Monday, April 28, 2014

Let's Just Bot Say Anything

       I have always been a fan of Diane Keaton.  You might say we go way back.  This is because we are exactly the same age.  I have admired her work as well as Diane-the-person for many years.  Imagine, then, my delight at seeing an article  dedicated just to Diane in a magazine I'd never seen before.  The name of the magazine is MORE.  (Or LESS. You can decide if you read this to its conclusion.  I probably will.  You should, too.)  In this issue, the title was printed in bright Kelly green.  But what made it so special was a cover shot of my very own Diane Keaton - smiling impishly behind black-rimmed glasses, wearing a fashionably 'Diane' black and white plaid suit, crisp white shirt and black bow tie.  Making the image even more fetching, she had her hands clasped behind her head, elbows facing the sky, framing her glowing blond hair. (Did I mention the 'chiclet'- white smile?)
       The interview, "On the Art of Being Yourself", was crisply penned  by Margot Dougherty.  It begins, "'Hello!' Diane Keaton sings, walking into a beachside restaurant in Santa Monica."  Meticulously describing a very chic and tailored long sleeved white blouse over polka dot capris, bottomed off with telephone-climbing boots, she allows as how, looking fantastic, 68 year-old Diane Keaton ". . .owns it." (I daresay, I, for one, was happy to hear it.  Indeed, it is hoped that she is the sole proprietress.)
       Margot then announces the vehicle that will justify her article's title, Diane's new book, "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty".  Our reporter tells us the book "is an honest, moving, eloquent and sometimes funny pastiche of memories and contemplations of beauty and aging, family and friends." Keaton tells us that she wrote snatches at a time (And you'll see why I'll certainly not go there) because "I'm not a writer." (This statement  confirmed the 'honesty' aspect of the book's description.) Rather she likes to talk it and then  read the book over and over.  Somehow that statement turns the phrase proofreading into an oxymoron.
       This introduction is but prelude to the treat of an excerpt from Diane's book.  Unfortunately it speaks for itself and presumably in its final draft order. The sample begins with a shopping list of qualities that Diane admires in women: outspoken, eccentric, funny, flawed, inappropriate, sassy, strong, brilliant and having their own style or stamp are among them.  Perhaps, by way of illustration, this olio leads into a discussion of a shared experience Diane had with her daughter, Dexter.
       Reading a story, "Top 10 Female Celebrities Who Are Ugly No Matter What Hollywood Says", Dexter was shocked to see that number five was Diane Keaton.  The article author granted that she (Diane) was "old as dirt" but pointed out she was ugly even when young in the film The Godfather.  Diane immediately went to the mirror and reminded herself sternly of the many blessings, friends, family and gifts that she had. Along with her ability to "think, to a point. . .", she could see - "the gift that keeps giving".  By way of example, Diane tells us that seeing "is far more enriching than being seen." An odd comment to be made by a woman whose career is defined by the latter.  Don't you think?
       Diane then shares the fact that the favorite part of her body is her eyes.  She then quickly clarifies, explaining that this is because of what they can see, certainly not because of their color or shape.  The reader must then endure a smarmy and self serving paragraph about seaside cliff views, flaws that become animated and the "ineptness [sic] that makes you who you are." In an uncharacteristically dogmatic tone, she informs us, "I'm talking about women who make us see beauty where we never saw it." (After that, color me 'kept on point'.)
       In what has now become a typically unrelated segue, Ms. Keaton describes her living room wall as sharing space with 48 portraits of "men I've collected over 25 years.  I call them prisoners." A  lineup of modern and historical gentlemen of some notoriety then follows.  Departing from the mundane into the more dicey, she points out that Warren Beatty is not one of the prisoners.  She tells us that Warren was someone whom she loved in real life, "not reel life" and that he was  stunning, especially from the right side.  She sums up by saying that he was indeed a beauty, a fact that made their breakup even more poignant and painful.
       Moving along to what might just be her book's main schematic theme, she poses a "question for Warren and all of my prisoners on the wall." She is curious as to when they began to worry about the effect of time on their faces, if they worried at all.  After providing a brief selection of male actors who would be considered 'lookers', she provides as well the ages of those still on the screen and wonders "how they are handling the loss." Apparently from firsthand knowledge, Warren, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson have just let it go.  Diane feels this is probably the most gracious thing to do.
       Then, in an interesting bit of autobiography, she prattles on about how most women, herself included, handle the physical 'disappointments' of aging.  She admits to being a senior citizen, as am I (you will recall we are the same age.)  In fact, like Diane, over the years I have appeared as my normal self and have also enjoyed some 'Annie Hall' periods.
I said I was a fan, not that we looked alike.  But at Thirty-Five-ish, this was me.  Most likely, Diane was  Annie Hall in that era.  There have been times when I wished I were as well.  
Of course, Diane has maintained her Annie Hall looks - although she maintains that  "the most thrilling part of my face is its ability to express feelings.". This thrill quite logically leads us to her meeting and relationship with Al Pacino. 
       "Picture this.". (Well give it your best shot with YOUR eyes.). They met in a bar in New York.  (I think I've got that one.). She was feeling awkward and of course neither knew they were about to "make a movie that would be considered one of the greatest films in American cinema.". (Can't relate.)  There was nothing nice about her thoughts.  "His face, his nose and what about those eyes?". She just kept trying to figure out how she was going to make them hers.  (Pretty strong when you consider the 'thing' she had going with HER eyes.). But as it turned out, they never were.  That seems to be the lure of Al Pacino to Diane Keaton: "For the next thirty years I kept losing a man I never had."
       She spends a few more paragraphs in the present dropping names and in on Woody Allen one day when she had time to kill while filming in Connecticut.  (By now, though, she had concluded that for women like herself and her peers - who have been separated from reality by fame - each morning they grappled with this great leveling experience, getting up, looking in the mirror and sighing - being old.) 
       Having been friends with Woody for 43 years, it seemed fitting that the inclusion of him in this excerpt was most fitting.  She dropped in and they took a walk on Madison Avenue, a habit from days gone by.  Looking in shop windows, they also saw those who were looking at them.  After running into Paul McCartney and his new bride, they headed back.  The chance meeting, she felt, was sweeter because it would probably be their last one.  Diane was 67.  Woody, 77.  She tells us she could almost hear Jimmy Durante singing, "Oh, it's a long, long while from here to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
       (Before you get all soppy about Diane and aging, know that she's just finished a movie with Michael Douglas and one with Morgan Freeman in which they kiss.  "I have a list of all the men I've kissed in movie affairs.". She recently mentioned the fact that the only leading man she 'missed' was Matthew McConaughey during an awards presentation.  Mathew was in the audience and came running up to the stage to render her list complete.  "It was so much fun!.  I'm going to use that trick a lot.")
       But getting back to Jimmy.  He didn't have 48 prisoners on his living room wall.  Nor did he keep a list of leading ladies whom he had kissed.  He had Mrs. Kalabash and that seemed to elicit a doffing of his hat every time the curtain came down.  Ms. Keaton wanted to say, "We've reached September, Wood.", but kept it as a thought.  Thoughtful of her, given she was moving on to Michael Douglas
       I'll be 'moving on' as well but do not feel I've "reached September.". I'll never stop 'reaching' - nor should you.  As for Diane Keaton, well, I've not yet read the entire book, but from the odd feeling I had reading the excerpt, I wish she HAD just SAID it wasn't pretty and kept us guessing - or not.  I don't believe her "days are short" but I DO believe she's "not a writer."
Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, April 20, 2014


