The Moonlight Must Appear


LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in “Camelot” launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73. Robert Goulet had a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis.

The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said Goulet spokesman Norm Johnson. He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being found last month to have a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis. Goulet had remained in good spirits even as he waited for the transplant, said Vera Goulet, his wife of 25 years.

“Just watch my vocal cords,” she said he told doctors before they inserted a breathing tube.

The Massachusetts-born Goulet, who spent much of his youth in Canada, gained stardom in 1960 with “Camelot,” the Lerner and Loewe musical that starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as his Queen Guenevere. Goulet played Sir Lancelot, the arrogant French knight who falls in love with Guenevere.

He became a hit with American TV viewers with appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and other programs. Sullivan labeled him the “American baritone from Canada,” where he had already been a popular star in the 1950s, hosting his own show called “General Electric’s Showtime.”

He made an excellent comic villain, and seemed to have a wicked sense of humor about himself.

Emerald Nuts: Robert Goulet

Beware of Robert Goulet, for he will mess with your stuff once you fall asleep.

It’s Up To You, Yeah, You

Last week, we talked about the care package project. Let’s review:

The following items are of great use to the deployers:

Black/brown t-shirts and black socks
crystal light packets
individual size beef jerky
energy bars
lip balm
sun screen
foot powder
baby wipes
hand/antibacterial soap
individually wrapped hard candy
phone cards
blank greeting cards/letter writing materials
sunflower seeds
assorted snack items

You can send some items, all these items, a case of any one kind of item. They will be grateful for what you send, regardless. Also: they especially want hand sanitizer and baby wipes.

Not on the list: I have heard that eye drops are also prized. Books are also great.

My contact with the program, who shall remain charmingly anonymous and not a person I made myself, says also:

We also have a program for our families called Operation Sweet Dreams. In this program the family member sends us a digital photo, we transfer to a pillowcase and the family gives to the deployed member to take with them or is sent to the deployed location. With that we would need plain white pillow cases.

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:
Airman & Family Readiness Center
706 Washington Ave
Bldg 10122
Vandenberg AFB, CA 93437

Ah, memories! Remember the next thing that happened was California caught on fire? Did you feel torn? With my teeny budget, I did, because I wanted to help. While there’s still a whole lot to talk about with regard to what happened in the wake of the wildfires, let’s focus a minute on the care package project. A year ago, I assembled care packages for two Marines as part of Coalition of the Swilling’s project. The thinking, shopping and packaging for the mail was a huge challenge for me and I enjoyed thinking about the needs of someone I could only imagine.

Were it truly up to me, I’d mail them tickets home on Air Jamaica, but one doesn’t always get to choose the best gift options, and nowhere in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog does one find a six-pack of Skillful MidEast Diplomats, which is what these kids truly need. Yesterday, I sent out an email to a handful of my favorite people, asking the musical question, “What should I send them? How shall I send them?” I got a few responses but for the most part, even my very favorite people do not at all want to talk about this, which is interesting but not surprising. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

beef jerky
eye drops
nail clippers
lip balm
writing paper/envelopes
instant coffee
instant foods
bungee cords/giant twist ties
magnets/wall hooks
foot care stuff
herbed salt
scotch/duct tape
unscented moisturizer
puzzle magazine
Rolling Stone/People/Ya got me, what?
deck of cards

The contents of that list have settled with time. Last year’s project was a box sent to a specific person with one name and one probable set of needs. This year, this box goes to a place where people will sort what they receive and re-package. It’s a different animal. Last year, I was inclined to include crayons and a coloring book. This year, I wrote a note to Martha Stewart’s foundation, asking if they’d like to donate – say – thousands of white pillowcases to the Sweet Dreams project.

Then, of course, there’s only so much a person can do. Let’s not allow ourselves to get overwhelmed. I’m interested in you, now. I’m sending out a box this morning, and I’ll send another in a couple of weeks. Will you join me?

Those Hidden Signs

Here we are, for the – very temporary – moment in October, 2007. I have been following with a sinking heart the fight to restore habeas corpus and declare that my country will obey the Geneva Conventions again. Something bubbled up out of my memory from a time when I used to dress up and be Joan of Arc on stage. Leading to that, I read everything about her I could find, including transcripts of her trial. Now it’s your turn, and the date is 9 May 1431, and every comma and misprint comes straight from the source.

