Posts Tagged ‘Gemini Jive’

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“Advertisements for Herself: Come Back, Not-So-Little Sheba”

February 4, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
see all posts by MLP

 

No one understood why a decade or so ago, “Sheba,” not her real name, subsequently herein known as “She,” gladly tossed aside her barely scuffed 27 pairs of second-hand cowgirl boots and tottered away from her vaguely glamorous if sodden dream-job of two decades as a professional, um, mainstream journalist, profiling more than 1.2 thousand of the most famous of American celebrities, Oprah included, in an award-winning nationally syndicated magazine interview column praised by some deluded Podunk media maven for her “ability to go up the aorta and into the ego.”

Only now, nearly but not quite completely recovered from her ensuing dissolute downward spiral of booze, drugs, pretty boys, whips, chains, Ben-Wah Balls, capsicum nipple paint, intermittent hooking, petty theft of rare Fifties flea market finds, compulsive fellatio, Pizza binges, Margarita orgies, filthy public poetry performances, sordid swing and swap scenes, bulimia, rampant hypochondria, fetishizing rejection and abuse as sexual foreplay, stalking, lascivious solo shows at the Fringe Festival, exorbitantly witty phone sex banter, garden-variety exhibitionism, and general self-indulgence and excess in the name of art, can She reclaim the books She wrote during that troubled, dissolute decade and offer them to the world for possible publication.

Hard to believe, but, all her life, or at least up until then, She actually believed She was well-balanced. Silly gurl! How could She be the last to discover She probably suffered from a maladaptive emotional syndrome known as “Hysteroid Dysphoria”? Meaning, someone pathetically obsessed with being the center of attention through any means possible: lurid language, loud clothing, intrusive laughter, exotic jewelry, excessive cleverness, peculiar-looking male companions, bitchy whining, aberrant sexuality, weirdly human pets, spellbound hangers-on, you name it.

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GEMINI JIVE: “Annals of History: Begging Your Pardon?”

January 30, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
see all posts by MLP

In the final fatal moments of his lethal Presidency, claiming he was acting to preserve his place in history as well as his legacy as a Compassionate Conservative, Bush-Wah pardoned a rough and ready gang of what his livid critics characterized as “some of the worst evildoers who ever existed in life as well as literature, on the planet, or on the page”– 1,549 past, present, and future villains in all, recipients of executive clemency.

 Among the beneficiaries of GWB’s last-minute legalistic largesse, to say nothing of his reanimating the dead and revitalizing the (sometimes) barely living, were Lizzie Borden, Adolf Hitler, Dr. No, Josef Stalin, Goldfinger, Adolf Eichmann, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Atilla the Hun, Sherman Adams AND his Vicuna Coat, Raskolnikov, Mussolini, Shylock, the Unabomber, Iago, Lavrentiy P. Beria, Margaret Thatcher, Leopold and Loeb, Falstaff, Cruella De Ville, the Iceman, Carlos the Jackal, Tony Blair, Al Capone, Lyndon Johnson, Jack the Ripper, Norman Bates, and yes, even Saddam Hussein and The Joker. But never Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, or anyone else who really deserves to be pardoned like most of those currently imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, you can bank on that. 

 And yet, revealing a surprising depth and breadth of insight long obscured by his image as a generic booze-coke-and-pretzel-loving-upside-down-children’s-book-reading-911 plot-machinations-country-hijacking-good-ole-boy, GWB’s solid, sophisticated deconstructive Shakespearean analysis of heroes and villains is worthy of a Lifetime Chair in Criminal Psychology at Harvard, let alone the last gasps of the Ultimate Lamer, er, Lame Duck:

 

“While a Hero represents ‘the perfect man,’ I don’t know any, except maybe my brothers and my father. Sure, Shylock’s an outsider not only because he’s actually Jewish and the rest of the town’s Christian, but also because he has a different value system. Like me, in Washington, only in reverse. Shylock makes it clear he enjoys his role as an outsider when he tells Bassanio. ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you’ (I.3.33-35). In Shakespeare’s play, Shylock’s both victim and villain. Like, he’s a decider and a people person, like me. See, he gets betrayed by his only daughter when she elopes with a Christian and loots his house of all the gold and jewels. Although he’s angry about the loss of his prize material possessions, he’s devastated when he learns his daughter also sold a memento which was very important to him, you know, a sentimental thing. This shows Shylock’s definitely not just motivated merely by financial gain. Let’s face it, he could have been an ordinary Texas oilman, who ran a baseball team, and somehow, through an accident of fate, or family connections, or the right folks pulling the strings of the election machines, became President instead.”

