entered a much busier phase of her show business career, with movie roles that focused on her formidable natural physique (known for the films  “Real Genius” (1985), “Teen Wolf” (1985) and “Malibu Express" (1985) and (R.S.V.P. (1984)). She eventually drifted away from the movie business, got married, and had two children. She settled in Lafayette, Louisiana where she was a records manager in a law office. Following a divorce in 2004, Lynda left Louisiana, settling first in Encino, then in Sherman Oaks, California, both cities in the southern San Fernando Valley, and then in an unincorporated area within San Diego County.
   From 2005 to 2006, Lynda appeared at various fan conventions, most notably Glamourcon as well as The Hollywood Collectors Show and Wondercon, where she greeted her many fans, and autographed and sold various Playboy memorabilia. After a year and a half hiatus, she  reappeared at Glamourcon 43 in May of 2008.
   Lynda had been married and divorced twice. She is survived by two children, a son and a daughter, from her first marriage.
   She is interned at Nuevo Memory Gardens Cemetery, Ramona, California, Section 19, Plot 47, Lot D, and I miss having her in the world very much.
   All of us here at Joyce’s Take will keep you close in our memories with much love and affection, and of course wish you a very happy birthday!
   Let’s end with some clips, shall we...
   Here’s one of Lynda exercising, which I found extremely helpful, instructional and informative, for  use in my own personal fitness regime.
   Here’s a clip from “Malibu Express.”
   And a tribute

Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Sir Laurence Olivier!

“Without acting I cannot breathe.”

Picture Legend:

1.Larry in 1973
2. Dorking, Surrey
3. Young Larry
4. A tad older
5. All Saints
6. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
7. A young successful working actor
8. With Jill Esmond
9. In his first film, “The Temporary Widow”
10. Drew
11. The unbridled fury of Animala .
12. John Gielgud
13. As Henry V
14. Vivien Leigh
15. 1939‘s “Wuthering Heights”
16. Vivian and Larry
17. Larry with step-daughter Suzanne, and mom Vivian, in California in 1950
18. In 1940‘s “Rebecca” with Joan Fontaine
19. As Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice”
20. With Vivian in “That Hamilton Woman”
21. In “49th Parallel”
22. Vivian as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's “A Streetcar Named Desire”
23. Larry with Vivian and Orson Wells
24. Tickerage Mill


