Thursday, February 16, 2006

Very Bad People

I love the New Yorker. The latest issues has some great things. One of the personal favorites is Adam Gopnik spinning completely out of control trying to write about the Shakers --starts as a regular fascinating essay/criticism/history, and turns into some kind of over-reaching pedantry concerning the spiritual in art and commerce. Crash and burn time. Like him a lot, and you have to admire the dare-devilry. But don't they have, like, editors? If you can find it, you should read an article from a few years ago about his daughter making up an imaginary friend, who, in New York style, becomes too busy to take her calls. She ends up talking to his assistant. You can't make that up. There's also a great article about Alberto Vilar, who gave millions to the Met and Opera companies all over the world, but went completely bankrupt and was arrested for money laundering. Quite a personality.

But the real reason for this post is the funny conversation written by Zev Borow under the heading "Very Bad People", in response to the Bush Administration supposedly only eavesdropping on very bad people. For some reason, it just makes me laugh. Bit of an excerpt below (as I think you can't copy whole things without getting into copyright problems, so you'll just have to suck it up and click on the link yourself):

This is not about monitoring phone calls to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a pot-luck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people.”
—Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House, on reports about the government’s eavesdropping, quoted in the Times.



January 13, 2006, 1:22 P.M.


Male Voice 1: Yellow!

Male Voice 2: Chad?

Male Voice 1: You guessed it!

Male Voice 2: It’s Rex.

Male Voice 1: What do you want?


Male Voice 2: Jesus, what are you eating?

Male Voice 1: Foie gras.


Male Voice 2: You know they force-feed geese until their livers are distended so you can eat that?

Male Voice 1: I know.

Male Voice 2: Pretty cool.

Male Voice 1: Yep. So what do you want?

Male Voice 2: Well, a souped-up monster truck driven by an illegal Mexican chauffeur, with a trunk full of fen-phen and a horn that blows “Who Let the Dogs Out?” would be nice. Especially in teal.

Male Voice 1: No, you can’t borrow my truck again. But I will lend you my forged handicapped-parking pass.

Male Voice 2: So what are you bringing to the potluck?

Male Voice 1: Only thing I got here is an old jar of beets and some crystal meth. The beets are really old. What color are new beets?

Male Voice 2: I was gonna bring Styrofoam plates, and maybe some bootlegged CDs. Hope it rains.

Crystal and Cleaning

Okay--This story makes me laugh. Scroll down to "Just say no...of the dead. Not for the faint of heart, or who don't have a sense of humor about drugs, idiocy, and gay men, but this is great. From Sean's live journal blog, which manages to be well-written, entertaining, and also personal--which is a feat, to write entertaining stories about one's own life. Anyhow, he seems like a great guy, and one of the more interesting people I've met in a while, so here's a plug for his blog. It's always nice to be able to plug friends. And by plug, I mean....y'know...say nice things about them. :)

This rivals the Julie Halston reading of the Ann Landers "Please warn your readers about the dangers of mixing drugs and tanning." Oh, how I wish I had a copy of that. If you haven't seen it, it's Julie Halston reading an Ann Landers' column about someone "scared straight" by the experience of doing drugs (cocaine, I think) for 48 hours, and then having an anxiety attack in a tanning booth and barely "escaping with his life." He mentions that he would write more, but it's taken him 4 hours to write as much as he has, and then asks Ann to warn her readers about the daner of mixing drugs and tanning. Priceless. Sad, but priceless. Half a brain is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sedition Scare

I was reading about this on Andrew Sullivan's blog. More upsetting as it happened in my home town. This administration gets scarier and scarier. Now I don't know if I should even post this. Culture of fear. Excerpt:

Bach and Kronen say they can't imagine how Berg's seemingly innocuous letter could amount to anything remotely resembling sedition under U.S. law. They both believe the letter is protected speech under the First Amendment. Last week, they filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the VA for all documents pertaining to this bizarre investigation. For now, they won't speculate as to why or how this investigation was initiated. They only note that multiple people must have been involved for it to have progressed as far as it did.

Creepy is right.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Random Notes

Just a random day. Bored at work, and figuring it's a good time to post. Maybe too much sugar, so feeling a little next to sane, but not quite there--like if sane was a duplex, it would be living on the bottom floor and I would be on the top because the view's better. Haven't seen many movies, but here's a random sampling of viewings, things to come, etc.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan--haven't seen him before, but he played a heart patient on Grey's Anatomy who the Izzie (blond intern) character had a flirtation with. Mature, ridiculously handsome, but not in the way you normally see. Perhaps because he was ill in the episode. Pic here. More, please.

Junebug---Saw it, loved it, don't miss it. Amy Adams is all that, as is Celia Weston, as usual. Much more compelling than the other recent bring your fiance home movie. This one felt real and lived, and some great performances. Embeth Davidtz plays the analogous role to SJ Parker's in The Family Stone, and she's riveting.

