Friday, June 19, 2009

Oksana Grigorieva, You Are No Marion Davies

Recently, the OctoMom look-a-like baby mama of Mel Gibson's latest spawn released her first single Say My Name. Oksana Grigorieva describes the tune, co-written with Gibson and released on his Icon record label, as "naked, intimate, raw emotion, little more than piano and voice as if it is a cry from the soul". The song is getting a big push from Gibson's Icon.

Can I vomit now?

I listened to the single. The song is trite. Her voice is sometimes shrill and always weak. It's almost monotone. And it was on the Huffington Post as I casually read through the comment thread that someone brought to the front the late, great Marion Davies, another woman who had a powerful boyfriend with whom she had a baby.

The untalented Marion Davies has found her William Randolph Hearst...

Don't get me started, girlfriend! You got me started, girlfriend.

I have seen Marion Davies act and I have heard Oksana Grigorieva demonstrate her talent. And anonymous Huffington Post commenter - Oksana Grigorieva is no Marion Davies. Ms. Davies had a touching and joyful onscreen presence. She was becoming and alluring and ready for anything. Davies found her niche in comedies like Show People and The Patsy. According to most historians, Ms. Davies was truly in love with the media mogul. They were together from the moment they met but Hearst never divorced his wife.

It is an urban legend that Marion Davies had no talent. This legend began with the scuttlebutt concerning Hearst being the subject of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and the titular character's corresponding mistress, Susan Alexander. As quoted from Davies' Wikipedia entry:

Davies was rumored to be the inspiration for the Susan Alexander character portrayed in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, which was based loosely on Hearst's life. This portrayal has led to various portrayals of Davies as a talentless opportunist. Welles himself, as stated in his foreword to Davies autobiography The Times We Had, said he deeply regretted that so many assumed Susan Alexander was a carbon copy of Davies, and that the real Davies was a great actress and a wonderful woman.

There's also this article, Was Citizen Kane Really About Hearst?. Or check out one of Marion Davies' classic performances in Show People or The Patsy.

Ahhh, scandals had class back then.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Subterranean Hardwood Floor Blues

When George and I decided to refinish the hardwood floors, I knew it was going to be big and I dreaded it. In the last six months, we have moved from a home in Denver to a home in San Jose. One month later we moved the bulk of our crap to the garage in San Jose to paint the house and then, room by room, back to the house. Now we had to move all the furniture, books, airplanes, DVDs, and pet beds out of the affected living, sitting, dining, and bedding rooms back into the garage. (OK, I had to jimmy a cable box into a bedroom window.) The kitchen and bathroom were usable although we had to jump over the hardwood hallway to get to the bathroom. I felt like Shelley Long at the end of Outrageous Fortune.

A few months back we had completed the renovation of the small basement into a guest room. This turned out a nice twist of fate as there was no other place in the house to sleep. I begged George to put the bed in the middle of the backyard so we could sleep under the stars but he was scared of spiders. Without the basement we'd have had to go to a hotel.

Day One Bob La Beau Hardwood Floors worked. At the end of eight horrid hours of industrial noise the men took away huge black tarp bags filled with deep, dark, dirty ashes from the sanding process. Day Two they applied the first coat of varnish. Coat two on Day Three. And one final coat on Day Four. Stir in 48 hours before putting big furniture down (read: bed) and George, Max, Lucy and me have been camping for a week.

It was well worth the time, effort, and inconvenience.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Regular or Premium: A Morality Tale

When I bought the first new car I owned in 1977, it was a Volkswagen Beetle, Champagne Edition with a sand colored convertible top. In 1977 and 1978, only one white Champagne convertible was distributed to each USA dealership in those two years. I got one and I filled that car religiously with regular gasoline (which at the time was leaded) until it was stolen 15 years later. (I paid 7000 and received 5500 insurance money. Not a bad investment.)

Since that purchase, I have always filled the high-performance trucks I have owned with premium (which at this time is leaded). Fast forward to the second new car I've owned, a 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X with four doors and a T-top. When I told my friends that I was going to fill up my new car with premium they asked me to reconsider.

You should read the book and do what ever it says. Cars now aren't like all those old cars you've used before.

So, notwithstanding the fact that I write manuals for a living, I pulled out the book I got with the car and preceded to be chastised on many levels.

The use of premium gasoline is not recommended. Under normal conditions, the use of premium gasoline will not provide a benefit over high quality regular gasoline, and in some circumstances may result in poorer performance.

If I were red pepper flakes I'd be on a pizza.

By listening to Steven (who was also the person that told me never to take the first apartment you look at) and Michelle, I have now saved myself, over the years, thousands of dollars. The moral of the story comes in an acronym that is widely used in the field of technical writing: RTFM.

Read the fucking manual.