   Today it is my great honor and pleasure to give a great big happy birthday shout out to my favorite actor of all time, Sir Laurence Olivier, who insisted on being called “Larry,” and who would have been 108 years old on this day. Unfortunately he left us 1989. He was 82 years old when he died.
   Like many of us, myself included, Larry was born at a very early age as a small, puffy, male infant, and specifically to him, in 1907, in Dorking ( 51° 13' 0" North, 0° 20' 0" West), a long-established market and later railway town in the valley of the Pipp Brook between the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge,  approximately 21 miles from the center of London, in Surrey, England.  
   In 1911 it was economically described as "almost entirely residential and agricultural, with some lime works on the chalk, though not so extensive as those in neighboring parishes, a little brick-making, water-mills (corn) at Pixham Mill, and timber and saw-mills."
   He was the youngest of the three children of the Revd Gerard Kerr Olivier (1869–1939) and his wife Agnes Louise, maiden name Crookenden (1871–1920). His older brother  Gerard Dacres "Dickie" was born in 1904 and passed away in 1958, and his sister Sybille was born in 1901, and died just three months before Laurence, in April of 1989.
   Larry’s great-great-grandfather, Daniel Stephen Olivier, was from a French Huguenot family who fled from France to England around the 17th century, as they were Protestants who were being persecuted by the majority Catholics.  
   Larry’s father and grandfather held prominent positions in the Anglican church; his mother too came from a family of career clerics. 
   His dad was strict, and his mom was his comfort in a household that was rigidly ruled by the father. Accordingly, Larry was devastated when Agnes died when he was just 12 years old. Still, it was the elder Gerard, who shared his middle name with his youngest son, who encouraged Larry to pursue acting as a career after witnessing him in some Shakespearean roles at school which displayed his early talent.
   And it was Gerard from whom Larry first was influenced in the performance arts. He wrote that his dad knew "when to drop the voice, when to bellow about the perils of hellfire, when to slip in a gag, when suddenly to wax sentimental ... The quick changes of mood and manner absorbed me, and I have never forgotten them."
   In 1916 Larry passed the singing examination for admission to the choir school of All Saints, Margaret Street, in central London, which is pretty cool. The percentage of students who can sing their way into a scholarship is actually quite low today. 
   The ten-year-old Olivier's performance as Brutus in a school production of Julius Caesar in 1917, impressed an audience that included  the English actresses Helen Maud Holt (Lady Tree),  Sybil Thorndike, and Ellen Terry, who wrote in her diary, "The small boy who played Brutus is already a great actor."
   From All Saints Larry went on to St Edward's School, in Oxford, where he studied from 1920 to 1924. There he played Puck in the school's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," my favorite Shakespearean play.
    Lord, what fools these mortals be!
    Shakespeare was nothing if not prescient.
   He then enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama on a scholarship, and joined the Birmingham Repertory company in 1926. 
   One of Larry's fellow students at the school was Peggy Ashcroft, who made the observation that he was "rather uncouth in that his sleeves were too short and his hair stood on end but he was intensely lively and great fun."
   He rose quickly from small parts to those of leading man, and soon moved to London's West End (an area of Central London containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues including the commercial West End theaters).
   While playing the juvenile lead in “Bird in Hand” at the Royalty Theatre in June of 1928, Larry began a relationship with the stage and future film actress, Jill Esmond. In his autobiography Larry later wrote that he was smitten with her, and that her cool indifference to him did nothing but make him want her more. "She would most certainly do excellent well for a wife ... I wasn't likely to do any better at my age and with my undistinguished track-record, so I promptly fell in love with her."
   When the play moved to America and was being staged on Broadway, Jill was chosen to join the production, but poor Larry was not.
   However, as Layla Baileygates once said in the immortal “Me, Myself, and Irene,” “The heart wants what the heart wants,” and Larry hopped over to New York to stalk... be near her, finding work as an actor. After proposing to her several times, she agreed and the couple were married on July 25th, 1930 at All Saints, Margaret Street. 
   Within weeks, the couple regretted their marriage. Larry later recorded that the union was "a pretty crass mistake. I insisted on getting married from a pathetic mixture of religious and animal promptings. ... She had admitted to me that she was in love elsewhere and could never love me as completely as I would wish".
   They had one son, Tarquin Olivier (born August 21st, 1936).
   The Internet Movie Database tells me that Larry began his film career that year, playing “the man” in the short film, “Too Many Crooks,” a crime/comedy, similar I suppose to Ben Stiller’s “The Tower Heist,” or Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole in “How to Steal a Million.” There are literally oodles of others. 
   It was a British production that was filmed in Berlin, and took him 4 nights to complete. He was paid a total of 60 pounds. 
   “Too Many Cooks,” was about a man who tries to rob his own safe the same night as a group of professionals plan to do the same, hence there were too many crooks, get it?   
   He also co-starred in 1930 with Lilian Harvey in the full length feature (84 minutes) in the mystery/comedy “The Temporary Widow.” 
   Larry said he didn’t enjoy working in films, and dismissed the genre as "this anemic little medium which could not stand great acting", but it paid more than the work he had been doing in the theater, and he was newly married. 
   In 1931 RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures offered Larry a two-film contract at $1,000 a week. He accepted and moved to Hollywood, despite some misgivings. His first film was the drama “Friends and Lovers,” in a supporting role, before RKO loaned him to Fox Studios, way before Rupert Murdoch got his hands on it, for his first film lead as a British journalist in Russia under martial law in “The Yellow Passport,” with Lionel Barrymore, Drew’s granduncle. 
   Studio executives wanted him to change his name to "Larry Oliver." That didn’t work out.
   Larry returned to RKO to complete his contract with the 1932 drama “Westward Passage,” which bombed at the box office. 
   Things didn’t go as well as he had hoped in the U.S. and Larry returned to  in London where he appeared in two British films, “Perfect Understanding” with Gloria Swanson and “No Funny Business" in which his wife also appeared. He was tempted back to Hollywood in 1933 to appear opposite Greta Garbo in “Queen Christina,” but was replaced after two weeks of filming because Greta, the biggest star in Hollywood at the time, wanted to work with her boyfriend instead. 
   In 1934 Larry’s stage roles included the character Bothwell in Gordon Daviot's “Queen of Scots.” He had a great success playing a thinly disguised version of the American actor John Barrymore (Drew’s grandfather) in Edna Furber's “Theatre Royal.” He broke his ankle after two months in the production as it was his custom to liven up his performances with athletic/acrobatic stunts. 
