memories, nostalgia, travel

Virtual Cascade Steps online! Will we be jamming like it’s 1995? We’ll see…

Thanks to Wikipedia user Gerd Eichmann, who has made today’s featured photo of Yerevan’s Cascade Steps available for public use. I actually have my own photos of the Cascade Steps that date from the 1990s, but they’re currently in a storage garage in Texas, where they’ve been since 2014. I don’t know if or when I’ll ever see my stuff again. As usual, the future is a mystery.

Today’s featured photo is a lovely shot of The Cascade Steps in Yerevan, Armenia. That photo does not show the steps the way I remember them. The last time I saw the Cascades (as we Peace Corps Volunteers referred to them), they still weren’t quite finished. According to Wikipedia, construction on the Cascades began when I was still in utero, back in 1971. They were completed in 1980, when the Soviet Union was still very much in charge in Yerevan. However, even though the steps were technically “done” in 1980, there were still renovations going on in 1995, when I first laid eyes on this massive staircase up a hillside. They are a lot prettier now than they were in those days.

Yerevan’s monument celebrating fifty years of Soviet rule. This is basically how it looks beyond the top of the steps. I think they’re still working on connecting the monuments in a more attractive way.

In 1995, there were no bushes on the steps. The fountains didn’t work, mostly because there wasn’t much electricity or running water in the 90s. At the very top of the steps, there was another, metal staircase that led to the very top of the hill, where a monument to fifty years of Soviet rule was erected. But to get to that staircase, you had to walk through a construction zone.

The landscaping in front of the Cascade steps wasn’t completed, so there were no flowers or shrubs, benches, or any other decoration. There weren’t even many streetlights. The lamps that were there didn’t always work, again, because there wasn’t much electricity. There were escalators to the left of the steps, and I want to say it cost 20 drams or so to use them to get to the top of the steps rather than climbing them. For reference, in 1995, one US dollar was equal to about 425 drams. 20 drams was also how much it cost to ride the metro (subway), and they used plastic tokens. I’ve heard that the tokens have since been retired, and I’m sure it’s now a lot more expensive to ride the metro.

The Cascades have changed a lot since 1995. They look very nice now, with the landscaping and fountains, but I have fond memories of the way they were in 1995, especially during the summer. The summer of 1995 was when A3– that is, my Peace Corps group– arrived in Yerevan for training. In those days, Yerevan was dealing with some pretty tough times. There was no 24/7 electricity, and some people didn’t have running water. There was no hot water. I had to heat up my bath water in a metal bucket, either with an immersion heater or by placing the bucket on a propane stove or kerosene heater. I’d then put the bucket in the bathtub and use a smaller container to pour water over myself. A shower, the way most of us enjoy them, was a true luxury. I even remember paying for the privilege a couple of times.

During training, I lived with a rather well heeled host family. The mom was an ear, nose, and throat doctor named Nelly. The father was an architect named Gevork. He worked at the airport. I remember liking Gevork. He liked to sing and had a nice voice. Nelly was very money oriented and concerned about the $7 a day she was getting to host me. I lost a lot of weight during Peace Corps training. I don’t know exactly how much, but I would guess about 25 pounds or so. You can see by the photos… I remember actually being able to pull on my jeans without unbuttoning them. I remember Nelly didn’t like that I’m a bit of a slob. I’m not a “dirty slob”– but I don’t keep things organized and tidy. I never have been one for being neat. She also expressed concern because she said I didn’t eat much. It was true that during training, I didn’t eat a lot. I remember eating fried Iranian pasta for breakfast, which wasn’t very appetizing. Sometimes, she even gave me fish! I didn’t mind the fish so much, but I couldn’t stomach Armenian beef or lamb. The lamb would pretty much make me want to throw up and, to this day, I can’t eat it.

