Monday, September 26, 2016

Early Fall

A corner rooftop sunset. Photo: JH.
Monday, September 26, 2016. Early autumn weather over the weekend in New York with temperatures in the 60s.

I woke up Friday morning and opened the door to the terrace and was surprised that it was cold out. Well, not cold the way we know it, but a distinct difference between every day we’ve experienced for the last three months. I put on a sweater to take the dogs out. It wasn’t that cold. Probably in the low 60s. Ideal to a lot of people who live by air conditioning. Ideal anyway but I get cold. It was even a little cooler down by the river. There were a number of people out on the Esplanade at 9:30, walking dogs, running, walking. Along with some bicycles which are mainly speed devices for would-be race car drivers.
The autumn sun sheds its late afternoon light on my little terrace garden on Friday.
I had dinner on Friday night at Sette Mezzo with Felicia Taylor and Jack Lynch.  Felicia is putting together a documentary about child-trafficking in West Africa. It’s another horrible story about how we humans treat other humans, even our “own.” But Felicia is optimistic that showing the world is the first step to solving the problem. It was a fascinating dinner.
Jack and Felicia.
On Saturday night I was invited to dinner with friends, and the conversation started out about Monday night and “The Debates.” Statistics quoted: A hundred million are expected to watch. My friends were talking about it enthusiastically.

I have the perpetual raincloud over my head when it comes to this kind of confrontation. Images of car-crashes come into my head. I’d rather not watch. I’ve been aware of Presidential campaigns since John Kennedy, and even worked in one in ’72. I think this is the worst one I’ve ever seen. I’m not referring to the candidates but to us, the so-called voters.

Together again, tonight.
Both candidates have “haters” and “praisers.” The male criticism of Hillary is often stupid and puerile like 12-year-olds first hitting puberty with a mouth that is both childish and abusive. Concurrently, the male criticism of Mr. Trump amongst the so-called intelligentsia is just as puerile.

People like referring to both candidates (depending on who’s doing the referring) as racist. The nastiness of it is in their enunciation of the word. A lot of the people making the accusation on either side could be accurately thought of as racist too, but they just don’t know it. We — meaning all of us — tend to own our prejudices with what is essentially a false pride.

Personally I have my dislikes but I am not into the hating game. It feels terrible, for one thing. I don’t doubt that if you knew either candidate on a personal, social level you probably would like them. Because they’re both very pleasant to meet and to converse with, at least under ordinary circumstances.

And both have different but very effective personal charm. When they want to, that is. Neither is stupid, and both have a strong sense of family as a unit. But, aside from those pleasant thoughts, both candidates are wrapped up and wrought by our problems as a people -- which are staggering and multiple at this moment in our history.

So I’m not sure if I’m going to watch it — as there will be much to read about it later. Although I’ll probably give in. I’ll hope that the words of both will be kinder and gentler than the racket going on around them in the media. I’ll also hope that both can offer us — the audience — some solace about improving our lot (meaning the human race) which will require first of all: Peace. On Earth and Goodwill toward men. Thank you.
Other celebrity phenomena. The big news over the weekend besides Brangelina who’ve kicked Kim Kardashian’s butt off the front pages, is coming from the auction house circuit. Julien’s the auction house in Beverly Hills sold “part of” Truman Capote’s ashes for $45,000.

This part of the ashes belonged to, were inherited by Joanne Carson. Joanne, who was the second wife of Johnny (not to be confused with Joanna, his third wife), died last year at 83. Truman’s ashes were part of Joanne’s estate. Supposedly the ashes even had a "value" of $6000 when Truman died in the early 1980s. There are those who actually “collect” ashes.
Joanne also had a number of Truman’s belongings which were sold at the auction -- such as clothing, shoes, and other personal objects that he always kept at her house (so he could travel without baggage). She and he were close friends from the early days of her marriage to Johnny. She kept a guest room just for him in her Southern California modern house on 10001 Sunset Boulevard overlooking Westwood and the Pacific. It was there that he died in his sleep on August 25, 1984.

Evidently Truman left others some of his ashes also. It may seem absurd but Truman had no birth family, and famously had a nose for getting publicity. Here it is thirty-two years later and even his ashes are in the news. He would have loved that; seriously.
Truman's ashes.
I met Joanne about the same time I met Truman, in 1979 out there (On Having Met Mr. Capote). She was famous through the 1960s as Johnny Carson’s wife. When they divorced in 1972, she was reported to have been awarded $100,000 a year for life which was a good sum in in those days and thereabouts.

She was a Los Angeles girl by birth and upbringing, and had a Southern Californian manner – which is plainly unadorned and straight forward pleasant.  Truman of course was the opposite. His personality was entirely adorned with ego mischief and tall tale telling. A plain talking person like Joanne, who was also motherly with him when he was her guest, was an ideal private companion for his nibs. He could be entirely sincere with her.
Truman Capote and Joanne Carson.

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