I was listening to NPR and there was something about naming the wrong first Catwoman, and realizing that cat and bat rhyme. This set me off, as you have LOADS OF TIME in your car in LA, and you can't read, like you can in New York. I was thinking of what else rhymed with cat, like fat, drat, spat, etc., and then what rhymed with other superhero names. So how about a superfriends with Fat Girl, WiderMan, and Blunderwoman? Wouldn't that be klutzy fun? Truly, folks, I need some creative outlet.

Okay--crazy frigging dream. The other night, I dreamt that I had a new old house, it was big--almost like a plantation house. I was having people over, and the house kept changing. There was a garden, which was a surprise, as it was behind a large pile of rocks, and not easy to see; it suprised me. Then I walked up the back steps to go into the house. There was a platform, and it fell apart and I fell through though didn't hit the ground. It turns out the house was infested by termites. I went into the house, and went to use the phone, and there were very large termites crawling up the phone nook. They actually had hard hats, and I could tell the male from female. It was like Sesame Street. Then I went into the ballroom, and there were more people, and people out on the driveway. Apparently, I know how to throw a party. But what surprised me most: I looked up termites in dreams on the web and found out they mean a temporary increase in fortune. Since I'm contemplating bankruptcy, that would be nice. It's a little counter-intuitive, though, don't you think. As a homeowner in the dream, I certainly didn't think "Termites! I'm rich!" And these were not small termites. Maybe I'm winning the lottery.

And last but not least, my friend Kara is going to see an installation piece done by a Japanese man who dresses as a beaver in an art gallery and builds a dam. According to the interview, he says something like "In Japan...people will think 'This is a difficult beaver'", which has provided me with the latest title of my autobiography: A Difficult Beaver. Here is a link to the artist and the project. Incredible. His name is Shintaro Miyake. Just going to show that mostly art is just witnessing someone's obsessions. I love the beaver souvenir stand.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I haven't been writing about it, as there has been so much said. Here's a link to Daniel Mendelssohn's brilliant take on it as a specifically gay, closet story. I think he's right on the nose.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cute dress

SO I was getting coffee this morning at the Starbuck's on LaBrea and Beverly, which is near a Hasidic/Modern Orthodox neighborhood. There was an orthodox girl and her Mother talking to a man who was disheveled, a little dirty, and sitting outside. He was instructing the little girl in something, though I'm not sure what. They were all smiling. The Mother said goodbye and thank you, and then the man said "Baruch Ha Shem," which kind of surprised me. And made me smile.

-- A little side, Baruch Ha Shem means "Blessed be the name". It is the name of God, just "the name", as how can you know the unknowable, and how can you name the unnameable? It's one of my favorite things about Judaism. In Hasidic lore, there is also a strong tradition of the beggar/holy man. Anyhow....

This man was on the line; I wasn't sure if he was homeless, or just eccentric. If so, he was more than likely a neighborhood eccentric. One of the things I love about living in a big city is this mix of cultures. Although there are always specific enclaves, people have to mix at some point. And as we always hear about anger and hatred, because it makes good news, it's important to remember how much people actually laugh, learn, and respect each other--if not on an global level, then a personal one, where all the important changes are made. The other day, in fact, I was driving down Melrose, and there were two Hassids admiring the Harley Davidsons of a couple of bikers, while a tight jeaned blonde woman with a hip cocked out to traffic looked on. In my review mirror was her backside, looking like a sillhouette on a mudflap, standing near two Hasidic men smiling and listening to a biker talk about his ride.

So back to Starbucks, I got my coffee, following another young bewigged Orthodox mother in a long skirt pushing a baby carriage. As I walked out the door, the man was getting up to cross Beverly, half-smoked cigarette in one hand and paper in the other. He turned around as a petite dark-haired girl was walking toward the door. "That is a cute dress!" he yelled, visibly suprsing her. "Thank you", she said a little cagily. It was, for the record, a cute dress. I smiled, almost laughing, and he turned back around to see if there was a space for him to cross the street.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Huh? Department

Okay, here is one of the strangest stories in a long time. The director of the XXX sequel, Die Another Day, and Once Were Warriors, was found loitering in the street in Hollywood dressed in drag, and was arrested after soliciting a policeman for sex. Huh?
And here, after a week which included seeing someone I was supposedly dating having sex with someone else in a bar while I was there, and finding out I owe more than I make a month in taxes, I have to say now that things don't seem so bad. I'm not taking any joy in it, but it certainly puts things into perspective.
Now, if you were a big Hollywood director, don't you think you could just dress in drag in your own home and job someone in? Hopefully he's not that hard up for money. I can't imagine being a tranny hooker in Hollywood pays all that well. I'm sure he has more marketable skills. You just have to wonder at this one. Fascinating.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Blog Shirts

This is the coolest thing, courtesy of Stinky lulu. . It's a t-shirt made from the words in your blog. Fun.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cindy Sheehan

If you'd like to read Cindy Sheehan's account of what happened to her at the State of the Union, click here.

We need to be clear about what is happening in this country. Forward this to friends. Bush has three more years. We must stop him from eroding all the liberties he purports to protect. He must be answerable to the people who supposedly elected him.