Friday, August 22, 2008

The Fountain of Youth

I always thought the Fountain of Youth was a spring and if you drank from it you would have eternal youth. I remember reading that the spring is supposedly in Florida, though it has never been found.

Maybe that’s why Florida has become the old folks capital of the United States. People retire, move to Florida, and spend their days playing cards in their air-conditioned homes and roaming the streets at night searching for the elusive fountain.

Here’s The Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach the Elder:

If there’s no Fountain of Youth then what is it that makes people live long lives?

According to Ernest Borgnine it’s not a shot of whiskey a day, eating healthy, good genes, Botox, a secret Chinese herb, or staying physically fit. For 91 year old Ernest it’s sex-with-self. “I masturbate a lot!”

Ernest loves to slap the monkey. How many times a day I wonder? Does he need viagra to get it started? Does he do it while watching his old television shows and movies? Bless his heart, he’s discovered his own little fountain... of youth.

But he’s not the only elder who sings the praises of self-satisfaction. 

Remember Gloria Stuart from “Titanic”? In her post “Titanic” autobiography she also praised the joys of the one-handed (maybe in her case two-handed) midnight marathon saying, “I am devoted to masturbation.” The old gal is 98 years old and still breathing, so there must be something to it.

Can it be that going to the gym five times a week in order to stay young and fit can actually be replaced by a daily wank? Maybe it’s something we should all try.

Wouldn’t if be funny if for every wank you add another three minutes to your life...

If that were true then there would be a lot - and I mean A LOT - of people living well past one-hundred.

One thing I know for sure, if I ever meet Ernest Borgnine or Gloria Stuart I know not to shake their hands.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Exiles

Last night I ventured over to The Billy Wilder Theatre at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to see Kent Mackenzie’s rarely seen 1961 feature film “The Exiles,” the story of Native Americans searching for identity in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles.

In the late 1950s many Native Americans moved to Los Angeles settling in the Bunker Hill section of downtown (presently home to high-rise office structures and apartments, and the Walt Disney Hall). Prior to the 1950s Bunker Hill was home to wealthy Angelenos, but by the 1960s it had deteriorated into a run-down neighborhood, a skid row of its time. Mackenzie’s film chronicles a group of exiles, Native Americans who left the reservations, over a twelve-hour period during a weekend night. Pregnant Yvonne finds solace in going to the movies and dreaming of a better life for her unborn child, while her husband and his friends go bar hopping, drinking, gambling, and carousing, and spending the predawn hours overlooking the cityscape beating drums, singing and dancing, and experiencing the cultural bond that holds them together.

It’s gritty. It’s realistic. It’s honest. It’s a glimpse into a group of Native Americans who are struggling with poverty and boredom, while missing the open space and slower paced life of the reservation. Each character takes turn narrating their story; their hopes and dreams.

“The Exiles” was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 1961 and won accolades but never received distribution. It’s currently being shown in limited release across the country (and in France), and will hopefully be released on DVD soon.

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Favorite Quotation

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.

- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh Moon of Alabama...

It’s always great to see people you know achieve success. Whether it’s to act in movies, sing on the Broadway stage, earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for eating the most hot dogs, producing a CD, or becoming an expert cake decorator, the fact that they pursued their dream is something to admire. And when they truly succeed it deserves a huge celebration.

My friend A. J. Teshin has just achieved a wonderful milestone in his musical career. Today he released his first CD: “The Kurt Weill Project.” It’s a sterling collection of songs by the 20th Century German Composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950). The arrangements are new, edgy, and fresh, while maintaining the essence of Weill.

Prostitution, anti-war rage, loneliness, murder, and love are the themes explored.

Teshin sings in English, German, and French. The CD booklet contains the German and French lyrics with their English translations.

Here’s the song list:

Lonely House
Nanna’s Lied
The Alabama Song
Complainte de la Seine
The Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife
Je Ne T’aime Pas
Le Train du Ciel
Ballad-Tango 2008
Speak Low
It Never Was You

The iTunes collection includes “Surabaya Johnny.”

My favorites are “Lonely House,” “The Alabama Song,” “Je Ne T’aime Pas,” “Le Train du Ciel,” and his exquisite reading of “It Never Was You.”

If you love the songs of Kurt Weill and love when singers successfully breathe new life into the material then this CD demands your attention.

Bravo A.J.!

“The Kurt Weill Project” is available through iTunes,, and LML Music (

Friday, August 08, 2008

Something’s Fowl

The average US consumer eats eighty-seven pounds of chicken per year which is double the amount from 1980.

Is this a good thing?

With all the chemicals pumped into chickens to make them grow faster and have meatier breasts I would say it’s not.

Suddenly broccoli, peas, zucchini, spinach, and tofu are looking better every day.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Me Tarzan

Today I had the pleasure of driving to the valley and visiting Tarzana, CA. Actually I would never have thought of going to Tarzana except that a friend of mine needed to drop his Mercedes off for service and I was giving him a ride back to Hollywood. Did you know that Tarzana was named in honor of Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the Tarzan stories? Yup, the town is named after a feral child who was raised by apes.

I got there a little early and wandered the streets in search of a bite to eat. It was morning and I’d just come from the doctor’s office (physical) and was a bit hungry. Okay, starving. I came across a donut and muffin shop and decided to treat myself to something not quite healthy (don’t tell my nutritionist). My taste buds went into overdrive as I peered into the food case. I chose one donut (with icing) and a hot chocolate.

It was there that I noticed a pay phone on the sidewalk. It looked lonely. Upon further inspection I noticed it was filthy, dirty, scummy. It had definitely seen better days, and the stains all over it conjured up some not-so-pretty thoughts. I decided it needed more than a disinfectant; it needed a dose of penicillin.

This made me think... Does the phone company clean these things? Or does the phone company expect a good samaritan to used their personal supply of wet naps and de-louse it? I couldn’t imagine putting that thing to my ear. Thank goodness I have a cell phone.

Someone must empty the phone of quarters, right? So why can’t they clean it? Shame on the phone company for letting their phones become germ-phones. I’m certain more than a few unsuspecting pay phoners must have gotten an ear infection after using it.

While wandering back the the Mercedes repair shop I had this sudden urge to rip off my shirt, pound my chest, and scream that Tarzan victory yell. I didn’t for fear of being pointed at and mocked. (I’m still going to the gym to flatten my man boobs, which are deflating quite nicely.)

And that was my adventure in Tarzana, CA today.

Maybe next time I’ll wander further into the back streets and alleys and see what else the town has to offer besides donuts, hot chocolate, and a Mercedes repair shop.