June 3, 2011
I watched Jordan Lyles’ debut against the Puppies of North Chicago the other night, and I think what impressed me more than anything about him was his composure on the mound, and the easy, seemingly effortless motion of his delivery. Lyles isn’t a flamethrower. Steven Strassberg created a buzz in his early outings because of a blinding fastball, and large strikeout totals. Lyles is not capable of that, and he may fly under the radar of national MLB coverage for awhile. But at least on first impressions, I think I like his long-term chances for staying healthy and succeeding at the MLB level.
Lyles was so equanimous out there, I had to keep being reminded by JD and Brownie he is only 20 years old. Pretty amazing. Maybe it is better to break in without all the crazy media coverage and attention and hyperbole that Strassberg endured; or maybe it doesn’t matter. You either have what it takes to succeed at that level, physically and mentally, or you don’t. Here is a wish that the Astros baseball guys show wisdom and restraint bringing Lyles along, and that Lyles himself doesn’t forget how cool it felt the other night to stand out there in Wrigley, on a major league mound in front of 30,000 drunken morons, and hold his own. Like Bill Brown, if I let myself, I can envision JL out there, in an Astros uniform, for many years to come.
THINKING OF JLH
Ever heard of Marie-France Pisier? Me, neither.
Marie-France Pisier was a French actress of some renown . . . in France, anyway. She was part of the New Wave in French film, whatever that was, and worked with people like Francois Truffault and Luis Buñuel and the like. I didn’t know about any of this because I don’t care very much about French cinema France. In fact, prior to writing this, I had to do a little research on trusty Wikipedia. If nothing else, this proves my SnS submissions don’t always come from completely off of the top of my head; or out of some other part of my anatomy, either.
(Pretentious dick that he was, practically everyone has at least heard of Francois Truffault. And to be honest, I knew of Buñuel, also; mostly because of a short film he made with Salvador Dali that I studied in a filmmaking class once. The film’s name escapes memory, but it was basically an assembly of a startling set of images, strung together on the thinnest suggestion of a plot. Sort of the cinematic equivalent of some of Dali’s Surrealist paintings. [see The Persistence of Memory; or Fried Eggs; or perhaps The Great Masturbator.] A scene I recall vividly was a woman’s eyeball being slit open and, later, ants emerging from a hole in a man’s open palm. But I digest.)
Even though I didn’t think I’d heard of Marie-France Pisier, it turns out I knew who she was. I had not thought of her in years, until I was reminded of her the other evening, while going through the Whataburger drive-thru at 12:30 a.m., picking up a #1 combo, all the way, no cheese, mayonnaise-mustard, What-a-size the fries and drink, please.
Perhaps I should explain.
We got cable at my house when I was in junior high school. Prior to that, we had three channels – the local affiliates of ABC, NBC, and CBS. This wasn’t a hardship because we didn’t know any better. For most of my childhood, my family had one television in the house. It was an 18” Zenith black and white set, which sat on a TV cart we wheeled out in the den when we wanted to watch TV, and wheeled back against an out-of-the-way spot on the wall when we didn’t. Twist dial, no remote. One of the ways a kid could first impress the grownups and get a little respect was by mastering the art of manipulating and aiming the rabbit ears on the set for best possible reception. Often, there was a different optimal configuration for each different channel; so a kid would end up being a both a human remote control (by getting up, on orders, and changing the channel) and a frequency modulated radio wave technician (by making fine adjustments to the rabbit ears to accommodate reception of the new channel.)
But like I said, it didn’t matter to us that we had a shitty TV and a few same-y over-the-air channels to chose from. It was all we’d ever known. Back then, a kid had to find other ways to amuse himself. They usually involved being outside in whatever the weather was, doing things one’s parents did and maybe did not know about. I don’t doubt that the modern youngster, with satellite TV and video games and wireless internet, and a flat screen TV and a $600 laptop in his/her bedroom, has it better than we did. Today’s young people never have to leave the comfort and safety of home. But, I’m not envious. We made do in the olden days, and as I recall we were happy enough with the options we had. No regrets.
