Watch Out, MBM: Ruiz For Congress

By Bob Garrison

Dr. Raul Ruiz! Drop the “Dr.”, and the name brings to mind a vaudeville comic or a Cuban band leader (“…starring Raul Ruiz and His Maracas!”) On the other hand, with those plump cheeks and sparkling eyes, he should have a puppet on one hand and show girl on his knee. He is delightfully comely. But that’s the least of it.

Talk about the American Dream. Ruiz went from being raised in a
 trailer park in Coachella to higher education at Harvard. 
In fact, he’s Harvard’s only Latino to walk away with 3
medical degrees. Now he wants to transition from saving lives as a doctor to improving lives as a member of Congress. It is a moving American story.
Hey, I’m thinking Abe Lincoln splitting logs.

And look who Raul is coming up against? Mary Bono Mack, of course. Her story is no more usual than his. From being a bar maid in Palm Springs to marrying a rich and famous singer and TV star, Sonny Bono, who became Mayor of Palm Springs and finally a member of Congress. Sadly, he died while skiing when he was high. High drama.

Mrs. Bono Mack maneuvered herself into being appointed to her husband’s congressional seat, and went on to new boyfriends and then a new political marriage. She’s successfuly accrued the needed power and moneyed support to keep the position. 

I have followed news of Madame Bono Mack off and on for years, but mostly to shame her for failing to tame her stubborn hair, which has a history of looking remarkably like the straw end of a broom. Alas, that pleasure has recently been lost. Apparently, she found a wizard to do her hair, because lately she looks (at least in her publicity pictures) svelte. Not long ago, her picture appeared in the Desert Sun and she looked mature and glamorous. Drat! Mary’s hair used to be great fun.

Anyway, it’ll be a fun campaign, I’m rooting for the one 
with the Latino parents, and hope that young Ruiz grabs
the gold ring. His background sounds like a verse from
”America the Beautiful.” He’s young, smart, sincere,
unsophisticated, and he cures the sick. His parents were poor, but his life story is rich. Perhaps they reared an American hero.

Bono’s not bad, though she’s whittled the ‘suffering widow’ gig to the bone. She knows the ropes and how to pull the right strings. But no back story. No spacious skies or amber waves of grain. Nevertheless, the Widow Bono has carried on…and on…and on….

What Bono Mack didn’t see in her future was a young man who is already a hero among his patients and Harvard professors, with an educated head, a compassionate heart, and a killer smile, determined to serve the people.

At this short time, Ruiz must triple his receipt of campaign contributions to catch up to Bono, who has accumulated cash from her Republican friends. Thoughtful Democrats should help Raul out, especially the burgeoning Latino political community. The time is ripe for you to use your power in numbers. 

Raul is one smart cookie (y dulce, tambien!). Your votes and a few bucks will make your voices heard, and make a difference in so many good ways.
This is also a call to those old-time Democrats who enjoy exercising their democratic power for a Democratic candidate, as it is meant to be.

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A Piece Of Ass

by Bob Garrison

Driving home, I took the long way to avoid traffic. As I was fiddling with the radio, trying to find a tune to hum, something caught my eye, just off the road, in a pile of detritus. I pulled over and backed up, so that my headlights caught a little heap of leaves and twigs, and something else.

When I focused, I gasped, then hopped out and approached this odd form. I blew away some dirt and dust… and there it was. . This was serious. It was undeniable that this was a valuable specimen indeed! I was staring at a very fine piece of ass.

It looked unharmed. Dusty, of course, but no scratches. A little bit of chap on the top, but otherwise unmarred. Oh my God, alone like this in the desert! For a moment, I paused. There was no way to know the consequences that might arise, being discovered with this priceless thing in my car! Oh, well. Nothing ventured….

I carefully removed all dust and twigs and than placed it on the car blanket next to me in the front seat. What good luck to find such a specimen! Unspoken, I was in awe to be next to this priceless marvel, this rare piece of ass!

I hurried home to bathe it, and tend to any nourishment it might require. This was exciting. I drove into my garage and hurried in with my piece of ass, taking care not to disturb it. As the garage door rolled down, it created a gust of chilly air that rushed past us. I felt a tremble, through the wool blanket.

