Friday, June 24, 2011


You can't go down to the same river twice. At least when it comes to movies. 

This past week, I tried to re-watch two old favorites, "Boogie Nights," about the porn industry, and "The Piano Teacher," with Isabelle Huppert, a great French actress, about a sadistic piano teacher who cripples a student's hand on purpose.

In the beginning of "Boogie Nights," one of the main characters, played by Burt Reynolds, follows a bus boy into the kitchen to see if he wants to be in porn movies. Yeah, right. He says something like, "I just think there's something in those jeans that's rarin' to get out."

What BS. Obvious, stupid , unrealistic. The movie lost me there.

In "The Piano Teacher," the main character, played by Huppert, comes home and has a fight with her domineering mother. My God, what a sick little family.

I found both movies disgusting. So I turned them off. Have I changed? I don't know. But my tastes seem to have. Maybe it's hard to watch some movies twice.

What does all this mean? Maybe we bring different things to the work of art at different times in our lives. Maybe we become not a different person but a different audience. Maybe we should expect to be different and our experiences to be different.

What is that old saying? You can't go down to the same river twice.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Have you heard the grunting that women do at Wimbledon, on those internationally renowned tennis courts?

My God. I heard, on NPR of course, various women screaming and grunting and wailing as they hit the ball. They sound like they're killing pigs with baseball bats.

If I were in charge, I'd disqualify them at first grunt.

That isn't tennis, it's competitive grunting.

When I first started playing tennis, in about 1955 or '56, one thing I loved about the sport was the quiet. It was extremely civilized. You labored in extreme competition, giving it your all, without any noise whatsoever. No drama. No hysteria. No yelling. No obnoxious sounds.

You spoke quietly. Let. Out. Fifteen-love. Deuce. Add-in. 

It was wonderful. No yelling. Now it has become barbaric.

Maria Sharapova wails the loudest, apparently. So unladylike.

Monica Seles started it all, as I recall. So it has been going on for some years.

I say, stop it, for God's sake.

These women are ruining the sport. And men. Some men do it, too. How crude. If they want to grunt, they should ride bulls, or fight in the UFC, or take up boxing. The women should play squash, or racquetball, or take up mud wrestling.

Anything but tennis.

Bring back the quiet. Please.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle



I just heard a report on NPR about tipping. I am always listening to NPR, when I'm not writing or working or sleeping.

I think tipping is great.

When I worked at Knight's Parking Garage, in downtown Wichita, I was in high school, a teenager. There was one guy who came in every day and tipped a dime to whomever brought his car.

The guys scrambled to get that ticket and bring that car down easy, in one piece. When they parked that car, they put it in a prime spot, where it wouldn't get dinged, and they didn't race it.

Yes, we raced cars up and down the two ramps, usually late at night, when there was no one around. Tires squealing, maybe a little smoke from burning rubber. Eee-haw! Great fun.

But we never raced that tipper's car and we treated him like a king. All for a dime.

Later, I worked in a hotel, and the bellhops called anyone who seemed to have money but who didn't tip a "phony," meaning a fake, a pretender. They had no respect for phonies. Now I always tip in hotels.

When my then-wife and I went to NYC IN 1964, we ate dinner at a Greek restaurant. Wine, food, belly dancers, longshoremen who danced with the ends of handkerchiefs in their mouths and hissed loudly. It was a blast.

When we left, after three or four hours of great wine and food and entertainment, I didn't tip enough. The waiter followed us outside and berated me, saying he had a family to support, and he couldn't support them like that. He said I was a cheapskate. I asked him how much was appropriate. I tipped him what he asked for. He was worth it. And I felt ashamed.

Years later, when I lived in NYC, in 1969, three mailmen came to the door at Christmas time, seeking tips. I said, "I don't really live here. I'm just visiting." One said, "You get your mail here, don't you?"

I asked him how much was appropriate. About three bucks apiece. They were not trying to soak me, just help their families at the holidays. I anted up and felt bad for resisting earlier.

In NYC, money made the world go round. Nothing wrong with that.

I've found that everyone appreciates a little extra spending money. Some people object to tipping. I don't. I've seen it work. It doesn't cost much to make people happy to see you. A dollar here, a dollar there.

Spread those dollars around, folks. Spread the cheer.

Remember, money makes the world go round. Tipping should make you happy, too.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Monday, June 20, 2011


Lately, I've started writing a memoir about women in my life. The working title is "Women I've Loved, and Left, and Lost."

It's about the vagaries and difficulties of love. I've dated a lot of women, more than 55 at last count. And one of them was an ex-hooker. I didn't mind her wealth of sexual experience, but I did think she was unstable.

