Sunday, October 31, 2004

the redskins lose! the redskins lose!

the redskins, washington dc's offensively-monikered and and offensively-mediocre football team, in their last game before the election have an eerie knack for predicting the outcome of that election. so you know what this means?

no, not that lisa doesn't love homer. of course she does! daddy-daughter day, yay!

no, it means that THE INCUMBENT WILL BE OUSTED. so says decades upon decades of american tradition. in fact, i'm hoping in light of the strength this omen, republicans across the country will fold their hands and realize the immense pointlessness of voting at all. kinda like the cardinals should have done instead of attempting to take on the sox.

by the way, there's a obscure reference to a movie in this entry. see if you can spot it.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

the secret ingredient is salt

since i lack the time & money to take an actual vacation, for the forseeable future i will be doing the next best thing: burying myself in fantasy literature. already i've finished book 11 in the series of unfortunate events. now i'm gearing up for my hike through johnathan strange and mr. norrell. it's been called harry potter for the out of diapers set!

in consequence i will not be paying any further attention to this circus of an election. i will restrain myself from making comments such as, "everyone said as an october surprise they'd produce bin laden. the best they can do is produce a stupid TAPE? it's not even a scary tape! where are the zombies? he says blood in the streets but there's no blood dripping from the corners of his mouth. even dick cheney has blood dripping. next time they should hire kate duffy and do it right."

they even timed the damn thing badly. hello karl: a significant portion of the populace has already voted. of course, as planned, those populaces prolly came home from casting their ballots only to watch the evening news and slap their foreheads: "damn! i should have voted for bush! he can make villains appear on TV at will! what can kerry make? cheese?" well, too late, suckers. you can only vote once (or twice in new mexico).
and those who hadn't already cast their ballots were busy pre-partying for halloween weekend. really, i think the republicans are too stupid to win the election this time. sorry karl. it should have been a landslide and you fucked it up.

... all of that, see, is an example of the talk you won't hear from me, as i use my eyes solely for the purpose of pleasure reading. i'm as happy as you are.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

worn out

the red sox won the series; my friend nomi is 1 for 1 for acceptances in md/phd programs so far; john kerry is slowly but surely moving up according to slate's newest figures; and i had a good day. one of my actors brought me a brownie. she told me it'd be a surprise, but as she's a jew and i'm a jew, food is kind of a "duh." still, much appreciated.


my dad's not well. this country's not well. i'm exhausted from caring so much. activisty-ness doesn't come naturally to me, thanks to a hardened combination of skepticism and laziness. so i'm not sure getting my hands dirty in philly this weekend will help. it won't help my posture: i'm so stressed i'm carrying my shoulders up around my ears. how nixonian of me.

this country reelected nixon! this country interred the japanese! this country sat by and let joseph mccarthy operate without anethesia on the body politic, yanking out and tossing, with my elementary skool science teacher's abandon, various inalienable rights. america does not do outrage easily. it's the downside of being so darned optomistic. so will we have the sense to oust this blusterer, this bungler, this mangler of the english language? will we? or will our dim complacency and fear carry the day?

i think i need a cool room with padded walls and an ocean view. and please god, for real, i need my father to be okay.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

continuing on a theme ...

since the eminem video (link below) bridges the gap between politics and culture, i will use it as a segue to venture further into culture, if only to help myself calm down a bit. the news this morning had me nearly hyperventilating at my desk. (being at the plugged-and-diapered time o' the month, i suppose, doesn't help.)

please god, if you haven't abandoned us, see us safely through this election. give us the president we deserve and may we endeavor to deserve him, or at least hold off taking him for granted until february 05. please god, don't write america off as a lost cause. if you won't, i won't.

but i was going to talk about culture.

i got four books today from the nypl, bless their souls, including the latest from lemony snicket, bless HIS soul, and my aren't we religious today. well, you know what they say about foxholes, and boy are we as a country in a deep one. (CULTURE.) okay! lemony snicket. i can't say enough about this mournful, mordant writer of children's books and mag fields songs. he will see me through the next week, or at least the next underutilized evening.

this evening won't be underutilized though. crank up the khakis and get me a rifle: i'm going goose hunting for undecideds. yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaw. (CULTURE!)