When cable became widely available in the mid-1970s, I don’t know if anyone realized how much things were about to change. I do know we sure as hell wanted it. Initially basic cable was maybe 15-20 channels. Doesn’t sound like anything now, but back then the range of options that brought in was almost unfathomable. Once we had cable installed, my tight-wad dad went down to Western Auto and bought a 23” console TV. A TV screen installed in a big piece of furniture. It more-or-less matched the “hi-fi” set (a stereo installed in a big piece of furniture) that had served as the family sound system since I could remember. It was a color TV, too, with a bunch of channels. Still no remote control, but a cable line ran directly into the tuner. My wizardry with the rabbit ears diminished in time, from disuse, but no matter.
Over the next several years, our cable choices grew. When I was a high school sophomore, one of my dad’s friends bought a new television, and gave me his old one. A nice color set, with a 19” screen, I think. For the first time ever, I had a television in my bedroom. I paid to have the cable company come out and run an extension to it, and I was all set.
One thing I noticed right away was my new TV picked up Showtime and The Movie Channel, which were supposed to be premium channels. The family TV didn’t get them. Someone told me later that cable’s early premium content scramblers were primitive, and a newer TV like mine might have had a filter sufficient to descramble a premium signal installed as part of the manufacturing process. Maybe so. All I knew was I got those channels without having to pay for them. Pretty soon, I also realized that – wonder of wonders – both of the premium channels filled their schedules after 10:00 p.m. with the sort of programming we called soft-core pornography back then (today, much of it would pass for prime-time network fare.) The soft-core stuff was mostly inane R-rated T&A flicks, with attractive, tanned teenagers (or rather, twenty-something actors portraying teenagers), usually from southern California, who seemed to spend all their free time getting high, and fucking like rabbits – usually in the back of a van (which one would invariably see rocking, from the outside – it was an obligatory shot in most of those flicks), on the beach, at a drive-in movie, etc. The Movie Channel in particular had a seemingly endless supply of those type movies. However, every once in awhile we might get an “adult-themed” soft-core film. We liked those better. They generally had higher production values, “name” actresses, and more believable story lines.
Kids would come over to our house in the evenings and pile into my bedroom. Then we’d shut the door and tune in those premium movies. Soft-core smut wasn’t all we watched, either – we saw films like The Last Waltz and Smokey & The Bandit and The Outlaw Josey Wales so many times, we knew the all the lines of dialogue. By contrast, most of the T&A flicks were instantly forgettable.
For a month or so, Showtime or The Movie Channel or both had in their rotations a movie titled The Other Side of Midnight. I actually remember more about it than I would have thought, plot-wise . . . an American soldier stationed in France during WWII took up with a Parisian girl, and unwittingly led her to believe she meant something to him; instead, he unceremoniously dumped her when he was shipped back stateside. He didn’t think twice about it, but she was devastated. She had thought she was going back to the US with him. Anyway, in time her sadness turned to anger and then bitterness and thoughts of revenge, and the plot devolved as she took years to work herself into a position to exact revenge on the guy, who of course had no clue.
I think the movie was an adaptation of a Sidney Sheldon bodice-ripper. Those books were extremely popular at one time. The only important thing to me was there was lots and lots of nudity in the film, and a fair amount of (simulated) sex. The French girl apparently learned the secrets of a courtesan along the way. The way she put herself in a position to get revenge was by climbing the social ladder in France, mostly by being a freak in the bedrooms of powerful men. The most riveting scene in the movie (for me) was when, in the middle of some spirited chick-on-top intercourse, the woman – played by Ms. Pisier – suddenly reached over to a bowl full of ice cubes kept conveniently next to the bed, grabbed some up, and jammed them into her partner’s crotch, right about the time he was ‘hitting the tape’, let’s say. Apparently, this was some kind of huge turn on, though I had trouble imagining how it could be. There have subsequently been more famous movie sex scenes involving ice cubes; but The Other Side of Midnight was the first place I ever saw it. And I never forgot.
Marie-France Pisier was an accomplished actress, writer, and director in/of mostly French films. She died a few months ago, at age 66. She was found floating in her swimming pool, Brian Jones-style. I don’t recall hearing anything about it at the time; and even if I had, unless I took the trouble to look her up on IMDB.com and realize she was the long lost French chick of my dreams, the acrobatic nympho with the ice cubes . . . news of her demise would not have registered with me. So maybe it was a supernatural thing, what happened the other night at Whataburger. I think that way now. It comes from watching too much programming on the History (quote-unquote) Channel, plus lately I have found myself idly taking in re-run episodes of The Ghost Whisperer on Lifetime or Ion or one of those. I’m not into the occult so much; but I do like looking at Jennifer Love Hewitt’s tits and ass and whatnot.