After that sudden weight loss, I got sick, and it took me forever to get over the bug. The weight came back when I moved into my own apartment. That was a shame. I lost a lot of weight again when I waited tables. I probably never should have given up that gig, although I don’t have the best personality for it. I’d probably be better as a bartender. 😉

On Friday nights, many of the Peace Corps trainees would gather at the Cascades, where we would sit on the steps and play music. Three people in my group played guitar, and I, of course, would join in with singing. I remember we’d drink beer and sing Tom Petty and Bob Dylan songs. Locals would gather around and watch us. Sometimes, they’d join in. Other times, they might harass us a bit. It was a lot of fun, although I remember coming back extra late one night and getting bawled out by my “host dad”, Gevork. Using my new Armenian skills, I apologized and said, “Yes hooligan em.” (I am a hooligan.) Gevork laughed, and asked me if I was hungry.

Sadly, once training was over, so were our Friday night hootenannies at the Cascade Steps. My colleagues and I spread out all over the country. In 1995, Yerevan was still rough enough that several of us were placed there. I was among those who stayed in Yerevan. I really missed not being able to hang out with them on the steps on Fridays.

For about three months after I finished Peace Corps training, I lived pretty close to the top of the Cascades. I used to walk up and down those steps, often in very hot weather, to get around in Yerevan. It took me a long time to start using buses. I moved after three months because that living situation involved living with an Armenian woman who worked at my school. She and her much younger brother were nice enough, but I never felt like I could relax in that environment. We had incompatible lifestyles, plus her brother had an annoying habit of raiding my stuff when I wasn’t there. Once I moved, I didn’t need to climb up and down the steps so much. I didn’t mind stopping the stair climbing, although my fitness level took a hit.

Nowadays, they don’t put any Volunteers in Yerevan, even when they are in training. Looking back on it, I kind of wish I hadn’t stayed there myself, although staying there did afford me some unique opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, particularly given my affinity for music. For instance, I got to rehearse with the Yerevan Opera Choir. I also got to take some voice lessons at the Yerevan Conservatory… and on a few occasions, I would go to jazz clubs and sing with the band. These are all precious memories to me. I often miss those days, although I’m not sure I miss the tough living.

It’s funny to see the newer photos of the Cascades. They are so much nicer looking now. In 1995, they were kind of shabby, like much of the rest of Yerevan was. I do remember they were starting to be worked on as I was leaving in 1997. I recall one night, there was a night club opened in one of the levels. I had never been “inside” the steps before. They had always been closed, and a bit trashed looking. But someone did open a club where there was dancing. I distinctly remember hearing a truly wretched dance version of Olivia Newton-John’s song, “Have You Never Been Mellow”. Dolly Parton’s song, “Jolene”, was also made into a bizarre cover of dance music. I can’t find the 90s era techno version of “Jolene”, which could be a blessing.

I think this was the dance version of Olivia’s hit that I heard in the club. It sucks. You have to be drunk to listen to it.

I remember back in the summer of 1995, it was not uncommon to hear Russian pop songs blaring everywhere, along with music by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and Sade. To this day, I can’t listen to Sade and not think of Yerevan. Or when I hear “rabiz” music, it reminds me of being in Armenia in the early days after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Weird listening to this… I grew up with anti-Soviet propaganda, and never thought I’d ever see the Soviet Union.
Armenian pop circa 1989.

Tonight– or it will be nighttime where I am, anyway– we are having an online memorial for Matt Jensen, who was tragically killed two months ago in Brooklyn. Matt was in my Peace Corps group, and he was very much a leader. I suspect there will be some reminiscing among us, although I’m not sure how many people will show up. I wouldn’t say our group was particularly close-knit. I did get to know Matt pretty well, especially during our second year, when he came to Yerevan to work. He had previously been in Vanadzor, which is a city up north. It’s been a long time since I last hung with some of the people who will be involved in this reunion. I hope it will be like our Cascade Steps concerts, where we mostly all got along and got together in song on Friday nights, relaxing after another grueling week of training.

