Naked Lady of the Week: Sara St. James

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

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A blonde California girl with robust eyebrows and consumer-ready features, Sara St. James was the perfect nude model for the ’90s, the decade in which Sharon Stone finally clawed her way to super-stardom.

Is it her mouth that gives her a hint of lewdness? It seems forever on the verge emitting a slightly indecorous sigh.

She retired in the early 2000s. IMDb reveals that she’s worked sporadically in movies and television under the  name of Jacqueline Lovell. She’s even written and produced a few of her own projects.

Her latest production is called “Forest Bathing: Friends W/Benefits.” Here’s the description:

Eccentric woman leads guided meditations virtually through forest while sexting with her friend and dealing with her inner demons.

Sounds like something I would enjoy — especially since it features Jacqueline’s first nude scenes in two decades.

Nudity below. Have a great weekend.

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The Emperor Has White Paint

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

A few months ago, when I was at the Whitney museum, I was confronted by this masterpiece:

But maybe there’s something really deep going on in this work that I just don’t understand. Do you find this explanation persuasive?

I love how the vid tries to tie rejection of this modernist work into toxic masculinity. If you don’t like white paintings, you must be a low-information, angry man!

This video was brought to my attention by Jason Kottke, who passes along further justification from a critic:

Always, Ryman invites contemplation of the light that falls on his paintings (which when I saw them, on a recent cloudy day, was glumly tender as it filtered through the Dia skylights) and of their formal relation to the rooms that contain them. There’s no savoring of style, just stark presentation. His work’s economy and quietness may be pleasing, but its chief attraction is philosophical. What is a painting? Are there values inherent in the medium’s fundamental givens — paint skin, support surface, wall — when they are denied traditional decorative and illustrative functions? Such questions absorb Ryman. Do they excite you? Your answer might betray how old you are.

Still not convinced? Here’s the artist himself:

White has a tendency to make things visible. With white, you can see more of a nuance; you can see more. I’ve said before that, if you spill coffee on a white shirt, you can see the coffee very clearly. If you spill it on a dark shirt, you don’t see it as well. So, it wasn’t a matter of white, the color. I was not really interested in that. I started to cover up colors with white in the 1950s. It has only been recently, in 2004, that I did a series of white paintings in which I was actually painting the color white. Before that, I’d never really thought of white as being a color, in that sense.

I found these comments, overheard in another forum, more persuasive:

The same set of justifications is applied to non-white modernist paintings. Yeah, I get it, if you look closely, there are brushstrokes and variations in tonality. That’s not going to make anyone like them more. 98% of people look to art for pleasure, beauty, and subject matter that they can relate to their experiences. You aren’t going to convince these people that white paintings are great by reminding them that they include different sorts of white.

And this one:

Someone makes a subtle dig at you. If you let it go by they express their power in that moment. If you object they say you are being touchy, and express their power that way. I can’t help but see things like minimalism as that kind of subtle power play. You reject skill, meaning, representation, audience but in a way that you can’t be caught out. You are an austere and elusive preacher. But preaching what? Note how little of this piece can put words to what it is, exactly, that you learn or experience in viewing the art, and how much ink is spilled on the rejection of gesture and the outrage of the unwashed. That’s a tell.

But then again this stuff is a Rorschach and no doubt I am just projecting my insecurities.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Naked Lady of the Week: Stoya

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

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Stoya, aka Jessica Stoyadinovich, is pretty famous. I probably should know more about her. Mostly I know that she is (or was?) a big figure in alt-porn, and that she starred in one of the great movies of the 21st century:

Do you reckon she’s a natural redhead? Seems like a possibility. The freckles are a charming tell, as is the reddish tint of her hair in some photos.

According to Wikipedia, the porn company to which she was contracted twice offered to cover the costs of enlarging her breasts, and she resisted on each occasion. Good for her.

Nudity below. Have a great weekend.

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Quote Du Jour

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

People of experience maintain that it is very sensible to start from a principle. I grant them that and start with the principle that all men are boring.

Kierkegaard, Either/Or

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Naked Lady of the Week: Zuzana Zeleznovova

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

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Zuzana, who is Czech, has had a long career in the biz — some 15 years according to some reports. She can pull off “sweet,” “sultry,” and “contemptuous” with about equal levels of success.

Discussion and links spanning the entirety of her career here.

Nudity below. Have a great weekend.