Wednesday, May 9th. She is threatened with torture

On Wednesday, May 9th of the same year, Jeanne was brought into the great tower of the castle of Rouen before us the said judges and in the presence of the reverend father,, lord abbot of St. Carmel de Compiègne, of masters Jean de Châtillon and Guillaume Erart, doctors of sacred theology, of André Marguerie and Nicolas de Venderès, archdeacons of the church of Rouen, of William Haiton, bachelor of theology, Aubert Morel, licentiate in canon law; Nicolas Loiseleur, canon of the cathedral of Rouen, and master Jean Massieu.

And Jeanne was required and admonished to speak the truth on many different points contained in her trial which she had denied or to which she had given false replies, whereas we possessed certain information, proofs, and vehement presumptions upon them. Many of the points were read and explained to her, and she was told that if she did not confess them truthfully she would be put to the torture, the instruments of which were shown to her all ready in the tower. There were also present by our instruction men ready to put her to the torture in order to restore her to the way and knowledge of truth, and by this means to procure the salvation of her body and soul which by her lying inventions she exposed to such grave perils.

To which the said Jeanne answered in this manner: “Truly if you were to tear me limb from limb and separate my soul from my body, I would not tell you anything more: and if I did say anything, I should afterwards declare that you had compelled me to say it by force.” Then she said that on Holy Cross Day last she received comfort from St. Gabriel: she firmly believes it was St. Gabriel, she knew by her voices it was he. She said she asked counsel of her voices whether she should submit to the Church since the clergy were pressing her hard to submit: her voices told her that if she desired Our Lord to aid her she must wait upon Him in all her doings. She said that Our Lord has always been the master of her doings, and the Enemy never had power over them. She asked her voices if she would be burned and they answered that she must wait upon God, and He would aid her.

When asked about the crown she said she had given to the archbishop of Reims, and whether she would refer herself to him, she answered: “Send him here [and let me hear him speak]: and then I will answer you. He dare not deny what I have told you.”

But seeing the hardness of her heart and her manner of answering, we the said judges, fearing that the torments of torture would be of little profit to her, decided to postpone their application until we had received more complete advice on the question.

Emphasis mine. There’s more, where the emphasis is still mine.

Saturday, May 12th. Jeanne is not to be tortured

On Saturday following, May 12th, in our episcopal dwelling at Rouen, before us the said judges and in the presence of the venerable masters Raoul Roussel, treasurer, Nicolas de Venderès and André Marguerie, archdeacons and canons of Rouen; Guillaume Erart, master of theology; Robert Le Barbier, Denis Gastinel, Jean Le Doulx, and Aubert Morel, licentiates in canon law; Thomas de Courcelles, Nicolas Couppequesne. bachelors of sacred theology; Nicolas Loiseleur and brother Ysambard de La Pierre.

We the said bishop recalled what had taken place on the previous Wednesday, and we asked the counsel of the assessors on what remained to be done, in particular if it was expedient to put Jeanne to the torture.

[And first the said Raoul Roussel stated that he thought it was not expedient, lest a trial so well conducted should be exposed to calumny.

Master Nicolas de Venderès said he thought it was not yet expedient to put her to the torture.

Master André Marguerie said it was not yet expedient.

Master Guillaume Erart said it was needless to put her to the torture, sufficient matter was possessed without it.

Master Robert Le Barbier gave a similar opinion; but thought she should again be charitably admonished, once and for all, to submit to the Church. If she would not, then in God’s name the proceedings should continue.

Master Denis Gastinel said it was not expedient.

Master Aubert Morel said he thought it expedient to put her to the torture in order to discover the truth of her lies.

Master Thomas de Courcelles said he thought it wise to torture her. She ought also to be examined whether she would submit to the judgment of the Church.

Master Nicolas Couppequesne said it is not expedient to put her to the torture, but she should, once more, be charitably admonished of the necessity of submitting to the decision of the Church.

Master Jean Le Doulx, similarly.

Brother Ysambard de La Pierre, similarly; but for the last time she should be admonished to submit to the Church Militant.

Master Nicolas Loiseleur said he thought it good for the health of her soul to put her to the torture: nevertheless he deferred to the earlier opinions.

Master William Haiton, who came later, was of the opinion that there was no need for torture.

Master Jean Le Maistre, Vice-Inquisitor, said she should once more be examined on whether she believed she should submit to the Church Militant.]

When these opinions had been heard and the answers which Jeanne had made on the previous Wednesday considered, in view of her disposition and will and of the circumstances, we concluded that it was neither necessary nor expedient to submit her to the torture, and that we should proceed further in the matter.