I see that now, the Cascades is a focal point in Yerevan. I doubt we could go to the Cascades and jam now, like we did back in the day. Now, even the actor, John Malkovich, has visited there. Funnily enough, back in 2008, we stayed in a tiny B&B in the Piedmont region of Italy where John Malkovich also stayed. In fact, we even stayed in the room where he and his wife, who is from the area, slept. They had come to the Pinasca area to see the wife’s family… Maybe someday, I will actually cross paths with John Malkovich. It wouldn’t be unheard of. After all, two years ago, I ran into Mark Knopfler in a bar after I attended his concert. I have a knack for running into people.

It’ll be interesting to see who I run into tonight… and hope I don’t embarrass myself, the way I sometimes did back in the day. I almost wonder if we shouldn’t have a backdrop of the Cascade Steps as we remember the time… 26 years ago! I can’t believe how long ago 1995 was, and how fast the years have flown by.

On an entirely unrelated note, yesterday, Bill got a lovely birthday card from his younger daughter. She even wrote “Dad” on the envelope. I really think younger daughter is Bill’s kid in so many ways. She looks like him and acts like him, and she loves mushy cards. So does Bill. He is the king of sentimental greetings. It’s so nice to see him being remembered on Father’s Day and his birthday after so many years of no contact.

Yesterday, I happened to see Jon Gosselin on Dr. Oz– the clips were uploaded to YouTube. I listened to what Jon Gosselin has been going through, as he’s been completely estranged from six of his eight children with Kate Gosselin. I never watched their show, but I really feel for him. I think he’s been painted as someone he’s not. Parental alienation is not a joke, and I think he’s definitely a victim. I hope his kids pull their heads out of their butts someday, but as they’re pretty much grown now, that’s really up to them.

Also… I mistakenly booked four nights in Zurich instead of three. I think we’re going to do the extra night, anyway. Bill needs the break. So do I. And it might be the start of a path in a new direction, especially for Bill.

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movies, nostalgia, YouTube

Watching Gulag– anti Soviet propaganda thirty-six years later…

Yesterday’s post about “The Red Scare” inspired me to watch a movie I haven’t seen in years. I grew up at a time when everyone talked about the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. That fear was referenced in a lot of pop culture in the 80s.

In early 1985, the Cold War was in full swing.  I was twelve years old and acutely aware of the threat of nuclear war.  There were many books, TV plots, and movies about the hostilities between the United States and the former Soviet Union.  I was fascinated by it, though I lacked the ability to do a lot of reading about the Soviet Union.  I didn’t have Internet, nor did I have a library card until I was about fourteen.  What I did have in those days was HBO.  When I was growing up, a lot of my world centered around what was on HBO.

Back in the 80s, there was no shortage of films depicting how nasty the Soviet people were.  We had Red Dawn, which was about the United States being invaded by Russians and Cubans.  I watched film that I don’t know how many times.  It thrilled twelve year old me, even to the point at which I felt pretty strongly that I would join the military if the Russians ever invaded.  I think that was also one of the very first movies to have a PG-13 rating.  Since I was twelve, I thought it was “neato” that I got to see Red Dawn, even if I’d been watching R rated movies on HBO since I was about eight.

We had Born American,  a strange film by Renny Harlin that came out in 1986.  It was about three foolish guys on vacation in Finland who decide to cross into the Soviet Union just as some village girl is being raped and slaughtered by a local priest.  The guys get blamed for her rape and murder and end up in a hellish prison where humans are playing a bizarre chess game.

There was 1985’s White Nights, a film notably starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines.  Baryshnikov’s character was a famous ballet dancer who had defected to the United States and ended up back in Russia after a plane crash.  There, he meets Hines’ character, an American who grew disenchanted with the United States after Vietnam and ended up marrying a Russian.  They form an unlikely partnership, dance a lot, and escape to the West.

And there was also Gulag, a film that was made for Home Box Office.  It starred David Keith (of An Officer and a Gentleman and The Lords of Discipline fame) and Malcom McDowell, a Brit who has been in a shitload of films.  I remember seeing Gulag on HBO not long after it premiered.  I was probably too young to be watching it.  Having seen it on YouTube yesterday, I know I was too young.  It was actually a pretty scary film.