              I knew I wanted to write today but my last seven days have been rather a varied but jammed dance card and I fretted over topic.  As you may know today is Sunday.  More specifically it is Easter Sunday.  (I say this lest the reader infer that these posts are of little or no moment.  Rather, they do include significant facts.)  On this day, Christians world-wide celebrate today as one of victory and peace.  After a whirlwind of a week, having been greeted with paradoxically co-existent and unbounded awe and adoration seven days previous on Palm Sunday, (having arrived majestically on his ass) things went south as the days paraded forth.  The tidal rapture morphed into popular doubt and ultimate rejection culminating, as these downward trending spirals do -  in condemnation, accusation and mob wailing/shrieking demands for his crucifixion and death.
       But please know that this opening paragraph in no way implies - nor should you infer - that I'd just had one of those "Jesus weeks". It was nothing more than 'reportorial orientation' as it were.  Viewed as one of the trusted journalistic "W"s, it was a 'when'.  Easter Sunday.
       Still the topic remained my "bete noire".  Therefore I relied on my old friend serendipity.  I keep a particular book beside my bed - "Dance While You Can" - an anthology of saws that remind one to live life to the fullest.  (Let's face it, we all have days when we'd rather stay in beddie-bye.) So I decided to open the book in a desultory fashion and let the words on this random page guide my quill.  (Just kidding.  I recently bought a pencil.  Let's hope I didn't also need an eraser.)  Here we go:
VISUAL:  Feet in white Keds, first position, ballet.
WORDS:  I will not stand to the side
                 And allow the music in my heart
                To fade away and die.
                         I will dance to my own life's song.
       This past week was spring break for two of my grandchildren.  With the exception of Tuesday, we had made great plans to have lots of fun.  The happiness began on Monday with our trip to the zoo. 