   As a matter of fact what made Sir Olivier's acting technique so refreshing and unique, what made him stand out and made him such a popular and powerful force, what drew me to him, was his ability to change (not to mention his gift of oratory skills). In every role I ever saw him play he was a different person, a different character. Many actors, like Larry’s friend Cary Grant, basically play themselves, or some semblance of themselves, in every film they appear in. Just off the top of my head I can think of a few other actors who employ this “personality based” form of performance. Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Kevin James, Jason Mewes, Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Devito, Danny Trejo, Robert Downey Jr. (excluding his breakout performance in “Tropic Thunder”), Buster Keaton... Drew, all pretty much play themselves in every movie they appear in. The words and plots are different in each film, but when  these actors are cast you can fairly well guarantee what the performance will be like.  
   I’m not disparaging these performers. They are often very popular, and every once in a while they find a particular role in which they excel and stand out. Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side,” comes to mind. 
   Other actors do it differently. They are like chameleons. They change with every role. They change their physical appearance or stature  (Christian Bale in “The Machinist,” “The Fighter,” or “American Hustle.” Or Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull”). They change their speech and affect (Brad Pitt, one of our best and most underrated actors working today despite his unearthly good looks. Michael Fassbender, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Bruno Amato, Jennifer Blaire (No one can resist Animala’s “Rock Dance”), Parker Posey, Benita Robledo, Lynn Collins, Sarah Michelle Prinze, Annette Haven, Peter Sellers, Mariel Booth, Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a few of the best, are all veteran masters who have honed their craft throughout the years in order to fit into the characters they portray, rather than overwhelm those characters with their own personalities.  
   And Lawrence Olivier was one of the best, if not the best. His performances were minutely crafted, and he was known for changing his appearance considerably from role to role. By his own admission, he was addicted to extravagant make-up, and unlike his contemporaries Ralph Richardson (of “Time Bandits” fame... here and here) and John Gielgud (of “Arthur,” fame), he excelled at different voices and accents.
   His own description of his technique was "working from the outside in." He said, "I can never act as myself, I have to have a pillow up my jumper, a false nose or a moustache or wig ... I cannot come on looking like me and be someone else."
   My favorite American actor is Spencer Tracy, who shared and utilized this chameleon like approach to acting. This is what Larry said about Spencer: “I've learned more about acting from watching Tracy than in any other way.”
   John Gielgud staged “Romeo and Juliet” at the New Theatre in 1935, co-starring with Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans and Larry, which was a major step up in his career. For the first weeks of the run John played Mercutio and Larry played Romeo, after which they changed roles. The production broke all box-office records for the play, running for 189 performances. 
   The theater critic, lyricist, librettist, playwright, theater manager and researcher, Herbert Farjeon, said this about the two Romeos: “Mr Olivier was about twenty times as much in love with Peggy Ashcroft [as Juliet] as Mr Gielgud is. But Mr Gielgud spoke most of the poetry far better than Mr Olivier ... Yet—I must out with it—the fire of Mr Olivier's passion carried the play along as Mr Gielgud's doesn't quite.
   The two men would maintain a lifelong rivalry. 
   And it was during this production that Larry would meet a young an beautiful actress named Vivien Leigh. The two soon began what is sometimes called an affair.
   "I couldn't help myself with Vivien. No man could. I hated myself for cheating on Jill, but then I had cheated before, but this was something different. This wasn't just out of lust. This was love that I really didn't ask for but was drawn into."
   Larry was a bit of a philanderer. While his relationship with Leigh continued he conducted an affair with the actress Ann Todd, and their are unsubstantiated reports of several homosexual relationships with various men throughout his life, including the American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian, Danny Kaye. 
   In 1936 Larry accepted  an invitation to join the Old Vic company, which specialized in the plays of Shakespeare. In January of 1937 he took the title role in an uncensored version of “Hamlet,” in which once again his delivery of the verse was unfavorably compared with that of Gielgud, who had played the role on the same stage seven years previously to enormous acclaim.
   The Old Vic next produced “Twelfth Night,” then “Henry V.” 
   He made his first Shakespearean  film in 1936, as Orlando in “As You Like It,” and he appeared with Vivien in the historical drama “Fire Over England,” in 1937.
   Olivier returned to the Old Vic for a second season in 1938 in productions of “Othello,” and the tragedy “Coriolanus,” after which he would not appear on a London stage for six years. 
   That year he made the thriller/comedy/romance spy movie, “Q Planes,” with Ralph and Valerie Hobson, about disappearing British aircraft prototypes carrying experimental and secret equipment. Larry got bad reviews compared to Richardson. And late in the year Laurence returned to Hollywood to star in “Wuthering Heights,” along with Merle Oberon and David Niven, and directed by Billie Wyler. The film told half the story of the Emily Brontë novel, and he probably did it mainly for the $50,000 paycheck, similar to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” Although Merle and Laurence apparently detested each other, and often fought between themselves and the director, the film was a box office success ($624,643 1939 dollars equaling $10,508,946.72 in 2014) and went on to win  The New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture, and was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Larry’s first nomination. Here’s the trailer.
   Larry and Vivian were now engaged, but still married to their respective spouses (Vivian to the lawyer Herbert Leigh Holman, who was 13 years her senior. They had one daughter, Suzanne Farrington (married name), who also became an actress, and who passed away just 83 days ago, on March 1st, 2015, at the age of 81) and going through the process of getting divorced (Wife #1 Jill Esmond named Vivien Leigh --wife #2--as co-respondent in her 1940 divorce from Larry on grounds of adultery).    
   After returning to London briefly in mid-1939, Larry and Viv returned to the U.S., she to film the final takes for  a little movie called “Gone with the Wind,” and he to prepare for  Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film, the Film Noir psychological thriller/drama ,“Rebecca,” with Joan Fontaine. 
   The film wound up winning 11 Academy Award nominations, with 2 wins, including one for Outstanding Production, the precursor to the Best Picture Award, which was adopted in 1962.  Larry earned his second nomination for Best Actor. Here’s a clip.
   He was on a roll.
   He followed “Rebecca” with an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” with Keira Knightley... oh, I’m sorry, that was the 2005 version. Larry worked in 1940 with Greer Garson (Larry had wanted to work with Vivian in both “Rebecca” and “Pride and Prejudice,” but producers were a tad weary of putting the two together until their respective divorces were finalized. Here’s a clip of Vivian’s screen test for ”Rebecca”). 
   The film was adapted to the screen by the novelist Aldous Huxley (“Brave New World,” “Island”) of which he wrote 9 during his life, often in collaboration with other writers, like this one with the playwright Jane Murfin. 
   The movie was well received by critics;  The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther praised the film as "the most deliciously pert comedy of old manners, the most crisp and crackling satire in costume that we in this corner can remember ever having seen on the screen."
