I have to thank a couple of people (who are highly unlikely to read this) who I travelled to the hospital with today, for making me think this matter through, and writing on it tonight. One was a fellow cancer patient (no, I dont know which), the other was a kidney dialysis patient, in her seventies. But no, this blog isnt about me, them, but a matter that they brought up in conversation. Children.
To be honest, even if my situation was terminal (which it isnt), I’ve at least had a chance of a life, and passed 60 years in life, and all that. Fine, in time, I have one issue requiring surgery I’d like to put right before death, but regardless, I’ve had 10 years of living fully as a woman, so it hasnt been a total waste. I also have known I’m Intersex for nearly 20 years, so all in all…
The first comment came from the dialysis patient, commenting on the fact that on her 3 trips a week to the hospital, its not her plight that affects her the most, its the young children that she sees receiving the same treatments as her that have more significance to her. Of course a certain Harlean Carpenter, better known as Jean Harlow died from kidney issues, long before dialysis, or kidney transplants!
Obviously we cancer patients dont share our treatment rooms with other people at the same time, but we do see people of all ages in the waiting rooms, waiting for their treatments. I have to say I havent actually seen any children in my time, on visits, but the other man had. And yes, it does makes you realise that however long I have, at least I’ve had a decent length of life. Thats not to say a percentage of these children, in both groups wont do so, but not all will, thats for sure, sadly.
OK, lets finish more positively. Firstly, when I’ve finished my treatment, and had refreshments afterwards (not allowed to eat for 4 hours beforehand) I report to the transport office to let them know I’m ready to go home. Depending on time of day, and other matters, this has varied anything between about 30, and 150 minutes before getting a vehicle to get me home. Today, well, about 5 minutes after sitting down to wait, I was called to vehicle! Yes, good timing, will probably never happen again, but…
The other thing, well I knew I’d get extra benefits for the cancer situation, but I assumed they would only pay it from September, when the diagnosis was confirmed, right? No, because I’d been unable to work since March, and it was related, I get the benefit back to then, wow! So, regardless of cancer worries, which could be a lot worse, my financial worries have definitely been eased. No, I’m not quoting figures, but lets just say I’ve a lot less worries now!
OK, video time. No, I dont think I’m young of heart, or much else now, but I thought the video would work for this, anyway.
Firstly, to warn people, you’ll get 2 blogs this weekend, just that it will be one tonight, and one tomorrow. Firstly because I’m running a bit late to do 2, and secondly, I havent really got an obvious subject for the other blog at this moment. Well, not on the blog where most readers think I’m a natural woman, anyway… So why do this tonight? Well, I’ve got time to do one, and its also a special date.
Yes, someone a ‘little bit naughty’ was born on this date, 126 years ago. How she lastly to 87, given her lifestyle, I have no idea, but she did. Yes, Mary Jane (better known as Mae) West is the lady I’m talking about. Its amazing only to think that by the time she became the ‘saucy minx’ of pre code movies, she was already fast approaching 40! By which point, a few years earlier she had served a short prison sentence (only 10 days) for creating a show so naughty that she upset the authorities. I suspect it would probably be seen as fine now, but back in 1927, well… OK, fine, she set out to upset them, but anyway…
Its fair to say I wasnt upset to be told I looked a lot like a classic era movie star after the first photo shoot I did with a very talented guy in Leeds, the thing that surprised me was that it was Jean Harlow. Well, given I was in my fifties, she died at 26, so… but fine I could see the resemblance to her mother, who would have been closer to my age at the time. But yes, if you’d showed me a set of pictures of blonde, movie stars from the early 30’s, and asked me who I looked most like, I would have said Mae West. So yes, how close was I to being named Mary/Mae Stephanie West, who can say?
I think its fair to say that apart from the sex thing, my attitude to life is probably closer to Mae, than Jean, though the latter was a little minx when she wanted to be, I must say. Oh, a picture of the lady, well? And for comparison?
My next acting part, Mae looking back on her ‘quiet’ life, hmm? Oh goodness, that would be naughty, but nice! Somehow I dont see me being as sharp as she was at 87, even assuming they can rebuild me enough to get that far! One thing is for sure, somewhere, today, she will be celebrating her birthday in style, maybe?