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Chappaquiddick and PR

Fenster writes:

Speaking of Chappaquiddick, as we are all about to do–

Here is a Boston Globe interview with Ted Kennedy on the subject of Chappaquiddick.  It ran in July 1979–the tenth anniversary of the event.

The summer of 1979 was also the time Kennedy was considering mounting a primary bid against a sitting president of his own party, Jimmy Carter.  He had previously sat out two presidential elections, urged to run by many with  dreams of Camelot in their heads but worried privately about whether Chappaquiddick rendered the idea impossible.

After conferring with his family, he determined in the summer of this interview to run.  Thus, this Globe article can be seen as something of a trial balloon, testing in his home state of Massachusetts whether a run might be feasible.  Given the circumstances it would have been important to know if a story could be fashioned that would get Kennedy sufficiently past the problem while at the same time acknowledging it.

Politics had by this time started on its march to what it is in its current state, fully developed to the point of rot: public relations.  And the Kennedys have always been good at PR.  So in my mind there is little doubt that the approach he takes in this interview was tested, discussed, and kicked around six ways to Sunday before he sat down with the Globe.

And of course he would choose a paper like the Globe to do this interview.  It is not just that the Globe is the big local paper in his home state.  It is also the case that the Kennedys had a lot of clout in Massachusetts, including at the Globe, and while Kennedy could not expect reverential treatment under the circumstances he could for sure expect respectful treatment, and no hard questions.  Maybe even a softball or two, as we will see.

So note how he handles things.  First, he takes full responsibility.  He needed to do that.  Anything short of that would only underscore the image of callowness that he was trying to duck (and which is of course central to the actual events).  But note he does not go into any real detail about his actions.  He first refers to the events as a “tragedy” and then a bit later as a “tragic accident”, as though what he is taking responsibility for is limited to the accident.  Oops, drove off a bridge!  Sorry!

You have to get deeper into the article, on to the next page, for the reporter to go into the details– or, rather, the lack of them.  Kennedy had “nothing new” to add to the account since he had “answered all the questions under oath at the inquest.”

Here Kennedy refers once again to the event as a “tragedy”.  So well into the interview that is all it is–a very sad thing with no details, something that happened that he takes responsibility for.

At this point the article turns briefly to some of the darker elements, pointing out that Kennedy did not report that accident for 10 hours.  But then it quickly adds that he finds his behavior “indefensible”–a nice word, perhaps, as it suggests no need to mount a defense and, in turn, no need to explain or provide details.  It’s all in the inquest!  You can look it up.

This one reference to the 10 hour gap is as far as the article goes into deeper water.  There is no reference to what amounted to a cover up, or that Kopechne would likely have survived if Kennedy were not so callow and his advisors so calculating.

The article skips past this potential hazard like a stone skipping across water, and instead of asking more questions about the actual events the interview moves on to the real goal: Kennedy’s future.

The interviewer wants to know–did your behavior that night suggest you would not be able to handle highly stressful political situations?  The presidency is not mentioned at this point but it is of course the elephant in the room, carefully placed there so as to permit a planned response.  If he choked on the bridge will he choke in the Oval Office?

Kennedy acknowledges that he failed that night when under great physical and emotional stress.  Goodness, he almost drowned himself, he was disoriented, he was exhausted. . . .but no, no . . . “the trauma of that incident does not, I think, relate to public policy questions.”  In other words, I’d have had no problem handling the Cuban Missile Crisis with the same steely resolve as my brothers.  Possible nuclear incineration is just a public policy matter.  It’s not a tragic car accident.

Having maneuvered deftly past the dangerous shoals two-thirds of the way through the interview the last third is a broad reach with the wind at his back.  We see the family photos in his office and are reminded about “history and tragedy”, subtly conflating the tragedy of that night in the car with the tragedy of his brothers’ assassinations.  He is asked to reflect on whether he fears that he might be assassinated and he says he is aware of the dangers and considers them but balances them against the desire to make “some contributions.”  Those Kennedys, always with the contributions!

The presidency finally surfaces, briefly.  But the idea does not come up in connection with the purpose of the interview–Chappaquiddick–but only with reference to where the interview has gone: to his brother’s deaths, tragedies of a different kind than Chappaquiddick.  Would the fear of assassination stop him from seeking the presidency?

“That would not stop me.”

So we segue nicely from contrition over indefensible, though fuzzily described, actions to the bravery so characteristic of the Kennedy clan.