It comes as no surprise in 2007 that some sadistic fucks have always couched torture in terms of benefit to the tortured. Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani went so far last week as to say what mattered about waterboarding was who did it and why.

No. No, it doesn’t. Five hundred seventy-six years ago, a teenager blurted out the truth about torture and avoided being tortured. Before and since, people being tortured have blurted out anything to make the suffering stop. Joan was led to the stake and recanted, for fear of the fire, if you need an example. It’s true that later, her courage returned to her but not before she’d denied everything she believed about herself, the voices of her angels and God.

That we ever burned our outcasts at the stake is almost unbelievable now; in that context, that we entertain discussion of waterboarding now is mind-boggling in its throwback sadism. No. There is no scenario where torture is our best option for justice.

There never was.

Then My Hair’s Too Short

I took this picture weeks ago in the family store. People who’d drop dead driven five miles from the Menlo Park Mall go bananas for dust-magnet statues of woodland and farm animals they hope to never see in person. It’s exciting to watch customers stare in wonder at the glazed ceramic cows, knowing the farthest thing from their minds is burgers and brisket. I’m no vegetarian; the last thing I want is porcine paperweights reminding me of guilt-laden bacon I’m not eating.

Please. Don’t get me started on the absurdity of selling porcelain chickens to city dwellers who’d call the cops if they heard a rooster crow. At least the bunnies don’t look to me like waylaid entrees.

Friday Music Blogging: One Little White Lie Edition

Courtesy of Altrok Radio, Candie Payne’s All I Need To Hear has been playing in my head:

Last night.
Tata: Okay okay okay, just about the time I would usually close the family store I’m helping a lady at the half-price jewelry section, which is at the very back of the store. We’re looking at half-price necklaces without price tags when over her shoulder by the back door I see something move. Then I see it again. It’s a field mouse! I thought the top of my head would blow off.
Pete: Did you step on it?
Tata: Are you kidding? I had a customer! And the new goal of my entire being was to focus her attention away from the indoor wildlife. She made me a wacky offer for the jewelry and I plastered a springy smile on my face. I said something like, “Gwabbflep blibbity jooop,” which she understood to mean, “I’ll wrap that up for you.” In any case, she didn’t look for the exits, which could have been reasonably disastrous.
Pete: So what did you do?
Tata: She asked if we had Halloweeny stuff and I almost burst a blood vessel with happiness. “That’s up in the front of the store. I’ll show you everything.” I dragged her to the front, where she found more things for sale. She liked bags of wire spiders and found a crappy fairy doll thing I wouldn’t mop cobwebs with but it didn’t have a price tag either. I saw my chance, picked up her merch and ran for the back door. The mouse, however, took umbrage at the open door and ran the other way, eventually deciding the completely visible corner by the bathroom was where he’d sit and hyperventilate.
Pete: So…now did you step on him?
Tata: No way, Jose. I called the toy store, where my sister Corinne answered. I purred into the phone, “I need your help desperately.” A moment later, Corinne appeared at my side. We talked about the mop-like remaindered doll as the customer wandered over to another jewelry counter. I leaned in very close and whispered in Corinne’s ear, “There’s a mouse by the bathroom door.” Corinne didn’t move a muscle but whispered back, “Where?” I tossed my head as only a distressed Jersey chick with high hair history can in the direction of the pitiful thing. Corinne and I both smiled like we were radioactive as the customer came back to settle up. Then, Corinne was over by the bathroom door, doing something. Then she wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know what happened, because at this moment, the customer decided she wanted to chat.
Pete:Omigod, it’s Fawlty Towers over there! What’d Corinne do with Basil the Rat?
Tata: I don’t know! Corinne’s an animal lover. Anyway, she was gone and less than two chatty minutes later, my brother-in-law Dan popped in the back door and said, “Hey, did someone have a question?” I said, still smiling like my face was on springs, “Ask Corinne.”
Pete: Then what?
Tata: I closed the store and bought a bottle of wine I could drink through a straw.

Monopoly, Twenty-One, Checkers and Chess

Here in New Jersey, it’s pouring and weather services promise pouring rain for another two days. Sunday night, Pete and I were watching Family Guy on Adult Swim, where a bumper series made us sit up straight. I’m paraphrasing.

Things that make us nervous.