seven year old Emma and three year old Charlie love animals.  I was told at the last minute that we were to be joined by our best friends, seven year old twins, as well as a third friend, a female.  Undaunted, off we went.
       Naturally, the assembled group was able to move along and view the furry end feathered creatures with greater speed than was the grandmother.  Nevertheless as they buggied, I waltzed.  (dancing to my own life's song as it were) And as one of my daughter's type A dear friends insisted on moving the group along at a steeple chase pace, I paused at will to capture the beauty of some of the more graceful though less exciting animals.
Graceful Ostrich
       Parting at a long day's end, we shoveled some soft yogurt smothered in toppings, into our tired faces and returned to our respective homes. For me, Tuesday was all about Dr. Appointments, errands and rest.  (I daresay I arrived at Tuesday on a very weary, non-majestic ass.)  This because on Wednesday we'd be heading north to Hampton.  There we went to tour the Air and Space Museum and enjoy an IMax performance of the "The Island of the Lemurs", narrated by Morgan Freeman. My passing up the opportunity to experience astronautical gravitational pull disappointed the children.  Stuff happens was the lesson.  Gastronomical pull won me over.  I chose to go home with my French-fried Funnel cake intact and in my GI tract.
Emma gettin' ready to do the "Lemur Hop"
       Even at their tender years, they understood the history of aviation's birth.  Having visited the Wright Brother's Museum on the Outer Banks, they were far more interested in the warp, speed, and drag of modern jets.  In that there was no dearth of the latter, I amused myself admiring the submitted art work of very young children in our area depicting air and space.  (The highlight of this day, I must point out, was the complete enjoyment by everyone of an extremely unusual dance performed by the real lemurs in Madagascar (the 'ring-tails', I believe) in the movie.  Eat your heart out, Bob Fosse - although I believe his was drugged out of existence.)
       All was said and done, but for the last outing.  We went to see Rio 2.  It seemed to bring color, light, smile, flight, quiet and speed together in a lively Latin finale.  In the end, they were always all together.  Lemur music in your heart, joy moving your feet and rhythm living in your soul, life is a never ending calliope.  Later, Lorane. . . .


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bill de WHO?

       How hard did William De Vane work and doing what?  I pose this question not from idle curiosity but because 'I wanna be like Bill' - cantering around the estate when NOT stuffing tactfully delivered precious metals - cleverly packaged in FTD boxes, to my front door.
       I want to be able to smile impishly when a neighbor - as they always do - asks, "What do you have in your safe?". I simply refuse to rely on some 'fly-by-not' saving service when I fall, can't get up and am told to vacate the premises STAT because there's smoke coming from my kitchen window and the Fire Department has been summoned.  No.  Like Bill, I want 24/7, in-house 'angels' watching over my wall safe and me, ready and able to save all that is precious - my metals, me, any pets or grand peeps who happen to be about - the entire Gestalt of things marked "fragile", "Important", "personal", etc.  (They can evacuate the boxes marked "etc" last.)
       If you know, dear readers, DO share.  How did William DeVane get in a position to do 'on air' advertising for MONEY?  (Surely he's paid in doubloons, but I'm just sayin'.)
Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oh, Well

       Really thought you'd enjoy "Love is a Verb".  Of course you could only make that call had you read it.  But once again, or what has become de rigueur, in the wee hours I was loping through Facebook - which is NOT de rigueur, but rather it is the following - and chanced upon my site only to see the title plus a few enticing lines of the piece followed by the directive/info-crypt, "Me Only", with regard to the fortunate potential readership.
       Of course I robotically and manually changed the classification to "public" but have no way of knowing whether the Great Blog Genie felt like snaking up out of his cozy wish-granting vessel to honor the request.  More to the point.  If a person writes a post for her established blog, pays a service to have it managed and follow its readership effectiveness, why on earth would she then label it to be read by "Me Only"?  I mean, a hunter green, Moroccan leather-bound diary would be the container of choice for these personal-applied-to-current-events ponderings, no?  (Don't be shy.  Disagree if you wish.  It's just between "us" anyway.)
       So this evening, as I await a call from my traveling husband whose flight was twice cancelled and although he should soon be in Memphis, he may well be in Morocco, binding or playing it again with Sam, I chose to again spill some words on a page - just for fun/diversion.  Having walked our beagle twice today, I felt her third entreaty greedy and opportunistic and retaliatory, IE, "What have you done with my Daddy?  Hmmmm?", so I've sent her into the night alone.  I mean she is alone, NOT I made the decision myself. 
Do Tell was in total agreement, species notwithstanding.  (Although his commiseration with me was decidedly half-hearted as he is far more interested in the breaking news of some tsunami off the coast of Chile.  I believe he has family in the region or maybe just gets over-absorbed in "wet, potentially slimy" stories.)
       Yours truly will return to a fascinating story about daydreaming and how Dr. Singer's studies seem to indicate a direct relationship between this activity and a serious, cognitive, disciplined bringing-to-fruition of the daydreamer's future accomplishments.  This finding dashes the methodology of old-school teachers who actually punished the daydreaming student.  It also vindicates my stray thought way of being in the  world, introvert that I am, as it relates to my childhood predictions of someday being a widely-read and quality author.  (Thus far, the most significant missing element is a readership which is where we got started tonight.)
And just as you "don't pull on Superman's cape",
you don't mess with a caring, loving, role-model Grandmother.  A readership - so vividly dreamt and pondered - the lady shall have.
Later, Lorane. . . .