Conversation overheard at a coffee shop yesterday:
-- It's really sad about Gene WIlder. But it's spooky too because I just heard his song on the radio yesterday.
-- Which song?
-- "Friday I'm in love."
-- They play that every Friday.
-- Yeah, but yesterday was Sunday. And then he died.
-- He was so great in "Blazing Saddles."
-- Was that before the Cure?
-- Maybe. They talked about a lot of stuff he did on the news, but they didn't mention that.
-- I'm happy for Gilda Radner, though.
-- I wonder if she liked "Friday I'm in Love."
-- Maybe he wrote it for her.
-- Yeah, probably.
-- And "Young Frankenstein."
-- I don't know that song.
And at that point I left. Because after determining that these people somehow believed Gene Wilder and the lead singer for the Cure were the same person, I worried the stupid might be contagious.
I wrote this earlier today on Facebook, but I'll share it here too.
I'm sickened by what happened overnight in Orlando. I'm sickened by people who don't care because it was a gay nightclub. I'm sickened by people who delight in the fact that the shooter was Muslim and (apparently) affiliated with Islamic extremist groups. I'm sickened by the rush to brand this as terrorism by the same people who refuse to label as terrorism similar shootings by White Christians. I'm sickened by the continuing efforts of the NRA to block any attempts to limit access to weaponry designed to kill people quickly and to stop law enforcement from limiting access to weapons for people they've already flagged as potential terrorists. I'm sickened by the fact that so many otherwise rational Americans have been convinced that frequent mass shootings with ever larger death tolls are better than any limits on anyone to own any type of weapon. And I'm sickened that my friends who are giving their hearts and souls to making the world a better and safer place have to face news like this (which in many cases echoes their own deep personal traumatic histories) so frequently.
Sometimes you just see something that makes you say "Ah, life's rich pageant."
In Los Angeles, this happens sometimes on an hourly basis.
And after a while, you get used to the absurdity of small dogs in baby carriages. Or self-important SUV drivers assuming they always have the right of way. Or the random rantings of the insane on the streets.
But it's nice to think L.A. can still shock me from time to time.
So the other day, I was feeling a bit low. And I went into a coffee shop where I saw a guy in a T-shirt and jeans drinking a five-dollar coffee drink.
And I watched him pinch his fingers together on his t-shirt, raise it up about six inches and then blow his nose on the inside of his shirt before letting it fall back down.
And then he did it again a minute later.
And suddenly, none of the problems in my life seemed all that important anymore...
I flew in and out of Brussels last year on the way to a wedding in Northern Germany.
This was only because flights were considerably cheaper in and out of there than they were in and out of Frankfurt. And the drive was only about 20 minutes longer.
Plus, with the new EU rules, going through Belgium, Holland, and Germany no longer means much. Instead of border crossings with armed guards and stops, there are now just simple signs (the same type you'd see if you're on a highway in the U.S. and pass from one state to the next).
On the way home, I had to wait in a horrible long line, which I assumed was for security.
It turns out, this was just the line for Passport Control. So you went through, showed your passport (and maybe your boarding pass, I can't remember) and then were sent out into what essentially is a gigantic mall.
To get to Security (which was a five minute walk from the start of the mall), you literally had to walk through about a dozen stores selling everything from lingerie to men's suits, to everything else. You weren't walking through a corridor with shops on either side. You were walking literally through the stores.
Security took almost no time (at least compared to the 45-minute wait at Passport Control) and only then was I off to the gates.
I told everyone at the time that I couldn't decide if it was evil or genius that you had to go through shops before even hitting security (where you and your bags were examined and X-rayed before you got to the planes).
I can't tell from the photos I've seen, but it seems likely to me that the recent attack on the airport in Belgium happened in the "mall" area between Passport Control and Security.
It was shocking to see the areas I'd walked through (relatively recently) all bombed out and blacked by fire and destruction.
This song first appeared in 1987 as one of the B-side demos on the 12-inch single for The Meeting Place. And while I've always been more partial to "Let's Make a Den," which is kind of the sweeter sibling of this song, I've found myself listening to this a lot this past week.