OK, video time. I’m not sure if beyond Steve Harley, any of this band were in the original Cockney Rebel, but its a live version, which they definitely werent back then! And its almost Mae’s most famous line, lets face it
About how AI was becoming so powerful, its going to take over the world from humans.
I mean, seriously, unless humanity is careful, I would guess that in about 20-30 years or so, they may well be right! Of course, their timeline, and the perceived nature of the article was more inclined to suggesting that in as little as 3 years from now, our AI Masters will control the Earth, and Humans just acting as their slaves, and in all honesty, I cant see that timeline being correct. I would, in truth, call it something that a bewigged Russian plant in the US likes to say, but in truth, it only is ‘fake news’ for now, because if you go far enough on, at likely rates of AI enhancement, it probably will happen.
I’m pretty certain I will be dead by then, so will miss out on the robot upgrade that I’d probably be one of few people to enjoy! In fact, by then, it will probably be more of an issue when said AI breaks down, as with the computer information systems at Gatwick Airport over the weekend, when departure information, and other critical stuff, normally handled by computers, and monitor screens do go down. Yes, it was all done on wipe boards, which I would imagine was the basis for flight info back in the early days of public flying, but there were far less planes around back then!
So, imagine, when you’re trying to board your hyperspeed space shuttle to Mars, and you have no idea what launch pad you’re taking off from, in about 20 years time…, lol!
Even more so, now, I’d love AI technology to be at a point where replacing my damaged spine, with a brand new cybernetic one was a simple operation. Fine, I’d quite enjoy my whole body being replaced by a new cybernetic one, but thats beside the point. Said body would then rely on systems to run it, and if that AI broke down…or ran amok, and took total control of mind and body…? Alright, I’d love that, but others…?
But yes, the development of AI, and similar systems is happening at an incredible rate. Too fast for some? Well, maybe, but for others, who would love a whole new AI capable robot body, maybe things are going too slow? 😉
Video time. No music tonight, just that classic Harlow film moment from Dinner At Eight, with the perfect retort from Marie Dressler. Yes, Jean, machinery probably will take over all jobs in time, just not quite yet!
And before I start the actual blog, may I suggest anyone answering this in the positive about me needs to check their sanity! 😛
To misquote Jean Harlow from Dinner At Eight, “I was reading an article earlier today, and…”
It comes down to, this man was terrified of complimenting, or talking to women nowadays, because more seem to see it as an affront to their morals, than a polite, charming comment. Sadly, in truth, the comments under this piece seemed to suggest he was right, though I suspect that where it was posted (by someone else, who has a reputation for stirring in these matters), the comments in reply seemed to match his views. I know, militant feminists, love them, not! Full of outraged comments about him wanting to take things back to the 1950’s, and before, when in truth, I suspect he doesnt! Well, maybe he does, secretly, but that didnt seem to be the gist of his argument, but anyway…
As an elderly, less than stunningly beautiful, 60 year old Trans woman, I have no idea if the Hollywood trope of a strange man coming up to you in the street, and trying to charm you off your feet is true. Given I missed out on the ‘pretty young miss’ era in my life, it might work for them, who knows? I’ve only had 4 moments of ‘appreciation’ as a woman, and as far as I know, only 1 of those saw my face! 2 of those saw me side on, from a distance, so I think its safe to say my boobs (which arent even natural, lol) caught their eye, not my face. One was up a side street from where I was walking, another was when crossing the road some distance in front of him.
A third guy almost literally bumped into me, when walking up the street to get the bus, but its fair to say the reason he nearly walked into me, was because he looking at my chest, not my face.
The last one, I have no idea what he saw, because I was sat on a train heading for Leeds (yes, that long ago) for work, and he was sat next to me. Anyway, just as he was getting off the train at Dewsbury (intermediate stop), he handed me a bit of paper, with his phone number on, and asked me to call him. Given I suspected he thought I was a ‘natural’ woman (ghastly term, but anyway…), not Trans, I never did. Maybe I disappointed him more by not ringing, but I thought it was easier on him that way, than finding out the truth!
