Friday, March 28, 2003
STAY GOLDEN, GOLDEN EAGLES!
Now that you're thoroughly depressed about the state of the world, I'd recommend drinking a beer and watching some basketball. Duke's out of the picture now, so I'm rooting for scrappy Marquette. Go Golden Eagles!
Unfortunately, I didn't pick them to go that far in the bracket I filled out for my mom's office's NCAA pool. But I've still got an edge on my mom's evil Jack Russell, Chloe (aka Fang Shui), who picks teams based on how much she likes their mascots. That dope picked Wake Forest's Demon Deacons to go all the way!
I guess she liked them because, you know, demons are evil, like she is. She also likes Wildcats and Longhorns, conveniently enough. Actually, I find it hard to believe that Chloe picked the Longhorns to beat the Gators, given her striking resemblance to a Gator. What's so evil about Longhorns, aside from that awful color they wear?
Politics, sports, dogs, and office pools. Have I lost my edge completely? Did I ever have an edge? What's for lunch? Tune in next week and find out!
Someone pointed me to my long lost song! It's by Ricky Nelson. It's amazing to hear a song you've been singing for 25 years but haven't heard since you were little. Thanks to everyone who sent me links. You people are too generous. Is your breakfast cereal filled with special supplements that boost your kindness to strangers?
No, I don't want any of that crap. I just want you to keep eating it.
I just watched and wrote about "The Inner Tour", a documentary about West Bank Palestinians traveling through Israel on a vacation bus tour. It's playing this Monday night (3/31/03) at 9 pm on the Sundance channel. My review of it will be up on Salon on Monday.
If you haven't been worrying about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, why not start now? First, check out this shocking article you may not have read yet about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, or read this interview with the makers of Promises, the Oscar-nominated documentary on children in Jerusalem.
THE DREAM OF THE STONE
"For me, it's a dream come true. I always tell my wife that when I die, I hope I get hit in the head by a meteorite flying through the roof, and it came pretty close." - Paul Sipiera, a professor of geology and astronomy at Harper College in Palatine, Ill, on the meteorite that exploded in the atmosphere Thursday. According to the AP story, "rocks as big as softballs" crashed through some houses.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
A HARD SELL
Jake Tapper wrote a good piece about administrative flip-flopping on the duration of this war. Naturally, no one can tell going into something like this how things will turn out, and none of us can expect an easy outcome, or easy answers on how long we'll be involved. I just keep thinking about Bush's comments during the presidential debates - he kept repeating how important it was for America to "win wars." I remember thinking, "Win wars? Who the fuck talks about 'war' and 'winning' in the same sentence, without feeling ashamed of themselves? How the hell did this nut job make it so far?"
Oh, it was mighty funny back then. Laughs all around!
RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD
Oh god, I just checked my link and ended up reading about Amanda for another hour. It's impossible not to cry when you read these comments. It helps that most of her friends are really great writers and express their love for her so well. It's just so fucking sad, I can't stand it. Sad, beautiful, horrible, inspiring, and also, very, very sad.
CREAMSCAPE TITCYCLE SLUMBERLAND
Feeling groovey, baby! My cable is out, which means no war TV! The sun is shining, and people are making fun plans again. You'd think it was spring or something. It mi-hight as weh-hell be spring!
I object to spring with a capital S and god with a capital G, just for the record.
It also occurs to me that I should try to write to more people who write to me. I mean, I urge everyone to write to me, and then I don't break my neck trying to write everyone back. In fact, on some days, I don't even lift a finger. Is that right?
I guess reading about Amanda Davis has led me to question just how generous and lovely a person I am. I mean, I don't think it's necessarily my one true calling in life to be generous and lovely. I think maybe I provide other services, like... I melt cheese on stuff, and drink too much coffee, and I don't always sound happy to hear from you when I pick up the phone. But it sounds like Amanda called everyone all the time, just to check in, just to show she cared. And do I show that I care in small, mundane ways? Suffice it to say it's not a family tradition. We do big things, and come to the rescue in a crisis, but we don't check in a lot. We reserve the right to check out, in fact.
So I've been wondering about this lately, thanks to Amanda's excellent example. And I know that people tend to praise the dead, but the comments on McSweeney's don't strike me as fake or overly glowing. The woman set a really good example. I'm thinking about how my own life stacks up, and I wonder if I couldn't manage to make a little bit more of an effort. I don't think I'm going to wake up one day and want to have 50 people in constant phone rotation, but I do think I could get off my ass and check in with the people who really matter to me more often.
I'm in my own world, I'm lazy, and I feel like I'm always busy. I'm busier now than I've been in at least 6 years, in fact. Or it feels that way, thanks to the fact that I have a real job, sort of. So of course, now that I'm busy, I want to try harder. That makes sense.
Anyway, sorry to those whose emails I never replied to. I'm going to try a little harder. At least for a few days.
Yeah, like you care.
By the way, I hate "dreamscape" in the context of a book or movie review. As in "Doe creates an ethereal dreamscape of mythic proportions." It just sounds like stringing together random words. Not that I'm above stringing together random words.
Has anyone ever heard that song "String Along"? As in, "String along! That's all I am is just your, string along, Someone who you can always bring along!" When I was little, my sister and I found an old single for this song in our backyard. And it was a great song! We loved it. Anyone want to find it for me, out there in the ethereal internet dreamscape?
Yeah, I wouldn't find it for you either.
WHO ARE YOU CALLIN' PUFFY-LOOKIN'?
Under "other crap!"...
Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back?
Seriously - I want to know whether you know. It will completely alter my perception of you if it turns out to have been deliberate...
Do you think it could possibly be a coincidence that I have links to "laugh it up" and "fuzzball" right next to each other? I mean, yes, it was a coincidence that "laughing boy" and "cooking with bigfoot" were right there, next to each other, waiting to be transformed into something greater than the sum of their parts, but... How could you think their new names were a coincidence?
In other news, I don't think I've ever seen the words "Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back" next to each other before. It seems so redundant. He's just Han, got it? Who starred in "The Fugitive"? Han did. Who was in "Regarding Henry"? That was Han, too. He was going through a tough time, granted, but it was still Han.
OK, but who's dating Skeletor McBeal? That's not Han. No sir. I don't even recognize that guy.
Back when my sister and I had every Star Wars Action Figure under the sun... We still have them, actually. Or, she has them. Somehow "our" collection, which I raked the leaves numerous times to help purchase, has become hers. I'm hoping we can settle out of court before the litigation costs grow too high. Plus, I need to get those fuckers in some kind of controlled, sealed, locked environment. Especially the AT-AT Walker. Anyway, back then, we referred to "Star Wars" Han as Han, the "Bespin" Han as "Harrison." Similarly, "Star Wars" Luke was Luke, "Empire" Luke was "Mark." We didn't have any Ken dolls, obviously. But now that I know Reno Ken, any Ken dolls would have to be named "Gary" or "Tim."
Anyway, I hope I've done a lot to alter your perception of me. Whatever perception you had before, I don't like it. I don't like this new one either, to be honest.
You know what else I don't like? The movie "Chicago" and the word "dreamscape." I hate the word "dreamscape." It's so fucking precious. And "Chicago", my god, what a bore. Any pathetic former cheerleader can sing and dance as well as those two. Rent "Singin' in the Rain" if you want to see real, mesmerizing talent. I mean, why not get a real fucking Broadway star to be in "Chicago," instead of these lukewarm, self-congratulatory divas? They looked like they were late for the train the whole time. I used to like Zellweger, but she's straining too hard to be glamourous these days, when in truth, she just looks all bony, with a puffy head. What ever happened to the chumpy girl next door? That's her calling, not this smooth Skeletor act.
Oh, man. Now I'm pigeonholing. I hate pigeonholing! Renee should do whatever she goddamn pleases. I just thought the movie was predictable, dull, unimpressive, and god, the swooning over it! I just don't get it. "Chicago" is "The English Muffin" of this year's Oscars.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
WANDERING WORDS OF THE WEEK
pose: pretend, fake, act, affect, attitudinize, feign, grandstand, impersonate, make believe, make out like, masquerade, pass off, peacock, play act, posture, profess, purport, put on airs, put up a front, sham, show off, strike an attitude, take off as.
"We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it." - William Hazlitt, On Prejudice
manner: address, affectation, affectedness, air, appearance, aspect, bearing, comportment, demeanor, deportment, idiosyncrasy, look, mannerism, mien, peculiarity, presence, style, tone, turn, way.
mannerism: affectation, air, charactersitsic, eccentircity, foible, habit, idiosyncracy, oddness, pose, pretension, queerness, quirk, singularity, trait, trick.
nightmare: dream, fancy, fantasy, hallucination, horror, illusion, incubus, ordeal, phantasm, succubus, torment, trial, tribulation, vision.
"We are not hypocrites in our sleep." - William Hazlitt, On Dreams
hypocrite: actor, attitudinizer, backslider, bigot, bluffer, casuist, charlatan, cheat, con artist, crook, deceiver, decoy, dissembler, dissimulator, fake, faker, four-flusher, fraud, hook, humbug, impostor, informer, lip server, malingerer, masquerader, mountebank, Pharisee, phony, playactor, poser, pretender, quack, smoothie, sophist, swindeler, trickster, two-face, two-timer, wolf in sheep's clothing.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Today's New York Times article on all of us shallow, nonconformist Californians is just too rich.
"During some lunchtime and office-cooler chatter there has even been longing for President Clinton, a Hollywood favorite, who, the reasoning goes, would never have allowed a war to play havoc with Oscar night, one of the state's most hallowed traditions."
Oh, it's true! All we Californians can think about right now is the Oscars! LA is absolutely abuzz with talk of impeaching Bush, on the grounds that he's, like, totally messing with Joan Rivers' red carpet coverage!
I love such quizzical glimpses from the East coast. Believe every word you read, folks. We're out here sipping margaritas and getting pedicures while you marmots huddle around your 10-inch screens, your little marmot minds grappling with the enormity of today's events.
I've been plugged in for hours now, reading articles, watching TV, hearing about the new improved incredible exciting war toys we're hurling around half a world away. It's tiring, and I don't want to dwell on it here and now. Instead, I'd like to write about something completely frivolous and unrelated.
Hmm. Is it possible?
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Amanda Davis, a high school classmate of mine, died last Friday in a plane crash with her parents. I didn't know her very well. She was in the class behind me in school, close friends with a friend of mine. I remember that she was extremely sharp and very, very friendly and warm. I had no idea that she was a writer at all - I didn't recognize her name when someone sent me her obit, because I knew her as "Mandy." McSweeney's has a detailed memorial for her on its site. Reading about her has sort of consumed my morning. It's unbelievably sad.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
DON'T HELP YOUNG WHELPS!
You were very nice to that innocent child who asked you to help him with his bog survey. Are you mellowing? I'm not sure how I feel about you becoming more mellow, more forgiving, more LA.
While I personally am exceptionally mellow and forgiving, I do not forgive people who have majors in communications or net science or anything else of that flavor, ilk, or variety. Even a kind forgiving person such as I cannot forgive a young whelp, sent away on his parents' hard earned lucre, cavorting in the net and mistaking a mild waste of time for a life.
He could study mathematics. He could just plain read. (Would it not be joyous to be required to read all the books you want now to read but haven't time to read?) He could fuck his little brains out. But no...he studies the net. As I said, you were very kind.
Is kindness actually a good thing? I spent much of today cursing evil giant horned rats who march through my back yard devouring expensive perennials and leaving clumps of shit and urine in the otherwise attractive snow. The evil horned rats have been thwarted, it is hoped, by yards and yards on fencing, all of which has left my hands bloody and my mood sour. Should I think nice things about the giant horned rats? Should I think kind thoughts of the giant chimpanzee who governs our country? Is it his fault that he had been thrown into a pool he cannot swim in?
Do you still want to be a rabbit? Rabbits are nasty hopping rodents who devour what little greenery is left after giant horned rats have had first taste. Rabbits are excellent braised with lemons and cream, served in a low carb menu of greens and pureed turnips. Rabbits are as irritating as anything else, here in the depths of my nation's stupidity, as we march bravely into a pointless war. We have managed to destroy the economy and piss off every other living thing on earth and we haven't even had any fun doing it. We have a hangover and weren't even at the party.
You were indeed nice to that child. Are you on some kind of drug? Can I have some? My country depresses me, and spring seems far away.
I'm glad you asked. I'm not on some kind of drug, but I have been eating a wide variety of vitamins to make up for the fact that I mostly sit on my ass consuming saturated fats and caffeine ever since I started covering TV for Salon. I'm trying to re-integrate physical activity into my routine, but it's tough to balance exercise and regular work. I don't know how anyone does it. Then again, I don't know how anyone does anything.
As you well know from your years of fame on the letters page of Suck.com, mistaking a mild waste of time for a life has always been a way of life for me. It's the "mild waste of time" lifestyle I've chosen for myself, starting with piles of journals, pages of bad poetry, a crappy acoustic guitar, a crappy electric guitar, weird essays, some cartoons, photo albums, scrapbooks, various half-finished projects, and countless no-account boyfriends.
And what the hell else is there to do, when spring seems far away, but collect no-account boyfriends? How else to tackle these depressing times, but through melodramatic conversations and sad songs? Human beings who are getting their degrees in Blogology, who brag about their Pearl Jam T-shirts, are the least of my worries. I have an NCAA basketball championship bracket to fill out, and no degree in Bracketology to guide me. I spend far too much time reading the same bad news every morning. I have raw fish in my fridge but I'm hungry for Taco Bell. I just saw "Singing in the Rain" for the first time, and it blew my mind.
What other mild wastes of time am I missing out on, I wonder? What else has slipped under my radar?
Monday, March 17, 2003
HOP ON THE PORCELAIN BUS, GUS
"SF's sick-out poster, which shows a street kid in shorts and sneakers vomiting up missiles and tanks while holding a picket sign that reads 'Fuck This Shit'..." - The Village Voice
I'm a big advocate of filthy language and a staunch supporter of calling in sick to work, but honestly, why can't a cause as worthy as this one manage to enlist talented people who know how to appeal to an audience wider than the San Francisco peninsula?
Can't you hear them, yelling their catchy jingle in the streets of San Francisco?
"All we are saaaaaying, is fuuuu-uuuuck this shit!"
For a sharper take the impending war, check out Peter Freundlich's NPR commentary on the logic behind the administration's policy on Iraq.
Thursday, March 13, 2003
DON'T FORGET TO BOSS
Did you know that most people who drink caramel macchiatos are strippers?
So sayeth The Oracle of Starbucks. But I don't drink those things, generally. I usually get a massive nonfat vanilla latte. Here's what the Oracle has to say about that:
"Personality type: High Maintenance. You pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you're bossy and arrogant. You're constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that's why they're plotting to kill you."
The great clairvoyant of Starbucks really knows what she's talking about. I am, indeed, bossy and arrogant, and this here blog proves that my capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless.
But why should I care about whether or not I waste your stupid time? What's your time worth to me? Nothing, that's what!
Now get back to work, lollygaggers!
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
NICE HARES FINISH LAST
Here's that survey Pup mentioned. I just found it and I'm just too fucking nice not to post it. Towards the end, the pull-down menus don't make any sense to me. Question: Your email address available somewhere on the page. Answer: 100 or more. What?
BLOGGING'S HITE REPORT IS COMING!
I am an obsessed blogger and student of the Net: I'm preparing to graduate with my Masters in Communication, Culture, and Technology at Georgetown University, where all our classes are Net related, and we're more likely to be seen wearing Pearl Jam t-shirts than suits. I'm writing my thesis on blogs, and as such have released a survey of bloggers on the Net. I have not found in other research where anyone has asked bloggers on a large scale why they are blogging and what they are using their blogs for - thus, my survey. I'm writing today to ask you to participate! It takes several minutes. And, out of the kindness of your heart, I humbly ask you to mention and link to my survey on your blog! The survey is located at http:
I actually came across your blog tonight via Google - it popped up in the top ten requests for "blog". I've been here before though - tinylittlepenis has quite a following, I've seen you linked on a number of other pages.
Thank you so much for your time,
Christy aka Pup
Sadly, your obsession has not resulted in any increase in attention to detail, and you've neglected to include the url for your survey.
I know how you feel. My obsessions tend to lead in the opposite direction of those practices and activities which might secure the obsessively desired goal. The more obsessed I am with something, the less likely it becomes that I'll actually get it. My only hope is to act cool long enough for my obsession to subside, then methodically set forth on a more reasonable, less attached path.
My blogging is, in some ways, a reflection of this trend. I am blogging for no real reason, which is my main reason to continue. I use my blog to defray anxiety about writing whatever whenever - by writing as much as I can about whatever stupid shit comes to mind, I avoid obsessing about my writing, which would only turn it into something precious, laborious, and utterly out of touch with the subconscious, the only part of a person that actually has a shot at creating something divine.
See how quickly things get pretentious, when we obsess? It's important to always be stepping back from one's dearest wishes, even as one stammers and drools over the possibilities like Gollum.
Getting down with OCD,
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
SHRIVELED GIZZARDS AND BLACKENED WHIPPERSNAPPERS
Old Patroon requests your advice on a matter, and as Garrison Keilor no longer writes for Salon, I turn to you in the hopes that you won't do me much damage.
Old Patroon has a grandma who is a crabby ol' gal who happens to harbor no love in her shriveled gizzard for Mrs. Patroon, Old Patroon's rib, and makes our Thursday evening suppers at the club somewhat miserable.
Grandma Patroon is not openly rude to my wife but often makes little utterances under her peanut-smelling breath, in the old lady way, like "You look lovely this evening, like the street girls in New Orleans," or "What a nice skirt. Did you get that at a discount warehouse?" and "You're getting desert. My my. How extravagant."
Mrs. Patroon is like a duck and lets most of this nonsense wash off her back but some sticks under the craw, I'm sure. Old Patroon doesn't want to get angry with the old bat as she will no doubt be transported to a higher sphere soon .... problem solved. But until then, should I let her be rude to Mr. Patroon in this fashion or heave the balls to the table and lay down the law, thereby severing grandma Patroon from el familia?
Dear Old Patroon,
Grandma Patroon sounds like Grandma Rabbit, who was extremely fun and sharp, but possibly just a little bit passive aggressive. Rabbit's father liked to tell the story of the time they all sat together, watching television, and his mother-in-law, Grandma Rabbit, exclaimed, "Ooo, I hate that Alan Funt! He is such a phony!" A few months later, Grandma Rabbit said, sweetly, "Tom, you know, you remind me so much of Alan Funt!"
But Rabbit feels strongly that grandmas earn certain privileges, simply by dint of their being alive for so damn long and for spawning such a large litter and for picking up the tab for those suppers at the club. We rabbits don't belong to clubs, but when Grandma Rabbit snaps at us, "Oh, she just wants what she wants when she wants it, doesn't she?" or when she dips her lasagna into her water glass to "cool it off", we keep our little traps shut tight. We rabbits respect our elders, or at least give the appearance of respecting them, because we want to be respected when we're tired and achy and our eyes are wet and rheumy and we smell like moth balls. Sure, our spawn will hold us responsible for a whole new wave of dysfunctional tics, passed down, despite our best intentions, to new generations of confused, unstable rabbits. But when we insult their taste and compare them to prostitutes and common street thugs, we expect them to pass us the butter and do it with a smile, goddamn it.
You're the adults, here, and Grandma Patroon is the child - there's no reason to get your panties in a bunch. Is it gonna kill you to keep playing nice for a while longer? Wait 'til you wake up, racked with pain, your teeth in a glass by the bed, unable to remember where the hell you are - you'll be more than a little irritable, too. At least Grandma Patroon gets a little creative with all that piss and vinegar.
Still wanting what I want when I want it,
Friday, March 07, 2003
Subject: I can't read the Ellsberg article
More accurately, I won't read the Ellsberg article.
It's behind the Salon curtain.
Sure, I could get a free 72-hour pass.
Sure, I could pay $30 for a year (if, indeed, Salon has a year of life left).
But, no thanks.
Why no thanks? Why are people so indignant about paying for anything online, when the most common alternative is reading glossy celebrity drivel sandwiched in between hundreds of pages of ads? I'm not saying Salon is perfect, but what the fuck? Salon publishes all kinds of worthwhile stuff, my own rambling screeds aside. Do we all want to stand back and watch every last online magazine die because it feels funny to pay for it? It felt funny to pay for HBO, at first, too, but having an alternative to the networks' advertiser-friendly bullshit seems well worth the price, at this point.
Keep on feeling funny, and there'll be nothing left online but the same old crusty newspapers, porn, and shitty blogs like this one. Of course, eventually, this shitty blog won't exist anymore because I'll be too fucking broke to pay my DSL bill. Come on, man. Salon keeps me knee-deep in gummy worms and hand-me-down clothes, damn it! I need them.
Full of caffeinated vim and vigor -
PSYCHED UP ABOUT THE WAR?
Ready to kick some Iraqi ass, dudes? Ready to "smoke these al-Qaeda types out one at a time," mostly by bombing the living shit out of Iraq?
Not psyched? Totally un-psyched? Feeling like war is totally weird, and definitely no-fair?
Disturbed? Concerned? Sick to your stomach? Experiencing shortness of breath? Cramping? Agitation? Anxiety? Weight loss? Dry mouth? Anemia? Fatigue? Rash? Hallucinations? Convulsions? Psychosis? Mania? Suicidal ideation? Peripheral neuropathy?
Then go here to sign an emergency petition from citizens around the world to the U.N. Security Council, calling for a peaceful solution.
Thursday, March 06, 2003
"We're still in the final stages of diplomacy." - President Bush
If it really is diplomacy, why would one refer to its "final stages" as if the end to diplomacy is inevitable?
IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD
"It's naive and even irresponsible for a grownup today to get her or his information about foreign policy and war and peace exclusively from the administration in power." - Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
You're here to marvel at the stupidity of others, or to chuckle softly to yourself, not to develop dizziness and periorbital swelling. But you still have to read this interview, start to finish, right now. Just do it, OK? If you regret it, you're welcome to complain to me about it.
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
SHADES OF YOU
Why can't bananas stay that perfect half-green shade for more than a day? Why must my tropical plants house countless colonies of whiteflies? Why do fools fall in love with other fools, and why do they talk about it so damn much? Why do so many spiders live in my apartment with me? Why did the spider swallow the fly?
Answers to these questions, and more, coming up. In the meantime, I just wrote about Six Feet Under and faux-celebrity purgatory for Salon. It's been a busy week so far.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
CELEBRITY, WRATH OF GOD
Watching "Aguirre, Wrath of God" and "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" in quick succession turns out to be a really enjoyable evening. No two great tastes have tasted this great together since "Dark Side of the Moon" met "Wizard of Oz" and fell madly in love. I think they were both high, though - you have to take drug-induced love with a grain of salt. Then again, people meet and find love in front of a live audience all the time these days. The ratings for "Married by America" might be a disappointment, but the bonds of marriage created on that stage will last... a lifetime!
I love this resurgence of belief in arranged marriage. Has there ever been a clearer backlash to the flinchy, non-committal '90s? In boom times, no one wants to settle down. But in times of war and recession, we all feel a little insecure, and long to have someone warm and loyal in our beds, someone who's bound by law to stay there.