Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Spittin' Image

Don't spit on the floor.
Use the cuspidor,
Waddya think it's for?"

Why do people have to spit in the street? In front of ME. It can't be to impress me because it makes me seriously nauseous. I have gone my entire life without feeling even the slightest compulsion to expectorate unless I'm brushing my teeth or have just unknowingly quaffed hemlock, so I don't understand why anyone needs to do this. Even those who are not tobacco chewers. Which is another utterly disgusting performance art which we'll deal with some other time.

I lived in the South for many years and assumed it was just another charming redneck thang, er THING. But San Francisco clearly qualifies as an unprovincial kind of place. You would think its inhabitants would show a certain finesse, but no. They run around in droves hawking up lungs to prove how cool and manly they are.

If I had a dollar for every time I've thought, "Ewww. I'm sorry I saw that," I could finance a squad of sidewalk police, Spit Cops, to monitor such proclivities. We badly need them.

Wearing sandals makes me nervous that somebody's lurking glob of spittle will slither into my exposed feet. I don't want your nasty germs. Please. Keep your sputum to yourselves. Don't make me hate you. It's the least you can do.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Intimations of an Immortal

I first visited Birdland in NYC when I was 16. My friends Connie and David's family loved jazz and played it constantly. This was as magical as the loaves and fishes to me as I was forced to listen to music furtively in my room because my parents had no appreciation for jazz and favored Gilbert and Sullivan.

Miracles happen sometimes, and they allowed me to go to Birdland if my older brother went along as chaperone. So Connie, David, my brother and I drove into Manhattan and found a table in the famous nightclub with thick blue smoke hanging like a solid entity halfway down from the ceiling.

Dizzy Gillespie was playing, and he sat at our table during all his breaks as he and Connie seemed to share a genuine, strong connection. He was a charming man with natural elegance and an intellectual fascination with everything, and he encouraged us to stretch our minds, too. He was friendly, outgoing, kind and humorous, and while I knew I was in the presence of greatness, I'm not sure I realized quite how great he was until later because he was so unaffected and egoless. Or maybe I did, as I bought all his albums and played them until the grooves disappeared.

My brother returned to college and my friends continued to bootleg me into Birdland while my parents thought I was at other girls' slumber parties. Whenever Dizzy was there, we were there. Charlie Parker was also on the bill once, but Dizzy was our destination, our god. He was a king among men.

A few years later, Connie gave birth to Dizzy Gillespie's only child, a chubby angel named Jeanie but called Tootsie by all. When she was three, I watched in awe as she sat in front of a blaring loudspeaker and arranged pickup sticks in perfect rhythm to the beat. At twelve she wore glasses, a mop of curls, and her trademark dimpled smile. She grew up as children do, and became an accomplished jazz singer. I've lost track of her family and Dizzy Gillespie died in 1993, but I still think of those Birdland nights as the best moments of my early adulthood.

The energy in that small, smoky club was electric. It took me to levels of awareness I had never imagined and opened a million doors in my young mind. Listening to those sublime musicians create new forms of art made me realize that there are no limits on the human spirit or our abilities if what we want to do is purely and simply the best that is in us.

In 1964, with his accustomed good humor, Dizzy Gillespie attempted to run for president, promising that if elected, the White House would be renamed The Blues House, Ray Charles would be appointed Librarian of Congress and Miles Davis head of the CIA. Imagine where we'd be now had he pulled that one off!

Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Planet?

The ninth planet, Pluto, has been demoted, and will henceforth be called a "dwarf planet." Like the artist formerly known as Prince. Who knew they could mess with our planetary system? I really thought it was safe from things like that. The nerve!

We are now gifted with a new and improved definition of what, exactly, makes a planet, and Pluto doesn't qualify. According to the newest spin, a planet must be:

(a) massive enough for its own gravity to keep it round
(b) in orbit around a star on its own without being a satellite
(c) the only large body in its vicinity due to having cleared away any flotsam and jetsam from the area.