 However, Bush 43’s misplaced generosity with this deluded avalanche of pardons, exceeding even Bill Clinton’s megalomaniacal excesses, seems to have spurred a seriously contentious fissure in his own family, with his wife Laura tearfully calling a global press-conference at 3 AM on the eve of the Inauguration. “My fellow Americans, and our overseas friends, I’m here to tell you I’m creeped out,” she admits. “I know my George has a big heart. I know he secretly roots for the bad guys, I mean, underdogs. But the notion of all those freed miscreants roaming the defenseless streets of our afflicted nation, well, I swear I’ll never sleep again, so help me, Lord. And I don’t know how my dear sweet husband, who had his own two darling daughters to protect until they managed a flimsy pretext to escape his clutches, I mean, leave home, could ever do that to Obama’s little girls, exposing those adorable darlings to all that potential danger of a pent-up Norman Bates suddenly let loose. As for me, I’m afraid to take a shower ever again. Oh, George!”
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GEMINI JIVE • “Calamity Jane Rides Again?”

January 14, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
see all posts by MLP

 

 You would never know the world’s blessed with a “new, improved” branch of mental heath called POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, would you? I mean, gauging recent cringe-and-flinch-inducing calamity-oriented-type headlines, emails, events, situations we all are far too familiar with lately.

Suddenly the Bad-News Bears are everywhere! Harbingers of Hopelessness! I mean, even lawyers, let alone Buddhists, agree life is pain and suffering — therefore, you pop a few thousand doses of Big Pharma’s Anti-Depressants — and then you die, right?

Well, enough of those Nattering Nabobs of Negativism of yore! Never before have we so desperately needed a cognitive tool such as PP to lead us out of the Morass of Pessimism, 21st century successor to the Slough of Despond. Positive Psychology’s nothing all that new, really. New Whines in Old Bottles, or Old Whines in New Bottles. But it does strive for the Sunny side!!

Call it what you will, Positive Psychology’s been around for eons, maybe even since Cave-Man days– long before French motivational maven Émile Coué postulated in the last century, “Every Day in Every Way I Feel Better and Better.” Coué maintained curing our troubles requires a change in our unconscious thoughts, which could be accomplished through activation of the imagination. Although he claimed he was not primarily a healer but one who taught others to heal themselves, he maintained he could achieve physical changes through autosuggestion.

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GEMINI JIVE • “Book People”

January 7, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois PolakOperation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
see all posts by MLP

 The other week I walked into a cozy and inviting second-hand bookstore called the Last Word near the Penn campus in West Philadelphia while waiting for a movie to start around the corner. That’s how it is these days for books — no longer the main event, now relegated to the sidelines. And I’m what passes for a Book Person. I buy books from, whenever possible, independent bookstores rather than chains. I read books cover to cover, savoring each word. I write books. Sometimes they even get published.

 The salesclerk, a pleasant 40-ish woman, and I begin chatting. We share our mutual loathing of those new-fangled wireless electronic book–reader-thingees like Kindle  — think iPods for books– retailing for $359. You can even order them pre-loaded with hundreds of book titles. I compare them to vibrators — you might think you’re getting sex, but it’s sure not human!

 But oh, the mindless blather touting this devilish device! “Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel has a long tradition of nurturing the literary-minded — Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, even Harpo Marx hung out there in its heyday. Keeping up with the times, the folks running the Algonquin today apparently still have literature on their minds, and are offering Amazon’s Kindle pre-loaded with a book of their choice for guests of the hotel during their stay…” burbles the website Switched-dot-com.

 We both agree battery-powered books seem a crime against nature. 
“People like the feel of real books, the smell of books,” the salesclerk declares fervently. “They like to touch them. They like to carry books with them wherever they go. Books are already portable. You can read them anywhere. Books are, in their way, comforting.”

 Certainly books are the low-tech solution to the reading process. Here’s hoping actual books — and public gathering-places to read them like libraries — never go out of style. If only Philly’s Mayor could have been there to participate in our conversation, maybe he’d have second thoughts about his misguided –and potentially dangerous — threat to shut 11 neighborhood library branches to eliminate some red ink in the city’s way-out-of-whack budget.

Doesn’t the Mayor know books are magical? Isn’t he aware books can change lives, young and old, forever? Doesn’t he realize books are a passport to the Imagination Unlimited?

And, instead of privatizing some of the city’s libraries in poor neighborhoods, as he may now do, why not simply eliminate 10-year real estate tax abatements extended to rich, powerful corporate interests instead.

 Here’s a city with one of the highest murder rates in America, yet so short-sighted as to even consider closing nearly a dozen libraries, which function as cultural community centers. Boy, how dumb — and bogus — can you be? Libraries are incredibly important to people of all ages. They can be safe, quiet places to do homework after school. They can be places to use computers, thus helping conquer the Digital Divide for impoverished families. They can be places to do research, seek intellectual enrichment, attend lectures, movies, workshops, or even socialize. Think about it. And then rescind the order to shutter those libraries.
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