Sunday, January 12, 2014


I woke up this mornin' and got mah self a gun. . . or so go the lyrics from the opening song, “The Chosen One” of one of my all time favorite Tee Vee shows “The Sopranos” that ran for 6 seasons on HBO. A highly-acclaimed depiction of life in the Mob and the toils and travails of Tony Soprano, an atypically tortured soul who found himself on the psychiatrist's couch, which is something no self-respecting mobster, like his Uncle Junior would ever cop to, much less showing any tenderness towards the women in their lives. Tony's mother, Livia (echoes of Livia, Tiberius Caesar's mother to be sure) alternately pushes and provokes her son and then, when he doesn't see things her way, she tries to have him killed, thereby creating more crises and situations. The show was ever-fascinating and the characters vivid and so humanly wrought that I found myself often rooting for Tony, even knowing that he was a killer.

So much of the human condition, good, bad and ugly was wrought beautifully in this show. The late James Gandolfini brought out the human side of Tony, as well as the absolute stone-cold killer side of him that was seamless and gloriously performed. I was so sad when he died.

So much in literature, and cinema, television and the arts deals with the darker side of who we really are. We do this in an attempt to familiarize ourselves with our inner beast, or beastess, as the case may be, but we also do this, because dark and twisted characters are ever so much more fun than plain vanilla good guys. This is why Superman holds zero interest for me, but I love Batman. Besides, what good is it, if the only thing you're vulnerable to is something that comes from another planet and a bunch of guys who are locked up in the Super Fortress or the Zone of Silence, or are one Lex Luthor have access to and that's it? There's not a whole lotta play for drama and exploring the envelope of darkness there, now, is there?

The best D. C. Comics had was Mr. Mxyzptlk and that was just some jumped-up leprechaun looking dude who ran around making Supe's life miserable and teasing Jimmy Olsen and just being a general asshat, until Superman could trick him into the one thing that would banish him from the planet earth, and now that I think about it, it's just as stupid as the whole concept of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White, The Daily Planet, Metropolis and the whole Superman franchise. But, I'm starting to rant now, what Supey had to do was trick Mr. Mxyetc. into saying his name, are you ready for it? . . . Backwards! No Shit! So, one entire issue of Superman, .12 ½ cents were blown on this nonsense!

This was the original Mr. Mxyzptlk drawn in 1950, by cartoonist Wayne Boring

I don't remember him looking this evil in the D. C. universe, but everything gets a reboot, and maybe this was for the Marvel appearance or the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, which is far afield from where I started out, so investigate at your own peril.

Oddly enough, he appeared in the Marvel franchise as well, doing God knows what; pouring water on Johnny Storm, when he “flames on,” I suppose. All of this is funny and silly, but I've always been drawn to the darker characters of Batman. Batman cannot become shorn of all the fear and angst of the loss of his parents until he can stand and let himself be surrounded by the thing he fears the most physically; bats, and when he does so, he becomes the thing he feared and only then, can he become a weapon against the very thing that robbed him of his parents; his foes, the very best of which was his nemesis as portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, the Joker, and the trilogy of the Christopher Nolan's movies of Batman are superb, because of this very dark take. The Joker is about chaos, and about pitting his brand of crazy and his brains against the Batman.

It is powerful stuff, both visually and psychologically, but there is a reason Nolan hit a chord with his films, because we feel that viscerally. I don't know a soul alive who can look me straight in the eye and say, “Gee, it's okay for (fill in the blank) to take my, steal my, kill my (fill in the blank)” and then, provide me with some pablum about how okay they are with the aftermath. Bullshit. If they're honest, and tapped that well of horror and rage, that is barely recognizable as human, they will be nearly incoherent with the results. It's what causes PTSD and what every victim of trauma or a rotten childhood has had to deal with. There are NO words. . .  for a long, long time, and when they come, they are likely to be something that the listener would rather not hear.

Sadly enough, the release of the 3rd film here in the U.S. saw a massacre in Aurora Colorado, on July 20, 2012. As of this posting, the alleged shooter, James, Holmes, was at first, deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Several pre-trial motions and filings on both sides were filed, as they each tried to gain the upper ground.

