Friday, June 24, 2011


You can't go down to the same river twice. At least when it comes to movies. 

This past week, I tried to re-watch two old favorites, "Boogie Nights," about the porn industry, and "The Piano Teacher," with Isabelle Huppert, a great French actress, about a sadistic piano teacher who cripples a student's hand on purpose.

In the beginning of "Boogie Nights," one of the main characters, played by Burt Reynolds, follows a bus boy into the kitchen to see if he wants to be in porn movies. Yeah, right. He says something like, "I just think there's something in those jeans that's rarin' to get out."

What BS. Obvious, stupid , unrealistic. The movie lost me there.

In "The Piano Teacher," the main character, played by Huppert, comes home and has a fight with her domineering mother. My God, what a sick little family.

I found both movies disgusting. So I turned them off. Have I changed? I don't know. But my tastes seem to have. Maybe it's hard to watch some movies twice.

What does all this mean? Maybe we bring different things to the work of art at different times in our lives. Maybe we become not a different person but a different audience. Maybe we should expect to be different and our experiences to be different.

What is that old saying? You can't go down to the same river twice.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle


Oh, what a mess we are in. I never thought we should invade Afghanistan in the first place.

Only a small number of Al Qaeda affiliates, sheltered by the Taliban, planned 9/11, after all. It was not the whole country. That Bush2 business, "You're either with us or against us," was dumb as hell.

Why kill a lot of innocent people to get a few bad guys? Of course, we did much worse in Iraq.

But now President Obama says we are gradually drawing down our soldiers there. Oh, man, I don't know about this.

We abandoned the Afghans once before, after we helped them defeat the Russians. Are we abandoning them again? Are we leaving the good guys to take the heat?

How do we make it all right? How do we make it up to the families, here and there, of people who have been killed and maimed in this stupid war? How do we make the world better, not worse, these days?

I don't know. Normally, I would trust Obama. He's a smart guy, and he's our guy. But he has the burden of politics and trying to please various factions at home. He has to get along with the loony, bloodthirsty, power-mad, delusional, ideologically driven Republicans.

I don't envy him that.

I think we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. At least this way, we are going to focus more energy on nation building here at home.

BTW, I don't see anything wrong with nation building. Isn't that what we did after WWII? Didn't it result in firm allies, stable economies and functioning democracies in Japan and Germany?

What is wrong with nation building?

I think we should build more, starting at home. But I don't think we should neglect the rest of the world.

Also BTW, I think we need a much bigger stimulus package to bring our own economy up to where it belongs. More deficit spending. That is what got us out of the Great Depression.

The GOP is wrong about this, too.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Greetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo: Dispatches from Taliban Country

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Have you heard the grunting that women do at Wimbledon, on those internationally renowned tennis courts?

My God. I heard, on NPR of course, various women screaming and grunting and wailing as they hit the ball. They sound like they're killing pigs with baseball bats.

If I were in charge, I'd disqualify them at first grunt.

That isn't tennis, it's competitive grunting.

When I first started playing tennis, in about 1955 or '56, one thing I loved about the sport was the quiet. It was extremely civilized. You labored in extreme competition, giving it your all, without any noise whatsoever. No drama. No hysteria. No yelling. No obnoxious sounds.

You spoke quietly. Let. Out. Fifteen-love. Deuce. Add-in. 

It was wonderful. No yelling. Now it has become barbaric.

Maria Sharapova wails the loudest, apparently. So unladylike.

Monica Seles started it all, as I recall. So it has been going on for some years.

I say, stop it, for God's sake.

These women are ruining the sport. And men. Some men do it, too. How crude. If they want to grunt, they should ride bulls, or fight in the UFC, or take up boxing. The women should play squash, or racquetball, or take up mud wrestling.

Anything but tennis.

Bring back the quiet. Please.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle



I just heard a report on NPR about tipping. I am always listening to NPR, when I'm not writing or working or sleeping.

I think tipping is great.

When I worked at Knight's Parking Garage, in downtown Wichita, I was in high school, a teenager. There was one guy who came in every day and tipped a dime to whomever brought his car.

The guys scrambled to get that ticket and bring that car down easy, in one piece. When they parked that car, they put it in a prime spot, where it wouldn't get dinged, and they didn't race it.

Yes, we raced cars up and down the two ramps, usually late at night, when there was no one around. Tires squealing, maybe a little smoke from burning rubber. Eee-haw! Great fun.

But we never raced that tipper's car and we treated him like a king. All for a dime.

Later, I worked in a hotel, and the bellhops called anyone who seemed to have money but who didn't tip a "phony," meaning a fake, a pretender. They had no respect for phonies. Now I always tip in hotels.