Perhaps I should have been more aware of Ms. Pisier’s passing, at the time. There was some kind of cosmic bond between us, after all. A special kind bond that formed between an actress willing to take off her clothes and fake freaky sex in front of a movie camera, and an overheated teen-aged boy who sat in his room and watched her intently, mesmerized. Perhaps I should have been more sensitive to this connection, which I guess had faded away for me over the years.
Perhaps the ghost of Ms. Pisier had been hanging around Beaumont for awhile, stalking me and biding its time, waiting for just the right moment to remind me of what I’d forgot. The other night, the ghost saw me pull into the drive thru at a late hour, on my way home from somewhere. It saw me talking intently to a large, lighted sign, then watched me pull forward, because the sign told me to. The ghost then stationed itself right next to the drive thru window. Of course, neither the girl at the window nor I could see any damn ghost. Where the hell was Jennifer Love Hewitt when I needed her? As the girl was handing me my 44 oz. Coke, the ghost reached out and knocked the drink loose from my hand, causing me to dump about 1/3 of the soda and a bunch of ice into my lap. The cold Coke immediately soaked through my khaki shorts, and the ice mostly went up my pant legs and landed around my groin area. Talk about freezing my balls off.
It immediately reminded me of a scene from a movie I hadn’t seen in 30+ years, and the actress at the center of it. I could recall almost every detail. I felt compelled, after I’d got home and changed my pants, to look up The Other Side of Midnight and see what the actress’ name was. Marie-France Pisier’s ghost was the one responsible for my curiosity in this case. Perhaps I needed to be reminded me of how much Ms. Pisier meant to me, which I’d completely forgot. Perhaps the ghost had to do that, and make sure I knew Ms. Pisier was dead, before she could go into the light, and pass on to the other side.
I am pretty convinced that is what happened, but I’d like some kind of verification. Perhaps I could get in touch with someone close to Jennifer Love Hewitt out in California or wherever and have them set me up an appointment with her, to discuss this matter.
Of course, with my luck, she’d send Camryn Mannheim in her place. Who would show up with a smile on her face, and a large bucket of ice.
THIS WEEK’S RESEARCH TOPIC
Guys. This week I am researching the “acceptable range” of do-able females according to the red-blooded U.S. Male population of SnS. Actually, the idea kind of scares me – especially given some of HH’s observations on this topic over the years – and I am not sure I really want to know. But, in the interests of prurience science, I plow ahead . . . Think about this question, and answer it as honestly as you can.
Q: Had you met Casey Anthony in a bar prior to all the news coming out about her shortcomings as a parent human, would you have considered her desireable/do-able? Purely hypothetically, I mean. In the interest of accuracy, answer the question sober. Then play some loud music, look at some porn, inhale first- or second-hand smoke (if possible), and have several watered-down drinks. Then answer the question again. Anonymously, if you must.
Girls. I’ll not ask you to answer the same question as the guys, unless you just want to, of course. If so, no anonymous responses allowed. Whether you do or do not count yourself among the “bi-curious”, I am curious about (female) bi-curious-ness, anyway. This occurred to me during my research, while looking at pictures of Casey Anthony participating in a “Hot Babe” contest at a Florida drinking establishment, which are now part of the evidence at her trial. Among all the shots of Ms. Anthony revealing parts of her anatomy, and falling into the ridiculous drunk-suburban-white-chick-giving-exaggerated-gang-signs pose, there is a shot or two of her rubbing herself up against another barely dressed woman on the stage. I have always assumed this sort of thing was gratuitous, that most girls who kiss and rub all over each other in bars are doing so because they think it activates an universal male fantasy about watching two attractive, normally hetero girls who are suddenly moved to fuck each other silly. They’d be right about that, too. But, I have wondered . . .
Q: Do girls who fondle and kiss each other in bars do so just to arouse men? Or are they also – generally speaking – getting something out of it for themselves? Please be true, please be true . . .
I’ll report back with results next time. Meanwhile, if any girl feels like she needs assistance with her research question, or just wants to discuss her bi-curious-ness in intimate detail, my number is (409) 555-1212.
See you next time!