So, in lay terms, it has to be Big and Round, Run Rings around another Body without any Support from Anyone, and Kill Off Everybody in its Way. Sounds a little like the War in Iraq.

Pluto is 1,800 miles in diameter. It has been around officially for 76 years, and it hasn't hurt anyone. So why the sudden haste to scrape it off our plate like a dead mouse?

Yesterday we had nine planets. Today we're at eight and holding. Pluto today, maybe Earth tomorrow. Who's next?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just When We Were All Getting Along So Well

I don't watch "Survivor" and dislike reality shows in general, but I am deeply offended that the new season, "Survivor: Cook Islands" will feature tribes organized along ethnic lines: Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian.

I cannot think of any way this is acceptable.

Jeff Probst, the show's host, says, "It's very risky because you're bringing up a topic that is a hot button. There's a history of segregation you can't ignore. It is part of our history. For that, it's much safer to say, 'No, let's just stick with things the way they are. Let's don't be the network to rock the boat. Let's not have "Survivor" try something new.' But the biases from home can't affect you. This is an equal opportunity game."

NO. This is the most supercilious load of doubletalking gibberish I've ever heard.

Why not bring back lynch mobs and segregated restrooms? They're a part of our history. And how about so-called "miscegenation" laws prohibiting marriage between those of different races? But wait. How can we tell what race anyone is in melting-pot America where most of us had ancestors who came from many other places, either seeking freedom or because they had lost their freedom? Aren't we all basically one race now, human?

What kind of cretins would deliberately pit us against each other along racial lines again? This will only encourage the basest instincts of the least enlightened people among us.

Where is the good in that?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!!


You have to trust someone whose job title is "Genius." I spent over three hours today at the Apple store while a kind and patient (did I mention brilliant?) young man named Rob tried about a half million maneuvers on my computer until he restored it to perfect, even frisky, health. The laying on of hands was never more skillfully performed, and I know they don't pay Rob enough for his good work and good will. No matter what he's paid.

I am grateful.

Apple rules.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Much Shit, No Fan

People who don't clean up after their dogs are troglodytes who belong in a cave, rude brutes with defective brains, offensive and degenerate. (And I LIKE dogs.)

Why do they think it's just fine to walk around leaving a trail for other people to fall into? Well, it isn't. It's arrogant and lazy to have so little regard for the comfort of others. Dog owners who do this should be buried alive in a big steaming pile of poop.

Everyone who knows what happened to me today raise their hands.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

The tattoo-removal business is booming. A removal service in Beverly Hills, California, takes off at least seven Chinese-language tattoos a week, citing dissatisfaction with tats that were often mistranslated, like "blood and intestines" for "blood and guts" or jokes pulled on people too cool for their own good, such as Chinese characters for "gullible white boy."

Oh, this is such a relief! I can finally get rid of my two dozen or so biker tattoos, the skull and crossbones, various outdated political slogans, and the Doberman spiked collar that was permanently engraved around my neck, to say nothing of the Chinese words for "I'm an idiot," "I carry explosives," "I like large, hairy primates " and "Please hurt me." I'll probably keep the two-headed dragon, though, and the one that says "Popeye."

Being cool is such a burden.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lemmings Among Us

A lot of people in this city have a serious death wish. Why else would pedestrians continually drift into oncoming traffic against the light without even noticing?

I was taught to look both ways before crossing a street. When I was very young, I had to wait on the curb until an adult came along so I could say, "Will you cross me?" And the nice stranger would take my hand and lead me to the other side.

These oblivious souls wouldn't last an hour in New York, where taxi drivers take aim and careen exuberantly onto the sidewalks. Do they not understand that their bodies are more fragile than the vehicles they challenge? How can they feel so safe when 9 out of 10 drivers are also talking on their cell phones and perhaps eating lunch, too? Or drunk.

The doctrine of survival of the fittest is clearly in trouble because these mentally incompetent philistines stroll through screeching traffic every chance they get and then go home and breed. A few months later, their first line of defense is a baby stroller.