When my then-wife and I went to NYC IN 1964, we ate dinner at a Greek restaurant. Wine, food, belly dancers, longshoremen who danced with the ends of handkerchiefs in their mouths and hissed loudly. It was a blast.

When we left, after three or four hours of great wine and food and entertainment, I didn't tip enough. The waiter followed us outside and berated me, saying he had a family to support, and he couldn't support them like that. He said I was a cheapskate. I asked him how much was appropriate. I tipped him what he asked for. He was worth it. And I felt ashamed.

Years later, when I lived in NYC, in 1969, three mailmen came to the door at Christmas time, seeking tips. I said, "I don't really live here. I'm just visiting." One said, "You get your mail here, don't you?"

I asked him how much was appropriate. About three bucks apiece. They were not trying to soak me, just help their families at the holidays. I anted up and felt bad for resisting earlier.

In NYC, money made the world go round. Nothing wrong with that.

I've found that everyone appreciates a little extra spending money. Some people object to tipping. I don't. I've seen it work. It doesn't cost much to make people happy to see you. A dollar here, a dollar there.

Spread those dollars around, folks. Spread the cheer.

Remember, money makes the world go round. Tipping should make you happy, too.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My buddy Phil, whom I call "The Real Doctor Phil, Not That Horse's Ass On TV," says he is neither a registered Democrat nor Republican.

"I vote for the person I think is the most competent and the most honest, who gives the best answers, and who will do the best job," he said.

"But" I said, "how do you tell?"

He said he listens to what they say and looks at their record.

OK, but my friend Phil, whom I call "Doc" for short, sometimes votes for Republicans.

I find that very hard to do. I have done it twice in my life, for John V. Lindsay, mayor of New York City, and for Marian Bergeson, CA state senator. Both were outstanding leaders, I thought.

But since then--and that was 30-40 years ago--the Republicans have had such a brutal record and are full of such crazy ideas and unreasonable prejudices that I doubt if I could vote for one.

I do like Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, although I think Mitt has shown a lot of cowardice about his Massachusetts healthcare law.

The mayor of Salt Lake City, the other day on NPR, said both Jon and Mitt are good guys. He knows Huntsman especially well and says Huntsman is an intelligent man with wide experience who wants to make the world a better place. And that mayor is a Democrat, which counts for a lot.

OK, I like competence and ethics.

But remember it was the much admired Republican President Ronald Reagan who was partly responsible for the deaths of 200,000 innocent people in Guatemala during the Red scare while he was president.

Not to mention Bush 2 and his illegal war and consequent butchery in Iraq.

The GOP usually wants tax breaks for the rich, more money for the Department of Defense, and less money for Medicare and Social Security. It's motto seems to be "Screw the Poor."

So Huntsman and Romney may be two good guys, but they are in the wrong party.

I am planning to stick with Obama in 2012.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Monday, June 20, 2011


Lately, I've started writing a memoir about women in my life. The working title is "Women I've Loved, and Left, and Lost."

It's about the vagaries and difficulties of love. I've dated a lot of women, more than 55 at last count. And one of them was an ex-hooker. I didn't mind her wealth of sexual experience, but I did think she was unstable.

As part of this memoir, I'm asking friends if they would date a porn star. This also comes up in regards to Hugh Hefner, who seems to have made a lifelong career out of using women and being used by them.

The question really is about the authentic life. How important are honesty, integrity, boundaries and general mental health to a relationship?

The ex-hooker was angry, volatile, and unfaithful. We went together for two years. We broke up and got back together seven times. When we finally called it quits, I asked her how many other men she had been involved with during that two years, and she said, "Oh, about ten."

In other words, she was sleeping around. I think she kept a lot of men on the string and manipulated them with sex. Including me.

All in all, it was not a happy experience.

One of my worst fears, living in L.A., is that I might meet a nice, attractive woman and date her and get to like her and then find out she had been a porn star.

Not because she had a past, with other men, but because of the mental health implications.

Would you date someone who was a former porn star? Or who had committed a serious crime? Someone who had been in prison? A murderer? A drug addict? Someone who had accidentally run over a child?

Where would you draw the line?

To me, a porn star would by definition have serious boundary issues. Having sex with strangers for money implies a denigration of self, I would say. A lack of integrity and self respect.

I have asked four of my buddies, and they all say it would not bother them.

I find that startling, a remarkable lack of awareness.

What about you? Would you date a porn star?