And as we come to the close of the article the tone gets even more ethereal, with Kennedy quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes about the need to be “involved with the actions and the passions” of one’s time.  Very Kennedyesque.

And in turn the Globe, in closing, tosses an easy pitch Kennedy’s way.  The interviewer asks if Kennedy “has accepted the idea that he is ‘involved in the actions and the passions’ of this time.”

Clever formulation, no?  The Globe asks if he has accepted the role that the great jurist Holmes articulated.  Does he understand–does he embrace–his destiny?

“‘Of our times’, Kennedy said, ‘Yes.'”

Well done.  Good PR.

Four months later, in November 1979, Roger Mudd asked Kennedy that fateful question in a widely promoted TV interview intended to ease the way to a presidential announcement.

“Why do you want to be president?”

The rest, as they say, is history.  Some tragedy too, I suppose, in the dramatic meaning of the term.

Kennedy soldiered on through the nomination process and all the way to the Democratic Convention in New York, where I had credentials to be on the floor.  It was here that he made his “dream shall never die” speech.  But for Camelot fans everywhere that night it did.

Closing the door to the presidency must have been a cathartic relief of sorts. But there could not have been any true catharsis on Chappaquiddick. He probably carried that burden until his death.

Posted in Media, Politics and Economics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Where is the Glamour of Romance?

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

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One word as to the fate of the London pterodactyl. Nothing can be said to be certain upon this point. There is the evidence of two frightened women that it perched upon the roof of the Queen’s Hall and remained there like a diabolical statue for some hours. The next day it came out in the evening papers that Private Miles, of the Coldstream Guards, on duty outside Marlborough House, had deserted his post without leave, and was therefore courtmartialed. Private Miles’ account, that he dropped his rifle and took to his heels down the Mall because on looking up he had suddenly seen the devil between him and the moon, was not accepted by the Court, and yet it may have a direct bearing upon the point at issue. The only other evidence which I can adduce is from the log of the SS. Friesland, a Dutch-American liner, which asserts that at nine next morning, Start Point being at the time ten miles upon their starboard quarter, they were passed by something between a flying goat and a monstrous bat, which was heading at a prodigious pace south and west. If its homing instinct led it upon the right line, there can be no doubt that somewhere out in the wastes of the Atlantic the last European pterodactyl found its end.

And Gladys—oh, my Gladys!—Gladys of the mystic lake, now to be re-named the Central, for never shall she have immortality through me. Did I not always see some hard fiber in her nature? Did I not, even at the time when I was proud to obey her behest, feel that it was surely a poor love which could drive a lover to his death or the danger of it? Did I not, in my truest thoughts, always recurring and always dismissed, see past the beauty of the face, and, peering into the soul, discern the twin shadows of selfishness and of fickleness glooming at the back of it? Did she love the heroic and the spectacular for its own noble sake, or was it for the glory which might, without effort or sacrifice, be reflected upon herself? Or are these thoughts the vain wisdom which comes after the event? It was the shock of my life. For a moment it had turned me to a cynic. But already, as I write, a week has passed, and we have had our momentous interview with Lord John Roxton and—well, perhaps things might be worse.

Let me tell it in a few words. No letter or telegram had come to me at Southampton, and I reached the little villa at Streatham about ten o’clock that night in a fever of alarm. Was she dead or alive? Where were all my nightly dreams of the open arms, the smiling face, the words of praise for her man who had risked his life to humor her whim? Already I was down from the high peaks and standing flat-footed upon earth. Yet some good reasons given might still lift me to the clouds once more. I rushed down the garden path, hammered at the door, heard the voice of Gladys within, pushed past the staring maid, and strode into the sitting-room. She was seated in a low settee under the shaded standard lamp by the piano. In three steps I was across the room and had both her hands in mine.

“Gladys!” I cried, “Gladys!”

She looked up with amazement in her face. She was altered in some subtle way. The expression of her eyes, the hard upward stare, the set of the lips, was new to me. She drew back her hands.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Gladys!” I cried. “What is the matter? You are my Gladys, are you not—little Gladys Hungerton?”

“No,” said she, “I am Gladys Potts. Let me introduce you to my husband.”

How absurd life is! I found myself mechanically bowing and shaking hands with a little ginger-haired man who was coiled up in the deep arm-chair which had once been sacred to my own use. We bobbed and grinned in front of each other.

“Father lets us stay here. We are getting our house ready,” said Gladys.

“Oh, yes,” said I.

“You didn’t get my letter at Para, then?”