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE! that's what i wanted to talk about, since i finally kicked my own ass and ben's into a movie theater. but even the free popcorn that came with our nyu-discounted tickets couldn't make this disappointment go down easy. such potential, so much intelligence and anger and humor, so many puppets, and ultimately, what do you have? an action movie that mocks action movie conventions. that's at its most successful level.

politically, TAWP's message is muddled. since ours is the viewpoint of the arrogantly casual TAWP agents who shrug off their world-altering fuck ups, we the audience sympathize with them. with the opposition aiding the terrorists, there isn't much choice. besides, TAWP is well-intentioned, so who cares if the louvre is destroyed? (except for da vinci code fans everywhere, who gasped a collective "my god! the grail!") as ben pointed out, the louvre is just a symbol, as is everything in the movie, up to and including our puppet pro- and antagonists. unlike in the far more effective southpark movie, no character here has any real personality.

again, for a send-up of action movies, that's fine. but it makes for weak satire. even if you're aiming only for a perfect parody, why leave the requisite happy ending intact? why not go for something actually memorable and stranglove-ian? why finish up with a logically-unsound at best and offensive-and-misogynistic at worst finale diatribe on how the world is divided up into dicks, pussies, and assholes, with clear preference given to the dicks? i mean, ew.

there is a whiff of a critique to begin with of TAWP's god-given right -- actually, god isn't mentioned anywhere; patriotism is their religion, so it's more like flag-given -- to destroy the world for the sake of saving america. but by the time michael moore shows up, two fisting hot dogs, as a suicide bomber, it's clear the filmmakers have run out of nuanced or original things to say. half the celebrities they kill off seem seriously unnecessary. their rancor against sammy l. jackson, danny glover, & helen hunt is bewildering. the prominent leftiest i can understand, since they've put themselves up on a soapbox to be knocked down. but susan sarandon is not exactly sean penn.

the homophobia and the racism didn't bother me as much, for whatever reason. at this point, that's expected. but some originality and consistent, killer humor would have been nice to balance them out. the nail in the coffin is that the consistent, killer humor was lacking.

messrs. parker and stone should go back to making smart cartoons and leave political satire to john stuart leibowitz.
no exaggeration

holy shit people, i'm not kidding, eminem just made me cry.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"four more years of george bush would be like four more years of syphilis"

bwah! oh, to publish an article like this. those fearless folks at rolling stone. who knew they had political interest? some of my favorite thompson bits:

i've heard this story a thousand times, but it always cracks me up:
Back in 1948, during his first race for the U.S. Senate, Lyndon Johnson was running about ten points behind, with only nine days to go. He was sunk in despair. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference for just before lunch on a slow news day and accuse his high-riding opponent, a pig farmer, of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children.

His campaign manager was shocked. "We can't say that, Lyndon," he supposedly said. "You know it's not true."

"Of course it's not true!" Johnson barked at him. "But let's make the bastard deny it!"

Johnson -- a Democrat, like Bill Clinton -- won that election by fewer than a hundred votes, and after that he was home free. He went on to rule Texas and the U.S. Senate for twenty years and to be the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States. Until now.
then there's:
...things are not much different today. We still love War.

George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it.
War is an option whose time has passed. Peace is the only option for the future. At present we occupy a treacherous no-man's-land between peace and war, a time of growing fear that our military might has expanded beyond our capacity to control it and our political differences widened beyond our ability to bridge them. . . .

Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war.

Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today, compared to a golem like George Bush. Indeed. Where is Richard Nixon now that we finally need him?

If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a "liberal" candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today -- and who will be running it this time next year, if we (the once-proud, once-loved and widely respected "American people") don't rise up like wounded warriors and whack those lying petroleum pimps out of the White House on November 2nd.

Nixon hated running for president during football season, but he did it anyway. Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.