   He went on to say, “Greer Garson is Elizabeth—'dear, beautiful Lizzie'—stepped right out of the book, or rather out of one's fondest imagination: poised, graceful, self-contained, witty, spasmodically stubborn and as lovely as a woman can be. Laurence Olivier is Darcy, that's all there is to it—the arrogant, sardonic Darcy whose pride went before a most felicitous fall.”
   But the film is on record for having lost $241,000, having earned $1,849,000 on a budget of $1,437,000. 
   And Larry wasn’t nominated for anything.
   He was in a slump.
   In January of 1940 Laurence and Jill were granted their divorce.
    In February, following another request from Vivian, Herbert also formerly asked for their marriage to be terminated. 
   Larry and Vivian were married in August of 1940, at the San Ysidro Ranch (a luxury hotel and resort) in Santa Barbara, California, which is apparently covered in oil at present from a broken pipeline.   
   Larry and Vivian appeared together on Broadway in “Romeo and Juliet,” which didn’t fair well, Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times stating, "Although Miss Leigh and Mr Olivier are handsome young people they hardly act their parts at all." The couple had produced the project and it became a huge financial failure for them.
   By this time Europe was the midst of World War II and it wasn’t going well for Britain. Larry wanted to help out and contacted the Minister of Information, a Mr. Cooper who told him to contact the film director Alexander Korda, who had connections with British Intelligence. The result of this contact was the 1941 historical film drama, “That Hamilton Woman," with Vivian in the title role, with Larry as Admiral Horatio Nelson. The movie was produced in the U.S. Here’s the full movie if you have a couple of hours to spare. Go ahead and watch. I don’t mind waiting.
   Okay, in July the isolationist group America First Committee (AFC) targeted the film along with three others, as pro war propaganda, which “seemed to be preparing Americans for war.” They called for a boycott on those theaters showing the movie.
   The AFC may have had something with their allegation as the film historian Professor Stacey Olster revealed that at the time the film was made, Korda’s New York offices were “supplying cover to MI-5 agents gathering intelligence on both German activities in the United States and isolationist sentiments among makers of American foreign policy.” The Senate Foreign Relations Committee accused him of operating an espionage and propaganda center for Britain in the United States, and called on him to testify before them, a fate he escaped only due to the Japanese fateful attack on Pearl Harbor five days previously, and which saved Alexander a whole bunch of work as the attack successfully brought the U.S. into the war. 
   “That Hamilton Woman,” was the last of the three films Larry and Vivian made together, and  their only film as a married couple. The director noticed that the relationship between the couple was strained, with Larry tiring of Vivian’s constant adulation, and she began drinking to excess.
   It is said that the film was Winston Churchill's favorite.
   After completing filming Larry and Vivian returned to England. Larry wanted to  join the Royal Air Force, and had spent the previous year learning to fly, racking up 250 hours before he had left for America. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant and trained as a military pilot in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, but never called into service. Instead he made the  propaganda film, “49th Parallel,” which despite the title, no scene in the movie is set at the 49th parallel, which is a reference to the U.S./Canadian border. The only border scene is at Niagara Falls, which is located farther south.
   Laurence and Vivian lived in a cottage just outside RAF base Worthy Down, where he was stationed with a training squadron. He spent much of his time taking part in broadcasts and making speeches to build morale, and in 1942 he was invited to make another propaganda film, “The Demi-Paradise,” in which he played a Soviet engineer who helps improve British-Russian relationships. Sounds gripping.
   Nazis and pro-German sympathizers thought of Larry as a potent threat to their cause and posed a danger to his life, so much so that the studio owners were concerned enough that Samuel Goldwyn and Cecil B. DeMille both provided support and security to ensure his safety.
   In 1943 the Ministry of Information asked Larry to produce a film version of “Henry V,” which he also wound up acting in, and directing, and co-writing the screenplay. His co-producer was the Italian film producer Filippo Del Giudice, who had fled fascist Italy for England in 1933, and who had been interned at the beginning of the war, but was released in order  to produce propaganda for the Allied cause. 
   The film was partly funded by the British government and intended as a morale booster for Britain. It was originally "dedicated to the ‘Commandos and Airborne Troops of Great Britain the spirit of whose ancestors it has been humbly attempted to recapture." 
   The movie won Larry an Honorary Academy Award for "his Outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen." It is widely considered the first Shakespearian  film to be both artistically and commercially successful.
   Larry and Vivian continued to experience problems in their relationship. He wrote in his autobiography, "Confessions of an Actor," that sometime after World War II, his wife  announced calmly that she was no longer in love with him, but loved him like a brother. Larry was emotionally devastated. 
   He would come to learn that her declaration, and subsequent affairs with multiple partners, were the first symptoms of a bipolar disorder which would eventually disrupt her life and career. Laurence later discussed the years of strain they had experienced because of her illness: "Throughout her possession by that uncannily evil monster, manic depression, with its deadly ever-tightening spirals, she retained her own individual canniness – an ability to disguise her true mental condition from almost all except me, for whom she could hardly be expected to take the trouble."
   They would remain married until 1960, but she was no longer interested in him romantically. Larry  began having affairs (including one with Claire Bloom in the 1950s) as Vivian’s attentions wandered. 
   Still, she once confided that she "would rather have lived a short life with Larry than face a long one without him."
   In London in May of 1967 Vivian was rehearsing to appear with Michael Redgrave in Edward Albee's “A Delicate Balance” when she suffered a recurrence of tuberculosis of which she had been  diagnosed in 1944. She appeared to have recovered after several weeks of rest.
   On the night of July 7th, 1967, her companion at the time, actor Jack Merivale left her to perform in a play as actors do occasionally. Upon returning to their Eaton Square home just after midnight he found her in bed asleep. About 30 minutes later, he returned to the bedroom and discovered her body on the floor. She had been attempting to walk to the bathroom and, as her lungs filled with liquid, they collapsed and she suffocated.
   Merivale first contacted her family and the next day, was able to reach Larry, who was receiving treatment for prostate cancer in a nearby hospital.
   In his autobiography, Laurence described his "grievous anguish" as he immediately traveled to Vivian’s flat to find that Jack had moved her body back onto the bed. 
   Larry paid his respects, and "stood and prayed for forgiveness for all the evils that had sprung up between us,” before helping Merivale make the funeral arrangements. He stayed with her until her body was removed. 
   On the public announcement of her death, on  July 8th, the lights of every theater in central London were extinguished for an hour. 
   A memorial service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields, with a final tribute read by John Gielgud.
   According to the provisions of her will, Vivian was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium and her ashes were scattered on the lake at her summer home, Tickerage Mill, near Blackboys, East Sussex, England.

