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How I Found My Sixth Sense …

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Wake Up!

I must have a SIXTH SENSE.

Dead people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see famous people (… not dead people) …

A few years back I remember sitting in a shaded outdoor cafe in central Barcelona before our Spanish language class.

Each early morning weekday we sat next to the narrow, bustling street across from the Babylon-Idioma language school and sipped cups of cafe con leche that sported a small sweet biscuit on the side.

Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses author) would stroll past us each day as we drank our strong coffees and practiced verb conjugations before class. He looked calm and relaxed, not fearful at all of being assassinated by some swarthy Iranian bounty hunter.

There were more famous people.

John Cleese of Monty Python fame ate paella just two tables away from us at a restaurant on the Barceloneta district beaches. He wasn’t doing any silly walks or banging parrots on the table top, just eating.

Jason Alexander (George on Seinfeld) rode the metro with us each morning on our way to class. He wasn’t sleeping under his seat, hiding from George Steinbrenner.

costanza asleep

OK. You might guess that I’m not telling the complete truth. I hear the chickadees outside my window chirping, “Liar… liar”

It’s the “Doppelgänger” truth.

…………..

Back to the here and now.

Two days each month I volunteer at the local Penticton soup kitchen, called the Soupateria.

I chop onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, fingertips… wait… that last one hasn’t happened … yet.

We prepare 2 different soups – one meat-based and the other vegetarian – in big round metal pots. We throw together about 140 sandwiches of 4 or 5 varieties and we apportion 4 or 5 different dessert items onto plates and into bowls. One of the more popular desserts we serve is “nervous pudding” – jello.

By 11:30 am when the doors are opened, a mass of folks – First Nations, white, black, men, women, the occasional child – flow through the big glass doors and enter a beautifully soup-fragrant hall.

They file past the deep wood shelves containing bags of mildly stale loaves of donated bread and buns for the taking, and patiently queue up at the open kitchen window where 7 or 8 of us volunteers assist with their selections.

The great majority are wonderful, but struggling, troubled people who show gratitude with dentally-deficient smiles and heartfelt “thank-you’s”.

There are so many stories that come through these doors each day. I don’t want to pry into their lives, so I deduce what I can by watching and listening to their conversations.

  • Young francophone orchard workers with bohemian clothing and lovely accents.
  • Some heavily-tattooed young guys – head-down prayers over their soup bowl. The other day one young fellow easily spent 5 minutes head-bowed, talking over his soup.
  • Many grizzled, leather-skinned, middle-aged men wearing worn clothing picked up at the local Catholic church.
  • This week, one leather-skinned grimacing fellow held his hand to his cheek and jaw, nursing the pain from a punch he took to the face while attempting to protect a woman in the street two days before. He was so grateful when I offered him the phone number of the free dental clinic.
  • A 30’ish year old Asian woman with blonde and red streaked hair…
  • barely out-of-their-teens girls with hip-less bodies and mottled faces from crystal meth abuse.

soupateria

………….

And, just like in Barcelona’s streets, it keeps happening to me.

I see famous people.

Right in my local Soupateria line… most notably, William H. Macy.

WilliamHMacy

Yeah, William H. Macy, that amazing character actor from a ton of movies like Fargo and TV shows like ER and Shameless comes to my local soup kitchen.

Most famous people avoid their fans by wearing sunglasses and baseball caps.

My William H. goes slightly incognito by cutting his hair shorter than in the photo above. He shaves his beard closer to his face, but it’s pretty clear who he is. At least to everyone but himself.

I thought I was stating the obvious when I told him that I knew who he was. There was a look of surprise in his eyes and puzzlement too.

He pretended he didn’t know what I was talking about or who William H. even was.

So the next soup kitchen day that I worked, I printed out the photo above to show him I was onto him. I also passed the photo to the others in the lineup outside the soup kitchen and they all agreed that sure, he was William H., no question.

When he saw the picture he smiled and looked quite pleased that I had noticed the “Doppelgänger” effect. He even asked if I would take his picture with my iPhone and send it to the real William H. Macy.