I swept it into my arms and hurried to the house and up the stairs, three at a time. Then into the bathroom and on to the vanity. I ran the hot water in the basin until steam began to fill the air and warm my prize. But first, I took a bottle
of Chanel #5 and sprayed mist which hovered over the bed.

Shortly, it started to respond to the temperature. Relaxing, a cloud seem to rise from the cashmere coverlet. It was stretching! I hurried over and laid out a soft white towel,
transferring my piece of ass from the soft linen sheet to the luxurious towel.

I thought I heard a sigh. After a few moments it turned quite pink. Next, I brushed a few table spoons of lather from a bar of perfumed soap, all over my sweet piece of ass, and immediately swept away the foam with a soft silken brush. Another sigh… and then, all was very still.

I carried it carefully into the bedroom and laid it on one side of the king sized bed. Lowering the lights, I whispered, “Sweet dreams, sleep well. Tomorrow we’re going to play, my piece of ass.”

I awakened in the night. It took a moment to recall the evening’s wondrous happenings. I had a smile on my face and slowly reached under the covers, across the bed.

To my horror, there was nothing there. All that remained was the lingering faint aroma of Chanel.

I could see the indentation in the linen sheets. I followed the impression in the shag rug to the bathroom. But the impressions changed shape and grew. I was alarmed as the prints multiplied in size. Then they stopped under the open window of the bathroom. And disappeared.

Someone or something had taken my priceless piece of ass.

My heart missed a beat. It was painful. I threw myself on the bed and pulled the scented sheets over my head. Exhausted from the strain, I slept, dreamlessly.

When I woke, I smiled. I don’t know why, for I remembered nothing. When I took my shower, I was slightly taken aback by the titillation of a whiff of Chanel. I smiled. Then I forgot about that, too.

The End.

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Ulysses and the Sirens in Cathedral City

By Bob Garrison

A while back I was disturbed to read in the Desert Sun that a Cathedral City police officer was himself arrested for trying to touch three lady swimmers in a backyard pool, late at night. He disrobed and joined them in the pool. The situation is so exotic it begs investigation. My mind whirled. This is a rewrite of something special. Of course! Ullysses and the Sirens, from Greek mythology. And so it unfolds! History repeats itself in Cathedral City! 

 There was little information put forward in the paper. Only that a neighbor phoned the Cathedral City police to complain that there was noise coming from what was apparently a late-night, backyard pool party.

 One might speculate that the women accused the officer of toucing them to distract from the noise complaint. The policeman denies he molested the women. He says, she says….

 The fact of the matter is, The ladies were in the pool – in their bathing suits – when the officer was let into the home and led out to the backyard. Some friendly dialogue must have taken place, because the policeman felt welcome to start to remove his uniform. First his shoes and socks, then his shirt, then his pants, then his shorts. Oh yes, the holster was tossed on a canvas pool chair. And on top of that he put his service pistol. Time stopped.

 The three Sirens called him into the water….

 Yes, the Sirens sang. Ulysses listened. At this point in the story, I was transported to ancient Greece. I looked up and the back yard in question was, in my mind’s eye, now ringed with Doric columns, and I heard the faint sound of lutes floating through the air.

 What followed then only the gods know for certain. Everyone was polite. The ladies complained that they had been touched indecently. The ladies called the police. Ulysses got out of the pool and hurriedly went back to work. The police reports document the rest.

 Another brief story appeared in the paper, noting the swimming policeman was let go by the Cathedral City Chief of Police. Brief and polite. The Chief must do what’s right, after all.

 After a few months, there is another brief story toward the back of the paper. It said, succinctly, that the cop had been rehired. No explanation.

 For one fleeting moment, I bonded with the Chief of Police, who bonded with his ex-Ulysses, who gave in to that ancient and totally male call into the pool. It has nothing to do with the law. It’s what evolution does to the earth’s fertile men in order to populate it.

 It’s that white light that penetrates from the center of the forehead and connects with three Greek sirens. No earthly person can resist. Well, a cocktail may help a little…or the tossing of a pistol on a canvas chair by the pool. The chief knows this and, in his wisdom, knows that this was a one time experience of a receptive male who, by this time, may have forgotten about initial lure of the whole ordeal.