“In every generation there was a woman who gripped the imagination of the continent. Today is it Vivien Leigh, because of her greatness as an actress, because of her personality and charm and in spite of her good looks.” -Orson Wells       

To be continued

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Skid Row Diary 41

13   November   2003    Thursday   Day 124

   I wrote while listening to classical music. At 10:00PM I stopped writing to exercise and meditate. I got hungry and made a turkey and cheese sandwich, and watched two episodes of “The Sopranos,” both actions highly recommended after deep meditation. I cleaned my room for the maid as she had not visited me yesterday.
   At 3:15AM I showered. It took at least ten minutes for the water to get warm. It never really got hot.
   I watched another Soprano episode, then put some laundry in the washer and began writing again. Near 6:00, after putting my clothes in the dryer and inserting two tokens, I went to sleep for two hours and dreamt of Sherilyn Fenn.
   “A little bit of Heaven in ponytails,” was David Lynch’s description of her.
   When I woke I overheard Mark and Brian discussing the apparent lack of confidence by investors in the mutual funds market due to ongoing scandals. 
   Giselle was wearing a white sweater and black mini.
   I was in time for breakfast today. Scrambled eggs and corned beef. 
   I read the paper, listened to M&B, and watched Despierta America. That weasel Fernando tries to get his big face into every shot.
   At 9:30 I left for the DPSS office. I got there in time for my 10:00 appointment, waiting until 11:00 for my name to be called. I had Mark Twain with me in the form of “Life on the Mississippi,” so I didn’t mind waiting. The office was moderately crowded, mostly with people. There has to be an answer to abject poverty. Has to be. But our current political system chooses to either criminalize it or not to deal with it at all.
   I was eventually directed to the infamous Booth 7, as were three other people. I waited in line to see an overweight white woman who I’d never seen before, and who didn’t bother to introduce herself. I didn’t ask her name.
   I gave her the food stamp eligibility letter that I had previously filled out. She asked if I was homeless and able to work. Yes and no. As an NSA client (Need Special Assistance) I am excused from looking for work. She told me she couldn’t find anything regarding my medical condition on the computer. Oh really! I’d only been here twice for that, once to apply for Social Security Insurance (SSI), and once to talk to mental health. But she said she couldn’t find any record of that.
   I was not surprised. I’d dealt with this agency for quite a while. I showed her the letter from Downtown Mental Health which described how whacked out I obviously was, and a list of the medications I took to keep myself from becoming whackier.
   I started to drool.
   She told me I’d have to see one of their social workers again. I said fine.  
   I waited in the lobby another half hour. The next time I was called I was directed to the double doors. How exciting!
   A nice black lady took me into the bowels of the DPSS office. She sat me down at a desk and asked me about... everything. All over again, and I told her everything... again.
   She told me with sincere earnestness that I had guardian angels looking after me. She said that because I had been able to stay away from alcohol since last May, or whenever it was that I had my last beer. She wanted me to say that I had guardian angels looking after me. She wanted me to admit there was a heavenly presence that was very interested in my welfare. 
   I skirted the issue with great care and diplomacy.
   I really should become a lawyer.
   I asked her if by seeing her today I would still have to come back tomorrow. She said she didn’t know. She would have to ask my case worker.
   I waited another half hour to see my new case worker. RIPSIME MELIKSETIAN. 
   I was directed this time to Booth 9, as well as two other people. 
   I’m not sure if who I saw was Ms Meliksetian, because she didn’t introduce herself, however, the attractive lady told me that all I had to do now was fill out a CA7 before leaving and I wouldn’t have to return tomorrow. I told her that I had already mailed one in, but she told me they hadn’t received it.
   It was 12:30 by the time I finally got out of there. I could either forget about lunch and go to the ASAP meeting, or forget about ASAP and go to lunch. 
   I opted for the sesame chicken rationalizing that I had a lot of work to do and that by not going to ASAP I would have more time to get it done.
   After lunch I walked up to 5th Street to buy a paper, and decided to see if Ron McCree was at the Needle Exchange, which was just closing for the day. He was there, and we walked up to the Grand Central Market on Broadway and 3rd, where Ron bought a couple of cans of malt liquor. I bought a paper from one of the green newspaper stands that are prevalent on Broadway.
   We separated at Los Angeles and 4th. I signed in at Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT), leaving before they checked my file.
   I returned to my room. Where else would I go?
   I watched an episode of “The Sopranos,” the last the library had that I hadn’t seen. I’m deathly afraid of going through Sopranos withdrawal, which is characterized by night sweats, double vision, incontrollable flatulence, and cement overcoatus.
   I also watched the first volume of the Shackleton series, starring Kenneth Branagh. Now I know how it all began.
   Mr. Branagh would be my pick to play Dirk Struan if a motion picture production of “Tai-Pan,” were ever to be made.
   A good one. Not that Bryan Brown crap.
   Of course Branagh would have to be toughened up a bit, and some weight put on him.
   At 9:00 I watched the first of two Frontline shows, one concerned the effectiveness of the FDA in determining if new medications are safe. There seems to be cases of injuries and death following the use of drugs the FDA has approved, and that have been rushed into the market. 
   I don’t know about you, dear readers (how could I?), but it doesn’t seem to be appropriate for the FDA to be dependent on subsidies from the very industry that it is supposedly regulating. But what do I know? I’m just a poor homeless person who lives on Skid Row.
   The second show dealt with the high cost of drugs in the United States, forcing some patients to buy their prescription drugs in Mexico, as my dear mother did, and Canada. Countries where these same drugs are somehow magically cheaper. 
   The pharmaceutical companies say that if they didn’t fleece... charge more for drugs in the U.S. they wouldn’t be able to afford the research and development required to make new and better drugs. 
   I proudly say bullshit!
   But what do I know? I’m just a poor homeless veteran that the world has discarded. Besides, I didn’t even stay awake to see the end of the show. 
   I slipped into a dream in which I was piloting the Nebuchadnezzar, along with the beautiful and talented Carrie Ann Moss, and Nikki Knights, star of “Call Girl,” “One More Time,” and many other fine films.
   We battled our way to the Machine City and electro magnetic pulsed the hell out of those bastards.
   Unfortunately, the Terminator from SkyNet came over from another movie and beat the hell out of us. 
   We had to lay low in Wisconsin for awhile and muster our resources.