Gulag is the fictional story of Mickey Almon, a track star and Olympian who has been hired by a television network to cover sports in Moscow.  He and his wife are enjoying Soviet hospitality, although Mickey is a bit of an ugly American.  He’s loud, obnoxious, arrogant, and has a false sense of superiority for being from the United States.

At the beginning of the film, Almon runs into a Russian man who claims to be a scientist and asks him to take his story back to the United States.  The man promises that if Almon helps him, he’ll win the Nobel Peace Prize.  Almon is perplexed.  He’s not in the Soviet Union to help anyone.  He’s there to do a job.  But the guy’s request is compelling and as an American with a hero complex, Almon feels compelled to take action.  Naturally, he soon finds himself in serious trouble with the police.  Turns out the “scientist” is really a member of the KGB who has set Almon up to be a political pawn.

Next thing Mickey Almon knows, he’s locked in a filthy cell reeking of raw sewage.  The Russians demand that he sign a confession to spying.  Almon refuses for months and keeps going back to the rotten cell.  He’s forced to wear the same uniform for months, not allowed to shower, and grows a heavy beard.  One day, the guards tell him his wife has come.  They let him shower and give him fresh clothes.  Just when he thinks he’s going to see his wife, they bring back the putrid uniform and demand that he put it back on.

The prospect of wearing the filthy uniform and going back to the disgusting cell is too much for Mickey.   He finally breaks.  He’s been promised that if he confesses and makes a video for the Soviets, he’ll be deported back to the United States.  Of course, the promise of going home turns out to be a lie.  Pretty soon, Mickey is wrestled onto a crowded train with a bunch of other prisoners.  That’s when Almon learns he’s not going to the airport.  He’s destined for a ten year sentence at a gulag in Siberia.  Almon puts on a brave show, swearing at the guards and refusing to cower.  But eventually, Mickey Almon determines that he must take things into his own hands.  No one is going to rescue him.  He either has to stand the brutal, inhuman conditions, or find some way to escape.

As I was watching this film yesterday, I couldn’t help but realize that if Mickey Almon had actually been arrested in Moscow in the 80s, he would not have done ten years in a Soviet gulag.  The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991.  But in the 80s, we had no idea that it was going to fall apart.   In those days, the Soviet Union was a massive superpower and it was perceived to be a huge threat to the United States.  There was a lot of talk about who was going to “push the red button”.

Since I remember the 80s so clearly and they don’t seem like they were really that long ago, this film still gave me the willies.  And yet, just ten years after Gulag was released, I went to the former Soviet Union to live for two years.  I quickly found out that Soviets… Armenians, anyway… were just normal folks like everybody else.  Yes, the lifestyle there was different than what I was used to, but at their core, people living in what used to be Soviet Armenia were just people who wanted the best for themselves and their loved ones.  And I happened to be there at a time when their country was going through extreme turmoil due to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Another thing I noticed was that the film looked “old”.  I mean, I remember watching movies from the 60s and 70s when I was a child and thinking they looked dated.  I had that same experience yesterday.  1985 really was 36 years ago!  To put that in perspective, it would be the same as me watching a film in 1985 that was made in 1949.  1949 in the 1980s sure did seem like it was ages ago.  Hell, that was back before my parents were married.  The upshot is that now I feel ancient.

Actually, I’ve been going through a bit of a mid life crisis lately, so it probably wasn’t the best idea to watch this film.  It really does seem like yesterday that I was a teenager.  Now I’m about to turn 49 and I feel like there’s a lot I haven’t yet done.  I have never had a “real” career.  I don’t have children.  I have a great marriage and I’m grateful for that, but I think it’s mainly because I found an unusually patient guy who has already survived the wife from hell.  Anything I do seems to be very small potatoes to him.

