Firstly, to all my US readers, reading this on the right day, happy 4th of July. For non Americans, and those not reading this on the day of publishing, hope you’re having a good day, anyway.
I cannot vaguely imagine what life was like 241 years ago, on this day, in the small part of the US that was escaping the yoke of UK rule, so I’m not even going to try! The one thing I am sure of, is that it was probably a lot calmer, and quieter than today will be, in most places there. Of course, the US has grown quite considerably in size since then, even if the continent was there all that time ago, most of it, the colonists had never seen, and for most, never would. Indeed, back then, Alaska would actually have been part of Russia, now there’s an irony!
Back then, it would have taken months to traverse the country, by wagon, and horse, even if people had ever considered doing it, which I doubt. Now, in a matter of hours, you can cross the country by jet plane, though fine, if I had unlimited time, I still think doing it by train would be a whole lot more fun. Ironically, the train fare, with a cabin, would probably cost as much, if not more than the plane fare!
No, so far, I’ve never been in the US on the 4th of July, but maybe one day, after retirement, I will. A lot of it is down to the holiday season at work places, but also, for me, high summer in a lot of the US, would be ‘pretty warm’ for me. Maybe thats the time to go to Alaska lol?
But yes, have fun, if you’re celebrating.
I know, despite the title, I’ve avoided the obvious political comments until now. Now technically, this related to the Cold War, at its height in the 1980’s. But given a US leader’s ‘supposed’ ties to Russia, fine, I was feeling mischievous! Many said that Frankie Goes To Hollywood couldnt perform live, but this puts that theory to bed. Alright, its not quite the same as the recorded version, but its decent, all the same.
Yes, I apologise to my British readers, for a second baseball related blog, but hey, this is as much about history, as it is about Baseball.
When I was a young child (I want to say girl, but strictly I wasnt, at that point, so lets go gender neutral), it looked quite possible that Russia, and the US were going to blow up the world with nuclear weapons, over a stand off over Cuba. As I was only 4 at the time, I didnt know much about it, but I gather it seemed inevitable at one point, but thankfully, it was averted.
But after that, officially at least, any kind of relations between the US, and Cuba, was pretty much zero. And yes, at that point, crossing the 100 miles between them, across the Gulf of Florida was pretty dangerous, to put it mildly. Yes, oceans are a lot more open than the Mediterranean Sea, that there is so much focus on now, and many, many, lost their lives, trying to cross it, to get to America.
Oh, one thing, if you think Americans are baseball crazy, you should see the Cubans! But what has happened, even more so in recent years, is that the better Cuban baseball players have been making the crossing, because of the money they could earn, in the Major League. And they become social pariahs at home, to put it mildly.
So tonight, whats happening? Well, Tampa Bay, of the Major League, are playing Cuba, in a pre season baseball game, in Havana! And the Presidents of both countries were at the game. Yes, thats how far things have moved in the last year, or less, in relations between the 2 countries.
So fine, the first bat of the game was pure irony, as it was one of those escapees from Cuba, that batted first for Tampa Bay. Lets say he wasnt deafened by the applause for him from the crowd, who probably see him as a traitor, but anyway…it happened! The cheer when he hit his first ball high into the air, and was caught, priceless!
To be fair, there has been less focus on the game than usual, from ESPN. Lots more interviews than normal, including Obama, but hey, this is special.
OK, for the video, lets look back on that dangerous scenario in 1962, after the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion, and everything else, and be grateful that we werent all nuked off the planet!
Yes, I think its fair to say that so much has happened in my life this year, that I can stretch this out to 2 parts quite easily. The UK edition will follow on Wednesday, by the way. A look forward to what I know 2015 holds in store, on New Years Day.
So, lets start with the first trip, the one to Kansas City, and the whole state of Kansas. Initially, the plan had been for this to happen in May, but things never work out quite as planned. Kate’s work got in the way, so it got put back to September. Thankfully, her main concern about doing that, extreme heat, and me, never cropped up. It was very pleasant, 70’s, and 80’s and all that, but no more, so all was fine.
