Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Here's a clip from The Groundlings (an LA comedy theater), featuring my favorite SNL actress, Kristen Wiig, who is so funny in Knocked Up (passive-aggressive asst. producer), Ghost Town (narcissistic surgeon), and the DVD version of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (apparently she got cut from the theatrical release, but her passive-aggressive yoga teacher is all I remember truly enjoying). Oddly enough, she is a bit outdone here by Melinda Hill.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Ever Elusive Claus

done traversing snowy rooftops, was spotted skulking about naughty-nice corporate America in the wee small hours of this morning.



Unfortunately, he declined to comment what the Fed did with those bailout billions. Strange though, he looks oddly gaunt.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Annoying exchange at Enlightened yet intellectually dishonest bookstore

Namaste, fuckers.


I'm about to be too hard, and I'm sorry about playing the curmudgeon and bah humbugging all over Xmas Eve. But you know this kind of place - the air cloys on incense so exuberantly floral you half expect your Auntie walk over and pinch your cheeks as she demands a sloppy kiss. Likewise, the gilded effigy of Kuan Yin bears too much faux brass to maintain real elegance. The hyper polished rounds of rose quartz and cheap amethyst are relying on support from varnished oak trivets, and while expressing a "gratitude" that is de rigueur for the culture of these stones, such ugliness saps their dignity. There are ill-crafted stained-glass jewelry boxes, gothic rings, crystal skulls, daggers with scalloped edges, and too much velvet in sordid jewel tones and new-age hippie kitsch. Classes and services offered by "initiates" flank the entry - feng shui, auric field clearing and tarot spreads to realign, cleanse and prognosticate.

And I like these things occult. I dig it, man. It's interesting stuff, but there is something seriously amiss with the Wicca and the New Agers. Too flimsy. Too airy-fairy. Too "earthy" without being grounded. I don't know if I've bothered you all with my theories on poor aesthetics and psychological dissonance, but the gist of it is that I inherently distrust the health of religions or other groups whose decor and taste nettle my sensibilities. It's not so superficial as it sounds, as I really believe there are cues in the makeup of constructed things. A woman with crooked lip liner is not sane. A church ostentatiously festooned with bijoux and garish marble is fleecing its flock. A corporation draped in grey flannel and framed in hard edges is unlikely to be a wellspring of creativity. Scientology employees who all seem to dress like Mormon missionaries cannot be both free and "clear." A dude in a trucker hat and two hundred dollar jeans is a douche, even if his music's, like, really really good.

But I am here for books on martial arts and hoping to find a copy of psychologist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl's classic, Man's Search for Meaning, a book which a dear friend claims is the most significant of his life and is considered to be one of the ten most influential in the United States. I have not read it, but with a recommendation like that, it will be difficult for me to ignore. Because my favorite local boutique bookstore is out of the title, and I loathe massive chain stores (my experience at Borders a few hours later is daunting and fraught with dislocation, disorder and disappointment, at best), I have risked the murky aesthetics of The White Lotus, as I'm certain they will have a good selection of Eastern Philosophy, if not much from the academic arm of the Psych disciplines.

Me (to clerk): Do you have Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning? I can't find it over here.
Clerk: Who?.
Me: (I repeat the title).
Clerk: Don't know it. (dismissively)
Me: Oh, ok. It's a pretty well known psychology title, but no problem.
Clerk: Who's the author?
Me: Frankl.
Clerk: I really prefer Jung.
Me: Oh, so you've read Frankl?
Clerk: No, but Jung's just so much more... more.. what's the word?

(lonnnnnng pause)

(...and at this point I'm struggling to suggest an adjective for him, or a phrase. Something, some quality that would explain his aversion to a man he's never examined. It's getting uncomfortable for me, because I'm grappling with the fact that he's making a comparison to what is for him a phantom concept. It's completely galling. Don't recall asking for his opinion, yet I'm trying to bridge the gap of comprehension before I despair entirely. What does he mean? He likes Jung's use of mythology? His optimism? His grasp of humanity? Should I tell him I'm familiar? Why is he taking so long? He seems bloated, amused at his "insight," and I don't enjoy the pomposity. I don't even like the word. I dislike that I even wrote the word.)

Clerk: ...esoteric.

YOU KNOW, in SPACE no one can hear you SCREAM.

The word esoteric has, in itself, become a red flag when used in casual conversation. Expressed most often with the guile of nonchalance, it intends to inform the listener of the speaker's knowingness, while simultaneously proving that the speaker in fact knows very little because the meaning is so inscrutable they have actually expressed nothing. Ironically (another red-flag word), in this way the word perpetuates its actual meaning, in spite of the speaker. And so the arcanum remains quite safe from the smugly dumb and the dumbly smug.