I still have a few Armenian friends.  I wonder what they would think of Gulag and the other American made propaganda films.  I am sure they’ve seen their share of anti-American propaganda, too.  I kind of wish I’d had the chance to talk to some of them in person about it back when I saw them on a daily basis.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here’s a link to Gulag, which also has helpful Polish subtitles.  Enjoy!

Here’s the film, Gulag, which aired on HBO all the time in the 80s! It’s the only film, besides An Officer and a Gentleman I have ever seen David Keith in. What’s weird is that I have twin cousins who look a lot like David Keith. Every time I see him, I think of them.
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bad TV, celebrities, nostalgia

Repost: The evolution of Lifetime TV and the regression of Kirk Cameron…

This post was originally written on December 5, 2017. I am reposting a slightly edited version of it because it’s about a fun subject that has nothing to do with current events.

Back in the 1980s, when cable television was still fairly new, we had some very interesting programs to watch.  The mid 80s saw the birth of the now female friendly network called Lifetime.  Many people recognize Lifetime as a channel for women with lots of women centric television shows and movies about bad men.  But if you were around in the mid 80s, you might remember that Lifetime used to be a health channel. 

February 1, 1984 marked the first day of Lifetime TV.  Prior to that, it was known first as Daytime, which was a channel dedicated to “alternative” women’s programming.  Then, for about nine months, it was called Cable Health Network.  Then, in November 1983, it was Lifetime Medical Television.  I remember the programming aired on that network was mostly medical stuff… I mean, stuff doctors would be watching.  I remember the channel’s logo featured an apple…  an apple a day keeps the viewers away, I guess.

Some of the clips in this video came from Lifetime Medical Television.

Something had to be done…  the new network was losing a lot of money.  Some people even thought it was a religious channel.  That’s when Lifetime started its incarnation of what it is today.  It was around 1985 that it started featuring Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the tiny German sex therapist who hosted a call in sex advice show on Lifetime.  Her show was called Good Sex!  With Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  In the 80s, it was cutting edge stuff… scandalous, even.  The tiny woman soon became a huge star.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I thought of Dr. Ruth last night.  It was right before I read a nauseating story about Kirk Cameron, also an 80s icon who underwent a massive makeover (and in his case, not for the better).  Kirk made a statement about how wives are to honor their husbands…

“Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband. When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.”

I made the mistake of sharing the story and immediately got a comment from someone wanting me to know about the Bible verse from which this directive comes.  For the record, yes I know that the Bible says women should follow their husbands the way their husbands follow the church.  However, I think many “Christian” men misunderstand or misuse this passage and end up abusing their wives.

I’m not so sure Cameron or others like him do a good job of explaining it.  Moreover, my initial comment was more about how Kirk Cameron changed from a goofy, boyish, funny, likable guy to a religious zealot.  He probably could use some advice from Dr. Ruth.

Dr. Ruth’s show was saucy!  Even in the 80s, she had progressive ideas about homosexuality.

I didn’t watch Dr. Ruth’s show because it aired at 10:00pm and I was about 12 or 13 years old.  Although my parents probably would neither have noticed nor cared that I was watching her program, at that age I found it boring viewing.  Most talk shows that would probably fascinate me today were dull when I was much younger.  I couldn’t be bothered to sit and listen to anyone who wasn’t a musician.  However, she did become very famous when her show was on Lifetime.  I think she and Regis Philbin helped put the then fledgeling cable channel on the map.

Here, Dr. Ruth counsels Richard Lewis, whom I well remember as Rabbi Glass on 7th Heaven.  God, he looks so young!  

For some reason, I used to love to imitate Dr. Ruth’s voice.  It’s so distinctive.    

This poor guy is a 21 year old virgin.  I was a 30 year old virgin, so I can relate to his angst.  He seems kind of sweet, though.  It was brave of him to be on Dr. Ruth’s show.  I hope he has since gotten laid.

Dr. Ruth was born in 1928, which makes her quite elderly.  She still has a channel on YouTube and, if she’s the one who is actually running it, appears to have a pretty good sense of humor.  I notice she favorited one of Robin Williams’ routines about her.

