Our beloved columnist reflects on the news of the day — followed by a suitably summery dessert
First off, I’m pissed off. If the president and the Congress fail to come up with some kind of deal regarding the debt ceiling, I’m calling on every member of Congress, and President Obama, to stop receiving their paychecks. Everybody should be ashamed and nobody in Washington deserves to be paid. At the moment, I am thoroughly ashamed to be an American. But I deserve my paycheck!
Here in late July, I almost felt sorry for poor old Rupert Murdoch, grilled by Britain’s Parliament. Almost. Then I got over it. Even when he was hit with a pie, I think he’ll survive to continue to influence America’s politics. But it was nice to see him humbled in Britain.
Also: enough with the crap about “hunting down” Casey Anthony. Excuse me — because it’s easy to intimidate a woman? I don’t recall O.J. or Robert Blake needing to go into hiding. I think she killed her child. The jury (rightfully, given the evidence) found her not guilty, which is not innocent. Leave her to heaven or hell. Go about your own business.
There — relax. My three serious thoughts. Now, the silly:
Now, some of you might recall last year’s Mr. wOw post about the terrible sunburn back when he was 16. It’s an amusing story now, but almost required hospitalization at the time. And I never quite learned my lesson. For years I tanned during the summer months, convinced it would finally clear up my acne prone skin (not really) and that I looked so much cuter with a tan (that was true.) But about ten years ago, my adorable freckles were turning into “age spots.” Who the hell’s hands and arms were these, I gasped. So, I became a vampire, slathered in sunscreen even on cloudy days, walking on the shady side of the street, certainly never ever deliberately baking myself. The result? Nada. The spots kept on popping up, especially on my left hand. My dermatologist told me it wasn’t so bad, these were the results of my youthful sunbathing and “Anyway, you’re well into your fifties, how do you expect to look?” This guy doesn’t know too many gay men, clearly.
So this year, I looked at my pale self and I said, “Mr. W, you have only one life to live — so live it this summer with a bit of color.” I still slather myself with sunscreen, but on sunny days I take 10 minutes to bathe in the vitamin D. That’s all I need. I look fabulous.
Summer reading? Alas, when it’s this hot I find it difficult to wrap my head around something new and challenging. Or even light and fluffy. I have re-read Antonia Fraser’s “Mary Queen of Scots.” Good grief! What a story! I’m sorry, you are missing out on so much if you don’t love history.
TV viewing? I must admit, lately I have fallen into true-crime programs — “ID” and “Snapped” and other grisly fare. I also enjoy my share of mindless horror and action films. I did try, over the weekend, to give “House of Sand and Fog” another try. I’d loathed it on release some years back, but there it was on one of my 500 cable channels and I thought, “Oh, don’t be so inflexible. Maybe you missed the point.” I did not. It is as vile and depressing, misogynist and pointless as ever. And Jennifer Connelly’s character is as miserable and pathetic as I’d remembered.
And there are always the “Law & Order” marathons. And a few Disney shows with cute boys. I like “The Closer” and “Breaking Bad” and “Royal Pains” — I have a weakness for smart, hot Jewish guys like Mark Feuerstein.
On the upscale side, I caught “All About Eve” again for at least the hundredth time since I first saw it, at the age 10. I didn’t quite “get” it then, though I knew I was seeing something pretty fabulous. By the time I was fifteen, and on my own, I watched it one night and literally pissed my pants it was so great, funny, trenchant. I called friends to say, “Oh, my God — ‘All About Eve,’ it’s incredible.’” ”Yes, honey — we know,” came the replies.
I especially like the scene in the theater lobby with George Sanders, when Bette Davis, as Margo Channing, ends up standing next to a caricature of herself, in whatever play she is supposed to be appearing in. “How nice for you. How nice for Eve. How nice for everybody!” she bites out those lines with the famous eyes popping grandly.
Summer appreciation: to The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody, who wrote a wonderful review of Marilyn Monroe’s 1960 musical comedy “Let’s Make Love.” (Included in a New York City retrospective of her films.) This is one of Mr. wOw’s fave MM flicks. It’s minor, it’s poorly directed, and Monroe doesn’t have much of a role. But she is utterly charming in all she does — an attractive, affectionate, normal young woman. Her musical numbers are over the top, which gives the movie a kind of schizophrenic vibe. I much prefer “Let’s Make Love” to the pretentious and condescending “The Misfits.” Anyway, thank you, Mr. Brody.
Love to all,