Jung was not esoteric, rather he explored and sought to instruct on esoteric matters and with esoteric methods. By trying to shed light on the unconscious realms, he sought to illuminate life's mysteries, with great respect for what is not entirely knowable, not keep them secreted away in ritual halls behind sliding panels and hidden passages. And I don't think he intended for it to be shared with only the select few.

I want to say, "Well good for fucking Jung," a man I quite admire. But I keep my trap shut and my face as unexpressive as possible (not good at this, or so I'm told), not that he's even looking at me.

Clerk: (wait, there's more to this?) ...and SO much more than FREUD.

Me: Sure. Well, yeah, Freud...

Clerk: Freud's just entertaining.

(I want to say: He's just the father of psychoanalysis, that's all. Furthermore, Jung gave his mentor ample credit. I disagree with Freud about certain things, but he was no buffoon. In any case, even though Frankl comes out of the Viennese school, he's not Freud. More importantly, how can you compare Frankl to ANYONE? I thought you'd never even heard of him. You don't know him from Adam.)

Do you really get to have an opinion if you are unfamiliar with someone's work? It's an academic crime, in my view, and probably a form of plagiarism, only worse, because at least with plagiarism, there is some attempt to try to be analytical, logical, it's just that you can't think of your own thing to say on the matter. But in this case you are arrogant enough to think you can put in your two cents, but too lazy to learn the substance of the opinion you are stealing, and too dismissive to think actual knowledge even matters.

And when I asked the guy which of the two books, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai or Bushido: The Way of the Samurai would be better as a gift for a friend who is investigating martial arts, he starts out by telling me they are very different, and then elaborates by saying one is about the philosophy and the other more anecdotes that show the inner life and rules of the samurai.

Um, so how are they very different?

And then he asks me if my friend is "spiritual by nature." I really hate this sort of question, about as much as the description "old soul," unless of course it's used in a Vanity Fair fluff piece about an actress, in which case it's absurd enough to be vexingly amusing. How does anyone know such things?

Aren't we all, "spiritual by nature" in your very own definition of "being," you pony-tailed, "truth-seeking," amulet wearing poser?

But hey, at least he's all spiritual, and shit.

Miss You, Baby

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sin, error, missing the mark


"Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step."

--Agnes Martin, Writings

Monday, December 22, 2008

Many Tall Pines

This is called to mind -

"I’ve said that that you sang in the wind,
as the pines and the masts do.
Like them you are tall and taciturn.
And you sadden quickly, as a voyage does."


Pablo Neruda, Poem Number 12



...by a a song I love as much as any of my other favorites. I don't know why I'm putting it here now, except that like so many great country tunes, it stirs echoes of longing, a common experience for me at Christmas Time. So appropriate, it's almost maddening.

Sing it, Emmylou, for that will surely break my heart in two. (You know what I mean, Steve.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You Can't Blame McDonald's Alone

Consider the case of John Wilson Webb, just shy of three years and already a whopping 120 lbs. I'm not trying to be mean here, just trying to understand how a toddler can weigh 33% more than a large sack of concrete. I weighed 120 lbs. when I was fourteen, a freshman in high school, and was 5' 8" tall. Someone explain this to me, because I think the doctor must have had his foot on the scale.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time they thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer."

- Plutarch, Moralia

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A thing I wrote about thirteen years ago


(A silly thing really.  What a strange girl I was.)


Tea Time

A Truth about teacups rarely spoken,
the most beautiful are always broken.
Is it the sight of finery
which weakens so the spinery?
Hands quiver, carpets sodden,
porcelains shiver, linens troden.

All things fine are passing,
none is worth amassing.

That's said and done.
Now, please pass a scone.



This reminds me of another "poem" I wrote:


I think that I shall never see
a poem so lovely as it is twee.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Attention Must Be Paid*


"Attention is love, what we must give
to children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can't bless it, get ready to make it new."

- Marge Piercy
The Art of Blessing the Day

(* from Death of a Salesman)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Best of Craigslist

It would bw nice if I had two words to rub together, like in the old days, but until such a time as that happens again, I give you this excellent posting from a fella in Detroit. I laughed, I cried.

My women

Date: 2008-08-13, 6:40AM EDT



Laura. You were hot. I was not. You let me fuck you because I was funny. Thank you.

Kim. We smoked a lot of weed and drank all the time. I don't remember much.

Sarah. You were hot. But a total bitch. I could have done better. You treated me like shit. I put up with it because you had a great vagina. Beautiful.

Another Kim. You thought you were smart. You weren't. I was bored.

Charlee. I liked your name and the way it was spelled.

Rachel. You were really sweet and nice. Stop emailing me. It's been fifteen years. It's creeping me out and pissing off my wife. Fucking classmates.com.

