Sunday, February 5, 2017

Help Out The Anaheim White House

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Chef Bruno rebuild the Anaheim White House restaurant, where he has cooked countless meals for homeless children. By now everyone in Orange County has heard about the disastrous fire that devastated it.

GHPAL members have donated. Please consider joining us.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Newport Beach Film Festival

The Newport Beach Film Festival is coming soon–April 20-27.

This year SEVEN screens at The Triangle Cinemas will show Festival films! The Islands Cinema and Big Newport will be Festival venues again, so many fabulous films will be screened.

It's never too early to start making plans, even if it's just to save the dates on your calendar.

Better yet, volunteer some of your time and support our local Festival. Just go to Newport Beach Film Festival Website and add your name.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Old Friends Come Out of Hiding

The old Girl Scout song

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, but the other gold.

could have been written for a bookworm like me.

Ours is a reading family. Books and magazines are everywhere in our house. Every bed and chair has a pile of books beside it. Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines sit on the floor by our bathtub, ready to read while I soak in bubble heaven. Every room has bookshelves. Every shelf has more than one row of books on it. Even the tops have books on them, held in place by bookends.

The time finally came when something had to be done. My husband measured the chosen space and Al's Woodcraft made us a bookcase to fit–one that matched the existing ones in our library/office. The 20-year old computer was hauled to Orange Coast College's recycling center.

Once the new bookcase was securely fastened to the wall, it had to be filled.

That took days.

Piles had to be brought together and sorted.

Books that had been randomly stuck on shelves were pulled out and added to the piles.

Then the piles were sorted into broad categories, like biographies and classics.

Books on existing shelves had to be rearranged to make room because, for example, all World War 2 books should be together, and now there's 20 of them instead of just 10. Michael Connelly and Charles Todd published several books since the last time our shelves were organized.

All our hardcover books had been meticulously organized. Paperbacks were shelved by size. As a paperback came to the top of a pile, one couldn't help asking, "Wouldn't it be nice if all the Heinlein paperbacks were in one place instead of scattered?" So all the paperbacks were pulled out and sorted.

There were distractions.  A saved magazine had an article about Emily Dickinson's family home and its scandalous use as an assignation place for her brother and his long-time mistress. One had to order a used copy of the award winning biography that revealed the whole sordid affair.

And discoveries. "Here's that book I searched all over for two months ago. Why couldn't I find it?"

Childhood buddies came out of hiding. One forced oneself to pile them up, to come back to later, as a reward for finishing the whole thing.

Then there were the duds, books that weren't well-written or bored us or that we knew we'd never read again. These were donated to Friends of the Library in Newport and Costa Mesa.

It's all done now. The floors are once again bare of books. There are empty shelves–room for expansion of our library. We can find things again, like the missing book on the '69 Cubs.

And I can sit down to laugh my way through Jane Trahey's Tuesdays 'Til 9 and Life With Mother Superior, relive the American Revolution from the Tory point of view with Kenneth Roberts' Oliver Wiswell and check out the similarities to the TV series The Young Pope by rereading Baron Corvo's Hadrian VII. Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island and The Mudhen and the Walrus, childhood favorites all, sit in a pile on my footstool, waiting their turn.

These old friends are really 24 carat.

Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree Registration Opens

Registration is now open for our favorite genealogy event–the Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree in Burbank.

This year the programs are, as usual, fabulous. Check it out at Jamboree Website and follow the Jamboree blog Jamboree Blog for more information.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. Our blog may win the random drawing for a free registration.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Censorship is Wrong

GHPALS supports the Right to Publish. We're buying Simon & Shuster publications and boycotting the proposed boycott.

Some members of the liberal left have chosen to promote a boycott of Simon & Shuster because it is publishing a book by Milo Yiannopoulos.

What is wrong with these people? No one is forcing them to buy his book. No one is forcing them to read it. Their desire not to read it should not interfere with anyone else's desire to read it.

We're great supporters of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's efforts to fight censorship of any kind. America is one of the few places in the world where one has constitutionally-protected rights to free speech and a free press. Even Canadians don't have them.

We should all be tickled to death when someone publishes something controversial. It's a celebration of our freedom. Isn't that what Lenny Bruce taught us?

We thought liberals were opposed to censorship. Aren't they the ones who supported the ACLU, even when it backed the Nazis who wanted to march through Skokie? The made-for-TV movie about that fight aired on Decades network a few months ago and it's a real celebration of our first amendment rights to upset people.

The boycott supporters need to remember "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" and just grow up.

If you want to know more about this controversy, here are the links:

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Position

NCAC Statement in Support of the Right to Publish

Buy the Book and Support the Salvation Army through this link.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Intolerance at a Supernatural Convention

This post was written by a member who attended BurCon, a Supernatural convention in Burbank.

Two weeks after the convention I am still bothered by my experience there. I finally decided what happened should not pass without comment. The GHPALS blog gives me the forum to vent that I need, and I thank my fellow members for allowing me to use it.

I love the show Supernatural, so when I read about the convention in Burbank I eagerly bought a silver ticket. I saved up so I could stay at the Marriott and really enjoy myself. Mostly I did.

The timing, it turned out, was unfortunate because it started two days after the Presidential election. As we all know, the voting results shocked a great many people who had assumed Mrs. Clinton's election was assured. 