   “Whoo - oop! I’m the old original iron-jawed, brass-mounted, copper-bellied corpse maker from the wild of Arkansaw! Look at me! I’m the man they call Sudden Death and General Desolation! Sired by a hurricane, dam’d by an earthquake, half brother to the cholera, and nearly related to the small-pox on the mother’s side! Look at me! I take 19 alligators and a bar’l of whiskey for breakfast when I’m in a robust health, and a bushel of rattlesnakes and a dead body when I’m ailing! I split the everlasting rocks with my glance, and I squinch the thunder when I speak! Whoo - oop! Stand back and give me room according to my strengths! Blood’s my national drink, and the wails of the dying is music to my ear! Cast an eye on me gentlemen! And lay low and hold your breath, for I’m about to turn myself loose!” -Mark Twain, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Keelboatmen Beast

14  November   Friday   Day 125

   “Stupidity. That can be a learning disorder, can’t it?” -Anthony Soprano

   I over slept all the way until 8:15. I rushed to see what Giselle was wearing. Jeans. It was Friday after all.
   I switched over to the Kelly Ripa program. She was wearing pants as well, however Steve Irwin, the Australian animal maniac, was forcing her to lift up large snakes with a stick, then they dumped tarantulas on to Regis, which is always worth watching.
   I sliced and diced my third to last hot dog, dumped it into a bowl along with three eggs, and cooked it up in the microwave. Very good.
   I read the paper and wrote until 12:15. Hamburgers were available for lunch and I took one before heading out to ASAP. 
   Once again Kathy explained to those present the difference between stupidity and ignorance. Ignorance being not knowing a thing, and stupidity as knowing a thing, then being unable or unwilling to process the verified information. Stupidity, she surmised, impairs judgment, and gave two examples of patients she knew who had been arrested and confessed to crimes in order to shorten the trail process, unwittingly condemning themselves to years in prison. 
   One can’t really disagree with her, and who might want to?
   I took the Dash up past the new concert hall (Jazz musicians are already complaining about the acoustics) on Grand, and walked over to Figueroa to see what was now playing at the Laemmle, then to Arco Plaza to check my mail.
   DPSS sent me a letter denying my benefits because they hadn’t received my CA7. Well, they’ve got it now.
   I also went to the library and Rite-Aid, then returned to my little room to write and exercise.
   Charlie Rose interviewed Béla Fleck, the seven time Grammy Award winning banjo player. As much as I like the banjo I had to turn it off to attend the Drifters meeting. 
   They had me read Chapter 5 again. A nice man named Paul led the meeting. He had brought with him members of the Valley Drifters to share their experience, strength, and hope. I wrote while they did... and drank coffee. William presented Paul with a birthday cake for 15 years. I had a piece. It was very good. 
   I continued reading the paper up in my room. I also had found another Soprano tape I hadn’t seen yet at the library, and so was able to forego Soprano withdrawal... for a while. After that I watched Monty Python to put me to sleep.
   I dreamt I was sitting on one of those dunking machines that can be found at carnivals. Terri Irwin, Steve’s lovely and talented wife, was sitting on my lap, while Kelly Ripa was throwing softballs at the lever which would release the latch that was holding us up above the water in the large tank below. Kelly’s a good shot, and once Terri and I were thoroughly dunked, Kelly took her place on my lap and Terri threw the balls. 
   This went on continously for 13 hours and 72 minutes.
   Terri’s a good shot too.

15  November   Saturday   126

   “Name a scrub after me. Something prickly and hard to eradicate.” -Capt Jack Aubry to naturalist and spy Dr. Stephen Maturin 

   I got up late, 6:00 or so. I showered and got ready to go. No time for exercise and meditation. 
   Ron McCree exited his building precisely at 7:00AM and we began walking.
   “There’s no money on the streets,” I told him.
   “Oh really.”
   Ron seemed grumpy this morning, and I couldn’t say a thing to him that he didn’t contradict, while brandishing his own home-grown philosophy and know how. This mildly irritated me to the point that I began thinking that these walks might not be that valuable to me. 
   Still bitching about how broke he was, he managed to have enough cash for a beer or two, which he purchased at a liquor store on Central Ave that was decorated wall to wall with large posters of smiling bikini clad women, that may suggest that if men simply bought the beer they were advertising then sexy females would look favorably upon them. 
   Or they could be suggesting that if women consumed mass quantities of beer they would soon look like the pretty ladies on the posters.
   Which is true.
   Ron and I ended our walk at 5th and San Pedro, just outside Jack’s Market. Some kind people were passing out plates of scrambled eggs, sausage, and cereal. Ron and I got in line to get some. The people giving the food away were very nice and didn’t try to get us to believe in God, or anything.
   This was the first time I had received food in this fashion. I could have eaten breakfast at the Weingart, but I was keeping Ron company. 
   They ran out of eggs and sausage by the time we made it to the front of the line and we only got cereal and an apple. I gave Ron my apple. 
   Ron went home. I went to the Weingart cafeteria for pancakes.
   Upstairs I used the word processor for a good hour transposing segments from “The Teaching of the Buddha,” book. The Heart Sutra and a treatise on Right Speech.
   I watched the last segment of “The Sopranos” that the library had. Christopher and Pauly got lost in the snow fields of South New Jersey after bungling a hit. I wished I had been walking through those fields.
   I wrote for a while, then popped a bag of popcorn. I placed the popcorn in my backpack, and walked to the library to exchange videos.
    It was supposed to rain again, but it was dry when I left for the theater.
   A woman sitting on the sidewalk near 6th and Main asked me to smile as I walked past her. I told her to smile for the both of us. 
   Then to the Laemmle  theater to see “Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World.”
   Quite an unwieldily title for a movie, I must say. Based on three of Patrick O'Brian’s novels, and directed ably by Peter Weir (“Witness,” “Gallipoli,” “The Truman Show”), and starring Russell Crowe, and that miserable son of a bitch Paul Bettany, who stole Jennifer Connelly from me while all three of them worked on “A Beautiful Mind.”  
   It was a pretty good movie, utilizing state of the art special effects to recreate navel warfare in the early 1800s, during some war between Britain and France, probably when Napoleon was being somewhat... obstreperous.  “Sink the Bismarck,” or “The Enemy Below,” 130 years before World War II. 
   Many people criticize Russell Crowe for being difficult (an asshole), which may or may not  be true, but he’s a fine actor irregardless of his personality. I loved him (platonically) in “The Insider,” and couldn’t stand “Gladiator.” And as long as he keeps his mitts of my girls he’s okay with me. 
   It was also nice to see a British navel captain who is not portrayed as a tyrannical despot (as in “Mutiny on the Bounty”) for a change. 
   Yes, there was a hobbit aboard. Billy Boyd, who played Peregrin Took in the first two Lord of the Rings films, and will probably be in the third which opens December 17th. 
   No women though. Not one. 
   Jennifer come back! Bettany’s not good enough for you!
     After returning I wrote until dinner time. Beef Stew. John Clark was down there and we ate together and talked about writing.
   “I hate to write,” I told him.
   “Really? I can write for hours and hours.”
   “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do before writing,” I told him. “Read. Go to the bathroom. Hang wallpaper. Nothing. It’s my least favorite thing, beyond moving and hangovers. Until I start. After I start it’s okay, even good. Sometimes great. Getting started. That’s the hard part.”
   He wanted to borrow Stephen King’s book on writing, “Danse Macabre” (Dance of Death) and came to my room to get it.
   “Do you like poetry?” he asked me.
   “Yes,” I said.
   I read the paper while listening to a “Prairie Home Companion,” compilation show. 
   The radio network interrupted the broadcast every 15 minutes with fund raising activities involving two very annoying people. Even if I had money to give them I wouldn’t, just because of those two.
   I read an article on the search for planets in other solar systems, then watched a Monty Python episode on how no one expects the Spanish  Inquisition. 
   I was exceptionally flatulent today. I don’t know why. I was genuinely astounded by the volume and frequency of these gaseous and fragrant outbursts. Truly exceptional.
   KCET was showing the Robert Altman film “M.A.S.H.” at 10:30, uncensored and uninterrupted, so I set my VCR timer, turned off the TV and taped it.         
   It’s a good movie, although not my favorite Altman film. I’m more of a “Mccabe and Mrs Miller,” person. 
   Then I went to sleep and dreamt I was giving a science report in front of my Jr High School science class, a report on nuclear submarines. Careena Collins, the lawyer and beautiful and talented star of “Sherlock Homie,” ”Twins,” “Born to Run: The Careena Collins Story,” and many other fine films, sat in the front row staring at me, enraptured. 
   Afterwards she walked me home and together we spent the afternoon reading from Verne’s “20000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
   Mr Zap gave me an “A” for that report, and I’ve liked science and girls ever since.