It isn't fair that I should have to do their job as well as my own. It takes a lot of effort to avoid hitting people who suddenly appear as if magnetically drawn to the front of my car. And if they ever succeed in committing suicide with my car, MY life will be ruined forever, too.

Is it really too much to expect people to take responsibility for themselves?


At one of several colleges I attended, my favorite friend was a girl named Grace Wing. She was bright, funny and very beautiful, as out of place at that particular school as I was. Grace was braver than I with adventurous hair on which she often experimented with color, and a pet snake that coiled against her belly when she lay on her bed, reading.

Toward the end of the semester she lent me her treasured Johnny Mathis album, which was later stolen from my room along with some of mine. I never replaced it, which was inexcusable and I lost a friend I really liked, for how could anyone stay friends with someone who demonstrated so little caring and social awareness?

A few years later, the band Jefferson Airplane became a huge sensation and their lead singer was my old friend, now Grace Slick. I once saw an interview in which she credited Johnny Mathis as one of her earliest influences. To this day, I believe she had the single best female voice in Rock music, ever. To say that she was the voice of our generation is a gross understatement.

I still feel terrible that I treated her so shabbily. For years I searched music stores for the Mathis album, which I believe was his first, in hopes of finding Grace and sending it to her. She certainly didn't need me to provide it, but doing so would have given me closure of a sort. And I still owe her.

I try to be more careful with my friends now because they are far more precious than I realized when I was young.

My To-Die List

A funny thing happened on the way to my pain management support group. I stopped for gas, the pump was inoperable for some reason and I asked the kid working there for help. He took the nozzle and dropped it on my foot. Those things are a lot heavier than you'd think.

I yowled and told him I thought my foot was broken. He said nothing. I hopped up and down a little in pain and said again, "My foot is broken." Still he said nothing. So I repeated myself louder, "MY FOOT IS BROKEN!!" And he walked away. The little fucker.

Just a polite "I'm sorry," even if he didn't mean it, would have gone a long way. I had to go inside to pay because of their pump not working right, so I limped in, dragging my injured foot. I had unlaced my sneaker, but the pressure from the shoe was really painful.

The kid's boss took my credit card, and by then I was really steamed. I normally wouldn't try to get someone in trouble at his job, but I told her what had happened. She silently handed me the charge slip to sign, and I limped painfully back to my car. I felt like a mean creep but I was too angry to care.

Accidents happen. I know this. But it's a sad thing when it doesn't occur to the person responsible to apologize. It makes me want to sue someone.

And if I win, we'll all get free gas forever.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Garden of Eden

Another mountain lion was slain last night in a recently developed area that has been their natural habitat for centuries. The animal was shot with high powered rifles by men wearing night-vision goggles. What's wrong with this picture?

Mountain lions are carnivores that prey mainly on moose, elk, and deer. They also eat squirrels, rabbits, skunks, raccoons and birds. They occasionally kill livestock when confused about where their territory is as we are shrinking it more every year, but generally shun humans so they don't realistically pose much threat to us.

Unfortunately, they live on land that has become valuable as human populations explode. If people moving into such areas would educate themselves about the behaviors of these animals, they could avoid contact with them. It is almost never necessary to kill an animal unless one is looking for a trophy. It would be more humane to relocate them to remote woodlands, but deer hunters have powerful lobbies and the government is unwilling to spend money on inedible creatures. So the encroachment and slaughtering continue.

If gun-happy hunters have their way, the world will soon be devoid of any animals but humans. In our arrogance, we forget that we are also animals, and are therefore a part of the natural order. We were commanded long ago to tend the animals. We are not doing so. If we are truly the guardians of the earth, we need to start acting like it. I doubt we were given such large brains so we could think of more ways to kill all the other species that share this planet.

I don't understand how anyone can enjoy murdering a beautiful, unarmed creature. It's sick and terribly sad that we have so little compassion when we have such great capacity to be kind and to do good. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a member of the cruelest species on earth.

Only One King

“There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.”
Bruce Springsteen

"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
Johnny Carson

Today is the 29th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. August 16, 1977. Yet no one would deny that in many ways besides the ubiquitous "sightings," he is still with us.