Bwahahahaaha!  This is pretty damn hilarious.

Anyway, I can’t help but miss the good old days sometimes.  Sure, the Internet is great and television has even become somewhat obsolete.  But I do miss some of the stuff that made it on the airwaves back in the day.  Lifetime and other cable channels like Nickelodeon used to be fun to watch.  Then they kind of evolved into crap… but then, that’s kind of the way of the world.  Radio used to be cool, too.  

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complaints, condescending twatbags, rants, religion

“He needs to attach his ass to a Soloflex… PERMANENTLY!”

Apparently, we should all aspire to look like Melania, scowl-face, Trump…

Today’s blog post title is a direct quote uttered by my old friend, Jamie, back in the early 1990s. At the time, we were working at Busch Gardens, wearing ugly, polyester, fake lederhosen uniforms. The uniforms were as unflattering as they were uncomfortable, and had an unfortunate tendency to give us wedgies. We had a co-worker who usually suffered more than most in the heat and humidity of Virginia’s summers. Glancing over at our obviously out of shape colleague, who was dripping sweat and had recently annoyed us by being authoritative out of turn, my friend said, “He needs to attach his ass to a Soloflex.”

I probably said something inane like, “You mean he needs to work out on a Soloflex?”

“No, I mean he needs to attach his ass to one. PERMANENTLY.” Jamie snarled.

I had a good laugh at Jamie’s snark. I’ve always enjoyed his quips, which are usually acidly witty, occasionally shocking, and uniformly hilarious. I remember years later, I shared an article with him about how French men supposedly need the largest condoms in Europe. And Jamie said something along the lines of, “Well that only stands to reason, since they are the biggest dicks.”

Sometimes, I wish I could come up with obnoxious zingers so quickly. On the other hand, I do have my moments. Especially when I’m in a certain mood.

Hey Pastor Clark… here’s something for you to think about.

So what brings up today’s topic? It’s this post I read today about a pastor in Missouri who advises his female congregants to “look pretty” so their husbands won’t go astray. This dude, Stewart-Allen Clark, who looks like he ought to “attach his ass to a Soloflex… PERMANENTLY!”, as Jamie would say, told the ladies of his flock to lose weight, look hotter, and submit to their husbands’ sexual desires, so they won’t stray. And he said this with a straight face, as he looks a bit like ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag himself. Clark also told the ladies to wear makeup, choose appropriate hairstyles, dress up, and avoid looking “butch”.

Here’s the sermon in question.

This guy, walking around looking like a fucking slob, says it’s “really important” for a man to have a “beautiful woman” on his arm. He says that to your man, you “should be the most beautiful woman in the world.” Then he goes on to talk about how women “let themselves go” after they get married. Then he qualifies and says, “I know not every woman can look like a Melania Trump trophy wife… maybe you’re more of a ‘participation trophy.'”

Here’s a little mood music for Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark and his ilk.

Wow…

And as I listen to this guy speak, I can’t help but notice he ain’t no great shakes himself. And there “ain’t nothin’ attractive” about a big fat slob on a stage spouting off sexist bullshit about how women look as he talks about how “visual” men are. He says, “God made men to be drawn to ‘beautiful women'”.”

This showed up in my Facebook memories yesterday. How apropos! Guys, it goes both ways.

What qualifies a woman as “beautiful”? I know some women that most people would consider quite plain in terms of their physical appearances. It has nothing to do with their being lazy. They just weren’t blessed with what many people would consider classically attractive looks. And yet, in many ways, they are still beautiful because of some other quality that doesn’t immediately meet the eye. They’re intelligent, or quick witted, or talented in some way. They have a kind heart; or they’re generous. They’re good cooks or athletic or easy to talk to. There are so many ways a person can be “beautiful”, and not all of them are limited to the physical.