Before we get to the main emotional stuff, I could never have got to Cherryvale without her, and I dont think she will ever realise just how much I appreciated her help in getting me there. But its what happened when I got to Cherryvale that really struck home to me, just how wonderful some people can be to a virtual stranger, that she may well never meet again. One amazing woman, named Tina. Not only did she really welcome us to Cherryvale, home town of Louise Brooks (and Vivian Vance, as she would appreciate me mentioning), she really welcomed us to town. A guided tour, photos of both Brooks homes, and a trip out to see the Big Lake nearby too. But on top of all this, she arranged for me to get into the museum, in town, on a day when it would normally be shut to the public. Someone I’m really glad to have met, and to give me the chance to get close to standing in Louise Brooks’s footprints.
Its fair to say that I’ll probably never get back to Cherryvale, but I will always remember that place, unless dementia gets me first!
On the same trip, after Kate had gone back home (she has a normal life, for heavens sake), I headed off into Kansas City, home town of Jean Harlow, of course. Funnily enough, for quite a while, I got no further than Union Station, on the edge of town. Nowadays the station has one through train (Chicago – Los Angeles), and 2 other services to St Louis, and thats it! Of course, back in the 1920’s, there were a lot more trains, and there is photographic evidence of Jean Harlow travelling by train, so its fair to assume that I very much stood in her foot steps there.
Luckily, I got to take a modern trolley car trip around the city, so did see a lot more, maybe I’ll get back one day, but I’m not getting any younger…
Bur despite all that, its fair to say, that in the end, that wasnt my most emotional trip to the US this year. In November, I went out to Albany (as was always planned), given an invitation by my wonderful friend, James, to join his family for Thanksgiving, a first for me. Really, really glad I did it, despite the snow dump on the Wednesday, about 9 inches. Thing is, the bus service didnt even blink, let alone stop. Over here, an inch, and…rolls eyes.
Thanksgiving Day, and everything surrounding it was amazing, so glad I got to find out what that was like. And no, I didnt go shopping on Black Friday!
But yes, the side trip to New Hampshire. I had discussed the possibility of doing a past life regression with S earlier in the year. There was only about 200 miles between him, and Albany, but getting there by public transport… We compromised, I got the coach to Worcester, MA, and he took me to and from New Hampshire from there.
Lets be frank, much though it would have been wonderful to have discovered I was Jean Harlow in a previous life, it wasnt really likely to be true. It wasnt, though I would love to have seen his face (I was deep in trance remember) when I said I was in Hollywood in 1928! I remember being asked the colour of my hair, giggling, and saying brunette, though of course I had no idea why he was asking me that. Yes, I was, in a past life, a small part actress named Clara Johnson, oh wow!
Sadly, finding anything out about Clara, even with the internet, has pretty much come up blank, apart from one credited part. Small parts never got credited before the mid 30’s, we know she made a decent living, but no more… Sometime, I really must get back to New Hampshire, let him put me under for much longer, and find out so much more about her. But until then, I know who I was, and just maybe, she worked, or played with Jean, when both were just small part actresses.
So yes, those 2 trips have tugged at my emotions no end, but I’m really, really glad I done both, and now know what I do.
Louise got married (at least) twice, Jean three times, Clara, just the once. For each of them, there must have been something of this. And of course, in the title of the group, Hollywood
In the second of my bonus blogs (i.e. shift related, not the standard ones on my days off), lets focus on an event that happened 100 years ago today, and set off the fuse for the catastrophe now known as the First World War, and all the bloodshed it caused.
Yes, on this day in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo, and immediately set the world on a path towards a date, 37 days later, when the commencement of WW1 was announced. Ironically, you have to wonder, if their driver had not taken a wrong turn when heading back to their base in Sarajevo (was it deliberate, you have to wonder?), then the chance to kill them may never have happened, and who knows where we might be, but for that.