 And, who knows, those ladies may get together once and a while, to laugh up that evening. But they may also privately dream of that balmy night in Cathedral City, and that crazy, cute cop in the pool.


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“Page One” Needs A Rewrite

By Bob Garrison

Playing at our premier art movie house is a new documentary titled “Page One: Inside the New York Times”. I wasn’t prepared for such a cathartic afternoon.

The film covers the brief time it took the employees of the New York Times to realize that the American newspaper business as we know it today is vanishing. It took the grotesque reveal of the WikiLeaks scandal to do it.

The problem with this picture is that the film only deals with the shock of the highly literate staff, pacing their cubicles, using the “F” word, and pulling out what little hair they have left on their heads.

The movie goes into detail about the fact that the Times is the mainstream of American news, the measure with which all other (lesser) papers mold their stories. And it’s true. WikiLeaks is the rude awakening of imminent change.

The problem with this unfinished film is that that’s all that happens.

OK, the internet is changing everything. About seven eighths into the film, I realized that that was the only thing the movie had to say. No hope of an answer. No whisper of an idea about what the newspaper could face (and possibly solve) their immediate problem.

I stumbled out of the theater, past a frozen audience with glazed eyes. I rushed home and put a cold compress on my forehead and went to bed. It’s a sad film and a very bad movie with a shocking message and no structure. Its lousy. The New York Times deserves something far better than this schmata. No whistle here.

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Desert Fashion Plaza: The Final Solution?








By Bob Garrison


Why did Wessman change the plan for the Fashion Plaza? The first plan, designed by the city, used the museum as a pivot. With attractions for the public and a classic outlook, it had place and class. Apparently, according to the Desert Sun, Wessman (the old mall’s owner) tossed in his 2 cents on the subject. What a comedown!

I am countering Wessman with my vision for what would make the Fashion Plaza a jewel of the desert once again. Let’s start with a wish-list of potential businesses, services, and vendors that that would appeal to locals and visitors alike:

A Hollywood Regency Restaurant for visitors

A real Oyster Bar

A real Kosher Butcher

A modified Trader Joe’s

A real French Pastry shop

A real Fresh Bagel (boiled) Shop

A strictly health food restaurant (maybe like Palm Greens in Sun Plaza?)

2 Museum shops (a Permanent Collection & a Changing Collection)

A Photograph gallery featuring Old Movie Stars from the Valley

Movie Star Animation

An artist on the property for public animation

Antique furniture (2nd Hand) and accessories reflecting Hollywood days & Mid Century Modern

An upscale cosmetics and toiletries shop

A licensed marijuana products shop (Affordableprescriptions. No cigarettes.)

Parisian style coffeehouse, with liqueurs & and extravagant bar food, pop art on the walls, and appropriate piano/string instrumental entertainment.

An elegant Gay Bar (proper, expensive, smokey, with a dress code, torch singers doing blues, Bar food, and a strict 2 AM closing with rides home offered to the overly-inebriated, and no lookie-loos or paparazzi allowed)

The history of the Fashion Plaza is torturous. One of Palm Springs most historic structures, The Desert Inn, was torn down to build the monstrosity of a mall. And now it’s been moldering for years, mainly because of Wessman’s tight-fistedness in the name of his children, who themselves must be approaching old age by now. Of course, other property owners of Palm Springs are doing the same thing, insisting on exorbitant rents that businesses can’t afford, and then taking tax breaks on their empty, disintegrating properties. For years, city officials have been tearing their hair out as the town’s old-money families do nothing while downtown rots.

What can crack the ice? Who’s trying to do something about the Fashion Plaza before it turns to dust? our capable Mayor – who has a penchant for doing the right thing – has tried. A few weeks ago, it looked like Wessman and the city had come to a formal agreement to redo the Fashion Plaza. In conjunction with the Palm Springs Art Museum, they created a plan for a simple and classic space with with a boulevard, places for car to park, places for people to sit, and parkways and public space sweeping across several blocks to the steps of the Museum. It was a graceful, sensible plan to follow.