On the other hand, I can think of some women that many people consider beautiful, but they’re not good people. They’re dishonest, or narcissistic, or manipulative. They’re disloyal or irresponsible or mean. Lots of people are attracted to them because they’re nice to look at. But the minute you start speaking to them, you find out they’re shallow and callous. And they’re not much fun to be around because of that.

Pastor Clark goes on to admit that he doesn’t do marriage counseling anymore because a lot of times, when married people would come to him for advice about intimacy, he would be brutally honest and upset the wives. He says one couple came to him. She looked like a “sumo wrestler” and he was a “little guy”. The guy said he wasn’t attracted to his wife because she was a fat “beeeep”. The woman then proceeded to beat the crap out of him. Then she lost 100 pounds and got pregnant with their second child… which would, of course, cause her to gain weight.

But, I mean, seriously… Clark excuses men for looking like the Michelin Man and being all sweaty and gross. Then he says that his wife used to be quite “robust”… then someone corrects him with the word “healthy”. Oh yes, “thank you!” he says.

Then he says that she knows he looks at other women. She wants him to look at her, and nobody else. So she lost a lot of weight and goes around saying, “Food never tastes as good as skinny feels.” Clark says he’s glad that his wife understands that all men are this way… and he also loves make up. Apparently, all men like make up, too. And you don’t want to be “ugly” and “stink”… or look butch. Because God forbid you smell of hormones or sweat or menstrual fluid… or any of the other body fluids we all encounter. Don’t ruin the illusion of beauty, girls, by letting your men know that you have to shit, too.

But then I look at Clark and hope his wife doesn’t get crushed under him or repelled by his body odor and bad breath. He really ought to take his own advice… especially as he talks about how women gain weight because of thyroid and prostate problems. Hello? I don’t know any women who have prostate glands. Then he bitches about how women “always” cut their hair after they get married.

The Bible does come up. He says that men should post this on the headboards of their beds:

1 Corinthians 7:4

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

How egalitarian! But I don’t hear Clark saying that men need to look their best for their wives. I only hear him berating women for not trying hard enough… (heh heh, I said hard…) to make their men hard by looking “hawt”. And that’s the only way to keep them from straying. I also don’t hear Clark emphasizing that second part AT ALL. He’s probably a lay preacher… (heh heh, I said lay…)

I’m really lucky. My husband is a wonderful, classy, and loving man. He is intelligent, sensitive, evolved, and loyal. And he appreciates me for the way I am. I know he does. I don’t know how I got so lucky. But then, Bill didn’t choose me after seeing me across a crowded room. He chose me because I engaged his mind first. He appreciated my imagination, my sense of humor, my ability to keep him interested and the fact that I was just as interested in him. And Bill is smart enough to know that the sexiest part of anyone is not something you can see externally. It’s the mind… it’s what’s inside that matters most. I also know that Bill has already been divorced and doesn’t want to divorce again.

When the situation calls for it, yes, I do gussy up. When we go out to a nice restaurant that doesn’t require PPE, I’ll put on a dress and makeup. I fix my hair and wear jewelry. So does Bill. We still look like a cute couple, too. But if I’m just going to hang out with the dogs all day, no I’m not putting on makeup for that. I’ll be clean and brush my teeth and hair and take care of all of that other hygiene stuff. Bill doesn’t mind. He never has, because he’s a man of substance who sees beneath the surfaces of everyone. He’s probably a much better man than I deserve, to be honest.

I know there are a lot of men out there who are like Pastor Clark, though. They aren’t attracted to women who don’t “meet their standards” or ring their chimes sexually. And then, when they get older and their wives get tired of being told how fat and ugly and unappealing they are, a lot of the men wind up alone. My mom is single now. She’s happy that way. A few years ago, she decided to do a river cruise in Europe. She got many offers from men to accompany her. She declined. After years of taking care of my dad and putting up with his shit, she’s much happier on her own. Believe me, I can tell.

Rosie O’Donnell makes sense… and Donald Trump hates her for it. I’m sure that Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark does, too. Incidentally, Bill has told me his favorite parts of my body are my eyes… followed by my boobs. But if I lose my boobs because of cancer or something, I expect he’ll still love me anyway.