You bet. Richard Nixon would be my Man. He was a crook and a creep and a gin-sot, but on some nights, when he would get hammered and wander around in the streets, he was fun to hang out with. He would wear a silk sweat suit and pull a stocking down over his face so nobody could recognize him. Then we would get in a cab and cruise down to the Watergate Hotel, just for laughs.
oh mercy. just go read the whole article.

Friday, October 22, 2004

slouching towards bethlehem

since hitting my saturation point at 3 pm yesterday, have i recovered my appetite for devouring all news political, poll-tical and otherwise?


however, i have continued to mull on a yeats verse i saw on the B train, the most eerie and prescient poem anyone has ever written about this election. and yeats is dead! here tis:
turning and turning in the widening gyre/
the falcon cannot hear the falconner
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, and the worst
are full of passionate intensity.
does that send a shiver up your spine or what? even creepier, i copied it down onto the back of a card urging me to renew a magazine subscription. i got home and told ben only to discover his father had done the exact same thing. different magazine, probably, though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

most fun i've ever had watching baseball

and i'm by myself, watching in my pajamas, no beer, no peanuts. it's like a mastercard ad or something. only 2 innings left. someone pointed out to me today that if boston wins (!!) and houston wins, the world series, starting saturday, will be MASSACHUSETTS vs. TEXAS.

now tell me that isn't the hotttest thing you can think of. the world is one big echo chamber. / god has a sense of humor.

on an unrelated note, earlier today i got a strong flash of college while walking down the 2nd avenue. i remembered walking into the sunshine of swarthmore's prettiest courtyard, kohlberg, wearing my gold pleather skirt with the blue jacket over it and stopping to laugh with one friend after another. that will never happen again. college was the best social experience i could imagine. better socially than academically even, and that's saying something. over the course of college, i became a sharper and more focused student and thinker; but more importantly, i think, i became a stable person, a better friend, and a girlfriend who could take the position seriously. as opposed to the kind of girlfriend i was when i was 13 and i thought nothing of breaking up with someone in a letter on valentines day.

the red sox fans all look so earnest. it's heartbreaking. i respond to earnest, if i'm not too busy laughing at it.

have i mentioned i now love my job? i have a job, an apartment, and a fella, all of which that i love -- so maybe it's no wonder everything else that could come into play has. first my laptop was stolen. then i got a bad cold. then, of course, i heard that my dad had decided to make a brief stop in cheney, clinton, and charrow country. his heart's mostly fine but my dad has never been in the hospital before, to my knowledge. even though he's out again now, i'm tense.

the future of this country, and now my father as well. at least it's the 9th innings and very soon i won't have to worry about the red sox anymore. one way or the other.

Monday, October 18, 2004

a time for vonnegut

i feel a little like something the cat drug in. gone, the lithe mood of friday, when i sent off my absentee ballot to sway PA firmly into the column of righteousness. gone, the buoyancy of thursday brought on by the purchase of adorable shoes. gone the general good feeling of liking my new position and the increased proficiency at editing that comes with it. and hello: sick.

how frequently does one have to be sick in this city to prove one's worth? ugh, don't answer that. i liked new york better when it was warm.

however, not all is lost. i have yet to meet an editing challenge i could not overcome (sound-editing, not the wordy kind: i'm working with voiceovers). my cold has not reached heavyweight status. kerry is still bouncing, at least in some polls, and currently both slate and electoral-vote have him in the lead. i don't care if it's precarious, i just want the man to win and this country to come to its senses. roughly in that order.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

i'm giving up

... passivity, that is! i'm tired of sitting on the sidelines, mesmerized by minute-by-minute election updates and extolling the virtues of my candidate only to friends, well-wishers, and the television, while my brother, my parents, some of my friends, and now even my boyfriend are giving of their time to the democrats. everyone has exciting plans to help take down bush in the swing states! or, if not, they're learning spanish in the bronx or providing pro bono medical care in ethiopia! why am i the loosely moraled one? why do i prefer analysis to action?

