This is NOT an April fools day story. It’s true.
When I lived in LA and needed something to life my spirits I’d go to lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
It’s clearly visible On Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills border there lies a Magnificent Hotel. It’s most famous for people like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton checking in for a week and eating and drinking and ____________themselves silly or it’s “Polo Lounge,” where you used to see superagent and movie star or producer power brokering and the packaging of talent. The hotel also has a hell of a cobb salad. Total landmark. The most elegant Spanish architechture I’ve ever seen. At one point, I think durng the 80’s it fell into massive disrepair and the Sultan of Brunei bought it. A few years ago, in response to human rights issues with the Sultan and his cronies, all of Hollywood just stopped going there. It made all the magazines but of course it changed nothing in Brunei. But now, the stars, agents, they are going back there. I read that Warren Beatty was there and he’d just shot a new movie. I thought he was under a rock somewhere and retired, like Jack Nicholson is rumored to be.
Addicts languishing on the banks of the Kabul River
Anyone remember the song about addiction and homelessness by The Red Hot Chili Peppers called “Under the Bridge?” Here we go again.
Man, I thought heroin addicts had it rough in this country. At least we have Methadone clinics for the overflow of addicts who can’t actually kick. That program reduces the spread of illness, so even though it’s less than perfect, it’s a long term temporary solution for some addicts who don’t ‘graduate’ to sobriety, such as it is.
In Afghanistan, cheap heroin, easy access, unemployment, lack of housing, fraying families, malnutrition, and untreated mental illnesses are just a few factors of the epidemic most vividly illustrated by a New York Times piece about the heroin addicts gathering in informal ‘drug camps’ under the bridges of the River Kabul. It’s gotten to be such an eyesore that other residents line up on the bridges to watch. Schadenfreud. Again.
It’s said that you walk on the riverbank you can hear the crunch of hundreds of thousands dirty needles underfoot. Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opiates and reports say 12% or more adults there are addicted.
Something’s being done about it but it will just staunch the bleeding. These people are rounded up and being sent to some ad hoc sort of treatment program at an empty United States Military base from 2003.
When the base was abandoned apparently we took all the goodies, televisions, kitchens, but they are doing the best they can. They are only allowed to stay for 180 days and there are no aftercare programs to help prevent relapse.
When I read the part about the needles crunching underfoot, I got a powerful visual.
Photo of Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister of the Shah of Iran
We lost a proud Middle Eastern Feminist last week. The twin sister of the former Shah of Iran, Ashraf Pahlavi, passed away. I was interested that she wrote three memoirs.
Most people only write one, but she lived a long time, through many political changes that swept the world. I’m going to request:
“Faces in a Mirror: Memoirs from Exile”
“Time for Truth”
Jamais Resignee (Never Forget)…That’s a phrase used in another concept, but ok, it cross applies.
The practice of not allowing a woman to wear seatbelts is because it outlines, makes evident the contours of her figure, her breasts, waistline, etc. Of course I read this in the Newspaper but the New York Times is pretty liberal, I think.
Little Girl Blue…Janis Biopic
On Showtime right now: “Listen to Me Marlon.” Live Clips and interviews as well as film clips from the actor before he died. Said to be really good. Playing a lot. Record it ahead of time if you have that option.
Madam Phung’s Last Journey: True Cinema Verite about transgender’s sheltering and protecting each other in Vietnam
Mia Madre (Italy) about female filmmaker
“Palio” Italy. About travel in Italy.
“Sembene” Political take on Sengales
“Taxi” Iranian film taken from car camera. This filmmaker has been banned since 2010.
“Song of Lahore” Pakistan. A traveling Pakistani troupe of musicians.
“Jacskson Heights” US A part of Queens where 167 languages are spoken.’
“Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans.” Its about his obsession with race cars and the road it took him on.
“Ingrid Bergman, In her Own Words.” A documentary about the actress.
“In the Basement” What people do with their basements
“What our Fathers Did.” Another take on the Holocaust.
But there’s always: “God Willing” (Inshallah) In other words, if I don’t feel like it, I’ll develop nuclear weapons anyway.