Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett poster and thoughts

Farrah Fawcett has gone. Dead at 62 from a very public bout with cancer.

Here is the way I wish to remember her, from her famous poster when I was much younger. I used to consider myself special, but when it came to Farrah, I was just like all other other young men all over the world. I thought she was one of the most beautiful, glamorous and striking women I had ever seen.

I think the Farrah Fawcett poster here on the side was one of the trademarks of the 70's. It certainly represented a healthy American look, "what life could and should be" to use a phrase from Ayn Rand.

According to one report I read, this poster came out about 6 months before Charlie's Angels and sold millions and millions of copies for 3 bucks each.

And I am right now posting about her, so I guess I am a Farrah Fawcett poster. (Errrgh... Sorry, that was pretty lame, I know...)

Speaking of Ayn Rand, Farrah was one of her choices to play Dagny Taggart in the yet unmade film of Atlas Shrugged. Rand liked Charlie's Angels and I was into Rand (still am), but I never got into that show for some reason.

I did love looking at Farrah...

May she rest in peace. Serene deep peace... Her death means far more than a loss for those close to her like Ryan O'Neal. We all grieve with him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's sidekick, passed away today

I just found out that Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's sidekick, passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was fighting cancer and had also suffered with pneumonia. I read that he would have had his 86th birthday today.

This makes me really, really sad. I feel like one of the purer, more innocent, parts of my past has just been taken from me.

I grew up watching Ed McMahon on the Johnny Carson Show. I used to mimic his phrase, "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" as a kid all the time. God! What a fast-motion film of memories this terrible news is prompting to run inside my head!

I know that watching the people you grew up around die off is a part of living, but it brings so many odd feelings when it happens. Part of me tastelessly feels glad it was him and not me, but that same part knows it will be me one day. The better part of me grieves.

What control do we really have in our lives? Just the small goals we plan. For the big picture, we are basically on a train to nowhere and we can't stop it.

If you are reading this and have never seen an episode of The Tonight Show featuring Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, take a look into a this small window of what you missed. This probably aired after I left the USA in 1973, but the spirit is perfect for what I remember.

(Photo by Alan Light.)

New idea and direction

I just came across a new idea I want to try out. I am going to try to make a daily post on a keyword coming from the top 100 in Google Trends.

Instead of trying to find out what people are saying about the word or phrase, which is often pretty difficult, I will simply post what I think and know and research about that issue.

Finally the idea of having a personal blog that does not involve my other pursuits has some kind of meaning for me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Who’s Afraid Of Anita Bryant?

Anita Bryant is going to star in a new movie about an old rival, San Francisco gay politician Harvey Milk, whether she wants to or not. I have no doubt this movie, Milk, by Gus Van Sant starring Sean Penn, will be huge success. It includes footage from her public appearances against the gay community. But instead of celebrating the homophobic crusades she won in the 70’s, this film is celebrating a decisive moment in the progress of gay rights. Ultimate defeat as a bigot will be her legacy to mankind. What a bitter pill for a God-fearing woman.

Is Anita Bryant the demon the gay community makes her out to be? I don’t think so. I think she is a good person, a talented person. Misguided, but not evil. Her life shows what happens when you suspend individual rights in the name of fundamentalist dogma, when you apply faith to public ethics instead of reason.

What happened to the Anita Bryant of the days of Lawrence Welk and the Lennon Sisters, to the sweetheart singer who placed 11 songs in the Top 100 in the early 60’s? I believe it is the same thing that happened to many American values of that time. She mixed faith with reason on equal footing and learned the consequences of fighting to impede individual rights. Essentially, she became discredited and cast aside.

The first inkling of this came about because of orange juice of all things. She used to be the spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission. Who can ever forget her charming famous catchphrase from the 70’s: "Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine"?

Then in 1977, Dade County, Florida (now Miami-Dade County) passed an ordinance that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. Anita Bryant led the now-famous Christian movement called "Save Our Children" to repeal it. She won and it was a black mark on the history of USA government. (It was reinstated in 1998.)

One of the tenets of that movement was that homosexuality is a sin. Call it what you want, but a right to exist in any form, so long as you do not harm another, is not a sin. At least not in public ethics. It is an individual right expressed by the doctrine of equality of all individuals under the law.

As to children, there is no scientific evidence that contact with homosexual adults harms children. None. That is a faith-based doctrine and it flies in the face of reason. Thus, it cannot be grounds for law. But under faith it works. The problem is, “Whose faith?” A Christian's faith? A homosexual's faith? When faiths collide, which faith is legal and which is illegal?

In the American system set up by our Founding Fathers there is room for all faiths, but only room for one logic. That is why equality of individual rights constantly grows and cannot be stopped. The logic of privileged rights always fails over time.

In retaliation, the gay community organized a nationwide boycott against orange juice. They started drinking "Anita Bryants" (vodka and apple juice) instead of screwdrivers. Bryant learned another harsh lesson that America constantly learns and forgets: that money speaks louder to business than ideals. With industry sales hurting, her contract with the Florida Citrus Commission was quietly declined when it came up for renewal.

Her life has been a descending skid ever since that peak, with a few upswings, mostly homophobic ones, before continuing on her downward path. She had the world in the palm of her hand and she threw it all away on the false promise of dogma. This woman was not trying to be evil. She thought she was fighting for the good. She simply used faith in the wrong manner.

A society based on individual rights means that if you want to practice faith when it conflicts with reason, practice it on your own life. Nothing but reason can ever give you the moral right to enforce your ideas on others. For people like Anita Bryant who wish to impose their ideas on others, there are plenty of reason-based ideas to choose from, say, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as starters.

Nothing sums up what any dogma-based attempt to violate the rights of others deserves as well as a pie in the face, as one Aron Kay performed in the late 70’s.

Even in light of the current gay marriage controversy raging across the nation, nothing helps move an issue forward like the success of individuals. Like Harvey Milk’s success. And like the upcoming success of the movie about him. I can't wait to see it.

As for Anita Bryant, who's afraid of her anymore?

New direction - but still Internet marketing

Today I have decided to take this blog into a new direction. It will be comments on current affairs.

This is a pretty good idea, actually. I have moved into the IM field and I need agility in researching a wide variety of hot topics, getting them up and producing original writing for them. So this blog is going to be like playing scales for learning the piano.

Off and running...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Review of Chris Freville's Automated List Builder

Below is how to get to my Squidoo review page of the product above. Here is the link and first paragraph:

Review of Chris Freville's Automated List Builder

(Start of review) Automated List Builder? Me? The thing I most hate about email lists is setting them up. I admit it. Auto-responder installation and administration is dull. It's boring. It wasn't so long ago that I didn't even know what an auto-responder was and I'm almost sorry I learned. But here I am fiddling around with a list building product. Why?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Roboform, what a relief!

I made a post earlier about using KeePass. That's OK for some limited work, but for working on the Internet, I have finally discovered that there is nothing like Roboform. I am not even plugging it as an affiliate yet.

I have no idea how I managed to live without this tool. The sign-in process to different sites is now as easy to me as using the "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" feature on the browser. Since I am going to be using a large number of sites in my new business, especially Web 2.0 sites (which are endless), this tool is an indispinsible resource, sort of like a truck for a delivery service.

I don't know how the minds of others work, but mine is very stubborn. If I have to wait too long or do a bunch of busywork to access a site, I end up forgetting why I am going there. I get distracted easily. Well, that is now easier to discipline.

I think anyone stumbling across my little corner of the virtual universe will now see a large increase in posts and information. Let's say now I am free to concentrate on content and not on process.