Megan. I wanted you since highschool. I was kinda dissapointed when it happened.

Jennifer. What the hell was I thinking? What the hell were you thinking? You smelled kinda funny too. Your dad was a dick.

Jill. You had HUGE nipples. Couldn't feel a thing though. Shame all that nippleage going to waste.

Michelle. You were a drug addict. You have to be pretty fucked up for me of all people to say that.

Another Megan. I lost your number.

Laura. I did it for the novelty of going out with a girl that I went out with ten years before. You were still hot. I got kinda hot. We were better matched. Thanks again. Sorry I dumped you. You were a shitty tipper. I had no choice. Some handsome and cool shitty tipping guy probably grabbed you. Or some funny wanker.

Another another Megan. I've dated a lot of Megans. This one was no prize.

Debby. You were really smart except you had no self esteem. Be careful or some asshole is going to own you and that would be sad. You're smart and pretty and have great tits. Smaller tits can be awesome too.

Sophia. Liked your name. Liked that you worked out a lot. You seemed nice but you fucked up my credit. User.

Andrea. You had that adorable petit look that I can only call the "Penelope Cruz" look. Too bad you didn't have her personality.

Emily. NOBODY FUCKING CARES YOUR FAMILY IS RICH. You'd be okay if you were not preoccupied with wealth you did not personally aquire.

Dr. Sanderson. You worked to much. You were kinda cold. I thought you were cool though but you are so career motivated you probably did not give a shit about anything else. I got drunk once and thought about asking you to marry me though. I still wonder if you would have.

Elizabeth. You are my wife. My wife is perfect. My life is perfect.

Violet. You are my daughter. When I looked in on you tonight I had that rush of feeling so strong that a shiver went through my whole body and I had to move my hands really quickly to dissipate it's physical effect. Before I met you I was a "kids are no big deal, everyone's got kids and they're not that fucking special" kinda guy. You fucking ruined me. I'm gay for kids now. I love you so much baby.

My unborn 6 month old fetal daughter. If you come out retarded or ugly as shit I'll still love and protect you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This Takes the Cake

...and it takes it literally.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ah, Wasilla!

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."

- Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 24, 2008

“ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be A Good Jedi

My old college bf discovered this fellow (and released early tracks by Eminem). Apparently he's making a bid for Prez. Here's his platform. Fairly amusing, really. Hope none of the names dropping clunked you the head.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bear Hug

I've brought you down this road before, with a slide show, but check out this video. Sweet as honey:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

“ Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much."

Oscar Wilde

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Life is a Cabaret


This is, in effect, the same reason some people don't give money to indigents, cause they'll just spend it on booze.

Am I supposed to be grateful that they decided to cancel their most recent sojourn to the spa-like conditions of the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay?  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow/  
Out of this stony rubbish? Save the last decadence for me, AIG.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Doggedness

A quick update:  The surgery went well, they removed some fibrous tissue and he had some bleeding, enough to make him cold coming out of anesthesia, but not enough to require transfusion.  Neuro Doc is optimistic and pleased, and I'll be hearing more tomorrow.  Hope the buddy is not too frightened.  Actually, he's probably too drugged for that, but you should see how he pants and shivers in the car these days, because he knows it's vet time.  I, in the meantime, am dying of consumption.  If anyone can send laudanum...

(Not really him, yet exactly how he looked at 4 months.  Btw, at 6 months, he was closing in on 90 lbs.  Monster.  I kid you not.)

A Little Heartbreak


Someone in the Philippines* found my blog today after Googling this:

what is the point of of loving someone when it will just end in death?

It gave my heart a little twisting ache for them, as I wondered what the story was driving their inquiry.

(*Btw, did you know that the name Philip means "horse-lover"? Phil(os)+Hippo, is how it breaks down. I love that.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

See Duff Run

After three and a half long months of nursing my lame dog, and endless internal debate over what was best for him and for me, I have a diagnosis and a course of action.  I finally sucked it up and took him in for an MRI last week, which showed that his C5 disk is seriously compressed and bulging up into his spinal cord, suppressing neural communication. Not so much that he can't move his legs, but enough that he cannot make the move to stand.  Tomorrow at 8 a.m. he goes in for surgery to cut the offending tissue away enough that he will, in all likelihood, be able to walk again.  The neurologist is highly optimistic (a conservative 75% chance, she gave it), and when I asked about recovery time (she assures me he will need to be kept still for a time), she answered that it can vary a lot, but she's seen dogs in his situation get up the same day.  She also praised me, for she said it was clear I had taken amazing care of him over the summer.  This was a tremendous relief, because you can have no idea how I've worried that I wasn't doing right by him, keeping him alive in this state.  