Mark Twain once said, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
He could have been speaking of Elvis. Elvis Presley is still more popular than any of today's artists, and more recognizable to people around the world than any other public figure has ever been.

“There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars.”
Newsweek, August ,1969

"I don't think there is a musician today that hasn't been affected by Elvis' music. His definitive years - 1954-57 - can only be described as rock's cornerstone. He was the original cool."
Brian Setzer

“Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps.”
Rod Stewart

"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme."
Mick Jagger

"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted to be was Elvis Presley."
Paul McCartney

“Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
John Lennon

"Elvis was God-given, there's no other explanation. A Messiah comes around every few thousand years, and Elvis was it this time."
Little Richard

"It was Elvis that got me interested in music. I've been an Elvis fan since I was a kid."
Elton John

"He was the firstest with the mostest."
Roy Orbison

"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something."
David Bowie

"The highlight of my career? That's easy, Elvis recording one of my songs."
Bob Dylan

"Describe Elvis Presley? He was the greatest who ever was, is or ever will be."
Chuck Berry

"Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us."
Al Green

"Elvis was a giant and influenced everyone in the business."
Isaac Hayes

"Without Elvis, none of us could have made it."
Buddy Holly

"Elvis is the best ever, the most original. He started the ball rolling for us all. He deserves the recognition."
Jim Morrison

"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss...Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail."
Bob Dylan

"Elvis is my religion. But for him, I'd be selling encyclopedias right now."
Bruce Springsteen

"I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun studios. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra's. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness."
B.B. King

"I'm just a singer, Elvis was the embodiment of the whole American culture."
Frank Sinatra

“Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution - the 60’s comes from it.”
Leonard Bernstein

"We've lost the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here."
Carl Perkins

"It was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.”
Bruce Springsteen

And in his own words:

"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to."

"Talent is being able to sell what you're feeling."

“The image is one thing and the human being is’s very hard to live up to an image.”

"Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away."

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world."
Elvis Presley

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Travels With Truffle

who is, even as we speak, smearing sex wax on her little pink surfboard and scoring a dime bag of kitty crack from the cupboard. (Some might call it fish flakes.) Her three little string bikini tops are packed and she's ready for her closeup. I'm sure you'll see her in the supermarket tabloids by this time tomorrow. (I'll be the unidentified woman in the background.)

Oz by Any Other Name

Heading off to that Other City south of here until Sunday night. I don't have a laptop. It will be hard. I've only had my blog since mid-June, but it's become addictive. I.Have.Become.An.Addict.

"My name is ----- and I'm a blogaholic."

"Hi, -----."

There must be 12-Step programs for people like me, but the thing is, I don't WANT to stop. I'm a bloggin' fool, is what. Born to blog.

I have no idea what I'll do with so many newly free hours per day.

You guys will all be missed. You know who you are.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cuba Libre

Fidel Castro transferring control of Cuba to his brother Raul may be the end of an era for Cubans. It is also a time for reflection for me because I was in Cuba when he came to power.

Rebels had been training in the mountains of Oriente Province for years to overthrow the dictator, Juan Batista. They finally effected their coup, and Cubans were delirious with joy that years of horrors against their people had ended. Cuba was free! Everyone danced in the streets until dawn, and fence posts in front of every house were painted with the words, "Gracias, Fidel."

It was into this carnival for the senses that my parents and I flew for a Havana vacation.

Cuba was truly an island paradise then, swaying palm trees and gardenia-scented air soft as velvet. We visited Tropicana, the night cub where Desi Arnaz became famous. It had a long, mirrored walkway and no roof, so people danced under the stars. Most people, that is. Men asked my father for permission to dance with me and he said "NO" to every one of them. I sipped tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas and sulked.

It wasn't lost on my parents that proper Latin girls were relentlessly chaperoned. Ever vigilant for new ways to curtail my social life, they couldn't have been happier. Suddenly we were The Three Musketeers, two smiling tourists flanking their scowling daughter.