no longer. if you can walk, you can dance, right? by that logic, if i can make several dozen phone calls a day scheduling auditions for actors, surely i can make several dozen phone calls to strangers in the midwest urging their presence on election day. er, or whatever the dnc has me do. (sell girl scout cookies? babysit infants? wet my pants on command? just how far will you go for john kerry?)

once upon a time, i went a-knockin' in west philly for al. i need to summon up that bright-eyed passion again, assuming four years of rolling those bright eyes at swat activism didn't knock it out of me irretrievably.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"it was the dream!"

my life is becoming weirdly, but distinctly, third world. the door to our building has broken, allowing joe "cat burglar" shmoe to waltz in off the street. my land-"slum"-lord has tartly informed us, residents of what's now the least safe building in lower manhattan, that in compensation for putting our lives in jeopardy, he'll be turning off the hot water for several days. maybe longer. until the red sox make it to the world series, he said. (currently in game one, it doesn't look too good: yankees are up 7-0.)

to add insult to injury, my laptop got stolen. details, shmetails. it's gone. have i mentioned i have malaria? just kidding. no malaria, only gallows humor.

my housemate dina, after hearing about the laptop misfortune, totally called it: "ester! it was the DREAM!" -- see, i had this dream the night before last that i couldn't decipher. two kittens were gambolling, like they do. one started tugging on the whisker of the other. the other kitten didn't resist, and the first kept pulling, and pulling, and pulling, until he had pulled the other kitten's heart out onto the floor.
now, is that an allegory, or is that an allegory? if only i could have figured out for what. or rather, if only i could have understood that ben was one kitten and joe "computer thief" shmoe was the other, and ...
the red sox are never going to win this thing, are they. i should stop watching and go back to caring solely about politics. politics: the sport that never lets you down.

Monday, October 11, 2004

subways: the new gathering place

a swattie walked right into the E today. i watched him from my seat as he took hold of the metal bar directly in my sightline and defiantly refused to recognize me. only a stalker could have been so persistent: he was a swattie! i totally knew him! not his NAME or anything, but that rumpled hair, that sun-deprived skin, those glasses only a geek could love.

i determined he was following me.

a seat opened up; he didn't take it. nor did he so much as glance my way. well, two can play at this game (i thought to myself). also, i thought, i've run into enough goddamn swatties in this city. how many times do i have to marvel at finding some slight acquaintance with whom i share an alma mater in the same car at the same time as i am, or on the same east village corner walking towards the city's best pastries? how many awkward "hey, i kinda know you; what are you up to?" conversations do i have to hold with people i probably didn't know, when it counted, for a reason? new conclusion!: don't succumb to the temptation of greeting familiar faces with "aren't you a swattie?"

happy with my new conclusion, when he followed me off into the west 4th street station, and down to the b,d/f,v transfer platform, i didn't panic and i didn't give in. the only problem is he subsequently disappeared and i still, dammit, don't know who he was.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

monday-morning quarterback

i don't mean to imply that i could have taken dick cheney in that debate. far be it from me to dispute the wisdom of the dnc and the kerry campaign in picking edwards to tackle dick instead of lil ol me ... in fact, i have six whole years less experience in politics than edwards and a whole lot fewer folksy american dream stories to draw from. i do like to think, though, that in edwards' position i would have been angrier, pointier, and more personal in my attacks in response to cheney's attacks.

because come on! this is the man who told leahy to go fuck himself. how's that for an answer why cheney unfortunately failed to make friends across the aisle: he was too busy flicking them off with one hand while manually pleasuring the religious right with the other.

when cheney waxed poetical about little girls voting in afganistan, i would said, that's cuddly and all, but how many little girls have died in civilian casualties in iraq? when cheney admitted he didn't know anything about AIDS statistics for black women in america, i would have said, "buddy, we could fill a metaphorical fridge with the things you don't know, & that detail there would be the relatively innocuous iceberg lettuce in the veggie crisper."

i WOULD have gotten in the dig about cheney's gay daughter and how great it is that he's great about it, because that was priceless.