She gently admonished me for taking him off the pain meds and steroids (main squeeze vet and I don't agree), but conceded that due to his good care, there was almost no fibrosis or scar tissue, or even much swelling in the area of the trauma, as one might have expected after three months of this. I'm sure that the acupuncture twice a week is largely responsible.  The colostrum has probably helped, too.  She previously had been concerned that we had waited so long, but the MRI showed that he was in great shape for surgery.  My vet subsequently informed me he's relieved we didn't send Duff right away, because he truly believes, given the really poor state Duff was in in June (I mean, the poor guy couldn't even use his bladder), that there is little chance he would have made it through the operation.  He says they almost surely would have put him down.

The cost is ridiculous, and would amply carve away a good chunk of debt for me, but I feel completely devoted to this sweet fellow, who has been the best companion I've ever had.  We take them in for our own selfish purposes, now don't we?  Is is not my responsibility, as well as my desire, to see him provided for as long as he can have a decent standard of life?  And, you know, I just love him.

So do me a favor, if you can spare the time, and wish him a little extra luck.  It will be good to see him charging up the hill once again.  ...And on that beat, he just sat up.  You should see how he acted when I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk last week.  Sounds cruel, I know, but I had to see where he was at.  He raised quite a ruckus, and bludgeoned the mattress with his great otter tail, he was so excited by the notion.





Monday, October 06, 2008

Now Starring as Dr. Doolittle

Samberg has Wahlberg down pat.  I laughed harder the second time.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Justice Is Served con Queso

Thank God they've preserved the rights of the taco truck, because Los Angeles without the Roach Coach is like New York without pizza by the slice. And all I can say to those whiny local restaurateurs is, if your food isn't good enough to outdo some super greasy carne asada tostada, you got no business staying in business.

Viva Zapata!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Liberal vs. Conservative & A Psychology of Heroism

Part 1 - Liberal vs Conservative

I can just hear the thundering protest now, and I confess that though I fall in the "liberal" category for the most part*, I felt myself strongly resisting the stereotypes set forth here. In any case, try and relax your knee-jerk reflex and take in the entire presentation, because this ends up being pretty compelling and supportive of both points of view. I'm not convinced you can bifurcate these positions so cleanly, though I concede that Prof. Haidt doesn't have a lot of time here for variations. Still, I can't say I really disagree, but I'd love to hear what you think.



And just so you don't think I'm picking on anyone in particular, which given Haidt's direction to cultivate moral humility, I should not...

Part 2 - A Psychology of Heroism

Here is Philip Zimbardo, Prof. Emeritus at Stanford, famous for the Stanford Prison experiment, on why people of any stripe do good and evil. I found myself questioning him on his participation in that study, which for me falls into the same tangled terrain of "evil." This matter is addressed and wow! what a lovely surprise ending. Be prepared, if you chose to watch, that there are upsetting photos from Abu Ghraib you might not want to see.



"Promote the heroic imagination in kids." Indeed.

(*more by his definition than the bogus dem-rep split.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dark Humor Moment



No need to go all stygian when we refer to the Grim Reaper; I've recently begun calling him The Hearse Whisperer. I think there's serial potential here.

City air makes people free*

This post is inspired by a recent Bulletholes' offering.

In the late 90s, I read The Geography of Nowhere and Home From Nowhere, by James Howard Kunstler, which greatly informed my understanding of architecture, civic structure and what was dysfunctional about the post-modern blight of our American landscape. These books resonated with what I already felt aesthetically and instinctually. Make no mistake, aesthetics, and more specifically classical architectural conventions, have a functionality that surpasses their joy-giving properties, which is arguably function enough.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a city that was fairly well designed and clearly well-cared for by its denizens. Portland has been a darling of The New Urbanism, for which author James Howard Kunstler is a grumpy cheerleader. Cranky, curmudgeonly, cantankerous, these are words which describe him well. Yet, it's precisely the sort of aggressively opinionated and humorous point of view that made me enjoy his books. There is great value to what he has to say:

"Community, as it once existed in the form of places worth caring about, supported by local economies, has been extirpated by an insidious corporate colonialism that doesn't care about the places from which it extracts its profits or the people subject to its operations. Without the underpinnings of genuine community and its institutions, family life alone cannot bear the burdens and perform all the functions itself." - from Home from Nowhere

A basic principle of classic civic structure is that it has a center - the town square, the public meeting house, a place for people to gather and engage in the discursive functions of a democracy. This is a principle of civic structure, and gives cities strong creative prowess, and principal Aristotle recognized as vital to and defining of a city. In fact, his notion of 'ideal cities,' needed variety and plurality, and intimacy amongst its citizenry, for "they must know each other's characters." Kunstler believes that America is suffering a 'crisis of place.'