Per Wikipedia, “On March 27, 2013, Holmes' lawyers offered a guilty plea in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty. On April 1, the prosecution announced it had declined the offer. Arapahoe County district attorney George Brauchler said “It's my determination and my intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes justice is death.”

Today was one of those brilliant days in Florida and a great day for a walk. I had walked to the Dollar Store and lugged home 19 pounds of kitty litter and V-8 juice yesterday and I needed to pick up a prescription from the grocery store and get some of my beloved rice cakes. A brisk mile walk up; chat it up with my buddies in the grocery store and a nice walk back in plenty of time before dark. A total of two miles.

When I go out in public, I don armor, in a sense. I wear heavy boots, braces up to nearly my elbows, and my usual dark glasses, with my white-and-red 4' 6'' cane. My hair is, long, so is always pinned back, to make it harder to grab. I typically carry my cane in my left hand, because I hit harder with my right. I am unarmed, so to speak. You cannot show weakness in a neighborhood such as this. I don't mince around with the crack hos and I don't high-five the drug-dealers. They stay on their side of the street, and I get a respectful nod. We do not fraternize. I do talk to some of my old shelter mates and the homeless around here who do need the help and they are here. They are unseen and they are unseen for a reason. This is a dangerous place. I was reminded of this today on my way home from the grocery store, and again, this is why even with a disability, you can show strength and balls and get away with your life intact.

They came at me from two sides, in a pincer movement, as if they may have studied Stonewall Jackson's cavalry movements during the Civil War, though I doubt it. I doubt they can read. The peripheral movement caught my weak, right eye first, and then I saw the 2nd guy on my left. They were both about 9 feet away from me. They came from a 6' high shrub that sits on the corner of a Church-Bail Bond-DayCare. I met them just as I was almost across the street, where the shrubbery was. I stopped, short of the corner and took one step back and stood there, with my feet about 2' apart, and looked at them, one first, then another. I did this several times, without saying a word. I had a bag of rice cakes in my right hand, and my cane in my left, and I struck the ground with it, then pointed it directly at the gentleman on the left. I moved my head to the right, and looked at homie 1, then back at homes 2. I made no sound and no other movements.

This is basically my golem mode, rather like “Gort” in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” I continued to look at them, one first, then another; moving only my head. I was not scared. 2 black men. Maybe 5'8 or 9, skinny. The guy on the right had on a brown sweater and light green pants. He broke first. He backed up for several yards, and then went waaayyyy around me. I stepped towards him, now keeping my eye on guy number 2, who had on a jacket and one of those old-style pork-pie hats, a windbreaker, and git jeans, 'hood style. He stared at me intently. I stared back and slowly backed away to where his friend had been. Git number 2 started to follow his friend. He said “Sumpn' wrong?” I looked at him, and said roughly, “Homes, what the fuck? This a high crime area. You 2 gits come out, like that, what you think I think? Somethin' wrong? Fuck” He turned and walked a few steps and stopped and turned and looked back. I was still watching him. I stepped towards him, menacing. He turned and walked a few more steps. I was still watching. I finally turned and walked a few paces and looked, and caught him watching me. We were about a block apart, at this point. I watched him until he turned and left and I could no longer see him. It's a dangerous place, this street.

But they both knew too, that I would not have easily given in, my money, my little white ass, or my life. That I would have made it really hard on them and they don't have the guts or the heart to do that. I will have to call the Church-Bail Bond-DayCare place and tell them to lower their shrubbery, or actually, just not go by that corner anymore. I did NOT tell JC. I will tell Alex. The pair will most likely try to strong-arm some other helpless people, and end up arrested; stupid people like that usually do. The area is normally well-patrolled and we could have played The Alamo Stand Off until the TPD showed up, which would have happened, sooner rather than later in that part of the Nebraska corridor.

Something I noticed on the way home, other than the fact that I was never scared, but was just thinking how to out-maneuver them, which any bright 6-year old could do, was that some kind, kind soul had left their box of canned goods from Church at the bus stop for some homeless person near my house. They are the unseen, the ones that hide, because they have to. Because Nebraska Avenue, 33605 is a dangerous place. There was a shooting just across the street here last week. They are the ones who have no one to look out for them. I know that feeling well. I was once one of them. A part of me will always be with them and for them. 

Me, at home, without the armor. Just don't take away my rice cakes.
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