(rudepundit does this better than i do.)

edwards was all right. he was fine. his final statement, particularly. who knows, anyway? kerry was great and people seemed to shrug it off, nation-wide, and say, We'd still rather have the jackass we know than the windsurfer/flip-flopper that TV tells us we can't trust. oh well. we'll get the president we deserve and i for one am not moving to canada.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

the trouble with happiness on a sunday afternoon

at some point, after you've finished the sublime bel canto and you've surfed all the internet your feeble, stolen connection will allow, you content yourself with fixating on and WILLING those red states to turn blue. who knows whether it will be your effort, or the effort of the brave footsoldiers of democracy going door to midwestern door, that will loosen the crimson grip on ohio? who knows anything anymore about political progress, except that no one's allowed to be apolitical at the moment, and if you try, some earnest young fresh-faced traveler will intrude on your peace, clipboard in hand, more persistent than the jehovah's witnesses ever were.

oh, and i wish the democrats would stop saying that this isn't a popularity contest. of course it is. of course every election is. the republicans know that: that's why they run popular people. we sound peevish when we complain, peevish and naive. besides, i don't remember any such complaining when clinton ran against dole.
miss manicure, or, the manicured ham

life is different when your nails are pink. you begin to entertain thoughts of buying a american flag label pin and a liveSTRONG! bracelet to go with it. you wonder idly about the plight of people to poor to afford lapel pins and liveSTRONG! bracelets and then realize you don't care. the poor are ugly. you consider a lap dog, a beach house, candidacy on the Apprentice.

actually, finally getting my manicure & pedicure courtesy of ben's step-mom's gift certificate didn't change me in any fundamental ways. too bad, no? i was half-hoping each stroke of the tiny paint brush would whisper republican ideas in my head and i'd have to struggle valiantly against the mind-control of the sinister foot jacuzzi.

i don't even feel particularly girlier. ah well.

ben & i also took advantage of ben's step-mom's other gift certificate, one to whole foods. have you ever been to whole foods? has any other store ever made you more want to pirouette down the aisles? life is so good in whole foods, once known as fresh fields and forever known as The Only Place to Shop if You're a Yuppie at Heart and Yearn for Organic Asparagus and Quinoa Cakes the Way Some Folks Yearn for the Red Sox to Finally Get Their Shit Together For Real. whole foods is a direct catapult into a good mood & whole foods with a GIFT CERTIFICATE is heaven on a stick.

so excuse my good mood going into this next week. kerry's whuppin of w. was enough to keep me in smiles through friday, and i'm hoping my shiny tips, in conjunction with two more debates and the lingering aromas of whole foods, will prolong the condition.

Friday, October 01, 2004

and we have a winner in florida!

i mean, don't we? wasn't that clear, concise and obvious? it was certainly everything i was hoping for last night. true, there wasn't one "knockout punch" & kerry didn't tear into g.w. like a bengal tiger or, y'know, dean would have. gentlemen, i think that was part of his strategy. he wanted to prove that, despite his stance on iraq, he is not merely Dean v2.1, the Presidential Dean. he wanted to prove that he is Kerry!, as in Kerry, President Kerry, at your service, sir.

the tone remained civilized. and as much as possible in a civilized debate, i think kerry proved himself to be calm, restrained, intelligent, forthright, and as unflip-floppy as the empire state building, while bush babbled and blinked and repeated himself. ben and i were both thrilled. now, maybe the company won't come waltzing matilda with us just yet; i understand, and have understood over this election, how far out of the mainstream i am. and not in a hipster way either. just in a way that means that, when i meet someone who isn't sure about kerry or bush -- in other words, one of the precious and coveted swwwwwwwing voters -- i have no idea what to say. i become virtually bush, staring at jim lehreh, squinting and sweating and trying to figure out whether kerry has called me a liar and whether i have to defend myself. all i can do is chuckle awkwardly and say, i don't take it personal.

in short, my friends, i felt like kerry proved himself last night to actually be a person a person could get excited about. to me that was what he had to do, and good lord, how exciting it is when a fella delivers!