You be the judge.



Here is a litany of complaints set forward by Kunstler regarding Modernism and the damage done:

- by divorcing the practice of building from its history and traditional meanings
- by promoting a species of urbanism that destroyed age-old social arrangements and, with them, urban life as a general proposition
-by creating a physical setting for man that failed to respect the lives of other living things and the consumption of natural resources, or to respect the lives of other living things
- by creating a crisis of human habitat -
- cities ruined by corporate gigantism & abstract renewal schemes
- public buildings and spaces unworthy of human affection
- vast sprawling suburbs lacking any sense of community
- housing in which the un-rich cannot afford to live
- slavish obeisance to the needs of automobiles and their dependent industries at the expense of human needs

(*a medieval German maxim. Aristotle said that "men come together in the city to live; they remain there in order to live the good life," but "if it overpasses the bounds of growth, absorbing more people than it can properly house, feed, govern or educate, then it is no longer a city.")

Monday, September 29, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blood in the Streets

“ Think of wall street as a no-good brother-in-law who borrowed $500 from you and then shows up with a new jet ski."

-Jimmy Kimmel

"I picture my epitaph:

'Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.' "

- Paul Newman











(Just a nice Jewish boy, yum.)

It seems my favorite role of his will always be Hud (1963) - heartless, violent, tormented, cold, so
unlike the man he seemed to be in real life, yet qualities he frequently played onscreen, particularly in earlier films. Hud supported Newman's prodigious talent with great writing (adapted from a Larry McMurty novel), an incredible cinematographer (if you are unaware of James Wong Howe, whose career spanned the early silents to the mid 70s, school yourself), and authentic, if bleak, tones not found often enough in the frequent artifice of that period.

Despite the array of losers and assholes he portrayed, I always admired Newman for his wit, his big heart, and his eagerness to play against type. If there ever was a sexier or more physically beautiful man (right till the end), I've never seen him.  He inspired one of the dirtiest things I am frequently known to say.

This one will really be missed.

Magic Man

You're lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me...
If the real thing don't do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn burn burn burn it to the wick


Ann and Nancy have a heart to heart with that old barracuda, John McCain. Oh, that this were real.

By the way, that debate last night was so preposterously boring I fell asleep 30 minutes in. Obama stood there like a meer cat in headlights and McCain babbled irrelevantly (if I paraphrase, forgive me) - "I've been a friend of Henry Kissinger's for 35 years..."
What a name-dropper.

Seriously, flatline.

Crickets.

How about less rope-a-dope (it's just not good t.v.), and more Ali Shuffle? I expect some sparks in the political ring! Someone light a firecracker under their asses, and quickly!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?






 Or were they just separated at birth?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Literary Irony

"It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life." Okakura, The Book of Tea

With all the merited hubbub surrounding the death of David Foster Wallace on September 12th, I find it incredible no one has mentioned that he took his own life at the end of Suicide Prevention Week, if they even noticed. Somehow, it seems just the sort of device the Infinite Jest author might have used in his writing. I partly mention it because paying attention is sometimes a thing we do too little of, and when the little details slip through our fingers, sometimes people do too.

Seems the joke's on us.

"Do not quit. You see, the most constant state of an artist is uncertainty. You must face confusion, self-questioning, dilemma. Only amateurs are confident . . . be prepared to live with the fear of failure all your life."
- William Ormond Mitchell

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dysorthographia

Why learning to spell is important and tattoos are to be avoided.

Home Schoolin'

There is a right way -

This is one of the best blogs I've come across in a long, long time, and one that surely should be grabbed up by a publisher. I can't think of many books I'd rather own. I have added this gem to my sidebar, and will endeavor to learn and abide by the 1001 rules for my unborn son as they apply, because they are laid out by a father who is obviously thoughtful, strong, hip and kind.

I'm a big fan of Rule #16, #188 and #219 though I disagree to some degree about the sandal wearing. Still, how can I fault a man who lists Big Star's Thirteen (a personal favorite), as required listening and then pulls out quotations like this one?

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”    Robert Anson Heinlein

Unfortunately, there is no link I found to take you directly to the beginning of the blog, so just wend your way backwards and feel the love.