Anyway… I’m glad I don’t go to Pastor Clark’s church. I think he’s a hypocrite, and I don’t like hypocrisy. I hear what he’s saying about the importance of physical attraction. That is important. But it’s a two way street, and there has to be a lot more to the relationship than just physical attraction. Otherwise, you’re gonna get bored. Real women are better than fake ones… and after awhile, real women get tired of having to put on makeup, curling their hair, starving themselves, and whatever else simply to keep a man’s attention. Especially guys like Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark, who needs to attach his ass AND his mouth to a Soloflex… PERMANENTLY.

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bad TV, celebrities, music, nostalgia

Kelly Ripa as a teen…

Last night, just before retiring for the evening, someone in a fun Facebook group I’m in posted this poofy video…

This video was from a show called Dance Party USA. It must have been a local series, since I never saw it in Virginia.

I think the person who shared this did so because of the song. It’s Debbie Gibson singing her hit, “Only In My Dreams”, which was a hit when I was a teenager. I was never a Debbie Gibson fan, but a lot of my friends were. I was familiar with the album this song came from, as well as Ms. Gibson’s formidable talent. Her music wasn’t my favorite, but like me, she has perfect pitch. Unlike me, she plays piano and composes her own songs. At least back in 1988, when she was about 18 years old, she had an appealingly girlish voice.

I got a kick out of this video. The fashions and hairstyles, while cringeworthy in 2020, were quite familiar to me. Some of the dance moves were good. Some were pretty hilarious. And then, there she was… the great Kelly Ripa.

Isn’t this cute?

I’m not a big Kelly Ripa fan, but I do recall seeing her in ads and hosting morning TV shows. I’ve never been one to watch those shows myself, but my parents did. And I know that Kelly Ripa, also two years older than I am, has gone on to become a television presenter and talk show host. Wasn’t she famous for taking over Kathie Lee Gifford’s spot with the late Regis Philbin?

I thought the above clip would be thrilling enough, but then I spied another upload featuring the great Rick Astley of “rickrolling” fame and huge hits like “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Forever Together”. I actually kind of liked Rick Astley when he was popular, although it didn’t escape my attention that his songs all sounded quite similar.

Oh my dear LORD!

Rick seems kind of low key, especially compared to Kelly Ripa’s hair, which is permed to poodle perfection. Seriously, kids, if you want to know what we looked like in the late 80s, here ya go. Jesus Christ! And I thought the Bradys were tacky!

Ooh… Bobby Brown is showing off his moves!

I actually liked Pretty Poison. I wonder what happened to them.

I’m sure this was fun at the time. It’s kind of embarrassing now.

Here’s a more recent look at Kelly Ripa. She’s aging nicely. It helps to have professional makeup artists and hair stylists fixing her up. She now hosts Live with Kelly and Ryan.

I think those choppers have been used to sell toothpaste, too.

Ordinarily, I would post this on my music blog. Maybe I will post it there eventually, although I’ve kind of lost interest in that blog recently. Besides, Kelly isn’t a musician. She’s just a cutie pie who presents stuff on TV. I was pretty shocked to see her on Dance Party USA, though. I guess people have to start somewhere. I’ve read that that show was taped in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey. They had a lot of cool celebs on there. According to their Wikipedia page, it looks like none of the hosts ever went on to the big time, unlike Kelly, who was apparently an occasional guest star.

I just can’t believe how quickly the past 32 years have flown by. It seems like yesterday, I was a teenager mucking out stalls and impatiently waiting to launch my life. It just goes to show that before you know it, you’re an old bat like me, with an aching back and lots of memories. Maybe shows like these took off after Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, and Shannen Doherty made Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

I’ve never been one for dancing. Well, except for maybe slam dancing… a good slam dance was fun, especially when I was in my 20s and inebriated. I don’t dance anymore, so don’t ask me. I wonder if Kelly still does.

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