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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Good Bye, Mr. Williams

I am shocked by Robin Williams’ death.I stupidly believed that if there was somebody equipped to handle depression, that was him.

I loved the roles he played in his movies: a father who stands for fatherhood in Mrs Doubtfire (which by the way, is translated as Papá de por vida  (Father for Life) in Spain, and Papá por siempre (Forever a Father) in Latin America), a shrink who is a father figure in Good Will Hunting.That’s my problem with Robin Williams: he was an excellent actor, an actor who made you believe he is the fellow you met in his movies.

And the little I know about his personal life does not help me either: through divorce,Robin Williams did not loose his sense of humor and his class.

Anyway, I am going to stop second guessing him. Thanks and rest in peace.

 

 

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Back when I was still seeing my girls, who were very little at the time, one of my aspirations as a father was to be an understanding one later

Vanity Fair, January 2014

Vanity Fair, January 2014

on, as they would grow up and become teens; by understanding, I mean understanding with boyfriends or else. I did not exactly see myself as their confidant, but as somebody they would trust in case of storms on the love front of their lives. My mom had been quite a patient ear to me on those matters, and my dad was exemplary, at least with my little sister, when she was a teen; the type that would pick up  her contraceptive devices at the pharmacy, no questions asked. It showed quite a remarkable ability to adjust to new mores and times, given the way he had been brought up.

Anyway, as much as I would love to, I have a sense I won’t hear about my girls’ love life anytime soon. There is at least one thing I can do: use this blog to warn them and others about a deadly contraceptive device, NuvaRing, sold by Merck and Co.  I just read  Marie Brenner’s article in the January 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, “Danger in the Ring,” and I was horrified.

Merck’s NuvaRing victims have been adding up like flies.  Brenner’s piece – a must-read- investigates why in the world this product is still on the market. Among the reasons:  Merck’s greed and the way the pharmaceutical industry does business, where deaths and the lawsuits of victims are part of the CDB (Cost of Doing Business); a faulty regulatory  system, where regulators move in and out of the industry they are supposed to regulate.  And let say that if the FDA were not so dramatically understaffed, NuvaRing might not still be killing women.

One thing is clear: Stay away from NuvaRing and third- and -fourth- generation hormonal contraceptives.

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Joyeux anniversaire Camille!

19 ans     Je t’embrasse. Dad

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Light of NightI went to see “Light of Night” (directed by Mariana Carreño King) at Iati Theater, last  Friday. It ‘s about the story of Stephanie (Ana Kaynes), who, at the beginning of the play, has Isabel (Florencia Lozano) come over. It is not totally clear who Isabel is for Stephanie;  perhaps a lover, but Stephanie obstinately makes sure Isabel does not cross lines that are not very firmly drawn. During the second act, when Jim – Stephanie’s husband- appears, one learns that Stephanie has been kidnapped and starved by him.

The dialogues flew, the actors played well, thanks to a superb directing. Yet when I came out of the theater, I was nauseous and even more so that I did not know exactly why.

It occurred to me I had read the note from the playwright, Cecila Copeland, on the program upon entering the theater.  This note tells us that her brother and herself were kidnapped by her father, who was convicted for the felony of child stealing.  In her note, Mrs Copeland states she wants to revisit Persephone’s myth. Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (the goddess of the earth). Persephone is abducted by Hades (the god of the underworld), who made her his wife.  But Zeus is the boss:  in Demeter vs Hades, he accommodates both parties: Persephone would spend the six winter months in the underworld with Hades and the six other months on earth helping her mother Demeter making the earth fecund.

My problem  with Cecilia Copeland’s note and her retelling of the Persephone Myth along “modern gender politics” and “body identity” is as follows: men and fathers, same difference. They are all about controlling women’s sexuality they cannot handle for their own ends.

Can we get a break (and the Greeks too for that matter) ? My girls have been kidnapped from me, and Persephone and I,  we are cool.

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Photo The Innocence Project

Photo The Innocence Project

There are some stories, that once you become aware of, you have to do something about it. Like Mumia Abou Jamal’s, or Florence Cassez’s; they just haunt you. Even if you don’t do much, you have to do something.  In the case of Herman Wallace, that’s too late for me. Herbert Wallace died on October 5 of this year of liver cancer.

Herman Wallace spent 41 years in jail for a crime he claimed he did not commit. Adding to the abomination, he served his sentence in solitary confinement: 41 years in 6 by 9 feet cell. One can find perhaps a superior level of horror in Louis XI (1423-1483)’s justice: the famously mean king of France is known for locking up political enemies in cells so small they could not stretch.

That Herman Wallace was able to live 41 years in such conditions is an hymn to life. Amnesty International, Democracy Now among others have denounced Herman Wallace’s detention conditions. The Louisiana justice system kept tottering until the end: on October 1, Wallace’s conviction was overturned, on the 4th, he was re-indicted.

One cannot but wonder if the best thing that can happen to Louisiana is a government shutdown that would prevent the justice system from functioning at all.  Or let’s dream: a UN mandate over the Louisiana justice system, until reforms are implemented, from top to bottom.

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Happy Birthday Chloé!

With your cousin Louise

With your cousin Louise

Chloé, I am thinking of you on your sixteenth birthday.  Je t’embrasse.

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Louise

Girls,

Since we are incomunicado, I have to keep you posted about the part of your family you don’t see. Remember Jean-LouiseBaptiste, your cousin? He and his girlfriend, Pia, had a little girl,  on December 8.

Her name is Louise, like Madame de Rênal, one the heroins of Stendhal’s the Red and the Black, my favorite novel. I don’t know about you, but just looking at her on this picture, I can’t wait to be formally introduced to her.

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Since I live in America, I have been growing a distaste for the word “dream.” Rodriguez, the unwitting main character of the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” (2013 Oscar to the best documentary) has reconciled me with it.

Perhaps because Rodriguez did not have dreams, or because if he had any, they were not aspirational. It must have to do with his Mexican blood or the fact that he’s from  f…    Detroit.  Not even:  from Dearborn, in the suburb of Detroit.

In the 1960s, Rodriguez for sure has a voice that gives you the chills and lyrics that kill. A few people in the music scene in Detroit noticed it,  and an album of his songs was produced but it did not go anywhere. A few years later, Rodriguez was bigger in South Africa than Dylan or the Beatles. An American had indeed brought a tape with Rodriguez’s songs and the tape was duplicated. The upshot was a “viral” success that nobody could ever dream off, some forty years before the advent of social medias. Except that Rodriguez did not have a clue about it. In 1998, he finally does and he’s invited to give a concert – in front of thousands of people. He gave some thirty concerts there. And he then went back to his job – construction worker- and his house in Dearborn:  no tour in the US or in Europe in the pipeline, no move in a glorious mansion in Marta’s Vineyard, no lawsuit against the record company  he never got a penny from.

At some point in the documentary, a music journalist said about Rodriguez “that home is acceptance.”  You don’t pay much attention to this sentence if you get it inside a fortune cookie. While watching the movie, I was weeping in the bucket of popcorn of my neighbor.

What does it have to do with fatherhood?  Rodriguez has three daughters, and they talked about him in the documentary;  About him and them being poor and working class. Not proudly  -pride assumes somebody in front of whom one is proud of-  but calmly, peacefully. That’s just what it is. From what the three daughters say, you sense how much they acknowledge what he gave them. That’s when I started becoming jealous of Rodriguez.

Missing “Searching for Sugar Man” may not be unamerican, but it is inexcusable.

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Bon anniversaire Camille!

18 ans Je pense à toi lors de ton premier jour de ta vie d’adulte.

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8:50 pm on October 29, 2012. I just saw the pictures of Lower East Side under water
because of Sandy.  I decided to get news from my girls who live in Soho.  As I have told the readers of this blog many times, I do not have their personal cell numbers nor their email addresses. Nothing. I had to call my ex-wife.

- Hello. This is Pierre. How are you?

- Great. Speak to you later.

- Can you tell me how are the girls?

She had already hung up.

Camille and Chloé, hope you are fine. Feel free to call or write anytime.

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