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Recently, I read an article in Newsweek about Syria and the violent repression of its citizens who want freedom and democracy:

How disgusting. Fear and greed and ego run amuck.
I wrote another post about ego on my other blog: Kulture Vulture:

I don't understand how those Arab dictators get to be such brutal, self-centered, selfish people. What makes a Qaddafi? What makes a man like Bashar al-Assad?

I believe that the old saying is true: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Why is that? Are we all susceptible to the corruption of power?

As my old acting coach, Alex Bruhansky, used to say, "Inside me there is a multitude." I believe that any action, taken by any person in the world, no matter how brutal, is something that any of us could do, given the right circumstances.

It's human nature, folks. But I don't find those brutal impulses within me. Maybe I haven't been put in that position.We don't know what we would do until we are there.

Do we have that here in the good old USA?

No, of course not. The lions of Wall Street aren't greedy, selfish bastards. Are they? You tell me. This is from CNBC:

" the three months between July and September, US businesses netted more money than in any quarter since the government started keeping records. ...
"American companies produced profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion, according to the Commerce Department.
"While the overall economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent, profits increased 11.5 percent..."

Our country is not owned and run by greedy, selfish people, is it?

Naw. What makes you think such a thing? But the top 1% of rich people own 40% of the nation's wealth. That fact is from USC:

So what, folks? We don't live in a brutal dictatorship, do we?

I'd say it's at least an economic imbalance. The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle



Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has been in the news lately, he who has made a huge career off lust and sexual repression by exposing the bodies of young, beautiful women, and recently he thought he was going to marry one of those women. She is 25 and he is 85.

She is young and vibrant and sexy, and he is old and pale and wrinkly. A perfect match, right?

Talk about ego run wild. Then she dumped him a few days before the wedding, which was to take place on Saturday, June 18, 2011.

Word was, she had planned to leave him at the altar, to make a bigger splash in the media, and then sell her story, but she couldn't get enough money, so she decided to dump him early.

Nice lady, huh? Do the terms bimbo and gold-digger come to mind?

Isn't it amazing how far greed and lust and ego can take us? How ego can blind us to reality? How rich, egotistical people think they can get anything they want?

Many years ago, I used to "read" Playboy, meaning look at the pictures. But occasionally I would read The Playboy Philosophy, written by Hef. He would ramble on and on in pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo, explaining his sophomoric ideas about consumer goods, greed, and sexual freedom.

God, what a bore. 

I always thought Hef was a fool. He had all the money you could want, and he could have climbed mountains and scuba dived all over the world. But he chose to spend his days in silk pajamas in a mansion full of young gold diggers and celebrity seekers. What a waste.

Sorry, Hef, now you're an old geezer, and no young babe would want to spend time with you if you weren't rich and famous. It was probably always like that. Hef says he doesn't care, as long as they spend time with him.

Love for sale, Hef?

A life devoted to being nothing.

Pretty sad, I would say.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

Friday, June 17, 2011


I saw a documentary movie last night that made me mad enough to spit nails. It was "The Tillman Story" about how the U.S. Army lied from day one about Pat Tillman's death.

The Army was deceitful and dishonest for months, and the movie ends with those blowhards Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush using Tillman's death for their own political ends.

Rumsfeld was in a Congressional hearing into the trail of lies, and he and the other big generals and other Defense Department bastards avoided cooperating and never had the guts to own up to their part in what was a terrible chapter in Army history.

I was ashamed for them. I never had any respect for Rumsfeld and Bush, but now I have lost all respect for the Army. What gutless wonders they were, to lie every step of the way and then stonewall the Tillman family.

What cowards. What they did was unforgivable. I hope no one in my family ever joins the U.S. Army. Why did the field officers on the scene order the soldiers not to tell Pat Tillman's brother Kevin, who was nearby, that Pat's own fellow soldiers killed him?

The filmmakers never talked to the guys who pulled the triggers. Presumably, they thought they were shooting Taliban fighters. But it isn't clear. And the one guy who was there, Russell Baer, never really explains what happened.

Was it daylight or dusk or night? I didn't get that straight.

Then unnamed officers ordered Baer and another guy, Bryan O'Neal, not to tell Pat Tillman's parents the truth. Why? What did they hope to gain? They disgraced the uniform and the flag, in my opinion.

It's unclear in the film, but apparently Tillman and the other man with him, O'Neal, were silhouetted against the sky. The Afghan soldier next to Pat was shot seven times. He was an ally. Jesus. And Pat was blown apart.

Why did the officers on the scene lie so quickly? Why did they burn his uniform and his diary? These Army officers acted like criminals. To me, they are criminals.

I wish the filmmakers had asked more questions of Russell Baer, who was actually there when it happened. And the congressmen let the military off the hook. More cowards. Sick, our government was sick, through and through.