Then there's the wrong way -




From The Smoking Gun--Meet the Bebees. Father Floyd, 48, and his son Justin, 21, were arrested last year (on different dates) in central Florida. As you can tell from the below mug shots, the Bebees are forehead tattoo enthusiasts. Another of Bebee's kids, Floyd III, is locked up until 2016 on a variety of felony convictions. And while the 23-year-old inmate has yet to get his head inked, he does have a swastika on his left leg, and the phrases "Time Served" and "White Pride"* on his right leg. Floyd Bebee, a father of eight, said that he has a tattoo on the back of his head reading "Got-R-Did." The ink on his forehead** cost $125 and took about 45 minutes to complete, Bebee said, adding that he was the family trendsetter when it it came to such head art. Bebee, who does odd jobs like home remodeling and demolition, said that his wife had a succinct response to his forehead ink: "You crazy," she said. Bebee noted that since his son's eyes are open in his mug shot, the photo does not reveal a hidden surprise: Justin has the words "Fuck" and "You" tattooed on his eyelids.


The 1001 blog allows submissions of your own rule. I think I'd add "Avoid tattoos altogether," and the two my step-dad often iterates, "Always keep a twenty in your wallet," and "It's just as easy to keep the gas gauge arrow on the right side of the middle line as it is the left."

*we can surely see why.
**I'm sure he means 'dun' in the sense of dull.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Heartwarming Work of Staggering Genius

I think this is Dave Eggers' antidote to poor Anthony's detention report. This is a beautiful project and Eggers could not be more charming. More evidence that there is hope, but it starts with each of us, not whichever man's on top.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Funny Papers

Whatever Works


I don't know if it was the two sessions of Reiki last week, or the Tennyson and T.S. Eliot* I read to him earlier, that I told him I'd get up extra-early so we could go find the dawn-loving rabbits who eat grasses in the upper cul-de-sac, or maybe the online video news story I made him watch about the once paralysed and comatose woman who walked after being prayed for, but my dog just tried to push himself up with his forelegs, a thing that has not happened since late June. He did it three times.

We are so proud.

And I am not crazy.



*(The Lotos-Eaters and The Lovesong of of J. Alfred Prufrock, respectively. He really preferred the latter. It relaxed him, like a patient etherized upon a table. Jabberwocky didn't go over so well, maybe because they were talking gibberish and not of Michelangelo or maybe he just doesn't need slithy toves gyreing and gimbling at him right now, thank you very much.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

ED301 Crushing Youthful Spirit and Creativity - A Seminar

Lesson One: Punish acts and expressions of imagination and personal power:



And remember, "Movement accelerates learning."* It must be stopped. That's what Ritalin is for.

Now, please watch this:




(*Dr. Stuart Brown. check out his Institute for Play.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

L.A. - The "L" is for Literary

Who says people don't read in Los Angeles? Me for one. That is, until my roommate told me this story -

I asked her this morning if she had a copy of Melody Beattie's The Language of Letting Go I could borrow, because we have a garage sale coming up and I hate turning loose of all my useless stuff. Yeah, uh-huh, that's the reason.

"You know," she says, "I used to have a copy of that, until it was stolen, along with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success..."

(At this point, I'm thinking, "God, that's a drag and how awful. Taking self-help books is a little akin to stealing someone's bike, which if you ask me is worse than car theft, or making off with their work tools. Really, just dreadful stuff, but on the other hand, you figure you've got to be pretty desperate, and maybe the books helped..?")

She continues, "And the person who took them sold them for crack..."

(Wrong again! But how much could you possibly get for three used books?)

"...To The 18th Street Gang, because they are so low they'll take about anything for some tabs."

But hey, at least they're reading.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finding Prince Charming: You've got to kiss a lot of ...

This headline wins best title of the week: Promiscuous Toads Are Just Hedging Their Bets.



(A typical Toad Mating Ball. Yuck.)

Parallel human behavior can be seen in the annual Soapsuds Party in Ibiza.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hollywood Al Dente

This good friend went to get his teeth inspected today by a cheeky practitioner who has this film still from Marathon Man hanging in her waiting room:



Now that's a biting sense of humor.

Lipstick on a Pig in a Poke



From the nightstand

Currently re-reading a book on drama that should interest writers, actors, artists of all stripes and anyone with an affinity for discovering the what how why of being-ness, because David Mamet is a writer who culls broadly, eclectically, relevantly, and that's the way I like it. It's what my Bucky Fuller obsessed friend, Maurice, calls being "a comprehensivist," and he flatters me by inclusion in that society. I caution him that my knowledge is broad but not often deep, though I'd also like to defend dilettantes by saying that originally it was not a bad word - it just meant that one "delighted" in things.

I highly recommend this petit-tome which, weighing in at a wispy sub-featherweight 81 pages, packs a palpable punch. Mamet states, "The purpose of theater, like magic, like religion... is to inspire cleansing awe," and is an essential function of human nature.

Now, I confess I am not a big fan of The Theater, save a good production of Shakespeare or Shaw, and generally loathe the little black box experience, which in LA is rife with mediocre and struggling actors and writers (in this metropolis we all know them), which creates a sub-genre my friend, Judy, refers to as "The Theater of Obligation. It's seldom pretty. But in a broader sense, I am probably too fidgety for the theater, opera, ballet and the symphony, of which I received heavy dose as a child.