I took a photo of him smiling proudly, but I didn’t send it off, because, well, he’d obviously seen it already.

………….

Some folks see dead people….. some lay on their backs in the soft green grass and see fluffy white elephants floating in the sky… some spot Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson in McDonalds’ restaurants.

My imagination is a bit more grounded.

I see famous, LIVING celebrity-type people wherever I go.

How is your sixth sense?

Do you have famous people walking through your daily life?

elvis and michael jackson

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Desperately Seeking Marilyn

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crescent moon on new york

I was barely able to make out the waning crescent of the moon in the dark sky.

It was just after midnight on a mild September night when we stepped out into the city lights on Lexington Avenue, just up from 52nd Street. I replaced the felt fedora on my head; it was a perfect match to my tan-coloured suit.

There were the familiar rumbling sounds and underfoot shaking of subway cars beneath the Manhattan city street. The sharp smell of cigarette smoke lingered in the still air as a pair of young lovers passed by along the sidewalk in front of Fleurette’s Jewelry store.

We meandered slowly along, side by side, soulfully talking about how pitiful the sad creature from the movie we had just finished watching was. Then she turned, looked me dead straight in the eyes and in her breathy voice said,

“….he just wanted affection – you know,  a sense of being loved, and needed, and wanted.”

She had such a wide-eyed look of innocence and naivety. Who was she really talking about?

And then she stepped onto the criss-cross metal grating above the subway line:

“Ooo, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn’t it delicious?”,

she said, her perfectly smooth legs locked straight at the knees, her feet in high-heeled white strappy sandals placed about a foot apart. And then her ivory-coloured halter-style cocktail dress billowed upwards exposing her legs, her white panties, and the inner pleats of the dress that resembled the underside gills of a mushroom. A look of little-girl innocent pleasure painted her face.

It wasn’t a hot night, but what man wouldn’t feel a burning at this moment? The world stopped and lived only for us two for a precious few seconds.

I wandered a semi-circle around her, cocked my head a bit and smiled, “Sorta cools the ankles, doesn’t it?”

An iconic scene of the 20th Century by an iconic figure of the era.

marilyn monroe over subway grate

The abrupt honking of a passing cab snapped me out of my daydream.

Ambling up Lexington Avenue a couple of summers back, it was a warm Friday morning in Manhattan and we were on the hunt for Norma Jean. Yes, that Norma Jean. You might know her as Marilyn Monroe.

It was a scene from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn strode out of the Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre onto Lexington Avenue with co-star Tom Ewell after having just watched Creature from the Black Lagoon.

We were visiting New York and wanted to see the iconic spot in person and feel the aura of what was but a few seconds from a scene that occurred over 50 years ago. Millions and millions have likely walked this street and across the hundreds of subway grates scattered throughout Manhattan. But we wanted to see THE sidewalk grate where the Hollywood GREAT had stood and purred those famous words in her high-pitched-dripping-sex-all-over-the-place voice.

We asked workers unloading beer cases from trucks, we inquired with hotel doormen, but no one seemed to know the exact grate where Marilyn had cooed and billowed. We wandered back and forth up and down Lexington hoping a sign, a cairn, some marker would pop up saying:

Here, actress Marilyn Monroe captured the world with her engaging smile and undulating white dress while cooling her ankles and naughty bits on her return home from a date in the movie The Seven Year Itch.

But why? Why would this be important? Was I fanatical about Marilyn Monroe? Not at all!

We seek out fame and the famous, the historic, the iconic, the tragic and the momentous. We bookmark our lives by the battlefields and cathedrals and moviestar mansions we visit- we set plaques and monuments as tribute and remembrance. We collect cars, and bubblegum cards, and vinyl record albums, and coins and stamps and vintage wines.

There is a burning desire in so many of us to visit and draw in greatness – both positive and catastrophic –  from the past and feel a part of it within us. We want to walk on the “hallowed” ground and breathe in the air that Julius Caesar absorbed.

No matter our station, there is a feeling of splendour and ownership if we see and touch the same things that others who have achieved much have seen and touched. We want the sensation of being a part of something bigger, grandiose and monumental.

We want to be unique but at the same time we want to feel like a part of the human family. And for many of us too, I think it’s because we want to be fabulous in some way and do something special in our short lives.

fame-star

What could be cooler than to leave a legacy behind; a song that others hum, a story that resonates through time, a grandmother’s iris plant that thrilled, a photographic portrait that mesmerizes 100 years on?

AND SO?

We didn’t ever, to our best knowledge, stand on the famed sidewalk grate we were seeking out on that busy Manhattan avenue.

BUT … we did grab a hot dog from one of New York City’s ubiquitous sidewalk vendors and imagine ourselves solving a stupendously difficult murder case from TV’s Law & Order. Later, we ventured to the top of the Empire State Building and envisioned ourselves as Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr (An Affair to Remember), or Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (Sleepless in Seattle). I may have even daydreamed of seeing myself climbing that building as King Kong while Fay Wray or Naomi Watts screamed in my hairy clenched hand.

And it’s everywhere.

In Paris, I imagine myself in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, a half-mask covering my face… in Berlin, I stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate giving an address to hundreds of thousands of onlookers as Adolf Hitler, or John F. Kennedy … in Tokyo, I am Hirohito …in Beijing, I am Mao … in Ottawa, I am Trudeaumania … in Washington, I “have a dream” of standing before a huge crowd on the Mall as Dr. Martin Luther King.

No matter who we are, or where we are in time, we stand beneath the dark skies, feel the warm caressing of the night breeze, and gaze dreamily skyward at the same moon that Marilyn and I flirted beneath that late summer night of 1955.

Van Gogh Starry Starry Night

The Worship of Power and the Need for Love and Admiration

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Lovers help each other undress before sex.

However after sex, they always dress on their own.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

In life, no one helps you once you’re screwed.

Frank Underwood

It’s strange, but I kind of like Francis (Frank) Underwood. Frank loves power. Frank loves sex. Hmmm … maybe it’s not so strange after all.

He’s this nasty, conniving, charismatic, shrewd, cruel, pragmatic guy. He makes things happen, occasionally ethically, but more often in a calculated, cold manner. He’s not diabolically evil like Batman’s Joker; he doesn’t really want to destroy people or their reputations, but if accomplishing something he deems important requires collateral human damage, then so be it.

Sex is a currency and an urge that he exercises and uses and loves and loathes, all at the same time. It reminds him – and he needs frequent reminders – of the power that he commands.

Sex is his currency of being someone who matters.

Frank Underwood isn’t wickedly handsome like Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey), but both of these men thrive on a raw sexual power awarded to them by their political or financial strength.

Power to him means magnetically attracting smooth young skin and exposing the hidden tender parts of the women he both desires and hates. So long as he can plant his penis in the fertile feminine fields of those who might find him unattractive or perhaps even repulsive, he can arrogantly perch in front of the mirror, look himself in the eye, and know that he holds influential sway.

So who is this Francis Underwood?

He’s fiction. He’s a made-up character portrayed by actor Kevin Spacey that resides on the Netflix-produced political drama called House of Cards. Underwood is the Majority Whip (ie. boss) of the Democratic party in the U.S. Congress. He’s Washington’s version of conniving JR Ewing (from TV’s Dallas).

Men are drawn to desirable women like little boys to ice cream cones. Women are drawn to famous or powerful men like little girls to Barbie.

Girl with ice cream

.

Sex as a currency is not a new concept.

Women realize this very well.

Women know that if there is absolutely no other way to buy the milk to feed their infant child or pay the overdue rent, there is ALWAYS a willing buyer of sex.

We men will always be there when sex is in play.

There is reassurance and implicit threat for both women and men who know they hold a swollen wallet of currency either through physical attractiveness or power.

Writer David Foster Wallace, in his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College said:

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious.”

frank zoe g string

Frank scouting his Zoe…

In a scene separated just millimetres from rape, Frank Underwood plumbs the literal depths of Zoe Barnes (an ambitious Washington reporter) from behind up against a wall. Within the accelerating huffing and gutteral grunting, there’s no pretense or semblance of tenderness or lovemaking in this sex act. This is pure primal animal pleasure and power privilege.

Frank gets his rapturous moment of physical release and a reaffirmation of his power; in return, Zoe reaps “Deep Throat” insights into the backrooms of political authority that feed her own need for media power.

A perfect illustration in the real world of the appeal of power and fame is the almost-elderly Mick Jagger, who hypnotically continues to attract and make women of all ages swoon. Skinny, outright ugly (in my view!), average intelligence … THIS is a Chick Magnet?

Would any women feel the heat of desire for old Mick if he were a truck driver or a mailman?

So, in the real world where we all live, does power and the need for love and admiration have any true meaning?

I can only speak my own truth and leave it to you to decide for yourself where you reside.

As an example, the very fact that I write and post these blog articles tells me that, as David Foster Wallace says, I am subconsciously seeking love and admiration. If I wasn’t, I would just sit here at my home office desk and pound out my ideas to be saved only to my own hard drive.

But no.

I WANT you to read my stuff. I want and hope that you’ll appreciate at least some of what I have to say. Some of my musings might rub you the wrong way, but I kind of want that too. I have my Walter Mitty moments where I grow my facial hair out a bit and envision myself as some Hemingway-esque romantic writer creature.

I plot out my ideas and write and revise and edit some more, and then … I tentatively hit the “PUBLISH” button that tosses my words out into the internet ocean to anyone and everyone who might care to take in my meanderings.

Mesage in bottle

It’s all very narcissistic and ego driven.

There’s no exchange of money, so I don’t do it to pay my bills.

There are no agendas or advertising that are part of a larger scheme to influence your buying habits.

I’m no better or worse than Sally Field standing on the Oscar stage saying, “You like me“… except I’m saying, “I HOPE you like me“. And in payment to you, I hope that when I explore things about myself, that you are able to occasionally peer within yourself and say, “Yeah, I’m like that too” or “Something similar happened to me last week“… or maybe even “WTF“!

I’m a user.

I’m using you to help me develop my writing skills.

Week in and week out I write so that I can become just a fraction of an inch better at developing imagery and concepts that will make me a better, more interesting writer. Writing that may take me into composing short stories or a novel a bit later, or just supply my own muse in enhancing my songwriting attempts.

I see it as part of a process, and I’m using you to carry me forward. In the run-up to publishing a blog posting, YOU are my finish line.

When I watch Frank Underwood screwing others – figuratively and literally – on House of Cards, I find myself  revelling in some satisfied sensation of moral superiority, until I realize in at least some small way…

Frank Underwood is me … I am Frank Underwood.

He's had sex with 4,000 women, what sets HIM apart?

He’s had sex with 4,000 women, what sets HIM apart?

It’s Possible I’m (In)Famous

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YK Handcuffed  2

“Arrested” by RCMP years ago in Yellowknife for not showing up at a CAN CAN dance rehearsal…

One day, years ago, I pulled out a knife/gun/credit card and committed a cold-blooded, evil felony.

Certainly the border guards at U.S. Customs think so. Every time I try to cross into or through the States, I get yanked out of line for a half hour or so in order for them to gawk and ask probing questions of me, the infamous rapist/axe murderer/corporate scam artist who thinks he can just waltz into their country sans hassle.

My name is pretty common which means there are tens if not hundreds of Larry Green’s out there committing God-knows-what-foul-deeds and leaving my moniker fingerprints behind. What this means is that for a half hour once or twice a year, I get to have my proverbial 15 (er…30) minutes of fame…er infamy!

I’ll take it where I can get it.

When I was a teenager, I had dreams of becoming the next Elton John…musically, not sexually or personality-wise. I wanted to be a songwriter/singing star. I hoped to triumphantly stand on world stages and bask in waves of acclaim and celebrity. Dreams…wants…hopes…

elton-john

I fell asleep at night dreaming of my face pasted on top of Elton’s!

It obviously wasn’t a burning desire because I didn’t throw myself into the scheme wholeheartedly. I didn’t drip rivers of sweat until the wee hours of the morning honing my craft. It was what you might rightly call a pipe-dream. A plan without a process. Kinda nice to have so long as I didn’t have to dedicate the now familiar 10,000 hours to mastering the basics.

I sat in the apartment my sister Betty and I shared and tried penning a few songs in the style of my musical heroes of the time eg. James Taylor, Bruce Cockburn, Elton John, Carole King. But I didn’t have the skill set, life experience, or confidence to push forward. My limited attempts could be summed up as C.R.A.P.

I was basically lazy…I wanted fame and fortune, I just didn’t want to pay the price of working for it. Sounds like a normal teenager, right?

I would be a total liar if I said that when I write this blog, I didn’t have this little phantom voice saying, “Someday, millions of people will miraculously discover your writing and fall in love with your remarkable style and insight. Money will flow like fresh springwater into your hands and bank account.” It’s narcissistic and ego-driven. It doesn’t fill me with pride. It’s not very sophisticated or adult-like thinking, but this is what my mind does when untended.

Fortunately, I get plenty of satisfaction from writing words down and trying to discover my inner thoughts on various topics. Some think I just do it so I can write about boobs. Maybe they’re right. Anyway, I can feel pretty content in just pursuing the process. I think better in writing than I do in verbalizing. I find ideas and opinions become MORE solidified for me through tapping my fingertips on a keyboard than through exercising my tongue.

blogging deathbed

…and now this is where I’m headed…

I’m willing to bet that a large segment of our population – maybe even you? –  would feel gratified by some measure of fame, and hopefully accompanying fortune. Our society is mesmerized by the fame of others…we even make some famous who have absolutely no basis for accolades. Do the Kardashians or Paris Hilton come to mind?

There is a dream held by many of us that if we make a multi-million dollar discovery, or score 50 goals, or if we become idolized by a billion of our peers in whatever field we choose, we will rise miraculously to the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy, becoming self-actualized and instantly happy for the rest of our days.

There are a rare few who actually reach skyward to that mountainous peak and feel entirely fulfilled. After winning a huge lottery prize, or entering the dirty world of politics, they find a way to hold onto the person that they began life as, and enjoy the positive fruits without letting the sweetness of the transformation turn sour. I tip my hat to those stalwart souls. Their’s is a strength of character that most can only aspire to.

Fame brings enormous pressure to bend and transfigure. Coal can be made into diamonds, but some diamonds don’t make the grade. Justin Bieber is just one recent case file of caving under the weight of his own (supposed) greatness.

The honest truth? I think if I became famous, I’d quickly turn into a monster.

I’d yell at nice people who didn’t deserve to be abused and eat tons of greasy junk food and buy fancy cars. I’d kick small animals. I’d slurp Dom Perignon champagne straight from the bottle at breakfast. I’d have a magisterial throne built for me in my living room. I’d hire staff to polish my guitars and keep them tuned 24/7. There would be sexy, sultry ladies seductively placing peeled grapes into my maw.

Seriously, it wouldn’t be pretty. It just wouldn’t be pretty…

I can’t trust myself with too much money or too much fame.

KNOW THYSELF, I say.

Anyway, as I age, I’m re-dedicating myself to my musical craft… returning in a bigger way to my music. I feel the inner innocent teenager stirrings once again. Maybe I’ll become a senior-citizen folk-music star. The headlines would read;

“SONGWRITERS BOB DYLAN AND LARRY GREEN MAKE MAGIC ON STAGE TOGETHER” Just two old fogies making great harmony. Oops, I’m getting carried away again!

Ah hell, who am I kidding, I don’t want to be famous.

It’s enough to be fawned over by Border Guards for this Fame-Whore!

famewhore

This is where it all begins…