They must have been sick of me, too, because one day they took a boat ride to Moro Castle in Havana Harbor. I was released on my own recognizance to explore Havana in a sundress and high school Spanish.

As I returned to the hotel, the desk clerk announced that there were flowers for me. Since I didn't know anyone in Cuba, I told him there must be a mistake.

"Oh, no, meess. No mistake. You should know who send you flowerss," he smirked.

He winked over my shoulder at someone in the lobby, and as I turned to look, Che Guevara raised his newspaper in front of his face. We had heard that he was staying in our hotel, but my father didn't place much stock in rumors. There were four dozen red roses in the florist box with a note that said, "From one who admire you muchly and your dancing eyes."

That night, Castro gave the first of his 7-hour speeches on Radio Havana in which he proclaimed himself a Communist and denounced the United States. My father, who spoke perfect Spanish, decided we should leave Cuba immediately.

The next morning, my mother and I packed the last of our souvenirs while my father checked us out of the hotel. I had to leave my roses in the bathtub. As we descended in the elevator, the door opened and Che got in.

He tipped his cap to my mother, then said to me, "You like my flowerss?"

"I LOVE your flowers," I said. We gazed at each other as we reached the lobby, our entire relationship compressed into a single smile.

My father was waiting. We stuffed ourselves into a taxi and headed for the airport, normally a 40-minute ride from Old Havana. Our driver got us there in 11 minutes flat, just time enough for me to systematically chew off all my fingernails.

There were no traffic signals in Cuba. Everyone converged on an intersection, blasting horns, and whoever got there first won. Perhaps it's different now.

A few years later, Che was murdered and his coffin photo was displayed on the front page of the New York Times. He was a beautiful man. I cried for days.

The Cuban people have been crying for a great many years. I hope that somehow they can return to their homeland and reclaim the lives that were horribly interrupted so very long ago.

Alphabet Soup

Here is a sampling of recent email spam I've received. Sometimes I wonder if it's a secret code, but life is too short to ponder such things for long.

Can anyone give me One Reason why I would open killer ads like these? And perhaps more to the point, who does?

As watch by scratch phenomenon
Highly surface postal
Riley maurer or whether apartment
gets medical Remarkably sometimes the cola
Rosario hopper was well payment
Are Brent Esposito if Katherine
Re: Are give an misstatement lint
title. Aside goofy
outcry on yes Les
nothing horizon proud front turning
been fluorescent of valuable
hinder was saw adam
no pointed go inexpedient
few befoul already refund
used inquiry who duration

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't Cross Madonna

Once again, the Material Girl is causing an uproar, which no one could deny she relishes. She plans to stage a mock (hopefully) crucifixion during a Sunday concert in Rome as part of her "Confessions" world tour in which she appears wearing a crown of thorns while hanging from a mirrored cross.

Imagine how officials of the nearby Vatican feel about this charming bit of stage business! In fact, she seems to have hit the trifecta in that officials of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam are all highly offended at this latest evidence of bad taste from the diva.

True. Her taste is calculatedly execrable. But her endurance in this most fickle line of work should be admired, as no one else has consistently reinvented herself over so many years. The Rolling Stones are still around, but they're doing the same act they did in the 60's, while Madonna has given us dozens of personae over her long career.

If we choose to be shocked, or if we don't, it makes no difference to her. (Although I suspect she prefers that we do.) She does what she does, regardless of whether anyone likes it, or her, or not. Madonna goes where others fear to tread. And that takes a very special kind of guts.

I don't usually relish what she does, but I respect her for doing it.

Meanwhile, the Elvis sightings continue.

Give the Little Lady a Dildo *

A 44-year-old woman in Germany sicked the cops on her husband in the middle of the night, complaining that he was not fulfilling his sexual obligations.

She reportedly woke him up and demanded that he perform. When he refused, she um, blew the whistle.

Several embarrassed police officers uh, came, although apparently no one else did, and stated that they could not issue a citation "because no crime or infringement could be identified." They did, however, file a report in case intervention (hee hee) might be required at a later date.