Quite frankly, I prefer the plebian experience of a high-tech picture show, greasy popcorn, candy wrappers and all that rot-gut. Because although the thespians will try to take the high-ground and privilege theater as the highest form, while relegating the status of film to mere 'entertainment', they can keep breathing their rarefied air. To me good drama is good drama, and I have yet to be transported watching a play in any way that resembles the immersive dream-like state of a really good movie. But then, I told you I was superficial like that.

In any case, I was amused by this passage early in the book which clearly frames what is so aggravating to sentient beings about election years and politics generally. This is not a new story:

"Bad dramaturgy can be found in the palaver of politicians who have somewhere between nothing much and nothing to say. They traduce the process and speak, rather, of the subjective and nebulous: they speak of the Future. They speak of tomorrow, they speak of the American Way, Our Mission, Progress, Change.

These are mildly or less mildly inflammatory terms (they mean "Rise up," or "Rise Up and Rush Around Boldly") that stand in for drama. They are placeholders in the dramatic progression, and they function similarly to sex scenes or car chases in a trash film--they are related to no real problem and are inserted as modular treats in a story devoid of content.

(We may assume, similarly, that as Democrats and Republicans respond to each other's positions by screaming "scandal," their positions are essentially identical.)"*


So if you don't know what a pig in a poke is, my suggestion is wield the knife, cut the twine, and look in the bag, because usually it's the junk vending street peddlers who are hollering "quality." Artifice can easily masquerade as High Art, and Corruption can don a cloak of Moral Superiority, while Truth might be languishing in a broadly dismissed and denigrated Romantic Comedy or Action film. And you can't dress up a pig, even if she's charmant, because a pig's just a pig, and sometimes she's really a cat. In that case, even if it's a quaternary protein structure of mixed metaphor, ironically, you really do have a good drama on your hands.

(Our local theater company - can we stomach it? Si, se puede!)














*David Mamet, Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama1998.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Look for the Grey Cloud behind the Silver Lining


A Lebanese chef cut open an oyster to find 26 pearls.

I say, that must have been one irritated bi-valve.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Possessing the Secret of Joy - an excerpt


There was once a beautiful young panther who had a co-wife and a husband. Her name was Lara and she was unhappy because her husband and her co-wife were really in love; being nice to her was merely a duty panther society imposed on them. They had not even wanted to take her into their marriage as co-wife, since there were already perfectly happy. But she was an "extra" female in the group and that would not do. Her husband sometimes sniffed her breath and other emanations. He even, sometimes, made love to her. but whenever this happened, the co-wife, whose name was Lala, became upset. She and the husband, Baba, would argue, then fight, snarling and biting and whipping at each other's eyes with their tails. Pretty soon they'd become sick of this and would lie clutched in each other's paws, weeping.

I am supposed to make love to her, Baba would say to Lala, his heartchosen mate. She is my wife just as you are. I did not plan things this way. This is the arrangement that came down to me.

I know it, dearest, said Lala, through her tears. And this pain that I feel is what has come down to me. Surely it can't be right?

These two sat on a rock in the forest and were miserable enough. But Lara, the unwanted, pregnant by now and ill, was devestated. Everyone knew she was unloved, and no other female panther wanted to share her own husband with her. Days went by when the only vioce she heard was her inner one.

Soon, she began to listen to it.

Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you. And she did.

Lara, it said, lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long. and she did.

Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved: sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in the still waters of this stream.

Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water. She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleeming black fur. She was beautiful! And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon.

For one whole day, Lara was content. When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin. The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara.

When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her! He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion.

While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon.

Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having - so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to. And her inner voice assured her this was true.

So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other's ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.

- Alice Walker

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rut (not like the elk)

They say, "A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words", but I can't seem to print.

Goodnight Sweethearts

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Final Word in Dating Advice c. 1943



I'm not really sure what the connection is between separating your knees and goose-stepping for the F├╝rher, but I suspect this was written by the progenitors of the prigs who brought us The Rules in the mid-90s. Still, young Adolph looks like a cute if slightly more hirsute member of Archie's gang - not exactly fearsome. Though I still fail to see the reasoning here, I feel a better tagline would have been: "Loose hips sink ships."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Worse than it looks

Never get in an argument with a socket wrench, especially when you are supine, twenty feet back under a deck in a very confined space. Especially not when you are sleep deprived and fail to notice that you've managed to sink the bolt in the joist already and there's not much more for the tool to hold onto and all your arm strength is going to bring that metal club down faster and harder on your forehead.