Because, out of that, came the reparations against Germany, and in the ensuing ill feelings that caused, the rise of Hitler, and of course, WW2! Also, how different would Europe look now, given the break ups caused by the outcome, that led to the break up of the Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires might not have happened!
But looking at it from the opposite point of view, the development of the airplane increased dramatically, if only for the reason of developing them into a weapon, to be used against the enemy!
Lets not get too heavily into the massive loss of lives that happened over the next 4 years, we all know that story, lets just remember all those brave men who lost their lives, many of them because of the stupidity of their leaders.
I suppose, as a woman, I should be grateful, it meant women were needed to go out to work, and emancipation came about soon after the end of the war, driven by those events.
But as to my views of events in WW1, this song sums them up pretty well
Yes, lets follow up on the last blog, where I hypothesised on the idea of going to Los Angeles on one of my US trips, and commented on the public transport situation there. Unsurprisingly, no one answered my questions for me, so I investigated for myself. Now, whether its because the position has dramatically improved in the last 10 years, or whether I was given poor information, but from what I can see, the public transport situation there isnt as bad as I was expecting it to be. And seemingly there is even a decent service from there, to Glendale, so even paying my respects seems possible, so…
Now yes, you’re right, normally when I go anywhere in the US, on my own, I tend to stay somewhere near the airport. Yes, its convenient, given I’ve usually had a long flight (or combination of flights) and just want to get to the hotel, settle in, and take it easy. But seriously, I’m planning to follow in the footsteps of Harlow, Brooks, and Lake, and head to Hollywood, and not stay there…? Even more so when I saw some of the delightful ‘old’ hotels in the area. Yes, fine, I cant afford them, not unless one of the film studios wants to offer me a contract! There are a couple of more budget hotels in the area, that have been around a while, but the reviews dont look too good! Equally one or two of the chains seem to have hotels in the area, that clearly are modern, but look the part, from the outside pictures at least. Anyway, all will be investigated more closely, if, and when I decide I’m going.
To be honest, it would, even at my level of budget, cost more than my normal US trip. Distance plays a part, that always increases the air fare. And of course, the really big cities cost more to stay in than the smaller ones. So all in all…but it would be an amazing experience, so I think thats the compensation involved.
I’ll be honest, there is probably only one good reason why Stevie going to Hollywood isnt already a safe bet, and thats her old body. Yes, I mentioned it, its a long way, 2 long flights, and my body isnt getting any younger, and the joints are getting stiffer, so…My plan is simple, if my body doesnt revolt totally after the flight to Kansas City in September, I will be going next year, for sure. But, and its a big but judging by my last 2 West Coast excursions, I’m not sure how well the body will hold up. I hope it does, but I’m getting on, so I really dont know, but keep your fingers crossed.
The irony, Jean Harlow never planned on being a film star, she went with someone else, to their audition, and got plucked for stardom herself. No, seriously, no film studio is going to take a chance on a 56 year old (will be 57 by then) as a star, whatever people say about looks, I’m not as young as Jean, anyway! Besides which, I havent acted since school, so…
But yes, at least I get to see the stars for Harlow, Lake, and Doris Day, and probably a few others, and get to experience the whole Hollywood sensation, if my body is up to it! Oh, and experience the whole Hollywood scene! So, fingers crossed! Why Lake? Seems a few think I resemble her even more than Harlow, and I can sort of see their point. So you can judge
Another bonus, judging by Twitter at least, unsurprisingly, there seems to be plenty of vintage clothing options in the area. So, all in all, Stevie may well be going to Hollywood, even if I dont literally follow in Harlow’s footsteps.
The video, well, when a certain Mr Sinatra first visited town, a headline appeared in a newspaper, and many years later, this group took it for their name.
They were different, so if your tastes are delicate, then maybe I wouldnt watch?
