We Need Starman

"You are a strange species. Unlike any other, you are at your best when things are worst."

“You are a strange species. Unlike any other, you are at your best when things are worst.” Not sure I agree with him. The tougher it gets, the more right wing conservative, stingy, and hateful people seem to become. The government becomes less creative. The people become more fearful and protective. If a good alien like Starman would land in Wisconsin tomorrow, the reception no different than what happens here. The Government would try to capture him. Not realizing he had transformed himself, but still possessed other worldly powers, they’d nuke him just to be sure he could not spread his seeds or undefined evil intentions.  When he didn’t die, although much of cheese land would have been destroyed, that being the price of eliminating someone you don’t understand, Barry could meet with him, seeking an answer to the leak in the Gulf. Rahm could send Bill to arrange the meet and suggest there could be a job in it if he stayed, especially if he became a Democrat. We certainly are a strange bunch, Starman!

Revisiting Jeff Bridges movies to understand and appreciate his longevity and better understand my affection for him. Praise be to Netflix. I began with Last Picture Show and In Search of America, but not here. This movie made in 1984, stands the test of time without much stress. Appropriate year for such a flick, too. How many sci-fi romantic road movies are there? Just him and Karen Allen. Not much dialogue; lots of ballet. Jeff  is as innocent here as Lebowski, an outsider with more questions about how we creatures of the earth survive, wanting to learn how to do so. He figures out quite quickly that we operate on a simple plane, oblivious to our responsibilities our surroundings, and especially oblivious to the rest of the universe. He just want to survive and get out of here.

So innocent and awkward, he has no idea who he is as a member of the family of earth. Limited by the words he learns from a disc sent up with the Voyager in 1977 and the lessons he gets from the Karen Allen,  a woman of less than worldly experience whom he teams up when he lands in Wisconsin, of all places, after being shot down by whatever predecessor to Homeland Security was protecting US at the time. Lucky. Well, the beginning is good. Then it dissolves into an amalgam of others of the same ilk: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Close Encounters, and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Bridges, however, creates a unique character who is both all of the other leads and his own whimsical adaptation of a Brother From Another Planet.

A homophobic bathroom encounter seems well ahead of its time. Nothing bad, either, about driving from Wisconsin to Arizona with the Government on your tail. You know they will make it, right.

Not unlike Tarzan, he learns to eat, drive, shoot a gun and have sex, never exactly fitting in, though doing enough to get along and not get beat up or killed. Not sure why, except to satisfy audience demands, he saved a deer shot by a hunter using his magic powers or how he learns how to drive a car, but he does. He also should have given Allen all of his superior talents and knowledge rather than leaving it in the form of a magic ball for the kid he made with her when they fucked without contraception. Social responsibility hadn’t hit the galaxy yet. Now she has to raise the kid without means, ken, or understanding. And what does she say when asked who the father was?

As trite and repetitive as the oft told story is, Bridges plays it with softness and wonder. Kidlike, he just wants to learn as much as he can, knowing that he only has a three days to reconnect with his rescue ship or he will die. He takes her hostage, so she thinks. Then they fall in love, something kidnap victims have a tendency to do, that is just the American way. Stockholm Syndrome.

When Allen leads him across the plains in search of the rescue ship, he looks dumber than the rocks he slips and slides over. He trusts her to lead him to safety. Hell, she did it for Indy, right? He has to leave and he cannot take her-she would die on his planet. He has learned love, a particularly earthly emotion. At the end, he just wants to learn how to say “good-bye.” The ship arrives. He leaves. No sequel.

Lake Smoke

Never Saw Smoke Before

Awoke this morning without the Lake. Later learned that forest fires in Quebec burn out of control, sending smoke southward to VT. My eyes burned during a brisk walk on the bike path. Most of the boats harbored in Burlington stayed home. The Lone Sailor and his gull friend stood watch. One looked for his ride, the other for his breakfast. The breakwater barely showed through, but the islands, NY coastline, and Appalachians were covered.

How big must the fires be to send their debris all the way down here? Lots of people being uprooted, no doubt, and forests destroyed. I cannot picture where the smoke comes from or how far away it is.

Very eerie, let me tell you. Its not like heavy fog, which has metallic texture, wet feeling, and watery smell. The fog comes and goes, aided by nature. The sun comes up. It burns off. The temperature changes, it rains. In the winter, it leaves wet snow. Fog never hurt nobody, unless you try to drive through it and hit something you didn’t see. Not so with this polluting smoke which burns the eyes and lungs. No one  benefits from the smoke. It just obfuscates.