The disappointed and upset included the major Creation staffers and most of the actors appearing at the convention, and they were very vocal about it. Several of them made negative comments about Trump supporters as well as the President-elect. Audience members cheered these remarks, sometimes enthusiastically.

I was one of the finalists in a trivia contest. The last two contestants were always asked where they were from and audience members cheered the location. I answered "Orange County" and the moderator sniffed disdainfully. Evidently he knew Orange County usually voted Republican. I wanted to shout, "We voted for Clinton, you asshole!" but of course I didn't. 

At one point the audience was asked if anyone there voted for Mr. Trump. No one raised a hand.

There had to be someone in that room who voted for him, but no one subjected themselves to the scorn that would have been heaped upon them. I wouldn't have. 

Not raising your hand in such a group is not an act of cowardice. It's an expression of "I don't need the hassle."  The crowds at Mr. Trump's rallies was an indication of his popularity. I know the rally here in Costa Mesa was packed.

Misha Collins was obviously devastated by the election results, since he had campaigned for Mrs. Clinton. He had the grace not to bash Trump or his supporters.

Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki made no comment on the election. It's not relevant to the show we were all there to celebrate.

I have read many blog posts reporting on Supernatural conventions. They always say fans are friendly and embracing newbies. I had been looking forward to that happening to me. It didn't, I'm sorry to say. 

Instead I sensed I'd stumbled into an exclusive club, one where only people who thought a certain way were welcome. 

That feeling was reinforced by the flyers someone left on horizontal surfaces throughout the hotel. The tone deafness of the author, who must not have sensed the absurdity and condescension inherent in such a note, is obvious. Trying to be inclusive, the result was exclusive and offensive. If you aren't on this list, you aren't respected because you don't deserve to be.

At least that's how I felt, a white female of European descent who may, or may not, have voted for Mrs. Clinton*, who respects everyone without needing to know their race, ancestry or sexual orientation,

* I'm a firm believer in the sanctity of the secret ballot.

Does the Bechdal Test Work for TV?

The other day our members had a heated discussion about the Bechdal test–Does it work for TV?

Originally created to judge the lack of good female characters in movies, the test asks 3 questions:
  1. Are there two female characters?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk about something other than a man?
To pass, the answer to all three must be yes.

Naturally given the nature of our membership, long and involved discussion ensued. Weighty issues were thoroughly considered and consensus was finally reached.

Our conclusion:

  1. The Bechdal Test can only be applied to the entire run of a TV show, not individual episodes.
  2. It is not a good test because a character's role is more than just dialog with another woman. Given the time constraints of fixed length episodes, there is rarely time for conversation that doesn't drive the plot forward in dramas. In comedies the conversation often is the point.

We reached these conclusions by testing a variety of popular shows from the past.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Naturally this was the first show we discussed. It passes the test and has great women role models.

Xena, Warrior Princess Ditto.

Dr. Who Rarely do two women talk to each other in this show. Donna and her mother were great exceptions. Leela didn't talk much at all, but she was certainly a strong female character.

Battlestar Gallactica Starbuck. Need we say more? Who cares about conversations when there's a character like her in the show.

Supernatural The show is about two guys. Any other character, male or female, is subservient to that. Yet the show has given us Charlie Bradbury, Jody Mills, Ellen & Jo Harvelle, Mary Winchester, Abbadon, and lots of other string female characters.

Ghost Whisperer Two female characters often talk about things other than men, though the husband and son tend to come up frequently in their conversations. Not every woman is a babe in it.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Clearly this show flunks since there's rarely two females in an episode.

Another Period Lots of women talking about lots of things, so it passes the test and provides employment to many actresses.

The Beverly Hillbillies Grannie and Elly Mae had lots of conversations that weren't about men, covering topics like possum stew and animals in the cement pond. Elly Mae was the sweet but idiotic eye candy, but completely independent and not looking for a man. Miss Hathaway was a hilarious stereotypical successful but man hungry professional working woman. Granny was the matriarch who everyone deferred to, though they didn't always obey. Were these women good role models? We decided they might well be because they were always themselves and no one demanded they change.

Green Acres Lisa Douglas often talked to Mrs. Ziffel and the lady plumber/contractor, and they rarely talked about men (though Arnold was a male pig). Lisa's conversations with her mother-in-law were almost always about Oliver though. Can't say this show had any meaningful roles for women, though everyone in it accepted everybody else for who they were, quirks and all.

Bewitched Samantha and her Mom always talked about Darren. This show didn't have meaningful roles for women since Sam had to change to fit her husband's ideas of a good wife.

The X-Files Dana Sculley talks to all kinds of women about all kinds of things, so it passes the Bechdel test. Plus she's on heck of a female role model.

Wonder Woman Diana Prince/WW talks to a variety of women (my personal favorites are the German agents in the first season). They rarely talk about men.

Hazel (Does anyone remember that show? It's on reruns here.) The maid talks to women about all kinds of things, rarely about men.

The A Team The lady newspaper reporter often talked to women clients, and it was usually about how the team could help. Or two women clients talked about their problem, usually caused by men. Does this count? This show flunks. But who cares–it's too fun to watch.