“No, I got no letter.”

“Oh, what a pity! It would have made all clear.”

“It is quite clear,” said I.

“I’ve told William all about you,” said she. “We have no secrets. I am so sorry about it. But it couldn’t have been so very deep, could it, if you could go off to the other end of the world and leave me here alone. You’re not crabby, are you?”

“No, no, not at all. I think I’ll go.”

“Have some refreshment,” said the little man, and he added, in a confidential way, “It’s always like this, ain’t it? And must be unless you had polygamy, only the other way round; you understand.” He laughed like an idiot, while I made for the door.

I was through it, when a sudden fantastic impulse came upon me, and I went back to my successful rival, who looked nervously at the electric push.

“Will you answer a question?” I asked.

“Well, within reason,” said he.

“How did you do it? Have you searched for hidden treasure, or discovered a pole, or done time on a pirate, or flown the Channel, or what? Where is the glamour of romance? How did you get it?”

He stared at me with a hopeless expression upon his vacuous, good-natured, scrubby little face.

“Don’t you think all this is a little too personal?” he said.

“Well, just one question,” I cried. “What are you? What is your profession?”

“I am a solicitor’s clerk,” said he. “Second man at Johnson and Merivale’s, 41 Chancery Lane.”

“Good-night!” said I, and vanished, like all disconsolate and broken-hearted heroes, into the darkness, with grief and rage and laughter all simmering within me like a boiling pot.

One more little scene, and I have done. Last night we all supped at Lord John Roxton’s rooms, and sitting together afterwards we smoked in good comradeship and talked our adventures over. It was strange under these altered surroundings to see the old, well-known faces and figures. There was Challenger, with his smile of condescension, his drooping eyelids, his intolerant eyes, his aggressive beard, his huge chest, swelling and puffing as he laid down the law to Summerlee. And Summerlee, too, there he was with his short briar between his thin moustache and his gray goat’s-beard, his worn face protruded in eager debate as he queried all Challenger’s propositions. Finally, there was our host, with his rugged, eagle face, and his cold, blue, glacier eyes with always a shimmer of devilment and of humor down in the depths of them. Such is the last picture of them that I have carried away.

It was after supper, in his own sanctum—the room of the pink radiance and the innumerable trophies—that Lord John Roxton had something to say to us. From a cupboard he had brought an old cigar-box, and this he laid before him on the table.

“There’s one thing,” said he, “that maybe I should have spoken about before this, but I wanted to know a little more clearly where I was. No use to raise hopes and let them down again. But it’s facts, not hopes, with us now. You may remember that day we found the pterodactyl rookery in the swamp—what? Well, somethin’ in the lie of the land took my notice. Perhaps it has escaped you, so I will tell you. It was a volcanic vent full of blue clay.” The Professors nodded.

“Well, now, in the whole world I’ve only had to do with one place that was a volcanic vent of blue clay. That was the great De Beers Diamond Mine of Kimberley—what? So you see I got diamonds into my head. I rigged up a contraption to hold off those stinking beasts, and I spent a happy day there with a spud. This is what I got.”

He opened his cigar-box, and tilting it over he poured about twenty or thirty rough stones, varying from the size of beans to that of chestnuts, on the table.

“Perhaps you think I should have told you then. Well, so I should, only I know there are a lot of traps for the unwary, and that stones may be of any size and yet of little value where color and consistency are clean off. Therefore, I brought them back, and on the first day at home I took one round to Spink’s, and asked him to have it roughly cut and valued.”

He took a pill-box from his pocket, and spilled out of it a beautiful glittering diamond, one of the finest stones that I have ever seen.

“There’s the result,” said he. “He prices the lot at a minimum of two hundred thousand pounds. Of course it is fair shares between us. I won’t hear of anythin’ else. Well, Challenger, what will you do with your fifty thousand?”

“If you really persist in your generous view,” said the Professor, “I should found a private museum, which has long been one of my dreams.”

“And you, Summerlee?”

“I would retire from teaching, and so find time for my final classification of the chalk fossils.”

“I’ll use my own,” said Lord John Roxton, “in fitting a well-formed expedition and having another look at the dear old plateau. As to you, young fellah, you, of course, will spend yours in gettin’ married.”

“Not just yet,” said I, with a rueful smile. “I think, if you will have me, that I would rather go with you.”

Lord Roxton said nothing, but a brown hand was stretched out to me across the table.

— Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted in Books Publishing and Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments