Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions"

-by gloria steinem
A collection of essays written during the rebirth of the feminist movement in the 70s, from someone who was at the swirling center - a journalistic observer who became the movement's prime mover. Some of the pieces are dated, a few are unexceptional, but most still resonate with startling urgency and immediacy. The most memorable piece takes on marilyn monroe, and deconstructs why american women reacted so ambivalently to her - how dare she so intentionally embody (and make sexy) the needful vulnerability all women feel at some point in their lives? Gloria later devoted an entire book to the subject. The piece for which steinem gained journalistic fame, her investigative expose of life as a bunny waitress during the glory years of the Playboy Club, today seems almost timid and tepid (a sign of hard-won cultural progress). "Sisterhood" is a blueprint for the questions every female child should ask about her place in the world. "Ruth's Song", the most haunting and powerfully-written piece, tries to piece together the scattered fragments of gloria's mother - a vibrant woman who achieved an editorial post that men strive for, only to fall into profound dependence and institutionalization in her thirties. The piece is a must-read for anyone who clings to the notion that feminism is unnecessary, or a punchline. Hitler's racism gets all the press, but gloria offers a harrowing analysis of nazi sexism, and the parallels in american culture. "Far From the Opposite Shore" may make even lifelong feminists feel unaware or complicit in the dehumanization of women. "Words and Change", "In Praise of Women's Bodies", "Men and Women Talking", and "Erotica vs. Pornography" all burn brightly. To read this book today forces one to ask whether the cause of women's rights has backslid...and are modern women almost as much to blame as men? It's all too easy to see how much has changed, yet how little is different...and it's hard to find voices shouting about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

naked nurse 13


Dear naked nurse,
You do so much for us! When you have a problem, to whom do YOU go? Is there anything you'd like to get off your chest?
-solicitous in shropshire

Dear solicitous,
No no, really, i couldn't.
Well...maybe just one in honor of reciprocity.
There are times (and times and other times) when i've no one to love me, and i determine to help myself. When that happens, a little visual stimulation can be just the thing to get those hormones hopping.
So why does it seem so impossible in this internet age to find an online image which ISN'T a blatant turn-off? I don't ask for much. Just a naked woman.
Well okay, without makeup.
Or high heels.
Or fake boobs.
Or airbrushing.
The feminist in me just wants a natural woman.
And oh yeah, a goddamned pubis! Is it too much to ask that a woman NOT look like a pre-adolescent? Whose depraved, pedophilic idea was this whole shaving nonsense? HAD to be a man - just had to.
And no tattoos or piercings...unless she's over the age of FIFTY, otherwise she's just a sheeplike simpleton simpering along. A derivative dingbat dithering away. A photoshopped follower filing out.
And no weaves or straightened hair for black women! Natural black hair is so fucking beautiful. That other stuff the sisters are doing with their heads is nothing anyone would want to touch in a moment of tenderest intimacy. And no crucifix necklaces for christ's sake! I'm trying to get an erection!
You're right, i do feel better. Thank you for caring.

natural nookies,
the naked nurse

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Logan's Run"