16     November     Sunday      Day 127

   I slept in all the way until 7:00AM, then got up.
   I follow a similar routine every morning. Usually, after deciding to make a move, I hit the showers, which helps to further the process of regaining consciousness. It works almost all of the time. I spend about 15 minutes in there on the average, just letting the warm to hot water slide down my statuesque body. I’d stay in there longer if I could lay down. I could lay down I guess, but it would look awfully bizarre when the other men came in and saw me. They might think I’m dead and call 911.
   I can stay in a shower all day if there’s a tub, and I don’t have to pay for the water.
   Upon returning to my room, my unblemished skin all rosy and pink, I meditated and then exercised. I usually do it the other way around, but not today.
   During deep meditation it occurred to me that I might be homosexual, latently at least. Why else would I have so many dreams featuring women? To hide my homosexuality from myself, that’s why! 
   But then I thought it through and came to the conclusion that there is really nothing I find the least bit attractive about men... I don’t even know why women like men, if they do. I think we’re just tolerated. When science one day figures out how to make artificial sperm men are done for.
   I went to breakfast. Boiled eggs and sausage. I also went up to Jack’s Market and bought today’s paper.
   I wrote, and listened to a radio program hosted by the comedian/actor Harry Shearer, who insisted Richard Nixon took regular trips to Venezuela to get stoned.
   I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.
   I continued to write. At 12:30 I had a mini hamburger from downstairs. At least I think it was a hamburger. It could have been some kind of vegetable matter.
   On my way back upstairs I noticed the little blonde girl giving me the eye again. She’s been around for about three weeks now. Pretty. Blonde. Early twenties. Short. See how well I describe people. Now you can pick her out from within a large crowd.
   Usually I see her in the cafeteria surrounded by hungry black guys. They tend to swarm. 
   What is it with these clowns. A sign of prestige perhaps to have a white girl under their arm, especially a mini version of Suzanne Somers, like this one.
   But the other way around, a white guy with a black girl... oh hell no! I was once called a “nigger lover,” by a black guy due to his resentment that I was paying attention to a pretty black girl. That wasn’t particularly insulting to me, however we almost got into a fight about it.
   There appears to be some kind of double standard at play here.
   Anyway, the girl apparently has a head on her shoulders and knows how to take care of herself. Although there’s always guys at her table I never see her hanging out with any of them.
   Occasionally I see her looking in my direction with doe-eyed longing that could also pass for indifference if one wasn’t such a keen observer such as myself.
   But I give her the cold shoulder. It would be all I need to get involved with a little bundle of compressed trouble like her.
   I watched the video of “Khartoum,” the 1966 film starring my favorite actor, Laurence Kerr Olivier. Charlton Heston and Richard Johnson from “The Haunting,” were in it as well. 
   I hadn’t seen it in years and years. Based on a true story I’m told, the film concerned a Muslin uprising in the Sudan in 1883 and England’s response, which was to send Charlton down there to straighten things out. 
   Charlton portrayed British General Charles George Gordon, and Lawrence Muhammad Ahmad, who believed himself to be the Mahdi, the prophesied "expected one of Mohammed," apparently because he had a rather prominent space in his front teeth.   
   Things didn’t work out well for the English. General Gordon wound up with his head on a spike. And as any Fourth Grader knows, the British withdrew from the Sudan shortly thereafter, and the self proclaimed Mahdi himself died six months later, but in the United Kingdom, public pressure and anger at the fate of Gordon finally forced the British to re-invade the Sudan 10 years later, where they recaptured Khartoum in 1898, and the Sudan didn’t gain it’s independence again until 1956. 
   I wasn’t able to finish the movie though, switching it off at 2:30 in order to record “Rain Man,” starring Valeria Golino, who would later go on to star in the immortal Hot Shots film franchise. 
   Ham and rice for dinner. A nice black guy gave me his portion. He didn’t eat pork. A lot of black people don’t for some reason.
   I’ve never seen a black person turn down a piece of chicken though. Or anybody else for that matter.
   Am I being base and stereotypical? Am I making unsubstantiated assumptions concerning an entire race that are not founded in fact and scientific foundation?
   Yes, and delightedly so!
   I read the paper for most of the evening. I was upset  to discover that Ebert and Roper (I almost wrote Siskel and Ebert, but through the magic of modern word processing technology I can correct that error in judgment without you ever knowing) was preempted by a local pre, pre, American Music Awards show. Everyone else in the United States got to see Ebert and Roper except those of us who live in L.A. It wasn’t even the pre-show, where some might be expected to possibly garner some interest in what was going on at the awards, oh no. This was the pre, pre-show, which let us know who would be playing at the awards, and sneak peaks at rehearsals, all of the stuff we try not to be aware of. Anyway, it was very upsetting. I may not be able to get over it.
   I only watched it to see what my role model, Pink, aka Alecia Beth Moore, was wearing. Clothes unfortunately. A see through black gown. Very hot, but I think she’s putting on a few pounds. Oh well, who isn’t?
   Bulimic people.
   By golly, she is such a true inspiration, and I’m totally sincere in saying that. 
   Later I watched the David Lynch film “Mulholland Drive,” starring Naomi Watts and Laura Harring. "A love story in the city of dreams," according to Lynch.
   Like her Aussie girlfriend, Nicole Kidman, Naomi is just too beautiful to be human, so their both obviously some type of evil Space Vamps. Bad disguise Space Vamps! Next time try looking like Roseanne Barr and Rosie O'Donnell.
   And Laura’s not too shabby herself... if you happen to be partial to gorgeous Hispanic ladies.
   Space Vamp or not, Naomi’s certainly a very fine actress. I first saw her in “The Ring,” last year, and enjoyed “Mulholland Drive” as well, and her performance.    
   David Lynch is certifiably insane. Roger Ebert finally cornered him at the Oscars and asked him point blank what the film was about.
   “Hello Roger,” was all that he could get out of him.
     I’d say  “Mulholland Drive” is a love story in the city of dreams.
   Silly Ebert.
   I went to sleep and dreamt of riding up Mulholland Drive in the back seat of my friend Moochie’s grey Chevy, with Naomi Watts on my right and Valeria Golino to my left. Moochie, whose real name was and probably still is, Daniel Donovan, and his dad Bill, sat up front. Moochie was driving.
   At one point he stopped at the side of the road.
   “Hey, we don’t stop here,” Naomi exclaimed.
   Bill turned in his seat and pointed a silenced gun at us.
   “Get out of the car,” he said.
   The girls and I got out of the car just as two cars in both lanes came hurdling down the drive in the opposite direction, smashing into Moochie’s car, pushing it, with Moochie and Bill, over the side and down the hill, end over end, to the San Fernando Valley down below.
   “Wow,” all three of us said in unison. 
   Naomi, Valeria, and I walked back down the Drive to Ventura Blvd., in search of a Carl’s Jr, of which we eventually found one, where inside we discovered Laura Harring being attacked by an anaconda.