But now Wessman has pulled that plan off the table. Apparently he doesnt want to be obligated to help pay for things like parkways and vistas to the museum. Instead, it’s likely he still want to be free to pack small city blocks full of the usual, useless retail stores, oversized hotels, and gawdy parking structures. Retail, as we know it, has pretty well passed the ‘mall’ formula. Malls are now closing faster than they are built. One would think the changing face of retail would be most obvious to a developer.

Alas, must we lament the oss of another plan? A plan that would bring the history of Palm Springs into the forefront, and revive the arts that made the town famous in the first place. Not only the fine arts, but the food arts, and boutiques full of imaginative things to sell. Not like Sax and Walmart and bad Mexican restaurants (though a taco wagon on the street might add vigor!).

We need a plan to get the blood pumping through downtown Palm Springs again. Start thinking high end food stuff, art, antique furniture emphasizing mid century modern, and even grocery stores long needed in this end of the Valley. Some old, some new, some retail, and some wholesale would pique curiosity and add vigor. And don’t forget Places to sit, and places to walk leisurely through the crowds in the shadow of the museum. Places to pose for a portrait, fill a white paper bag with home-made bagels, places to get a half-dozen clams on the half shell. Places to rest, and to spend part of the afternoon under misters indulging in a Cappuccino and a French pastry. Places to quaff a mug of bitter stout, places to finger an antique fabric from an Aztec tomb at the museum shop. Places to spend the day at the spa, get a shave or your nails done, or a massage and a little steam. We need some places, people.

In case Wessman is unmovable, I suggest that the city take off its gloves and condemn his property as a health hazard, and level his buildings. Okay, leave him his parking lot (Whoops! Looks like the museum has its eyes on his parking lot!). If Wessman needs to be mollified, I have Plan B for him.

Seems there’s been recent discussion (again) about the lack of public rest rooms downtown. Why not put two or three such depositories in areas of the Fashion Plaza that are now not being used for anything? And in front of each men’s and women’s room, why not have a life-size statue of something that resembles Rodin’s “The Thinker” with Wessman’s face? A fitting tribute indeed.


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Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1917 – God Knows When

By your humble blogger, Robert Chandler Garrison

I’m sorry that Zsa Zsa is about to meet her maker, but I’m not in such good shape either. Meaning, I’d better write the story while I can. I‘d hate to be upstaged by a Gabor again.

I was in a movie with Zsa Zsa. We met in a movie studio in Mexico City in 1972, as I was preparing for a scene as ”Police Superintendent Schwerbaum” in a film called “Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie.” I kid you not. Look it up in IMDb.

At the time, I was two days away from opening in an off-off-off Broadway show produced by an acting school located in a converted mortuary on Sunset Boulevard (it was a mythic theatre in L.A., that had once been the funeral home where B horror film star Bela Lugosi was embalmed. On a back wall behind center stage are the remains of the huge sink and faucet they used to prepare Bela’s body for burial. And there it remained, to forever upstage the poor students trying to break into Hollywood).

Those attending the school produced a continuous stream of pretty good plays which were attended by theatre aficionados, agents, and usually the press. Students were allowed to drop out of the current play if you got a legitimate show-biz job, be it TV, radio, s, or film. My agent told me that I had a film job in Mexico City in two days. Fortunately, the director of the play I was in had a standby who could fake his way through my role and hold the play together for the run. (Months later, I heard that that actor said that I left intentionally, on short notice, just to annoy him. If that isn’t a typical actor’s gripe because he didn’t get the gig!)

The cast of the film “Aunt Tillie” was interesting. It starred Donald Pleasence, well known leading man in British film and on the West End stage. Mr. Pleasence was a joy to watch work. He only disturbed the team once during the filming when he threw up his lunch after eating at a chili joint next door to our hotel.

Co-starring were Yvonne Furneaux and June Wilkenson, both lovely ladies who never made stardom to my knowledge. Another co-star was Aldo Ray, who was enjoying a career when he wasn’t crippled by his alcoholism. He was being watched over by his son who was trying to keep Aldo straight. Aldo did finish the movie correctly. Just in time.

I was one of the character actors, along with Rod Colbin, Garnet Smith and Phil Leeds. I lost track of Rod, and I once ran into Garnet in Palm Springs. Phil Leeds, on the other hand, was a graduate of the Borscht Circuit in the Catskills, and a truly funny comic. He and his wife were neighbors and longtime friends of mine in West Hollywood.