-created by ivan goff and ben roberts
Occasionally plodding but thoroughly charming, and often coming close to realizing the full potential of television sci fi. In a post-apocalyptic world, two fugitives flee a dystopian city, in search of a mythical place called Sanctuary. A spin-off of the heralded-if-not-quite-brilliant 1976 movie starring michael york, jennie agutter, and farrah fawcett, the series was axed midway through its first season, and you'll scratch your head trying to figure out why. There are touches of genuinely intelligent writing, no doubt courtesy of series story editor d.c. fontana (STAR TREK, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Its chief accomplishment in the history of sci fi was the first female lead as strong as her male counterpart. Despite her barbie-doll looks, she's no ditzy cypher - she's intelligent and proactive. While lacking any deep original vision, the show is surprisingly wild and wonderful.
-Logan's Run ***
In a post-nuclear world, survivors live a life of mindless pleasure in a domed city, and in the guise of "rebirth" are summarily killed at thirty as a form of population control. Logan, a fugitive-chasing sandman, begins to suspect the truth, and flees with a runner named jessica. A two-part semi-recreation of the movie, helped along by many of the original creators (including novelist william f. nolan). Gregory harrison (TRAPPER JOHN M.D., JOEY) and heather menzies (THE SOUND OF MUSIC, PIRHANA) have the requisite talent and chemistry as show leads, and are joined on the run by the android rem (donald moffat - THE THING, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING), whom they liberate from a community of robots who want to make them prisoners of comfort. The robot leaders are keene curtis (HEAVEN CAN WAIT, CHEERS) and a sultry-voiced femme fatale named siri (hmm...). Jessica and logan also liberate a band of pacifists who live underground, hiding from a raiding militia. Their elder (e.j. andre - PAPILLON, THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THE WEST) channels peter ustinov's movie character beautifully. Film footage is skillfully blended into a pilot which is less ambitious but more entertaining. The uninhibited hedonism of the city dwellers is sadly subverted by having jessica be nakedly self-conscious in front of logan. Look for STAR TREK guest extraordinaire morgan woodoward in a recurring role as the leader of the city council, and a don't-blink appearance by michael biehn (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS) as a sandman. Sandman francis (randy powell - DALLAS, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, who perhaps sets the all-time series record for fewest appearances by a credited regular) is hot on their trail as the search begins...
-The Collectors ***
Our heroes are captured by aliens collecting pairs of specimens from all over the galaxy, as pre-invasion research. They make logan and jessica see exactly what they wish to see, so they believe they're in Sanctuary. Jessica's IQ takes a sharp dip, as logan figures out the deception and has to educate her almost like a monkey. When rem catches up, he's not fooled by the mind trick and manages to turn the tables, giving their captors' ship to all their former prisoners. The alien zoo is low-tech but utterly charming, in a way CGI could never be. Delightful sci fi.
-Capture **
Our heroes are captured by francis, who is then captured along with logan and jessica by a deceitful couple who make them all prey in another regurgitation of "the most dangerous game". So, y'know, the episode lives up to its name. As such things go it's not without charm, but the writing is strictly average. A fine guest turn by mary woronov (EATING RAOUL, DEATH RACE 2000).
-The Innocent ***
Inside a well-protected bunker, our heroes discover a young woman (lisa eilbacher - AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, BEVERLY HILLS COP) who has lived alone with robots since childhood. Like all previous residents of the bunker, she is psychokinetic. She develops a crush on logan, and banishes jessica and rem into limbo (along with some sandmen, including brian kerwin - MURPHY'S ROMANCE, THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO). The general lethargy is offset by the patient and wise lines given to logan.
-Man Out of Time ***
A fine story that feels a bit aimless, but ends with a brilliant twist. Our heroes witness a pod materialize, then disappear, then reappear with someone inside. The someone is a scientist (paul shenar - ROOTS, DREAM LOVER) from 200 years in the past, who's trying to discover what caused the global holocaust. He takes them to Sanctuary...not the one they're seeking, but a data-storage complex he created. The current residents are well-meaning, illiterate fundamentalists. A quandary arises over whether to help him - if he succeeds, their time line will be erased. They help him return...and soon the pod rematerializes, with a message - his discovery of time travel was the spark that started a global war. Written by TREK veteran david gerrold, and directed by nicholas colasanto from CHEERS.
-Half Life **
Sloppy writing plagues this promising but overwrought approach of a re-hashed plot that should have been put out to pasture  - the idea that there is a "good" and "bad" side in each of us, and that we need both sides to blah blah, our heroes discover two antagonistic cultures, one gentle, the other savage. They are the result of an experiment in which all individuals have been "processed" into two humans with opposing personalities. Jessica gets processed, and the primal part of her mates with the alpha savage (sadly, no director's cut seems to be available). Kim cattrall (TRIBUTE, STAR TREK VI) plays a savage who has been passing as a positive all her life. The two cultures are reunited blah blah blah...