Well yes, I was doing a bit of form filling earlier today, and came to that perennial question on every form, that of your gender. Normally, you get two choices, dont you, male or female? Some places will add a prefer not to say nowadays, presumably a sign of PC-ness? I must admit, even when I get that option, nowadays, I always click female anyway.
Beyond the passport office (definite, until I get ‘something’ removed), and the tax office (who I thought still had me as male, but my last piece of correspondence suggested otherwise), I’m officially designated as female everywhere nowadays, so no problem on that front. Maybe, given what I mention next, I might have the answer to why?
But this form had 2 additional options, for which I’m not sure if its a good, or a bad thing. Yes, some might have guessed this, as its me mentioning it, they were transgendered male, and transgendered female. So fine, I clicked on the latter, at least its strictly correct, if push ever comes to shove. But what I’m wondering, is why? I mean, lets be fair, if you’ve had all the ops, done all the hormones etc, all records mark you the same as a natural born of your gender. If you haven’t, like me, then maybe its fair, but…
If this was a job application, is this an instant thing that counts against you? Because if it is, then strictly its an item of discrimination under current rules, against trans people surely? And why, in other matters, should it concern anyone if you are a trans female, or a natural one? Of course, as with all things, proving that any refusal is because you are trans, is like looking for a needle in a very giant haystack.
No, this wasnt a tax form, or even a government one, but does it mean that transgendered female (presumably for us pre-op folk) is now regarded as an official gender? It would explain the last tax office missive (details of date changes for women to claim pensions, if you must know), I guess, if they are using it for me? Or maybe they’ve just decided I’m officially female, and forgot to tell me! Now all I need is the Passport office to back down, and if anyone from there is reading, transgendered FEMALE would get my approval as my gender, and I’ve cracked it lol.
If I get any feedback on this, from the forms source, I’ll let you know. If I do, it will show that Transgendered Female is at least seen as a positive status, I guess. But if I don’t…hmm?
The video, it bears absolutely no relevance to the blog, just a brilliant Christmas song, nothing more
To Leeds in my case, lol! Its been so long that I’ve almost forgotten by now! Only kidding, especially as I’ve been through there twice while on holiday. But its certainly been a while since I went to work, I suspect the email box will take some sorting out, mainly from stuff that will be totally irrelevant by now! Though the song might mention another city, somehow.
Yes, its back to work in the morning, and in the worst way possible, got to be at my desk for 8 am, and that means being up by about 4.45 in the morning, thats going to come as one major shock to the system, believe me! So alright, in one sense I’m just about ready to go back now, its just that tomorrow’s timing is not the way that I’d fancy doing so!
Its actually been a really nice break, for a stay at home one, and have got a lot of things done, some decent shopping trips, and more pleasingly, plenty of writing too. I admit it, at one point I’d got jaded with writing, but I’ve tried a different style of late, and am really enjoying it. Time is still going to be an issue for writing, but at least I will be more inclined to grab my opportunities now. But no, its not something I’m likely to post here lol! :p
So alright, I’m a minx, I did a Facebook posting today, hinting at having had a boob job, maybe you’ve seen it if you come from there? No, I havent, but after over 8 days of nigh continuous enhancer wearing, it feels like I have. (Not for baths, or massage, but all the rest of the time…) I am going to miss them tomorrow, not only for the shape, but I suspect the weight as well by now. I might yet go with them to work, but somehow I suspect management wouldnt get the joke, or like it, so probably not. I suspect I have the right to, but dont quote me on that? Anyone got a spare £4K or so lying around, then I really could give work a nice surprise!
And yes, for good, or bad, depending on your opinion, you might get less blogs again now for a while. I assume if you’re reading this, that fact will be bad, but…?
OK, dont worry about the street map of Leeds, I’m sure I’ll find my way! 😉
Alright, the video, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They seemed to find their way to the top of the charts often enough, but this wasnt a single, which explains the basic video. And oh, I do know the way to San Jose (California), been there a couple of times, quite a nice place.