17   November    Monday    Day 128.

   Not a great deal was accomplished today. 
   There’s a sign on my lovely case manager’s door telling anybody who happens to read it that she’ll be gone for an indefinite period of time. 
   I hope Labrean is okay.
   I exchanged my videos at the library and stopped at Rite Aid on the way back to get a paper. I noticed two of the stores managers giving me furtive looks as I walked through the isles looking for various cookies. 
   While waiting in line to pay these morons called the security guard over and spoke to him, who then looked at me and slowly nodded.
   How obvious.
   As I left the store the guard, a big black guy, asked me if he could look through the bag I was carrying the videos in.
   He looked through it and found my videos. He looked underneath them and found... the bottom of the bag.
   He smiled at me and said, “Thank you, sir,” handing the bag back to me.
   “Hey, I know my rights! I’m entitled to a strip search, aren’t I (old Elvira, Mistress of the Dark joke)?"
   “That won’t be necessary,” he told me.
   “Just between you and me,” I told him, “I don’t shoplift. But if I did, the last people I’d get caught by are Heckle and Jeckle over there.”
   We both looked at the two managers who were looking at us. I smiled and left.
   I had lied to him of course. I’ve shoplifted a great deal in my lifetime. That’s one way I got my booze as a teenager. I probably owe the Vons supermarket chain several million dollars. I consider the act an art actually... a skill one acquires with continued practice, and as in all artistic endeavors, one occasionally fails. I’ve failed twice in my career. I failed once in 1982, and another time just last year. Any further nonsense like that and I’ll be charged with a felony, which would be decidedly inconvenient, so I’ve retired. 
   A good thing too with all that’s going on with Mars so close to the Earth and all.
   A note from McCree was in my box when I returned to the Weingart. With it was a photograph torn out of a newspaper. The note read “Someone took this picture of me and you. And it is in the Downtown News (a free paper). The buses are running. See you later. Ronald”
   Adjacent to his name was a smiley face.
   The picture was of us both walking away from the camera on 5th or 6th Street. Our collective faces cannot be seen, but there’s no mistaking Ron’s lanky form, bald head, and my great ass. It’s us alright.
   The buses are running.
   I watched the video of Buck Henry’s (screenwriter) “To Die For,” starring Naomi Watt’s good friend, Nicole Kidman.
   I’ve not seen “The Hours,” but I don’t think I’d like it as much as “To Die For.” She played a murderous television reporter. 
   We’ll we’ve always had our suspicions about those kind of people, now haven’t we?
   Well I have.
   After I went to sleep I dreamt I was with Nicole Kidman at a bus stop 100 yards from Ayers Rock, smack dab in the middle of the Australian continent, where the dingos and babies live. 
   We waited and waited but a bus never came. 
   We’re still there.