-Crypt ***
In a ghost city, a recording is found which leads to a bunker and six scientists in cryo-freeze awaiting a cure for a plague. The serum is found, but half of the doses are destroyed in a earthquake. The six leave it to our heroes to decide who lives. Then people start dying, and it's discovered that one of the six is an impostor. Is it the dewy scientist (adrienne larussa - THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, CENTENNIAL) who offers herself to logan? Is it the engineer (christopher stone - THE BIONIC WOMAN, THE NEW LASSIE) who makes no bones about not wanting to die? Is it M*A*S*H's marvelous soon-tek oh (CHARLIE'S ANGELS, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN)? The only things keeping this thoroughly delightful treat from four stars are the telekineticist's non-save of the serum, and the fact that nobody thought to just re-freeze three of them until their doctor finds a cure. From a story by harlan ellison.
-Fear Factor **
A former asylum is found where the patients are automatons stripped of emotion by equally robotic doctors (hm, just like the reality show of the same name...). Logan and rem undergo deadly trials, and the doctors want to use logan's DNA to create fearless soldiers. A game try, but it never locates its own pulse.
-The Judas Goat ***
After a sandman's consciousness is transferred to the body of a dead runner jessica knew (nicholas hammond - THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN), he convinces our heroes that the time is ripe for them to return to the city of domes and lead a rebellion. So we have a runner who looks like a sandman, and a sandman who looks like a runner...but why in all these months hasn't logan changed OUT of his sandman attire, a costume guaranteed to spook any other runners? On the way back, they're captured by the uneducated minions of matthew, the first-ever runner (lance legault - STRIPES, MAGNUM P.I.). He's become the totalitarian he once fled from, and imprisons them rather than risk his own discovery. He dies trying to kill them, and logan convinces the smartest minion (spencer milligan - THE LAND OF THE LOST, SLEEPER) that they can live and grow freely. Outside the city of domes, the sandman is gunned down by his own, who don't recognize him, and our heroes are back on the run...
-Futurepast **
At an isolated research center, logan and jessica are unwittingly put into a dream-analysis state by a friendly android (mariette hartley - PEYTON PLACE, GENESIS II), who has never come across humans from a culture of death before and doesn't understand the dangers inherent in amplifying their dreams. Amidst the horror are resonances of love. The tender moments between rem and ariana threaten to lapse into cheese, but it barely holds together. The same can't quite be said for the writing lapses overall.
-Carousel ***
Logan has a year of his memory temporarily erased by benign strangers, and returns to his life in the city as a sandman. He prepares to testify at carousel against the movement, after which the council is secretly planning to kill him. Francis is thrilled to have him back, as is an old girlfriend (melody anderson - FLASH GORDON, MANIMAL). Jessica and rem infiltrate the city, where she goes to an old friend (rosanne katon - JASON OF STAR COMMAND, ZAPPED!) to enlist the movement's help. Under an assumed identity, she and logan kiss for the first time. Charming, except for the writing faux pas of having jessica assume that a "higher authority" is male.
-Night Visitors *
Ewwf. Ghosts, devil worshiping, and dreary writing in a victorian house. Rather like TREKs "The Man Trap", except both stupid AND dull.
-Turnabout ***
Our heroes are captured by a patrol (led by gerald mcraney - SIMON & SIMON, DEADWOOD), and go on trial for allowing a woman to have her face uncovered. The leader of a desert city (nehemiah persoff - SOME LIKE IT HOT, YENTL) reveals that runners once came, and sparked violent retribution against young citizens inspired by notions of freedom. Francis shows up, and asks to be given his prisoners. A death sentence is issued, and francis breaks them out. He in turn is captured, and logan frees him. A progressive minister (hari rhodes - ROOTS, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) convinces the council that their culture has lost their way, and initiates an era of peace and female freedom. What makes this one a gem are the parallels to islam (sword-wielding desert horsemen, dehumanized women, superstitious brutality), which would be too spot-on to get by the PC censors today.
-Stargate ***
A rollicking note on which to bow out, even if the creators had no idea this was their swan song. Our heroes are captured by shipwrecked aliens living in the bodies of human victims. They scavenge parts from rem in order to build a stargate capable of transporting a proper invasion force. Jessica and logan are freed with the help of the sole surviving local, and find themselves on the run in a mutant-infested swamp (okay, there's only one mutant seen momentarily, but it's still cool, i promise). The alien leader is played by sci fi stalwart paul carr (BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA). You'll be surprised at how much they jam into this one, even though there's no richard dean anderson (but yes, the creators of STARGATE were watching). Delightful.

(Note: there will be no review of the flawed but fascinating movie that spawned this series, until the lost footage is restored and a director's cut released. As said footage perhaps no longer exists, it may be a long wait indeed.)