But yes, me, the thought that some guy might have found me attractive (stop laughing!), or wanted a chat over coffee, or a meal with me, and was terrified of the consequences of talking to me, well, thats heartbreaking! I know, I’m not a shy wallflower, so maybe its different with me, but anyway…?
I know, no guy is going to have fallen for my charms, and talk to me, and is scared of doing so, sad turn of events. So, if anyone sees me, and is crazy enough to want to chat while making gooey eyes, over a cup of coffee, please do so! I promise I wont ring the lunatic asylum until afterwards, if you declare undying love, lol! 😛
Tonights video, a short one from 1929. No, despite it being dancing from that era, Clara Johnson isnt there! Why, because its from Broadway, lol! Just think, shortly after this, Wall Street crashed, and then… 😦
Yes, you can tell there wasnt Health & Safety inspectors back then!
A few weeks ago at work, something happened that I didnt exactly feel thrilled about, but decided to give it a pass at the time, but then yesterday, to misquote Jean Harlow in Dinner At Eight, “I was reading an article yesterday, and…” discovered that someone else at work had also suffered a similar issue, which for want of a better term, I shall call ‘Invisible Disability’.
The shameful thing, for which I blame the fact that I was reading it between several phone calls at work, is that I cant remember her exact issue. All I can remember is that someone called her out at work, over a disability that most of her colleagues knew about, and that he either didnt want to accept, which I think it was, or was the one person in the office who didnt know, but either way, she was rightly distressed by the events, and I dont blame her in the slightest for being so.
Mine, funnily enough, I can remember. I arrived at work, and headed for the lift, to get up to the first floor. I can just about cope with standard stairs, though even then, I dont tend to tackle them unless I really have to. No, that doesnt yet stretch as far as using Eric’s stair lift at home, but other than that…I tend to be practical. Down isnt as bad as up, but Bradford Interchange is still the only place (other than home) where I tend to do that, but only because there is only 1 small lift, which has actually been out of order for quite a while, but anyway…
Oh, and workplace is an old mill building, those steps are large! So no go, either way, believe me! So yes, I use the lift, but then again why shouldnt a (partially?) disabled old lady do so?
Fine, what happened, I can hear you shouting! There was one other man waiting for the lift by the time it arrived, having been outside for a smoke. Anyway, he started asking me why I was using the lift, and why shouldnt I use the stairs. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt, explained the situation (lets face it, my brace is hidden under clothing), and he wasnt impressed. So, I showed him the brace, same reaction. But agreed, I shouldnt need to have to explain why I was using the lift in the first place.
But you know, the reason I still nearly reported him, he got off at the first floor as well! Admitted he was just using the lift because he couldnt be bothered to go up the stairs. Anyway, rather than asking him why it was fine for his lazy self to use the lift, but not a disabled lady, I just walked/hobbled away before I erupted in his face, and let off the verbal backlash.
Strangely enough, he’s avoided me ever since then!
So yes, people, before any of you comment about a ‘lazy person’ using the lift, instead of using the stairs, just stop and think, there may be an unseen reason why they cant use the stairs, before putting your foot in your mouth. Not that it seemed to concern him, but anyway… Just please, dont let it be you, next time!
Right, video time. Some old Genesis for you, with as apt a title as I could think of.
As regular readers of my blog(s) know, they tend to vary from the very serious, to the wildly wishful, with a large lump of silliness thrown in for good measure. This definitely falls into last group, though some might say there is an element of the second one in here too.
So fine, lets go back 90 years, to about 1930 (though the earliest date I have strict confirmation of Miss Johnson as being a Goldwyn girl is 1932, but suspicions of 1931), but… And meet my past life self, and…
Ooh, hi, well the regular author here has asked me to take over tonight, just for one night, and write this. Mr Mayer tells me that this weird thing I’m typing this on is called a laptop, and when this time travel portal thing (whatever that may be?) works for the internet, well, if I’m a good girl, I might get one of my own. Mind, I know he’s said the same to those more important folk like Loy, Powell, Harlow, Gable and a few others, so I’m going to be way down the list, giggle!
But apparently I’m now at the top of the queue for something called a cell (or mobile) phone. I’ve been told not to ask how they work back here, but they do. Yeah, I know, Jean, sorry, Miss Harlow, has shown me hers, and…they’re so much the cats whiskers! What, you dont believe sweet little Clara, oh? Fine!