I wish every new recruit and their families could see this film.

-- Roger

PS: I've been taking some time off. This blog is really time consuming. Sorry.

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I forgot to mention that old "Dag," the only true conservative I ever met, doesn't buy toilet paper.

Says there's too much government regulation. Or, as he puts it, "gumint reg'lation."

He doesn't mind that they cut down trees to make that stuff. That is fine with him. But he'd rather go straight to the source. So he wipes his big old flabby butt with tree bark.

Says it makes him a "hard ass." Then he laughs till his gut shakes like an unbalanced washing machine.

I say this: More power to old Dagnabbit. May he wipe his tough old ass forever.

BTW, I asked him if he would ever vote for Sarah Palin.

He said, "Sarah who? Oh, that phony twit. Hell, she ain't half conservative nuff fer me."

Fact is, old Dag doesn't vote. He won't have anything at all to do with the gumint.

Wish more conservatives were true to themselves like ol' Dag.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Monday, June 6, 2011


I am back to reading Borges again. I love it.

I love his false scholarship, where he creates an elaborate fictional effort to find a lost country or continent that of course never existed.

It gives me a thrill. I am now reading "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius."

What a blast. This book will give me years of pleasure.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle


Today, I was lazing around, trying to recover from a bout of hypoglycemic fatigue, as I often am in the afternoon, and I tried to read a mystery novel called "Dirt" by Sean Doolittle, published by Uglytown, a small press in Los Angeles devoted to pulp fiction.

Uglytown books are fairly attractive, quality paperback originals well produced and hip looking. Unfortunately, this author didn't understand something vital to the writing process: the mind of the reader, the canvas upon which the writer paints.

There are three stories in any fiction: on the page, the most obvious; in the writer's mind, which changes as it takes shape on the page; and in the reader's mind, most important of the three.

In "Dirt," an inauspicious title if there ever was one, the writer did the set-up poorly, in my opinion, and failed to create an interesting story in the reader's mind, at least for this reader.

"Dirt" starts out with the funeral of a man the narrator claims was his "good buddy." The traditional funeral is interrupted by some environmental activists cum maniacs who arrive with road flares and jump on the coffin and give a speech about the misuse of mahogany.

I thought the action was stupid and pointless , out of left field. All surprise, no suspense. But it didn't have to be that way.

The disruption of the funeral could have been integral to the plot, if the tree-hugging activists had been set up properly. The dead man could have been (a) a member of the activist group, which would have made the disruption ironic, or (b) a sworn enemy of the group, which would have made the disruption seem like revenge.

Either way, the story would have made sense and not made this reader throw it down with a pronounced, "Ugh."

There is a lesson here for new writers: Do your set-up carefully, and avoid he dreaded deus ex machina -- god from the machine.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Today, I was listening to a report on NPR about Mitt Romney. Some right wingers don't think Mitt is a "true conservative" because of the very successful and nearly universal healthcare bill that he signed in Massachusetts when he was governor there.

The right wingers hate that. Healthcare? Hell, we don't need that. We can fend for ourselves. Can't we?

All this raises a question: What is a true conservative?

Ah, I'm glad you asked. I have only known one true conservative, an old man I met years ago in the high, remote mountains of Colorado.

This old man, "Dag" people called him, sat on his front porch with a shotgun in one hand and a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels in the other.

Dag grew his own vegetables, and if you even looked at them, he would shoot you and bury your body in the garden to fertilize his tomatoes.

He kept chickens and goats and sheep in the back yard. He broke and rode wild horses. He climbed mountains, although he walked with a cane. He dived off cliffs into cold mountain lakes and swam like a fish, although he hated fish.

He hadn't been with a woman in years. He considered them too wimpy. Hell, he didn't need a woman. That's why he kept the sheep. He had his favorite, Suzie, and he liked her because she never talked back. And her feet were never cold.

He had appendicitis one time, and lacking healthcare or access to doctors, he looked it up online and operated on himself with a jackknife. He sewed himself up with burlap twine. Then he took a slug of Jack and pronounced himself well.

In the winter, he hunted deer for food, and in the summer he fought grizzly bears with his bare hands. He always said if he lost, "Leave it the hell alone." He told his few friends, "Don't intervene. I don't believe in any damn regulation."

As far as I know, he is still up there. "Dag" was short for "dagnabbit," which was his favorite word. I hope he will live up there forever, resisting the damn gumint.

Old Dag never asked for help from anyone, and he wouldn't take it, no matter what. I doubt if he would think much of Mitt Romney or his healthcare law. Not conservative enough for Dag.

Long live old Dag, the only true conservative I ever met.


© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle