Friday, October 28, 2005

it's FITZMAS and Santa delivers

America has a new hero. We tip our collective fedora to you, Former US Attorney from Chicago; you are a fine example of the sort of tough, principled and well-spoken men we weren't sure we had many of anymore.

Sure, we ragged on you a little when you insisted that Judy go to prison -- what about the 1st Amendment?, we cried: Won't someone please think of the 1st amendment? -- but now that it turns out even her paper thinks she's a twat, and further now that we know that prison did nothing to chip away at her twattiness (twaticity?), we agree that you made the right choice. I hope someone keeps her foam mattress warm for her friend in tree poetry Scooter L.

We don't even mind, really, that you steadfastly refuse to talk about anything "beyond the four corners of the investigation," even as we salivate over mental images of a federal agent forcing Karl to kneel in his flower bed and slapping cuffs on Karl's pale, delicate wrists. Restraint is admirable. You keep us in check, Fitz. Following your example, we stick to the facts: Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who is also a senior advisor to the president, stands accused of five crimes. Even Ken Starr, for all his tireless work, could get eke out two.

Jail time, assuming Scooter is convicted, ranges from 0 to 50 years. Judge's choice. But that will never happen. We can all smell plea bargain when it wafts through the autumn air, can't we, Fitz? It bears no resemblance at all to pumpkin.

We praising the name of the Lord, Fitz, and you should know your name is also on our lips. You are our Ambassador of Coin, to coin a phrase. You are our Moses, bringing us to the border of the Land of Republican Downfall -- even more so for being so apolitical about your responsibilities. You give us a straight face to hide our glee behind. Thank you for your two years of service to this country.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

adventures in yoga

show up (first time in 6 months)

smile through fear

smile at superfriendly superpositive teacher

fear superfriendly superpositive teacher

begin: oh jesus: muscles feel napalmed

sweat so much you're scared the superfriendly superpositive teacher will think you're crying

muscles ... burning ...

ouch! arm. ouch. superfriendly superpositive teacher puts her hand on your back and says kindly, "i know that sometimes I get hurt when I try to get out of positions too quickly."

lie in the darkness and try not to hate superfriendly superpositive teacher. and all superfriendly superpositive people in the world who are good at yoga and dance and not crying and probably sex, childbirth, motherhood, and death with dignity too.

walk home in the rain and say to self, "see? that wasn't that bad, now, was it?"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

the estrogen's finally caught up with me

Maybe it's all the tofu I eat -- I've been recently told the stuff is chock full of girly hormones. I've accomplished the following things this weekend:

1) bought a pair of somewhat pricey but exciting boots
2) curled up in bed ALONE and watched TWO (2) renee zellweger movies. neither of which was the fantastic and excusable Empire Records!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention I -- also cried. And not over the boots. I guess I should lay off the cuties. But god, between the girly hormones in soy and the mercury in fish, what am I supposed to eat? It can't be Smart Puffs all the time, can it? They're just not that filling.

I've also meant to blog all week about various hilarious news items. Did you hear about the millionaire Republican senator from New Hampshire who won $800,000 in the lottery, for instance? When asked whether he planned to donate any of his newfound, superfluous wealth to worthy causes, he replied with great sensitivity, "Are you kidding? I'm going to spend it." One can only assume he then went on to kick a small child in the face, laugh about the holocaust, and spit on a picture of New Orleans.

Also, the Panties in a Twist Council: Determining What's Appropriate To Watch On Television released their list of top ten best and worst shoes for family viewing. Except they were so disappointed by this year's offerings they could only find NINE shows to recommend. Can you believe that?
Personally I think the Panties in a Twist Council got it wrong on all counts. They listed the O.C. on the "bad" list because of superficial sex and violence, and in doing so they overlooked the moral center of the show: the Cohen family, which eats together, talks to each other, helps each other out with their legal and substance abuse problems. Surely they're as good an example of responsible family living as 7th-freaking-Heaven. I mean, why not? Just because they're Jews?

Speaking of Jews, what does the PTC have against those lovable, wacky Bluths? Let's see:
Arrested Development also employs some of the most outrageous double-entendres ever to find their way into prime-time. In one episode, for example, Tobias says he was an analyst and a therapist, making him the first "analrapist."
BWAHHH! Did you see that episode? That was fucking hilarious. Clearly, the PTC didn't get the joke.

I can only imagine what they'd make of Sarah Silverman. She has skyrocketed, hasn't she? I guess I wasn't the only one who thought she was the best part of the Aristocrats (in part because she TOLD the bloody joke and didn't just half-ass it or talk about it.) The New Yorker -- which I get now! I'm totally cool -- has a great profile of her that you can read online. My favorite line:
“I was raped by a doctor,” she says. “Which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.”

Sunday, October 16, 2005

shocked out of my socks

Is there anything capable of truly shocking us anymore? Consider the headline news report from the Post today: How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck -- whose title metaphor should more appropriately be, How Abramoff Played the United States Congress like a Jewharp.

You know you're in for a good ride when a five-page article begins with, not a dry summary of events, but a line like "Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his team were beginning to panic." Oh good, you think: this is going to be a STORY. You settle in, preparing yourself for congressional manipulation, right-wing hypocricy, conveniently blank memories, forgery and fornication, performed by the starlets of the GOP, including Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay, James Dobson, and featuring an appearance by the First Brother Jeb Bush himself. You expect a pageant; you are not disappointed.

But my point isn't "Gee, isn't this fun?" Of course it's fun. What's amazing is that IT ISN'T SHOCKING. This is all breaking news and it reads like it's obvious. Well, except for bits like this:
According to the e-mails, Reed provided the name and address where Norquist was supposed to send the money: to Robin Vanderwall at a location in Virginia Beach.

Vanderwall was director of the Faith and Family Alliance, a political advocacy group that was founded by two of Reed's colleagues and then turned over to Vanderwall, Vanderwall said and records show.

Vanderwall, a former Regent University Law School student and Republican operative, was later convicted of soliciting sex with minors via the Internet and is serving a seven-year term in Virginia state prison.
That's got to be a humiliating guy for Norquist's name to be linked to. I'd almost feel sorry for him, if he weren't the asshole of the universe. Did you get catch the subtle irony, too? Soliciting sex with minors VIA THE INTERNET after helping to launder money for INTERNET GAMBLING? Okay, maybe it's not that subtle, especially when spelled out in caps.

In fact, the whole cast of characters, who should be exiled posthaste to Nairobi or the (melting) polar ice caps -- their choice --, seem blessedly unaware of their puppetmaster. Witness: "'This is all tied to Jack?" Sheldon said. "I'm shocked out of my socks.'" These losers have made me tired. Exile for the lot of them!

And don't even get me started on Judy Miller's pathetic defence of herself in the NYT. Even the paper of record itself doesn't seem to buy it. A separate "objective" report on the subject, by three people who will not be invited for martinis and manicures by Bill Keller anytime soon, does an excellent job of seeming respectful while actually dragging Judy through the mud like a ragdoll tied to a pickup truck. My favorite section:
On Oct. 3, four days after Ms. Miller left jail, she returned to the headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street.

Before entering the building, she called her friend Ms. Payne and asked her to come downstairs and escort her in. "She very felt frightened," Ms. Payne said. "She felt very vulnerable."

At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public.
BWAH! Still, in its own hilarious way, predictable.

What, friends, are we going to do with our jaded, unshockable selves? In the meantime, while we mull that over, exile for Judy too. We don't do enough banishing anymore.

Monday, October 10, 2005

day: decadent

What frikkin brilliance, huh? Chris Columbus "discovering" America means I get to spend the day luxuriating indoors, stepping out into early-season cold only to purchase my favorite cereal. (Which, at nearly $5 a box, counts as a treat. Fucking NYC.) This whole day is a treat though: Chris never merited us a day off from Swarthmore. On the other hand, why would it if our beloved pinko-commie institution, that Kremlin on the Crum, didn't even recognize Labor Day? We started classes on Labor Day.

In fact, I had one history professor who found this so insulting she continued to rebel against it, year after year. Once, I remember, we spent our first day listening to the Monica Lewinsky tapes. I remember thinking, they sell this shit commercially now? You should try them: they're spell-binding and vomit-inducing all at once. You can hear Linda Tripp working on potato chips in the background as she tries to smarm more information out of poor, clueless Lewinsky. It's worthy of the Sopranos.

Speaking of which, the Sopranos are what I've blockaded myself inside with today. Entirely by accident, among the episodes I've been enjoying is their personal Columbus Day pride parade. The best part, in my opinion, is AJ reading Howard Zinn, as assigned by a teacher at his new skool, and parroting from it that Columbus would be tried for war crimes if he were alive today. Tony, incensed, retorts, "Great - he finally reads a book and it's bullshit."
The episode's moral, that there's too much ethnicity misery poker going on nowadays -- and its sub-moral, that no one will ever truly understand anyone else's history as long as everyone wants to claim equal-time suffering -- is a little heavy-handed. Still, having stayed away from the show for a while, it's refreshing to be brought back into the brilliance. That's how I advise anyone interested to approach the widely disregarded season four.

I saw Capote also this weekend. It was a wonderful character study and acted as well as befits the first star vehicle for one of my favorite actors. But it didn't shake my world -- it was too small for that. I wonder whether a more seasoned director could have done more with it or if the limitations are inherent to the story.

Nothing's blown my socks off this year. It's sort of disappointing. Well, Hollywood has the entire autumn to make it up to me. Ironically, one of the contenders Good Night, and Good Luck, tells the exact story I told in a seminar paper for that same history professor mentioned above. If only I'd thought to make the paper into a screenplay THEN. If only someone had told me.

Friday, October 07, 2005

if wishes were horses

Someone asked me today at work whether I took the subway today despite the warnings of bombs! in baby carriages! and when I said yes, she goggled at me. But what's the alternative? Even if you're not in the subway system, you're twenty feet above it: a nefarious baby carriage out to destroy us all will get you up on the grate as well as me.

So yeah, I'm still alive. It's the new year, I'm doing pretty well. I enjoyed the small, homely but charming service Mr. Ben and I sought refuge in for both days of the holiday. (Memo to New York jews: Rosh Hashanah lasts two days. TWO. You don't get full credit unless you heard that damned ram's horn blow Tuesday and Wednesday. No fair sneaking back to the office with your assignment only half completed. You work too hard anyway. Now feel guilty for putting your money-making over the spiritual health of your soul.)
(Memo to Judaism: Thanks for the cover. Those two free days were bliss and the self-righteousness is the bliss-cherry on the bliss-sundae.)

I also thought of this idea for a piece of fiction. I can't say "book" because I'm afraid of grand nouns. Even in high school when I wrote two pieces of fiction, each spanning over 150 pages, I had a clunky tendency to refer to them as long stories. But I want this to be a book. I want a channel for my ambitions. I have written just over one page so far. Worry not, though, friends: life is long. Unless it gets cut short by a nefarious baby carriage.

How can you take that seriously?? A BABY CARRIAGE. Somehow my brain can't process it. Harriet Miers, cipher that she is, is scarier. (Miers reminds me a bit of an anthropomorphic mouse in a Disney movie along the lines of Rats of NIMH. Would that make Karl Rove the Great Owl?) Well, in any case, I hope I live to snark about such threats another day.