Anyway, I’ve now got sufficient standing that I’ve been given one too! I’m told its a pretty basic model, but thats fine by me, in truth. Just means that if they need me for an extra scene, or to tell Mr Berkeley that one of his dance routines is just too crazy (Most are crazy, but doable. Some though…rolls eyes…), I’m able to do so. Equally, if the trolley bus is running late, just call in, and they know! 🙂 Oh, and if I want to ring Marion Davies, and tell her I’ll be late for one of her nice parties (Yes, she’s got one too), I can do that now!
So fine, I’m told to say that if you have a good reason for needing to know said modern person’s phone number, feel free to ask. Either when you see her, or by something called email, or just in comments with a contact email address on here, whatever suits you best.
Right, done? Fine, just going to ring Ginger, sorry, Miss Rogers, and arrange to go out dancing tonight, sounds like fun! I’m told normal service will be resumed in the next blog, so bye for now, darlings!
Love and best wishes,
Clara Johnson (Miss)
Oh, what, a video, whatever that may be? Fine, what I’m told too many people see these phones as?
No, not a real blog, just something I wanted to post for obvious reasons, and cant do justice on the day, as I will be working.
Today marks the 80th anniversary of the date in 1937 when Jean Harlow last lived on this planet, and obviously I want to remember it.
Despite all the stories, and there are plenty, she died of kidney failure, and back then in 1937, there wasnt a thing that could be done. 10 years later, early dialysis, and transplants might have saved her, but that at that point, was not possible.
Oh, the other story that needs quashing, her mother did arrange medical staff to look after her, there was just nothing they could do.
Rest in peace, Baby, as you’ve done for 80 years now
Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…
As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.
After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.
No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.
So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.
Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.
Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?
After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!
Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…
Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!
In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.
I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?
In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.
There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.
Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!
The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…
I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!
The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.
So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.
The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.
Oh fine, I have to say that these weeks when I have to do 2 blogs in 2 days, I dont always have enough material to fill the space. I did sort of have something work related (again), but I’m sure you’re all tired of that by now, so lets try something different, and a bit more personal.
For those who didnt already know me, and the date, you might have missed the fact that 106 years ago on Friday, a baby girl was born in Kansas City. Her name, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but far better known as Jean Harlow. Coincidentally, 33 years ago today, the last beau of her life, William Powell died, at the grand old age of 91! What would have happened had she lived beyond 26, who knows? Mind, 3 years later, Powell married Diana Lewis, and they stayed married until his death! Whether Harlow, and Powell would have done the same, we will never know?
The fascinating fact is that, at the time of Harlow’s birth, Powell was actually living in Kansas City, though being 18 years her senior, they never actually met until Hollywood! Yes, Jean seemingly had a thing for older men, as all bar her first husband were far older than her, but I cant talk, as my only long term relationship was with someone a lot older than me!
While we are talking about birthdays, and ages, in 11 days time, I’ll be 59. Still, now, I’ve got more than a few years of work to go, I believe it will be 8 more by the time I get to retire. But not that long ago, as a woman, I would have been 1 year from retirement! Now, by the time I get there, it will be 66, assuming I get that far, of course! Then, finally, I might get to Alaska, and the start of the Iditarod race…maybe? Mind, I might need a new body by then, but… I would need to split the flight there, both ways, due to length, and my physical health, and there is no way I can do that on a 7 day holiday from work!
Sadly, again this year, it cant race from Willow (Anchorage) to Nome, due to lack of snow in the early stretches, so it will start out tomorrow morning (Alaska time) from Fairbanks, and run the adapted northern route. Sadly, this means that the ghost town that the race is named after, wont be visited for at least 6 years, as the same thing happened in 2015. Amusing to think that a trapper, the last ever resident of Iditarod left, because the race came through every 2 years, and the place got too lively! To think, just over 100 years ago, at the height of the gold rush, over 10 thousand people lived there, all too briefly!
Oh, if anyone wants the details of my fiction piece, loosely based around the 2009 race (which did get to Iditarod), let me know! It also mentions the event that started it all, the 1925 serum run to Nome.
So fine, we have a tale of love, we have a tale of adventure, so the obvious video is…