Here, people tell you how long they have lived in the Green Mountain state to add credibility to their views. Sometimes they add the number of bodies in the ground their families have buried to embellish the story. For example, we had an early May snowfall that faked out all the plants and insects who thought the season to come out had arrived. One old guy told a local news station he had lived here for 80 years and never seen such a late snow storm or heard of one. I guess there hasn’t been one, then.

During my walk, a jogger with a headband who looked like a pirate in search of his ship, shared his observations of 40 years in VT and his more recent experiences snowbirding in the Everglades, “seen lots of burning brush fires, but none that could leave a blanket of smoke like this.” No records exist for cosmic occurrences involving smoke from a forest fire traveling down Lake Champlain, but I would have to say that in the few years I have been in VT, I have not seen anything like it.

Dennis Hopper Is Dead

Not sure what movie to watch in his honor. Has to be Easy Rider? Saw it in Philly over summer recess, after graduating college and before leaving for law school. Not easy remembering who or what happened during that period except that the world seemed to change and he helped liberate me. He seemed so grown up and free of restraints. He also seemed so crazy, so against everything, so high all the time, and so nuts. I should have paid more attention to his act. Maybe I would have been better off had I been a Rebel Without a Cause.

Five wives. Art collector. Art maker. Actor. Director. Writer. Almost as interesting as Ben Franklin. He should be buried in Blue Velvet.


Fight to the Finish

Meet Monsieur Pommes Frites Pommes de Terre Tete. I call him Frenchy. Here, armed with a martini and some champagne, he battles the lobsters which the Sharon and I will share for our celebratory anniverse dinner. He has fought the shelled creatures before, preparing them for boiling as a picador in the tercio de varas would prepare a bull, never losing a bout or overdoing his job. He leaves them worn out, but not so tired that they don’t fight back a little when the hit the water. His courage comes from a potatoes natural starchiness and chilled Chopin vodka, very dry, straight up.

But last night’s feast did not come without some prayer and hope for all who inhabitant the Gulf region affected by the oil catastrophe. I look at the pictures of the birds covered with oil, wondering where will they live. If it would make a difference, I would stand in the muck and wave a banner telling them to go back from whence they came. They cannot read of course and where would they go? I feel for the grass, plants, and insects, along with all the little sea creatures that feed us or each other. Nothing I can do for them, either. At least they have my thoughts.

How will anything living survive there? It won’t. And then what happens the next time a hurricane hits? What will the people do? Where will they go? They have already had one bout with the end of their lifestyle. Pretty Joblike, they must be.

Me. Feeling pretty powerless, I am, knowing those I thought were regulating the risk weren’t and those I thought could fix it can’t. VT could be next if VT Yankee fails. Have much the same feeling about who is in charge here, too, and whom they think will be responsible – Entergy, a LA corporation, I believe. Big oil, big energy, big banks, big insurance companies. Its them for them selves. Us? We be the cogs in their game. Maybe they will leave us some crumbs.

Enough. Had a reasonably terrific time at dinner, Sharon being the great date that she has always been. Watched my diet. Not too much butter on the lobster. Not too many tater tots. Some broccoli de rabe with garlic oil. Didn’t drink too much. Bollinger Special cuvee. Some wine from the club Sharon belongs to at a local store. Leonardo’s Vermont Ice with fresh fruit and generic chocolate cookies. We laughed until we cried about something; I cannot remember what. Listened to Monk and who knows who else. Would not have been anywhere else or wished for anything more, other than the safe future for all living things on the Gulf coastline.

All You Need Is Love

Before They Get You

This weekend we celebrate 30 years of love. Most honor their wedding day. We prefer to remember when the romance began. I usually tell people who want to know how long we have been married, “not long enough.” Why count the past when it comes to love? Only the future matters.

I said to Sharon when she reminded me of the date and duration that, “I hope we have 30 more.” “NO0000,” she shreiked. Not that she doesn’t love me; she just doesn’t want to age too much. Not a pretty sight, I agree, the two of us unable to reach from wheelchair to wheelchair for a grope or a handhold, a robot rolling us to to areas out of harms way in some drab facility, hopefully in front of a window with a view of the lake, eating liquid foods through a tube, fighting off colds and boredom. No more lobsters and champagne. No dope. No martinis. No movies, books, or art. No reading to one another. No giggles in the shower or erotica between the sheets. No humor or jazz.

I will take every day that I can with her, because who knows if there will be a tomorrow. Not that I fear the end of man, which would be alright. I fear losing her. No reason to be without her.

I have to say I love her more today than ever. Who knows the pitfalls of life and love with another until one has lived them. I said I would be with her through whatever the vows made me promise. She agreed to the same terms. I didn’t know what sickness or disasters awaited, though I knew I would face them. And I did. Not handling some as well as others. But I have to say I could not have done as well as I did without her.

What have I done for her? Not enough. I will keep loving her. What more can I do?