And then there was Zsa Zsa. She was the guest star of the film. She arrived at the Mexico City Airport accompanied by her Count (or whatever) husband and her dog. They were met at the airport by the Mexico City press. Carrying her dog, she smiled for the cameras and said how happy she was to be in Mexico, “Where the people are so lazy and everyone so poor.” Well, you can imagine the fallout from that remark. In the morning the headlines screamed, ”ZSA ZSA SAYS WE’RE ARE ALL LAZY PEONS!!” We movie people asked her why she would say such a thing. She answered, “So I can get on the radio and apologize, darling!” Double exposure! And so it started.

Next was the story about her slapping the face of her makeup artist, a sweet girl. Zsa Zsa slapped her when she found out that the hairpins being used were Mexican-made. Zsa Zsa also demanded that the Assistant Director be fired. She said she would not take direction from a cripple! The assistant director was recovered from infantile paralysis and on crutches. She left in tears.

The cast of the film was housed in the hotel with Zsa Zsa and her entourage. None of us would share the elevator with her, out of outrage and fear. When Zsa Zsa completed her small role, she and her royal (?) husband and her dog were chauffeured to the airport. Of course, Zsa Zsa had neglected to write out any necessary papers for the dog. No shots, no isolation of any kind. She held up the entire flight. The authorities called the President of Mexico for instruction. He was quoted as saying, “Get that bitch out of the country and her two dogs.” (The second ’dog’ being the fake Count, I presume!)

To complete this horror story, Zsa Zsa left with her 3 little dresses used for the film, stolen from the poorest movie maker in the country. Oh, and there were so many stories!

The movie was also a waste of time. It showed for the industry in West Hollywood. During filming, the sound man ran after us with a microphone attached to a long pole. The outcome was a sound track of muffled grimaces, totally indescribable. So as not to be seen, I left the movie theatre on my hands and knees, crawling up the aisle and out into the darkness of night.

Zsa Zsa’s scenes were okay. My scenes were okay too. my big scene – with pin-up doll June Wilkinson – had the hilt of my sword unwittingly plunging between her legs while I attempted to kiss her. That took the cake! I was always curious why the Mexican crew had me filming that scene, take after take. Wilkenson paid no attention at all.

Later in my career, a director pointed out to his cronies that I had been in “Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie”. Those around the table snickered, and I crawled out, branded. Burn those credits! After some dubbing and a few TV bits, I went back to radio, which I found safer.

Sorry, Zsa Zsa. I will say that I enjoyed the company of your sister (not Eva…the other one) and your mother at le Vallauris one evening in Palm Springs. It was Mama Gabor’s birthday. She was wearing red sequined tennis shoes. Kooky but nice. I know they’ve gone to heaven.

So ends my tribute to the fabled Zsa Zsa. When the time finally comes for her to pass, may she rest in peace.


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‘Win Win’ Is A Winner

The moment I sat down in the theatre and saw the beginning of Win Win, I wanted to run out. I just figured, in the first 5 minutes, that it was a tough film about a family struggling to survive a situation that they didn‘t deserve. I was depressed. The plot was too life-like to be comfortable.

But after watching Paul Giamatti – one of Hollywood’s few great supporting actors – do his work, I was hooked. And it was a pleasant shock to see Giamatti starring for a change.

What I saw was a movie about a family in trouble. The head of the family (Paul Giamatti) is a lawyer with too few clients and a wife (Amy Ryan), no kids, and a father with Alzheimer’s. How father solves this not uncommon mess, is sad but ingenious. Here are some clues:

1. A high school wrestling team which opens the door to comedy

2. A runaway teenage wrestler

3. The teenager’s mother, a beautiful but incredible bitch, played by Melonie Lynskey (watch for her, and hope her huge talent conquers her name)

4. Add 3 grown men playing the trainers of the young wrestlers, (2 are known character actors and one is Paul Giamatti).

Not only do they solve all their problems, they do it without a bad move, and with a bag of laughs, and tears.

It’s a tough, old fashioned movie, but a very good one. The author and the director is Thomas McCarthy, who I congratulate. At the Camelot. On my famous Whoopee Whistle scale, I give this flick 3 whistles!

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