* There is no picture accompanying this post.

So Many Morons, so little time

The envelope, please. Our Mother-of-the-Year award goes to... Melanie Griffith! Apparently it's impossible to die of an overdose of collagen because she was observed this week in Beverly Hills, dangling a cigarette from those massive honking lips while sparking her 17-year old daughter's with a lighter.

If she wants to commit suicide a smoke at a time, that's her business. But encouraging her own child to do so is simply criminal, even if the legal smoking age were not 18. Surely there are better ways to bond.

I fail to grasp how adorable they will look in their matching mother-and-daughter iron lungs, right before the designer coffins. Does she share her cocaine with her children, too?

Her teenage daughter is not her party pal. She is supposed to protect this girl from danger and guide her to make healthy choices for her future. That means ensuring that she HAS one, not feeding her into the jaws of an addiction that will take years off her life, age her prematurely, and make her smell nasty besides. HOW COULD SHE?

Can somebody please tell me What is WRONG With this Woman?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Here, kitty, kitty

No, this is not a Photoshopped image. Meet Hercules, a liger. He is the love child of a lion dad and a tiger mom who shared an enclosure at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in Miami, Florida.

Hercules stands 10 feet tall on his hind legs and is still growing. At three years, he weighs half a ton and eats up to 100 pounds of meat per day.

In the wild, lions and tigers are natural enemies, but captivity makes strange bedfellows. There are a handful of ligers around the world, bred either accidentally like Hercules, or deliberately.

There are also a few tigons, the result of a tiger father and lion mother. Tigons are smaller than ligers and look more like tigers.

I have never had a liger or a tigon. This grave deficiency must be remedied immediately. Honey, can we get one? Pleeeease? I promise I'll take care of it, you won't have to do a thing.....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In Vino Veritas

Mel Gibson isn't looking that cute anymore. The actor-director has admitted to making anti-Semitic remarks during his most recent drunken driving arrest early Friday and has asked forgiveness.

"I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge," he said in a statement released today by his publicist.

He says he's "in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display." Gee, I wonder. Days before the opening of Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ," which portrays Jews as the killers of Jesus, his father, Hutton Gibson, was quoted as saying the Holocaust was mostly "fiction." And in an interview Gibson gave at the time, he referred to the Holocaust as "a numbers game." How insulting to the millions who were murdered or lost loved ones in that bloodbath.

Prejudice is a disease transmissible from parent to child. Since Gibson himself has many children, one can only wonder what they've been taught to believe, either overtly or by osmosis.

He hopes members of the Jewish community will help him in his recovery efforts. "I'm not just asking for forgiveness, I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

And why, exactly, should his venomous beliefs become the responsibility of those he despises?

Still, the Anti-Defamation League has offered to help him with "his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice" after he finishes his rehab for alcohol abuse.

He was pulled over for speeding along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and released several hours later after posting bail.

During a lengthy tirade, he said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew?"

James Mee, the deputy who arrested Gibson, said, "What I had hoped is that he would think twice before he gets behind the wheel of a car and was drinking. ... I don't want to defame him in any way or hurt him. That stuff is booze talking."

If only that were true. Mel, we hardly knew ye.

Say What?

I had a friend who vacationed every summer at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, the same town where Katharine Hepburn grew up and maintained a home all her life.

One day my friend was at the beach with her children when she noticed Ms. Hepburn sitting against a tree at the edge of the sand, reading a book. A young man approached and asked for her autograph.

She ignored him and kept reading. He moved a little closer and again made his request. She flipped a page without taking her eyes off the book.

Finally, he leaned over and yelled in her ear. "Miss Hepburn-I-Want-Your-Autograph!" She adjusted her book and pulled her wide-brimmed straw hat over her eyes without even glancing at him.

He had had enough. He glared at her bent head and yelled, "All right for you, AUDREY," and plowed angrily down the beach, kicking up giant plumes of sand.

We'll always have rude people, but they don't make movie stars the way they used to.