Did it hurt? I cracked my frontal lobe so hard I yelped and instantly felt a sharp pain at the back of my skull. Still, I shed no tears, but was nervous enough about it to think I'd better get myself out from under there in case I'd given myself a concussion. It might have taken a while before I'd be found and rescued. So I crawled out in under a minute, but not before I already had a goose egg about half the size a chicken might lay. Blood moves fast! It happened Tuesday afternoon, but oddly, the bruise under my eye didn't emerge until Wednesday, and yesterday emerged across the bridge of my nose and down my cheek. There is almost no bruising at the point of impact , which is now a small lump over the start of my eyebrow. I looked half-Neanderthal a couple hours after it happened, as I iced it for 4-5 hours and the lump got shorter but broader in scope.



What is most interesting to me is that since I went all raccoon-eyed and especially going out last night, I'm getting all kinds of strange come-on energy from men, and I don't mean it in the "Oh, come on!" kind of way. Seems to bring out a bit of the brush-ape, as my step-father is fond of saying. It's half-titillated and half-protective, and I never expected it, though I suppose I should have, sex and violence lurking together in our primitive brains. Anyway, the entire thing has been fairly amusing to me, and I'm glad the headache is mostly gone. Now I have a black dog, a black eye, and, my boyfriend would like me to add, a black, black heart.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gimme One

I dare you not to laugh.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Dog: Convalescing or Merely Malingering?

(Duff and Levi on Levi's birthday a few years ago.)

Sorry I've not been posting and have failed to update you on the status of the canine beast I call my friend. Duff's status is status quo. He has been home for about a month, after two straight weeks+ at the vet. For three weeks I took him in twice daily to be catheterized, then the vet trained me to empty his bladder. So then it was once daily for a week, and now it is reduced to twice weekly for acupuncture. This is good, because all the expense was getting, well, expensive, and as much as I love lugging around 85+ lbs. of dog several times a day, I'm not sure it's the best thing for my back. The boogie board an old roommate left behind has come in very handy, and the vet techs were highly amused to see "King Duff" ride in on the Mach 5. They have been very kind and tease me that he is faking the entire thing so he can ride about on his palanquin (ok maybe THEY didn't call it that, but my BF and I do), like an oriental emperor.



He's gained some weight back, but no hind leg muscle. He gets some physical therapy, which I administer with help from the BF, but it leaves him sore and cranky with me. I can't really say he's making progress in that area, but I'm also aware that he's not out of pain yet, and spinal problems have long recovery times.

There are, however, no guarantees, although we did see remarkable activity one day at the vet's when he tried to chase down a King Charles Spaniel bitch who had recently whelped. Duff pushed forward with his hindquarters like a seal chased across a beach. I turned to the vet and said, "Maybe THAT'S what he needs." What other conclusion could I draw?



(Imagine her with milky paps, and you've got pure, unadulterated Duff porn.)

He chases rabbits in his sleep, he is often happy and almost always bright and alert. Formerly a very quiet and contented dog, he is now maddeningly yelpy. It is sourced in his helplessness, I am sure. The last two nights I have gotten him to remain on the bed and he has slept much better. This is a great relief, because he was getting me up three to eight times and often I spent most of the night on the floor beside him, as it kept him more calm. Both of us being aloft on the mattress is much easier on my old lady joints, even if he still keeps me up.

Characteristically unwilling to sully the nest, he refuses to release bodily functions inside the house, so all methods of evacuation are performed by me. Aand let me tell you, it is not so glamorous as it seems, but often leads to Kubrickian cinematic references, wherein I speak to my gloved forefinger: "Danny's not here right now, Mrs. Torrance."

His already expensive Innova diet is mightily fortified with all manner of additives - high lignan flax seed oil, spirulina, enzymes, herbs, raw organic colostrum, raw organic grassfed to the bitter end free-range beef, saw palmetto, sweet potato...

One of the worst things about all this, aside from the fatgue and the emotional unrest (which I will spare you for now), is that the experience is rendering me an entirely boring person who can talk only of one subject, and thinks that others are remotely interested in her dog's diet. I promise I think of other things, but this has been fairly consuming.

Many friends have reported dreams in which my dog is walking and running and quite well. This is encouraging to me, as I put stock in such things. Just today I received this kind message from on of you regular readers (I hope it's okay I reprinted it here, anonymously):

Well I finally had a dream with you in it. Never got to see you, but I had two 4x4 blackboards that I had turned into get well cards for Duff. I had all these great sayings on them that I can't remember what they were, which
really bothers me cuz I usually remember that stuff from my dreams. I woke up still trying to find a box to ship them in."


Dear Sir, consider them received.

(A recent photo of me, brimming with hope.)