1. Atlanta’s water supply has 80 days left.

One? That’s bullet point one? Pete and I said, “What? What What?” because what intelligent response can there be to the bland statement that another huge population center in the US was neck deep in the shit. It’s been almost four days since then. Were I a civil engineer looking at the current weather map, I might be having the teensiest of nervous breakdowns. I’m sorry I’m soggy. Obviously, I can’t complain about sopping up the river with my sneakers and the ends of my cargo pants because, um, I’d love to wring them out and help. This would be a lot funnier if, when situations beyond our control arise, we weren’t each of us small, and covered with fur.

Speaking of fur, Johnny reviews a ghastly werewolf film and I can’t contain my glee.

You don’t watch a movie like Dog Soldiers looking for common sense. And you won’t find it.

A Scottish Army unit is dropped up in the highlands on a routine training exercise. They soon find themselves being stalked by werewolves. So far, so good. But ninety minutes into this piece of shite, the characters are still arguing about whether werewolves exist. The animals attacking them are nine feet tall and walk on their hind fucking legs. But there are holdouts who insist these are just exceptionally robust and limber wolves. What little credibility a werewolf movie has goes right out the window. Also, two of the lads get savaged by the werewolves but are rescued by their comrades. Their wounds heal overnight and their eyes start to get all gleamy and green. No one seems to see what’s coming or think to put a slug behind their increasingly pointy ears before it’s too late. Also, no one suspects that the pretty girl who appears out of nowhere and rescues them, who lives in the midst of these rapacious killers armed with nothing but a tight t-shirt, might be more trouble than she looks like. I expected so little of this movie that I wasn’t disappointed when she said, as her eyes bugged and her teeth stuck out “You thought all women were bitches. Now you’re met the real thing,” although, with those teeth, it sounded more “the weew fing.” Out of pure mulish determination, I got through to the end. Just so you don’t ever have to see it, the hero and the cute dog survive. You’re welcome.

I’m impressed by the fact that a Scottish Army group had an argument Johnny understood. As your world-traveling pals will tell you: to the newcomer, listening to Scots speak English can be an awful lot like having the booze go straight to your ears, and I say this as a person living in a place where consonants disappear from ordinary words at approximately the same rate as trees fall and condos dot the landscape. I’m ready at the drop of a hat to suspend my disbelief!

I’d dance around in circles at the notion of fighting werewolves with a tight t-shirt but everyone knows a gal’s not fully loaded for bear without booty-choking disco shorts, preferably in baby pink for heroines and dried-blood burgundy for femmes most fatale. I mean, you’re a high school graduate. You know there’s no such thing as a car wash without aspiring Hooters girls, and that a glamorous hot mama like myself would never withhold the truth, my yummy gumdrops: ThermaCare Heat Wraps are made of awesomeness.

It’s All Right If You Don’t

According to the New York City rock and rock and roll radio let’s go, today is National Bologna Day, while tomorrow is the immensely popular Punk For a Day Day, which fortunately comes with a side of eyestrain, so you know what all the shouting’s about. Yes, it may turn out we were all just in a bad mood for a few years, with safety pins. So old age won’t bring many surprises. Thus, it is fitting that I have an appointment with my gynecologist.

“Ta darling,” you’re saying, “That was an odd segue. I feel vaguely uncomfortable, like a million voices cried out and were silent – nearly enough to make me reconsider my breakfast combo.”

You’ll live to dine again. Among the things bugging me today are that I need to get a mammogram, and that my insurance company requires women to get prescriptions for mammograms. My insurance company assures women that preventive care is good care. Get a mammogram! Everyone should have one! Take two, they’re small! So…why the prescription? Send me a pushy postcard once a year from one of those resorts only insurance company CEOs can afford.

Having a lovely time. Wish you were here! – I kid, because I love! Princess, make an appointment for the old smashy filmy. It’s cost effective for me!

So why the permission slip from the gynecologist? Are breasts a controlled substance? Have I been wielding them without a license all this time? Scheduling unpleasant tests willynilly? The doctor assured me years ago that one day, mammograms will go the way of the dodo, replaced in the balance sheet ecosystem by MRIs when their costs come down. The MRI makes sense to me because you hold still and a technician takes very detailed pictures of your innards. I have had my extremely photogenic innards photographed, if you will, in this way and it was completely painless. I enjoyed the complete painlessness of the test, and would like to enjoy it annually, but if I have to have a half-assed and unpleasant test every year, can I just get it and get it over with without the insurance company both pushing and pulling? That’s too much to ask? Baloney!