As part of this memoir, I'm asking friends if they would date a porn star. This also comes up in regards to Hugh Hefner, who seems to have made a lifelong career out of using women and being used by them.

The question really is about the authentic life. How important are honesty, integrity, boundaries and general mental health to a relationship?

The ex-hooker was angry, volatile, and unfaithful. We went together for two years. We broke up and got back together seven times. When we finally called it quits, I asked her how many other men she had been involved with during that two years, and she said, "Oh, about ten."

In other words, she was sleeping around. I think she kept a lot of men on the string and manipulated them with sex. Including me.

All in all, it was not a happy experience.

One of my worst fears, living in L.A., is that I might meet a nice, attractive woman and date her and get to like her and then find out she had been a porn star.

Not because she had a past, with other men, but because of the mental health implications.

Would you date someone who was a former porn star? Or who had committed a serious crime? Someone who had been in prison? A murderer? A drug addict? Someone who had accidentally run over a child?

Where would you draw the line?

To me, a porn star would by definition have serious boundary issues. Having sex with strangers for money implies a denigration of self, I would say. A lack of integrity and self respect.

I have asked four of my buddies, and they all say it would not bother them.

I find that startling, a remarkable lack of awareness.

What about you? Would you date a porn star?

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has been in the news lately, he who has made a huge career off lust and sexual repression by exposing the bodies of young, beautiful women, and recently he thought he was going to marry one of those women. She is 25 and he is 85.

She is young and vibrant and sexy, and he is old and pale and wrinkly. A perfect match, right?

Talk about ego run wild. Then she dumped him a few days before the wedding, which was to take place on Saturday, June 18, 2011.

Word was, she had planned to leave him at the altar, to make a bigger splash in the media, and then sell her story, but she couldn't get enough money, so she decided to dump him early.

Nice lady, huh? Do the terms bimbo and gold-digger come to mind?

Isn't it amazing how far greed and lust and ego can take us? How ego can blind us to reality? How rich, egotistical people think they can get anything they want?

Many years ago, I used to "read" Playboy, meaning look at the pictures. But occasionally I would read The Playboy Philosophy, written by Hef. He would ramble on and on in pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo, explaining his sophomoric ideas about consumer goods, greed, and sexual freedom.

God, what a bore. 

I always thought Hef was a fool. He had all the money you could want, and he could have climbed mountains and scuba dived all over the world. But he chose to spend his days in silk pajamas in a mansion full of young gold diggers and celebrity seekers. What a waste.

Sorry, Hef, now you're an old geezer, and no young babe would want to spend time with you if you weren't rich and famous. It was probably always like that. Hef says he doesn't care, as long as they spend time with him.

Love for sale, Hef?

A life devoted to being nothing.

Pretty sad, I would say.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

Monday, June 6, 2011


I am back to reading Borges again. I love it.

I love his false scholarship, where he creates an elaborate fictional effort to find a lost country or continent that of course never existed.

It gives me a thrill. I am now reading "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius."

What a blast. This book will give me years of pleasure.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle


Today, I was lazing around, trying to recover from a bout of hypoglycemic fatigue, as I often am in the afternoon, and I tried to read a mystery novel called "Dirt" by Sean Doolittle, published by Uglytown, a small press in Los Angeles devoted to pulp fiction.

Uglytown books are fairly attractive, quality paperback originals well produced and hip looking. Unfortunately, this author didn't understand something vital to the writing process: the mind of the reader, the canvas upon which the writer paints.

There are three stories in any fiction: on the page, the most obvious; in the writer's mind, which changes as it takes shape on the page; and in the reader's mind, most important of the three.

In "Dirt," an inauspicious title if there ever was one, the writer did the set-up poorly, in my opinion, and failed to create an interesting story in the reader's mind, at least for this reader.

"Dirt" starts out with the funeral of a man the narrator claims was his "good buddy." The traditional funeral is interrupted by some environmental activists cum maniacs who arrive with road flares and jump on the coffin and give a speech about the misuse of mahogany.

I thought the action was stupid and pointless , out of left field. All surprise, no suspense. But it didn't have to be that way.

The disruption of the funeral could have been integral to the plot, if the tree-hugging activists had been set up properly. The dead man could have been (a) a member of the activist group, which would have made the disruption ironic, or (b) a sworn enemy of the group, which would have made the disruption seem like revenge.

Either way, the story would have made sense and not made this reader throw it down with a pronounced, "Ugh."

There is a lesson here for new writers: Do your set-up carefully, and avoid he dreaded deus ex machina -- god from the machine.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle