Wednesday, December 29, 2004
The British Government is trying to promote literacy by planting hidden messages in television soap operas, the Teletubbies are arriving in the United States, Bill Gates is thinking of buying into UK television and George Orwell's 1984 TV set, that watches your behaviour while you watch it, has finally been invented. What better time to give up television? White Dot (http://www.whitedot.com ) tells you how, and about the millions of others who already have.
Get A Life -- the little red book of White Dot. White Dot's survival guide to TV- free living is published by Bloomsbury Publishing and you can order at your local bookshop or buy it from Amazon.co.uk. It shows readers what television does to them, how it's turning adults into babies, how it's domesticating humans like farm animals and how it's setting us up for a science fiction nightmare that's already happened. TV is causing depression, impaired concentration, impaired speech, and loss of memory. TV in schools, TV in baby's nurseries, TV that watches you, TV you can't get away from, people making love to machines, TVs on microchips implanted in your brain, - we did the research. Our readers will get the facts. TV is taking over the world. We'll take it over first. Instead of just complaining about modern life, we're describing an amazing machine that will make you happy, excited and energetic, just by flicking a switch. It's called television - and all you have to do is turn it off. No matter what your politics or background, you can help build a world without fake friends, fake experiences and the constant strain of video manipulation. This manual explains, step by step, how to break out of the box - from turning off your set to dismantling an entire industry.What better time?
Well, who'd have ever thunk it but giving away money has become fashionable. Here is my pick for the beginning of 2005. Before you visit the site's donation link, check out some of the reports it issued on November 17 of this year. If you need any convincing of the importance of the issue or have little time to browse, the news from the "Democratic" Republic of the Congo, Russia, Israel, the "Occupied" territories of Palestine, China and Rwanda are especially edifying.
This is a problem that is only going to get worse if we don't start throwing some money and shedding some light on it right away. I tend to be a bit of a Cassandra but you might recall that part of her curse was that she was always right.
Money does not always enable things. Sometimes it actually serves as a preventative. Be well in 2005.
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag, Author and Activist, Dies at 71
by Hillel Italie
NEW YORK - Susan Sontag, the author, activist and self-defined "zealot of seriousness" whose voracious mind and provocative prose made her a leading intellectual of the past half century, died Tuesday. She was 71.
Sontag died at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday, said Esther Carver, a spokeswoman for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
Social critic and author Susan Sontag, one of America's leading intellectuals, died on December 28, 2004 at age 71 at New York's Sloan Kettering hospital after a battle with leukemia, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site. Known for wide-ranging interests that included everything from ballet to photography to popularizing of the works of such authors such as Walter Benjamin and Elias Cannetti, Sontag was the author of 17 books and a lifelong human rights activist. Sontag is shown after winning the National Book Award in fiction for 'In America' November 15, 2000. (Bernie Nunez/Reuters)The hospital declined to release a cause of death. Sontag had been treated for breast cancer in the 1970s.
Sontag called herself a "besotted aesthete," an "obsessed moralist" and a "zealot of seriousness." Tall and commanding, her very presence suggested grand, passionate drama: eyes the richest brown; thick, black hair accented by a bolt of white; the voice deep and assured; her expression a severe stare or a wry smile, as if amused by a joke only she could tell.
She wrote a best-selling historical novel, "The Volcano Lover," and in 2000 won the National Book Award for the historical novel "In America." But her greatest literary impact was as an essayist.
The 1964 piece "Notes on Camp," which established her as a major new writer, popularized the "so bad it's good" attitude toward popular culture, applicable to everything from "Swan Lake" to feather boas. In "Against Interpretation," this most analytical of writers worried that critical analysis interfered with art's "incantatory, magical" power.
She also wrote such influential works as "Illness as Metaphor," in which she examined how disease had been alternately romanticized and demonized, and "On Photography," in which she argued pictures sometimes distance viewers from the subject matter. "On Photography" received a National Book Critics Circle award in 1978. "Regarding the Pain of Others," a partial refutation of "On Photography," was an NBCC finalist in 2004.
She had an insatiable passion for literature, with thousands of books - arranged by chronology and language - occupying her Chelsea apartment in Manhattan. She read authors from all over the world and is credited with introducing such European intellectuals as Roland Barthes and Elias Canetti to American readers.
"I know of no other intellectual who is so clear-minded with a capacity to link, to connect, to relate," Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican novelist, once said. "She is unique."
Unlike many American writers, she was deeply involved in politics, even after the 1960s. From 1987-89, Sontag served as president of American chapter of the writers organization PEN. When the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Salman Rushdie's death because of the alleged blasphemy of "The Satanic Verses," she helped lead protests in the literary community.
Sontag campaigned relentlessly for human rights and throughout the 1990s traveled to the region of Yugoslavia, calling for international action against the growing civil war. In 1993, she visited Sarajevo and staged a production of "Waiting for Godot."
The daughter of a fur trader, she was born Susan Rosenblatt in New York in 1933, and also spent her early years in Tucson, Ariz., and Los Angeles. Her mother was an alcoholic; her father died when she was 5. Her mother later married an Army officer, Capt. Nathan Sontag.
Susan Sontag remembered her childhood as "one long prison sentence." She skipped three grades and graduated from high school at 15; the principal told her she was wasting her time there. Her mother, meanwhile, warned if she did not stop reading she would never marry.
Her mother was wrong. At the University of Chicago, she attended a lecture by Philip Rieff, a social psychologist and historian. They were married 10 days later. She was 17, he 28. "He was passionate, he was bookish, he was pure," she later said of him.
By the mid-1960s, she and Rieff were divorced (they had a son, David, born in 1952), and Sontag had emerged in New York's literary society. She was known for her essays, but also wrote fiction, although not so successfully at first. "Death Kit" and "The Benefactor" were experimental novels few found worth getting through.
"Unfortunately, Miss Sontag's intelligence is still greater than her talent," Gore Vidal wrote in a 1967 review of "Death Kit."
"Yet ... once she has freed herself of literature, she will have the power to make it, and there are not many American writers one can say that of."
Her fiction became more accessible. She wrote an acclaimed short story about AIDS, "The Way We Live Now," and a best-selling novel, "The Volcano Lover," about Lord Nelson and his mistress Lady Hamilton.
In 2000, her novel "In America," about the 19th-century Polish actress Helena Modjeska, was a commercial disappointment and was criticized for the uncredited use of material from fiction and nonfiction sources. Nonetheless, Sontag won the National Book Award.
Sontag's work also included making the films "Duet For Cannibals" and "Brother Carl" and writing the play "Alice in Bed," based on the life of Alice James, the ailing sister of Henry and William James. Sontag appeared as herself in Woody Allen's mock documentary, "Zelig."
In 1999 she wrote an essay for "Women," a compilation of portraits by her longtime companion, photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Sontag did not practice the art of restrained discourse. Writing in the 1960s about the Vietnam War she declared "the white race is the cancer of human history." Days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, she criticized U.S. foreign policy and offered backhanded praise for the hijackers.
"Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?" she wrote in The New Yorker.
"In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards."
Even among sympathetic souls, she found reason to contend. At a 1998 dinner, she was one of three given a Writers For Writers Award for contributions to others in the field. Sontag spoke after fellow guest of honor E.L. Doctorow, who urged writers to treat each other as "colleagues" and worried about the isolation of what he called "print culture."
"I agree with Mr. Doctorow that we are all colleagues, but there are perhaps too many of us," Sontag stated.
"Nobody has to be a writer. Print culture may be under siege, but there has been an enormous inflation in the number of books printed, and very few of these could be considered part of literature. ... Unlike what has been said here before, for me the primary obligation is human solidarity."
© Copyright 2004 Associated Press
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. That means trying to understand, take in, connect with, what wickedness human beings are capable of; and not be corrupted --- made cynical, superficial --- by this understanding.
Literature can tell us what the world is like.
Literature can give standards and pass on deep knowledge, incarnated in language, in narrative.
Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.
Who would we be if we could not sympathize with those who are not us or ours? Who would we be if we could not forget ourselves, at least some of the time? Who would we be if we could not learn? Forgive? Become something other than we are? "
Saturday, December 25, 2004
1. Nicolas Cage. He’d be less creepy if he weren’t trying so hard to look happy/sad/angry or creepy.
2. Michael Eisner. Something about him is just so creepy.
3. Michael Ovitz. Something about him is just so creepy.
4. John Travolta. It’s not clear whether he knows who he is, and that’s creepy.
5. Jennifer Love Hewitt. Proof you can be pretty and still be creepy.
6. Catherine Zeta-Jones. Look away from the phone ads! Yikes, she’s creepy.
7. Snoop Dogg. When he sneers it’s creepy, but when he smiles it’s still creepy.
8. Paris Hilton. I’d feel sorry for her except she’s creepy.
I would like to formally nominate San Francisco electronics geek Mitch Altman for sainthood for the invention of TV-B-Gone, the universal keychain-size OFF remote control, and sole product of his company, Cornfield Electronics Inc. — "dedicated to the use of technology for something useful." This is an item I have dreamed of for many years as I sat in an empty bar or waiting room, bombarded with the inane babble of Babylon cranked up to 11. If some jillionaire would please distribute 200 million of these and an equal number of those shades from They Live, our species might stand a chance ($15 from www.TVBGone.com).
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Francis Newton who had been on the NACAP action alert list was granted a 120 day of execution. Excellent. Thanks to the buds who responded to my forwarded action alert on that one.
The weather is gorgeous here is Los Gatos and my mother is doing fairly well. I'm grateful to be here, happy to not be spending so much time alone and for my family's generosity in bringin' my sorry ass out here. I'll be back in IC early next week. Here's a humorous little corporate America observation.....I was wandering around the Borders bookstore earlier and noticed that "Goodhousekeeping" magazine was on the shelf right next to "Tricycle". For those who aren't familiar with "Tricycle", it's a journal-esque monthly devoted to (mostly) modern Buddhist practice. I like it quite a bit although I haven't read it in a few years so I should say I used to? The Iowa Review was in a prominent position just around the corner. What does it all mean (joke).
I noticed the Press Citizen highlighted Marshall Crenshaw's first LP today. It's been 22 years and I am still trying to recover from the harsh reality that I'm pretty much convinced that "Cynical Girl" WAS written about me. Hey, making people earn your trust is a damn good thing. Case in point, just go read my various forms..... post
I do still believe in the high road. There's a really popular book making the rounds a lot this season that contains a chapter entitled "Working With Others". I've read it many times. The last 2 paragraphs of that chapter are pretty nice on this issue. I didn't bring the darn thing with me but I think it's on page 103 in the lastest printing. I'm kind of annoyed that I know this, to tell the truth. The experts can be so off-putting. I should know, I am can be guilty as hell. Do I recall that these paragraphs talk about this in context?
Anyway, tolerance is a good deal. That's what I think I'm getting at. I'm working on it.
Monday, December 20, 2004
It's the least I can do after that big 'ol whine of a post I just wrote (not that I don't stand by ever word of it). Poverty is way stressful. So is taking the high road - which I just failed to do by saying I've been doing it. Again...... Oh well.
Please, check out the above site (a link from the Reverand Billy -- hey, if he is snorting a line of blow in that one picture I do not endorse/like that, okay?)
Having written this and being someone who has been locked up, I am here to tell you I'm still somewhat insane because I keep ignoring my gut (i.e. intuition). How, you might ask? I keep trusting that when people say they will keep something confidential, they will. I've been guilty of gossip and breaking the bonds of a pact but DAMN, I feel exceptionally bad about it when I do and apologize and attempt to make amends promptly. BTW, making amends is an offer of what we can do for someone else. It is not what we think will be the best thing to make us feel better.
Anyway, I think some people don't even have enough of a conscience to feel badly about blabbing other people's shit or feel owning up to it will be bad for person blabbed about (hubris on blabber's part and ultimately self-serving.) In my experience these "loose lips sink ships" types are usually so friggin' consumed with codependency and the need to fit in, they'll do just about anything to please another person so they are constitutionally incapable of keeping their word. If that's called getting better, I'd prefer to stay sick, thank you very much.
A friend sent me Aimee Mann's 2002 release for my birthday. I love that song "The Moth". It keeps going for that flame over and over again even though it gets burnt every time. My wish for myself this holiday season is that I stay away from the various forms of flames in my life. I wish this for all of you too.
I'd also appreciate any prayers anyone would like to extend my mother's way. She's really hurting in the wake of my father's death. I wish I liked Christmas more. Happy, happy, happy.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Anyway, I like these lines quite a bit.
Kelly also sent this website which is a lot of fun:
Be cool. Don't be afraid to be different!!!!!! The trouble with normal is it only gets worse.
"You must always have a secret plan. Everything depends on this: it is the only question. So as not to be conquered by the conquered territory in which you lead your life, so as not to feel the horrible weight of inertia wrecking your will and bending you to that ground, you must make secret plans without respite. Plan for adventure, plan for pleasure, plan for pandemonium, as you wish; but plan, lay plans constantly."
"And when you come to, on the steps of the presidential palace, in the green grass beside the highway, in your cell’s gloomy solitude, your secret plan finished or foiled, ask your comrades, ask your cellmates, ask the wind, the waves, the stars, the sea, ask everything that ponders, everything that wanders, everything that sings, everything that stings—ask them what time it is; and your comrades, your cellmates, the wind, the waves, the stars, the sea all will answer: “It is time for a new secret plan. So not to be the martyred slaves of routine, plan adventure, plan pleasure, plan pandemonium, as you wish; but plan, plan secretly and without respite.” -- Genet
Friday, December 10, 2004
Be kind to a fellow human today (hell, everyday) however you can, okay? I was at the downtown post office earlier and a young woman was standing there holding the door open (i.e. being considerate). People were just cluelessly filing in past her and thereby forcing her further and further behind in an already long line of customers.
I was in a rush as well but I let her go in front of me. A small thing but I could tell it made her feel better about the world.
Speaking of being in a rush, I gotta go.
Spread the love.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
OK, maybe running a human rights organization isn't a laugh a minute. The world can be an ugly place. I encounter more accounts of slaughter and cruelty in a week than most people would want in a lifetime. But that doesn't lead me to despair, and it's not because I have one of those glass-half-full dispositions. For me, the key to hope is realizing that even in distant corners of the world, there are things we can do to curb suffering and end atrocities. That's hardly self-evident. Most people never see past the horror stories. But one of the great privileges of working at Human Rights Watch is seeing what a small group of people, combining their voices, talents and financial generosity, can do to address even seemingly intractable problems. Americans are particularly handicapped when it comes to understanding this power. We tend to look at human rights issues through "litigation blinders." Living in a society with a strong and independent judiciary, we tend to think that the solution to rights violations is always to sue the bastards. Since most repressive countries don't have functioning court systems, we despair. The dictator-rattling innovation of the human rights movement is its development of ways to defend rights even in the absence of functioning courts. We begin with a moral universe in which most people view human rights violations as wrong. That's why they tend to occur in the shadows. Human rights investigators operate in violent and repressive countries to document abuses, expose them to public opprobrium and generate pressure for change. These exposés raise the cost of abuse--in terms of the reputation, pocketbook and liberty of those responsible. Because human rights reports receive broad press coverage, they tend to stigmatize abusive forces, depriving them of the legitimacy they need to maintain power. Because influential governments and institutions can be convinced to condition aid and loans on an end to abuse, atrocities can be financially costly to the perpetrators. And because venues are increasingly available to prosecute the worst human rights criminals, abusive leaders must now worry about their freedom. The emotionally difficult part of this work is that we usually can't offer immediate relief to the victims whose plight we record. But we can deploy their testimony to protect others from a repetition of their suffering. And we are moving closer to the day when their persecutors will be reliably punished. Whether paramilitary leaders in Colombia or rebel groups in the Congo, whether the dictators in Beijing or the Russian generals in Chechnya, even the most recalcitrant abusers feel the heat. Indeed, when America's own legal system fails--as it often does for prisoners, immigrants, gays and lesbians, terrorist suspects and victims of the drug wars, to name a few--the tools of the human rights movement can be an essential supplement to litigation at home as well. Does this mean we are moving toward a day when there will be no more human rights abuse? I doubt it. Governments will always find it tempting to violate human rights. But we are well past the day when human rights can be violated with impunity. If we keep raising the cost of abuse, there is every reason for hope.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
"Unemployment," they write, "may cause a deterioration of economic situation, downgrading of social status, broken social relations, changed risk behaviors, impaired psychological well-being, and depression, consequences that may develop into severe illness."
I wish I could have gotten into that study, maybe they were paying the participants. I keep trying to put a positive spin on shit it's HARD.
Congrats to the Met for refusing to charge make people pay $30 to see King Tut's old stuff. Can't say I blame any Middle Eastern County for wanting to make Americans pay for such things either.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
In other "it's all about me" news. The sweet folks at DeLuxe Bakery (812 S. Summit) treated me to a fine lunch and I finally picked up my new, upgraded (age is hell) free glasses at Alberhasky Eye Clinic (courtesy of the Lion's Club and Free Medical Clinic). There is much to be grateful for this year... for one, I can see again. Oh the things I have probably missed. Case in point, as I was walking downtown I spotted a bicycle wrapped in a garland of flowers and leaves. Way cool and oh so beautiful.
I can't wait to finally meet that other Meg whose is really a Megan. I realize there are thousands upon thousands of thusly named lasses in the world and many of us were born between November 22 -December 22 (or is that the 21st?) and suffered at the hands of JW's or other charming, ne'er-do-well men. If the rumors are true, her Jack changed his last name to hers, anyway. In my case it was simply a coincidence. I was born with this name and will die with it unless I change it for "artistic" reasons. Anywho, I do feel somewhat of a kinship with my young chick drummer rock star twin. I feel kind of maternal towards her. This is, of course, when I am not bearing her a small resentment because she has made me almost completely ungoogle-able.
Another lesson in humility. Did I mention something earlier about being grateful? BTW, does anyone get that "shameless self-promotion" is a joke? Cheerio, boys and girls.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Immediately after receiving my "expert" color review, I proceeded to go out and purchase a very pricey all forest green ensemble (including leather green go-go boots!). This monochromatic thing had been appearing on the pages of Vogue and Elle, for heaven's sake. Feeling extremely chic and oh-so-ready to strut my stuff, I jumped into my zippy little Nissan Wagon and darted off to meet some friends for dinner. Fashionably late, I burst into the waiting area of the eatery expecting accolades along with "ohhhhs" & "ahhhh's" from my eager audience.
Do you know what I was greeted with? Two raised eyebrows and a query as to whether or not I was dressed up as Peter Pan for some odd reason. No Lie! I am far too embarrassed to admit how much loot I spent on that ridiculous outfit. I did incorporate pieces of it into other dress-ups. What a lesson. I think the last time I picked up a fashion magazine was over a year ago when I was in the Java House and I was goofing around, doing a mock survey of whether or not people thought I should get bangs.
I will admit, I still stick to "winter" colors for the most part. Deep shades of primaries, brown, black, grey. That's probably has more to do with the traditionalist in me than anything else. Well, in that non-traditional way that I am traditional (smile).
KNOW YOUR WORTH. I KNOW MY WORTH. LOVE YOURSELF.
I will not go out with anyone who:
(a) Keeps me waiting by the phone
(b) Is not sure they want to date me
(c) Makes me feel sexually undesirable
(d) Drinks or does drugs to an extent that makes me uncomfortable
(f) Is living with someone else.
(g)I will not, under any circumstances, spend my precious time with someone who has already rejected me (unless they apologize profusely & make amends) or who is not clearly a good, kind, loving person.
Friend: A person who is your pal. What it generally means in relationships is he or she is just not that into you. Yet - sometimes friendship can lead to excellent relationships.
Busy: Busy means I'm the President of the United States. I'm an astronaut and I'm on another planet. I'm in a really successful band. What it means in relationships is, yeah, I'm just not that into you. I mean, most of us have cell phones and email, right?
Bad boy/girl: A bad boy/girl is just a that. Stay away. If you're dating somebody that's a bad, stop. If you say "my boyfriend's kind of a bad boy," I feel badly for you. If you say, "I like bad girls" well, then I feel badly for you. If you say, "I like things that don't work." Okay, it's your choice.
Generally, people with low self-esteem will act out on this in unfortunate ways. They're just not good for you..
Question: How can I tell if someone thinks I'm worth it? Answer: If the he/she thinks you're worth it, they will do whatever is necessary to let you know that. Healthy folk are nodding. Because they've raised the bar and they want to raise the bar to meet you where you are. And you—we all—should have another standard.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Jeez Louise I am no saint. I screw up on things all the time but I do try to practice this. Lately I tend to get pretty irritated and tempted to indulge in self-pity because I can't go anywhere without stumbling across pictures and articles about a man I once had a "secret" & very inebriated (sp?) liaison with who is wildly successful and considered insanely sexy. I don't begrudge him his success and I hope he really has cleaned up his life. It's just hard to know he's so friggin' "hot" and I rarely even get asked out and am not exactly "flush". Well, life is not fair (blah, blah, blah.) That one I get. I kind of wish I were more of a dirtbag. If I were, I would write about the liaison and sell it for the money. Having a conscience does not always pay.
Until a few years ago, I never even told anyone about my time with that dude. I kept my word. I tend to do that. Does anyone know that, I wonder. Time tends to sort things out and tell the truth. More is always revealed. That's a good thing.
One of the conceptss I've been learning recently is that the principle about loving them first also applies to ourselves. I've been especially happy recently because I have been allowing myself to have fun and letting myself enjoy things. I have a friend who is quite psychic. She called me and told me she had been praying and that she really felt as if that was all my father ultimately wanted for me ~ to be happy. Thanks, Dad. I think it's happening.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
my friend, franklin, kept at it and finally made the blog!!!!!
I've got a "Leave No Billionaire Behind" bumper sticker on my car, and I'm wondering if it's polite to be in-your-face to those tailgating me. I note that a good many SUVs follow me for short period and then put the peddle to the metal to pass me even in 20 mile-an-hour zones. Some of these SUVs have large "United We Stand" signs glued to the back. I guess they don't want to be behind me.
Certainly it would be impolite to be "in-your-face" to those tailgating you and I would never suggest giving in to what could be refered to as an "eye for an eye" mentality. This said, I have often advised that some rules are meant to be broken. For instance, can you afford to risk any traffic tickets? If so, you might consider driving esp. slow and then hogging the road while still in front of these gas hog vehicle drivers, thereby making it impossible for them to pass you.
Given the recent election results, forcing a billionaire (or an aspiring one) to actually remain behind is probably a very good idea. Someone has to teach these people a little bit of patience. You'll being doing these folks a favor, Bumper, I promise. Thank you for trusting me with your query.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Oh, here's a link to a little essay about the election I found pretty amusing. As a southerner (I was born and raised in North Carolina) I feel I am allowed to post links to such things. It's all in fun, folks. At least that's how I read it. I cannot speak to the intentions of the writer. This process is a very subjective business.
p.s. War sucks! Do speak out against that (re: the last line in the song).
Life During Wartime
by Talking Heads[ Send to a friend ] [ Download MP3 ]
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons,
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway,
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance,
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstore, lived in the ghetto,
I've lived all over this town
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain't got time for that now
Transmit the message, to the receiver,
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
you don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime,
I might not ever get home
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no mudd club, or C. B. G. B.,
I ain't got time for that now
Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peant butter,
to last a couple of days
But I ain't got no speakers, ain't got no
headphones, ain't got no records to play
Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can't write a letter, can't send a postcard,
I can't write nothing at all
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
I'd like to kiss you, I'd love you hold you
I ain't got no time for that now
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
we blended with the crowd
We got computer, we're tapping pohne lines,
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
I don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender,
we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving,
you ought to get some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions,
then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day,
whatever you think is best
Burned all my notebooks, what good are
notebooks? They won't help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace,
the burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness,
don't want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don't take no chances,
you better watch what you say
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Last year my cousin gave me a fruitcake for Christmas that I had given his mother two years before. I know it was the same one because I made it myself and it had my personal label on it with my handwriting which listed the ingredients. I was a little offended at the time but thought I had let it go. Now as I am considering gifts for this year I realize I am more than a bit peeved and do not even want to do anything for him. Would that be incredibly rude?
My Dear Bill,
In a word, yes. Your cousin probably had no way of knowing the fruitcake came from you in the first place and may have been suffering from the delusion that fruitcakes remain edible for years. Most of us know this is hardly the case. I once remodeled a kitchen using a couple of fruitcakes as extra bricks for fillers in a dividing wall that had been handed down to me a few too many times. It was late on a Sunday evening, I found myself short on supplies and all the hardware stores were closed. Those old sweetmeats made a mighty fine substitute. The house has long been sold but I keep in touch with the present owners and that wall is still quite sound.
Perhaps your cousin, as well as your aunt, has caught on to one of the latest trends in the world of giving -- "re-gifting". Many consider this a form of recycling and a creative way of both keeping expenses down and not buttering the wonder bread of corporate conglomerates. I certainly find no fault of form or thinking here. What I would caution against is keeping the presents all in the family. As you have attested to, this can lead to resentment, misunderstanding and the dreaded grudge. There is, as you have discovered, an excellent chance someone will end up being be found out.
The best strategy to employ with your cousin (or with anyone) is to take the high road. Being human, you may be tempted to give that cake right back to him. Bob, please don't do that. It sounds like you have a fondness for baking. Why don't you bake him something that is known to have a limited shelf life? If you are pressed for time, pick something up for him that you know he would really enjoy. Do try and stay away from candles this year. Recent studies have reported they are the most re-gifted and returned item on the swapping block. Have a wonderful holiday.
Help. My husband reads too many fashion-gossip magazines. He is now is under the impression that's okay to go out to dinner or social functions wearing hats because he sees pictures of Brad Pitt doing it. It's embarrassing for me and I can't seem to make him understand that he is not a movie star and we don't live in Follywood. Am I being too uptight about this? He is 41 years old and a doctor.
My Dear Elizabeth,
Simply put gentlemen do not wear hats inside unless they are required to for professional reasons. They certainly do not don them in restaurants or when making appearances at social gatherings. I glance at the occasional "Style and Smile" rag myself and have seen these glamor boys with their head gear held high which always causes me to shake mine. I don't think you are being uptight at all. It seems to me you are attempting to spare your poor husband some needless embarrassment by suggesting he act like a grownup and employ respectable manners. It is quite reasonable, Elizabeth, to expect your mate to act in ways that will not embarrass you. Unfortunately reality does not always meet our expectations. Hopefully your husband will grow out of this phase. If not, don't worry, by next week Mr. Pitt will be dressing like a spokes model for Banana Republic. They don't call them fads for nothing.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Okay, this is a rant post. I may even delete it later on. I try not to judge others but I am really judging these moralists, man. I'm not a big fan of the pill but I am big fan of birth control. I'm an real advocate of zero population growth. When I have time to sit down and work on the link stuff I will set folks up with Lester Brown -- in sum, over population is the greatest threat to the survival our species and the planet. Advocation of his theories is one of the ways I try my best to employ that old environmental saying "Love Your Mother". Remember that poster - all black with the a beautiful photo of the earth and the slogan underneath. I had one on the wall over my couch when I was a professional organizer for the Nuclear Freeze Campaign in Maryland. There were bumperstickers and t-shirts too. Man, these days it seems you need to be much more direct with people. Context may be everything but cluelessness is abundant.
Case in point:
Druggists refuse to give out pill
Tue Nov 9, 6:54 AM ET
By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
For a year, Julee Lacey stopped in a CVS pharmacy near her home in a Fort Worth suburb to get refills of her birth-control pills. Then one day last March, the pharmacist refused to fill Lacey's prescription because she did not believe in birth control.
"I was shocked," says Lacey, 33, who was not able to get her prescription until the next day and missed taking one of her pills. "Their job is not to regulate what people take or do. It's just to fill the prescription that was ordered by my physician."
Some pharmacists, however, disagree and refuse on moral grounds to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. And states from Rhode Island to Washington have proposed laws that would protect such decisions.
Mississippi enacted a sweeping statute that went into effect in July that allows health care providers, including pharmacists, to not participate in procedures that go against their conscience. South Dakota and Arkansas already had laws that protect a pharmacist's right to refuse to dispense medicines. Ten other states considered similar bills this year.
The American Pharmacists Association, with 50,000 members, has a policy that says druggists can refuse to fill prescriptions if they object on moral grounds, but they must make arrangements so a patient can still get the pills. Yet some pharmacists have refused to hand the prescription to another druggist to fill.
In Madison, Wis., a pharmacist faces possible disciplinary action by the state pharmacy board for refusing to transfer a woman's prescription for birth-control pills to another druggist or to give the slip back to her. He would not refill it because of his religious views. Some advocates for women's reproductive rights are worried that such actions by pharmacists and legislatures are gaining momentum. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision in September that would block federal funds from local, state and federal authorities if they make health care workers perform, pay for or make referrals for abortions.
"We have always understood that the battles about abortion were just the tip of a larger ideological iceberg, and that it's really birth control that they're after also," says Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood (news - web sites) Federation of America. "The explosion in the number of legislative initiatives and the number of individuals who are just saying, 'We're not going to fill that prescription for you because we don't believe in it' is astonishing," she said.
Pharmacists have moved to the front of the debate because of such drugs as the "morning-after" pill, which is emergency contraception that can prevent fertilization if taken within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse.
While some pharmacists cite religious reasons for opposing birth control, others believe life begins with fertilization and see hormonal contraceptives, and the morning-after pill in particular, as capable of causing an abortion. "I refuse to dispense a drug with a significant mechanism to stop human life," says Karen Brauer, president of the 1,500-member Pharmacists for Life International. Brauer was fired in 1996 after she refused to refill a prescription for birth-control pills at a Kmart in the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi Township.
Lacey, of North Richland Hills, Texas, filed a complaint with the Texas Board of Pharmacy after her prescription was refused in March. In February, another Texas pharmacist at an Eckerd drug store in Denton wouldn't give contraceptives to a woman who was said to be a rape victim.
In the Madison case, pharmacist Neil Noesen, 30, after refusing to refill a birth-control prescription, did not transfer it to another pharmacist or return it to the woman. She was able to get her prescription refilled two days later at the same pharmacy, but she missed a pill because of the delay.
She filed a complaint after the incident occurred in the summer of 2002 in Menomonie, Wis. Christopher Klein, spokesman for Wisconsin's Department of Regulation and Licensing, says the issue is that Noesen didn't transfer or return the prescription. A hearing was held in October. The most severe punishment would be revoking Noesen's pharmacist license, but Klein says that is unlikely. Susan Winckler, spokeswoman and staff counsel for the American Pharmacists Association, says it is rare that pharmacists refuse to fill a prescription for moral reasons. She says it is even less common for a pharmacist to refuse to provide a referral.
"The reality is every one of those instances is one too many," Winckler says. "Our policy supports stepping away but not obstructing."
In the 1970s, because of abortion and sterilization, some states adopted refusal clauses to allow certain health care professionals to opt out of providing those services. The issue re-emerged in the 1990s, says Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive issues. Sonfield says medical workers, insurers and employers increasingly want the right to refuse certain services because of medical developments, such as the "morning-after" pill, embryonic stem-cell research and assisted suicide.
"The more health care items you have that people feel are controversial, some people are going to object and want to opt out of being a part of that," he says. In Wisconsin, a petition drive is underway to revive a proposed law that would protect pharmacists who refuse to prescribe drugs they believe could cause an abortion or be used for assisted suicide.
"It just recognizes that pharmacists should not be forced to choose between their consciences and their livelihoods," says Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin. "They should not be compelled to become parties to abortion."
Sunday, November 07, 2004
The article is finally finished! Good Goddess Almighty does it feel great to have that one over with. I love writing about food but I can complicate almost anything to death. Additionally, I fear I've been a little too happy, joyous and free of late. I had forced myself to sit down yesterday to write this puppy and then my friend, Severine, called. I had not hung out with her in months so I felt I could not pass up a cup o' Java and some girl chat with her. It was unfortunate that her former spongemop beau was in close proximinty but that's Iowa City. Wherever you go there they are. I suppose "they" feel they same way.
Seems the Fountains of Wayne are old hat. It's hard to be a former culture vulture. I keep trying to be cool again but, alas, I'm just stuck here in 43 year old land. When I was downtown yesterday, this dude walked by wearing a thick fur vest, polyester plaid pants and clunky, scraped up loafers that were a size too big. I did know he was doing the Brad Pitt wanna be thing but I was still tempted to stop him and say "tell me everything!" Some days I just feel like I am somewhere between 13 and 26 trying cross the bar into middle age.
I'm certainly not going to beat myself up about this. I keep remembering what my niece, Emma, told me -- "Go wild. Have a Party!" Oh dear.... I fear may have just contradicted myself. Maybe there is no such thing as too much happy, joyous and free?
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I keep trying to take things more seriously. I just figure if I get all down about the election and a zillion other awful things I'm going to be useless to myself and others. An old friend keeps telling me about this band, The Fountains of Wayne. I was in a rush this morning and couldn't listen to song he wanted to play me over the phone. It was called "Peace and Love". He assured me it was NOT at all serious but irreverent. To prove his point he recited one line, "I'm going to move up to Vermont. Open up a bookstore and a vegan rest-aur-rant." I think I'm going to like this band.
I'll wrap this up w/ a great Emma Goldfish quote....."If you can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." p.s. Mr. Nice guy -- I'll be reading you soon! Thanks for writing me back.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
Okay, okay - I really have to write at least one the now infamous articles I've been putting off writing for 10 days now. I even went out door-knocking for Kerry yesterday as a means of procrastinating. Now THAT was in hopes of trudging a road to a happier destiny for the entire planet.
Enjoy the poem. It's much more hopeful and positive than it may seem.
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
by William Stafford
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe— should be clear:
the darkness around us is deep.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Thank you for your interest in the ACT fieldtest. However, at this time allof our sessions are full. We will, however, keep your name in case we havesome cancellations. We hope that you will consider ACT again should we haveany additional fieldtest opportunities.
While reading it, I remembered a link to one of the funniest pieces of animation I'd seen in years which - SURPRISE - is about not having a job. Here is the link:
Meanwhile I do have another freelance writing gig which I am finding no end of unurgent tasks to get out of working on. The situation has become ridiculous. Thank you notes are more important. That unorganized shelf in the bathroom closet can no longer be tolerated. I have not conducted quite enough interviews -- never mind the 320 I already have. Why just today, I decided it was time to find a "more fun" sig file for one of my email accounts and blew a good 40 minutes tooling around quotation sites.
People keep telling me to be gentle with myself right now. Is this what they meant? Oh, I heard a pretty reliable rumor that David Lynch has a house in Vedic City in Fairfield so I have a grandmaster scheme of revamping my personal cheffing(two "f"s?) business and hitting up the HollyMidwest Crew in TMville (shhhh-don't tell). Meanwhile, here are some pretty funny links I ran into while sorting through an inbox looking for the "no job" cartoon and deleting old mail (more urgent work - ha!). Enjoy 'em.
http://www.ericblumrich.com/ ( "repeat it loudly enough and it will become the truth" -noam chomsky)
http://www.cheneycomeclean.com (shouldn't that soap be in his mouth?)
http://omgwtf.superlime.com/tunak.rm (what can I say? i can't watch this without howling.)
http://omgwtf.superlime.com/TooMuchVibrator.gif (yes, you are old and losing your sight)
http://omgwtf.superlime.com/LSDbillboard.jpg (old pentagon conspiracy revealed!)
Friday, October 22, 2004
Last night I was treated to gorgeous abstract expressionist graffiti-esque muraling all over the walls of my home by an old friend from the east coast. I came home from work to discover he had flown in and turned the formerly bland walls of my apartment into breath taking works of art. Now some people would have gotten angry at such a gesture -- he painted my walls without permission!!! -- but I was thrilled. It made me feel loved and cared for. He worked hard on them and, good gravy, walls can repainted!
Then in a later episode of REM, I had been traveling in Africa and another friend who I seem to have adopted as a sleepover paternal figure was eager to have me come stay with him in rural NY and talk about my travels. He was just so happy for me, knowing that Africa has been a life long dream (okay, redundant) and I had finally been able to go.
Hah! - one my sweet former beaus just called as I am typing this post. Haven't dreamed about him yet but I'm certain I will. He's been keeping me in good music for years. Last night I was at a meeting and a woman told me to let people love me through this loss. Hey, I think I've got my arms open in the right way this time. Bring it on, baby.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
In the later 80's, a group of groovy gal pals and I decided we wanted to start skating like kids again and we wanted our own skates circa 1959. We rummaged through thrift stores for weeks. My friends eventually found vintage skates as they had small feet. Vintage clothes are so small. I wear a size 10 (I'm 5'11" for goodness sake) so I ended up having to settle for new ones which I lucked into at a Batimore County TJ Maxx. We went to roller rinks on Sunday afternoons. I practiced in my basement and at a track around a lake about a mile from my home. I got pretty good. Dare I say I may have even been graceful? I know I certainly felt free. Ahhh....
Perhaps it's time to begin the search for a new pair of skates. I miss that feeling. I certainly didn't want to wake up this morning. When my alarm went off I heard it in dreamland first. I was unlacing my skates and sitting with one of those unidentifiable persons who show up in your dreams in order to have a body around to make a comment to every once and awhile (not unlike a bad relationship - smile), when I looked up and saw a woman falling from the sky with a mattress. I said, "OMG, that poor woman is probably going to die." The anonymous other very calmly replied, "No, it's okay. She'll be fine." And I was. I got up. Made coffee. Took a shower. Kept my George-Jetson-on-the-conveyour-belt-in-the-morning fantasies to a minimum and started to do the stuff I'd committed to do.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Oh dear, that sounds kind of preachy. Sorry.
So I did a typical goofball Meg the other night. I met this woman who was new to Iowa City and asked her if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee. In the two short blocks to the Java House, I managed to trip on a curve and go crashing into the sidewalk. Please note this was on a Friday night before a football game so I had a hefty audience...YEH! I've now got a big fat bruise on my right hip and shoulder and a double doozy scab on my right knee -- not to mention a big 'ol hole in my favorite gray pants. Fortunately on the pants I can now wear black tights under them and do a Meg Redoes the Punk Years thing. The best part of this whole deal is that if my possible new friend had any delusions of me having my shit together or of my being the cool, together WASP chick -- I suspect they were immediately dispelled. God, I hope they were.
Hey, in case anyone has been wondering I am still considering the question of who should replace Frank Conroy as head of the Iowa Writer's Finishing School. To those who have written and suggested that I'd be the natural choice, I'm honored but I've made it clear to the necesssary parties that even I know I'm not up to snuff on this one. However, I did make inquires on that miracle spring water I wrote about some months ago and have a case or two to sell - did I wink or did I laugh?
Thursday, October 14, 2004
A few months ago I began seeing someone who is apparently quite a good artist. She's had shows in many major museums. She just gave me one of her paintings and I didn't "get" it. I guess I'm an artistic dunce because I made the classic business man-meets-modern-art mistake and hung the thing upside down. When she saw it in my house she didn't say anything but her friend later clued me in. Now I'm really embarrassed. Do I turn it around or what?
My Dear Dick,
Why not use your gaff as a chance to make inquiries so that your new gal can teach you about something? In other words, don't turn it around, engage her in conversation about her area of expertise. Ask her she what she thinks of the location you selected, why she chose certain colors or shapes in the painting, etc. Most of us like to share our interests with those to whom we are attracted and, believe me, if she were not attracted to you she would not have parted with one of her paintings. Making these sorts of inquiries is common courtesy. As 19th century British poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in Idylls of the King, "The greater man, the greater courtesy."
I would be surprised if your friend was offended by the way you hung her painting and if she was, better to discover these sorts of sensitivities sooner than later, no? I understand how you feel. While visiting friends in Barcelona some years back, I picked up a wee ceramic pot at their home and asked, "Oh, did Olivia make this when she was a little girl?" The answer was, "No, Picasso did -- when he was all grown-up." Ooops. The bottom line here, Dick, is not to play yourself false with spurious raves or feign any continued pretense as the fool. Just leave some room for benign misunderstanding and remain teachable. Remember, we all make mistakes.
I've noticed over the past few years, that tip jars have become ubiquitous at takeout restaurants and other places where employees are not traditionally tipped. I'm generally happy to get rid of change, so I'll commonly toss my coins into the jar. My question is this -- what about my 2 cents? I often find myself stopping by a local coffee shop in the morning for Java and a pastry. The tab for my standard order is $2.98. The staff there is inevitably friendly and helpful, so I'd normally be disposed to dropping my change in the jar. I do worry that a 2 cent tip would be considered an insult (which is the opposite of what I'd wish). What should I do with my pennies?
My Dear Ellen,
Have you ever heard that advice about trusting your instincts? Well, I'd suggest you trust yours which seem to be quite astute. Ben Franklin's advice of "a penny saved is a penny earned" is often well heeded but a tip of two of them is insulting. This is a situation where you'd be better off doing nothing than something at all.
What I would suggest is speaking to the morning shift manager about the possibility and leaving a more substantial gratuity on a weekly basis with the understanding that it would be shared equally among the staff who waited on you that week. You might even decide to ask the manager to keep your identity anonymous. Giving with no expectation of recognition or reward can be especially rewarding and this may also spare you any feeling of obligation if you find yourself having a financially lean week.In the meantime take those Lincoln heads, find a good fountain, and wish for continued good judgment and counsel.
Friday, October 08, 2004
I found Marlowe's memoir (HtST) on her struggle with heroin addiction painfully analytical and could not stick around for the conclusion to her story. I generally try to finish a book once I start it but on this one I threw in the towel. Given the fact that some 40% of Afghanistan's economy has been dependent on opium farming and Marlowe will have a chance to be faced with the real dregs of addiction, it will be fascinating to follow what she has to say. Her autobiography was a little too insistent on the fact that she had not really suffered any consequences as the result of her addiction. Hhhhmm. This assignment seems subsequently ironic.
On the subject of irony, I had a very funny conversation last night. I had told a group of people about my father dying and a man came up to me and after prefacing his comments with a disclaimer about not usually giving advice -- he proceeded to give me some (it was decent stuff and counsel I have delivered myself.) I agreed with him completely about not generally giving advice. I like that little saying "No helpful suggestions". But as I was walking home later, I realized the absurdity of the situation in that I am a "professional" advice columnist and I was standing there saying, "Oh yes, I agree." and he was saying he hates to give out the shit but he was doing it anyway. The situation was kinda sweet, I guess.
We are such ridiculous creatures, we humans. If I didn't laugh at myself and others (in a primarily good-natured way), I would surely go insane.
Hey Franklin, good joke yesterday. Sorry it didn't quite make the cut but keep trying!
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I've been living in Wendell Berry land too long (aka Luddite-ville). I'm getting hip to the "boy in the bubble and the baby with baboon heart."
Monday, October 04, 2004
Waiting for God
by William Stafford
This morning I breathed in. It had rained
early and the sycamore leaves tapped
a few drops that remained, while waving
the air's memory back and forth
over the lawn and into our open
window. Then I breathed out.
This deliberate day eased
past the calendar and waited. Patiently
the sun instructed the shadows how to move;
it held them, guided their gradual defining.
In the great quiet I carried my life on,
in again, out again.
People who walk by carry something so light
that no one can tell what it is. I know that burden,
lift it carefully from them and take it away
as they go on walking toward the sky.
Waiting here still I cherish whatever they find--miles of lupine ghosting the hills,
an accurate bird whetting its call
beyond the hedgerows where they disappear.
"All I ask," my mother said, "no matter the years
and the life we have, is that when you leave you turn and wave."
That was long ago. I like to remember -- I turn, I wave.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
In the mean time here is a link to website that has some pictures of me and of some younger pals and pals of pals. I'm with my birthday twin Kelly in the bathroom of the IMU after a Carol Gilligan lecture. The girl on the roof with her hands over her chest (party 2468) is dead like my Dad. Unfortunately, she did not live until she was 73 and leave behind 3 children and 4 grandkids. She was 22 and "accidentally" OD-ed. My God, what a waste. I wish I could have shown my father the picture of Kelly and me sticking our tongues out. I think he would have gotten a kick out of it.
oh yeah, "daniel" lives in town and marah mar is a local band (iowa city) and are quite lovely, check them out! marahmar.org
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I had thought my computer was broken and could not play CDs but the only thing wrong with it was that the volume was on mute. Thank goodness. No new boombox needed. Okay my time is up, at least at the library.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
If I'm completely honest with myself I doubt I'll ever be able to stop cheering for Keyser. If you are smart and are or have been the least bit rebellious in your life there is no way you can't appreciate a really good scam and the really good scamsters. The smartest dude in this whole deal turns out to be the devil but you gotta appreciate the fact that he's not a dumbass. I know I'm making progress, however, because I used to find Spacey a little bit sexy in this role and this is no longer the case. Besides Byrne the only other real hottie in terms of characters is FBI agent Jack Bear played by Giancarlo Esposito. Sexy primarily because he's also very smart and not such a friggin' white boy. Too bad he missed the better days on TV's Homicide, before the creators had to bow to network pressure and beautify all the detectives, etc. That was a rocking show that employed a number of groovy former Baltimoran pals, to boot.
So anyway back to this good person theme. I'm trying. I pay my bills. Make payments on my debts. I've learned to have a pretty healthy respect for my limitations. I support my friends. Try to keep my judgements about other's in check. My big indulgences these days are sugar, ciggarettes and sleep. The first two are minor in comparison to these habits in many others but I still feel shitty about them. My personal history is complicated and like Keyser I've probably kept too many secrets but I'm good for my word and do beleive that discretion is the better part of valor. One of my biggest problems has always been making poor choices in the people I've choosen to trust. I tend to be pretty impulsive and now I'm becoming a bit reclusive as a result. Jeez, this is getting sort of heavy.
I heard a very wicked observation this morning. Dan Savage said that the reason Bill Clinton didn't die after his heart surgery was because hell was already full. That could explain why many of us are still bopping around. Well, it could be that or it could be that Keyser S^ze is, in fact, in charge and being good rarely pays. There's this saying I hear alot, "It's a God thing." Most of the time that usually means somebody has gotten or is getting what they want, IMO. I'm a skeptical woman but I've earned that right. Wow, I mean if the Devil got cast down into hell because he loved God too much then I'm completely screwed for being too attached to clever people and clever writing. I love 'em and it way too much (ergo this movie). I'm doomed!
Oh well on the ethics thing, I guess I'll watch The Usual Suspects again in a year or two and let you know how my soul has progressed. In the mean time, why in the hell did they have to insert that ridiculous line "Oswald was a fag" when Stephen Baldwin is aiming his powerboy at the ship in the film's final 30 minutes. Follywood formula-- gotta get the anti-queer joke in. For goodness (haha) sake!
This is from the SF Chronicle, BTW.
Who The Hell Is "Undecided"? And Why do so Many Election Polls leave you Angry and Stupefied and Drunk?
by Mark Morford
Polls are the genital warts of election year. They are the swarming gnats in your Jell-O salad, the dead escalator in your shopping mall, the sour milk in your coffee.
Because clearly, if you attempt to follow any of them, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls or the American Research Group polls or the Newsweek polls or the ABC News/Washington Post polls or the CBS News/New York Times polls or the Zogby polls, you can only conclude one thing:
These polls are designed solely to mangle your head and confound your synapses and elate you and titillate you and then plunge you into instant despair and then yank you back out at the last second like some sort of "Fear Factor" death-plunge moronism.
I know I am not alone in this sentiment.
Take, for example, how nearly every single poll listed above indicated that, just after the Democratic convention, John Kerry could not lose. He had gained huge numbers on a miserable and baffled Bush and every poll had Kerry nailing Shrub by anywhere from two to six percentage points and he had momentum and a clear message and broad support and it all meant it was Kerry's election to lose and woo-hoo go team break out the champagne.
But wait, not so fast. Because then BushCo had his big, tearful, gay-hatin', war-lovin' GOP convention and whored the 9/11 theme so shamelessly you could veritably feel the World Trade Center victims cringing in their graves.
Now, of course, polls indicate that those pro-Kerry numbers are exactly reversed. Bush's numbers are suddenly up again and have barely broken through that magic 50-percent ceiling that held him in check this past year as the nation had seemed to be finally realizing what an unmitigated embarrassment he was, and suddenly Kerry is lagging behind by those same few points. Hey, it's the polls, baby. They're not supposed to make any goddamn sense.
But they do force you to ask: What the hell just happened? What changed? Why do these polls flip so ridiculously?
Could it be true? Are there simply millions of voters out in this sad and divisive nation who are so gullible, so unsure, so unclear about who they want to vote for that one overblown Vegas-style political convention followed by numerous insidious smear campaigns maligning Kerry's Vietnam heroism could sway them that easily, back and forth and forth and back?
Perhaps this is an "elitist" question, or naive, or simple misguided. Maybe I need to read far more detailed statistical sociopolitical theory, which is about as much fun as having all your skin scraped off with a cheese grater. But I simply know of no one anywhere in my world, from family to friends to family friends to remote acquaintances to the guy who sells me my socks, who is undecided about this election.
Do these people exist? Or are the polls merely wicked phantasmagorical allegories designed by the media to boost sales and pump ratings and numb the intellect and ruin your appetite for reason? I know my answer.
Because if you're paying any sort of attention at all, the differences between the party stances seems so agonizingly obvious, between not just the candidates, but between the tone and timbre of the country overall, of how we should be led and how we should be viewed and how we should be spoken to, between the openly violent, peace-hating, fear-happy, environment-loathing, homophobic worldview of the Bushies, and the more tolerant, issues-oriented, politically intelligent, less tyrannical worldview of the Kerryites on the other.
So then, who are the people so openly duped by the gluttonous TV coverage of either of the conventions that they watch the Dems and says, wow, that Kerry fellow sure is smart and articulate and, gosh, he's even a decorated 'Nam vet, I'm voting for him.
And who then spis right around and watched Dubya cry and wave the flag and never once mention WMD or Osama and openly ignore the 1,000-plus dead American soldiers in Iraq, and who then says, oh wait, gosh, that Dubya fellow, he sure is nice and simple and plain-faced and none-too-bright and he loves war like a schoolgirl loves bubblegum. He's my man. Now turn it to "Everybody Loves Raymond!"
Is it the elderly? Are they the ones who swing these polls so outrageously? Is it the over-75 set who just had their Medicare benefits gouged and who can't afford their medications due to how grossly BushCo just French-kissed all the CEOs of the major pharmcos? Doubtful. The elderly are far more astute that most.
Is it young women? Is it the roughly 22 million single females who didn't bother to cast a ballot in 2000, these least-likely voters in the nation who, if they had half of an idea of how much BushCo hated them and feared them and wanted to curtail every right they have to control their bodies and navigate their own sexuality, would shun BushCo this election like an altar boy shuns a Catholic priest? Do they keep changing their minds?
Is it the black vote? Doubtful. I know there are stories, like the recent Oakland Tribune piece, which discovered a number of black pastors in the East Bay who are actually supporting Bush solely on the basis of the gay marriage issue, despite the GOP's ill-concealed racist overtones and general hatred of minorities and the poor. The mind, it doth shudder and reel. And weep. But then again, another poll shows black voters favoring Kerry/Edwards by a huge, 8-1 majority. So there it is.
I know there are studies. I know there are analysts and pundits and social scientists who say they know about just who these "undecided" voters are, and why they flip so wildly, and why the hell they can't see the painful and enormous differences between Kerry and Dubya, if for no other reason than one can speak in complex multisyllabic sentences employing compound adjectives, whereas the other makes you feel like you're listening to a heavily Ritalined 5-year-old read "The Hungry Caterpillar," drunk.
I know there are superlative books, like Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- books that attempt to explain why so many Americans vote, bafflingly, frustratingly, against their own self-interest. But this does little to explain such wild discrepancies in the polls, such weird and nearly instant fluctuations in the American attitude from week to week.
Of course the answer is: There is no real answer. To follow the polls is a fool's game best averted by deep sighing and copious amounts of wine and by ignoring them completely and by rejecting as specious and pointless nearly all stories that bring up poll numbers in hysterical and alarmist tones. Which is, you know, most all of them.
Except, of course, for those polls that make some sort of sense. Every now and then there seems to be one that has basis in actual reality, that doesn't deal in the mythical and God-like "undecideds," that make you go, well sure, this much is a given. For example, take the new poll that shows how a huge percentage of the world, fully 30 out of 35 surveyed nations, want Bush out of the White House. Now. It's true. Among America's strongest and most loyal allies and even among those who don't like us much and have good reason to believe we're a screaming whiny violent brat with too much money and too many toys and far too little soul, it is nearly unanimous: Bush has done more harm to the world, to international relations than any U.S. president in history. The world doesn't merely think Bush is an incompetent boob. They think he's a hostile and reckless incompetent boob. Which is, of course, far worse.
But then again, you don't really need a poll to tell you that.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
After going to Sushi Popo with Angie last Thursday all I can think about IS sushi. I don't even care about the raw fish anymore. These days avocado maki is fine with me. Just give me a delivery device for wasabi and pickled ginger and I am fine.
There are lots of people talking about what does and does not constitute a good date or relationship these days (okay, forever). Re: a good date -- it's pretty much anyone else who will pick up the check (I'm a cheap date, see above) and not talk AT you the entire time. Re: the relationship -- someone who isn't in the middle of an identity crisis, makes you laugh and with whom you actually enjoy conversing for an extended period of time. Additionally it seems most people I know who have finally found people after years of being w/Mr. and Ms. Wrong seem to agree on one thing -- they finally met someone with whom being with was not alot of work. So there's my .64.
Virgo birthdays -- Happy birthday Angie!!! Melissa!! Andy!! Tolstoy!! Dori!!! Sarah, wherever in the hell you have ended up, crazy girl. Oh yeah, my brother. I always forget about him. Let's not look too closely at that.
There's new guy coming to my health club on the same days and time when I go. He's a total gym rat -- he leaves his sweat all over the equipment, grunts really loudly and hogs times in the showers. Can I tell him off? Please.
My Dear Benson,
There are certainly no rules that say you can't tell this poor newcomer off or at least remind him that lifting is not the male equivalent of childbirth and grunting is much more acceptable in private and between consenting adults. An alternative to telling the man off would be to politely ask him to join for you a Peppered-Saffron Water or Pimms Cup after your workouts and quietly explain club form to him. My guess is that he would be grateful. If you'd prefer to forgo this route simply ask a staffer to speak with him. Gym rats are the worst. My pet peeve is the member who keeps dirty socks in their locker for months. If I was interested in aversion aromatherapy I would be consulting a specialist, thank you very much. Do try and be kind.
I have twin daughters who will be graduating from high school this year. I want to reward them with nice gifts in the spring but they are both insisting on breast implants as are most of their friends. Many of the other parents are actually planning to indulge their daughters on this but I don't think I can. How can I say no without breaking my girls' hearts?
My Dear Ingrid,
I wish I were shocked by your predicament but, sadly, I am not. There is a disturbing trend among adolescent women to place a bulk of their self-esteem in the region around their rib cages and, of course, at their age everything is of the utmost urgency. Your duty as a parent, however, is to draw the line at such foolishness especially when it poses a risk to your childrens health. Most implants result in a serious complication within 3 to 5 years according to National Research Center for Women & Families.
Many parents who are unable to say no to their children are driven to very desperate measures. I have a friend who is working with authorities in Oslo on the recent heist of one of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" paintings. The best intelligence to date is that the culprits were a couple of frantic fathers whose own daughters were demanding a boatload of expensive cosmetic surgery. Unable to come up with any other means to pay for this culturally promoted form of self-mutilation and fearing the rejection of their over-indulged children, these poor fellas felt they had no choice but attempt to be Pierce Brosnan & company in The Thomas Crown Affair. Oh dear. It was a movie, boys.
Try and explain to your girls that breast augmentation is really not the same thing as having one's hair done or getting a pedicure. You could try the "beauty comes from within" talk but at this stage of the game I doubt you'll have much luck. Just tell them you love them, put your foot down, your credit card out of reach and wait for the storm to pass. Learning to say no in a respectful way can be difficult for anyone let alone a loving parent wanting to reward a much loved child but this is an important and well-mannered skill for us all to acquire at any age. You are doing the right thing, Ingrid, by being a positive role model.
Is it woefully unhip of me to suggest a couple of nice watches or a week or two abroad might still be acceptable graduation gifts? I wish you all the best on this. I hope you will keep me abreast (sorry, I couldn't resist) of how things are going.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Enough of this serious foolishness. Re: "The Scream" robbery -- why can't a band of old fashioned art thieves just be a thieves anymore? Sure enough, these days someone is gonna accuse 'em of being terrorists.
When the new Zen monastery opened in Decorah all the devoted zeniacs in attendance were shocked by the fact that all the monks in the area who showed up in support were all puffing away on ciggerettes like chimneys. I found that hilarious.
Yo La Tengo is coming to the Wheelroom! Si. Si.
David Lynch will be one of the panelists at a "Peace Forum" in Fairfield at MHU at the end of the month. Just like his film "The Straight Story"-- now there's a shocker. Free veggie food. There's a number to call on the back of this month's Little Pillage (er Village).
I've been investing too much mental energy into who I believe should replace Frank Conroy as czar of the IWF. I'll try and get back to you when I've made my final decision.
I've got to do some real writing and then go celebrate Labor day in the only way a decent American would. I'm gonna drive my new SUV out to Walmart for the sales and buy tons of crap I don't really need made in sweatshops by slave labor all over the third world. Oh yeah, I'm gonna drink Diet Coke and talk on my cell phone the whole way there and the whole way back. Okay, this is a tired example. I need more COFFEE.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Re: Swift, I was amused to read in the intro of the collection I picked up from the library that Aldous Huxley was convinced that Gulliver's Travels was entirely about Swift's obsession with his bowels. One of the more things comical aspects about being in writing workshops is sitting back listening to other people's take on what they think you were really trying to say in any given piece of fiction or poetry. I love it whenever anyone finds anything of meaning that is helpful to them.
My best from high school is in NYC with his partner protesting the RNC. We've decided if Bush is re-elected I am going to dust off my Norma Kamali, he his Williwear and we are going to sacrifice ourselves on the White House lawn. It was great to talk with him after almost 4 years. We are both basically the same. He and his partner, Jerry, just returned from Russia and then Rob (former HS bf) is off to France to scout for property in a worst case scenario for November. He promises he'll take me along. I thought what the hell -- by next spring I'll be all paid up and debt free.
Oh well, time for therapy. Always fun.