Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Five Things Worth Noting about 2008 before I Start Getting Ready to Head out the Door:

  • On a national level, the main and perhaps only thing that went right was Barack Obama's election. But still: we fucking elected Barack Obama with 52% of the popular vote and an electoral landslide. So if only one thing had to go right, it was a great one, like receiving a single birthday gift but it's a townhouse in the West Village.
  • Like all rational beings, I'm deeply saddened by the results of Proposition 8 in California. I'm certain that we'll see gay marriage legalized on a federal level in my lifetime because, eventually, our generation and those younger will ascend to the Supreme Court. I'm not trying to make sweeping generalizations, but on a statistical level, highly educated individuals in said age brackets, especially who also reside in metropolitan areas, favor the legalization of gay marriage. And that, of course, is the pool from which Supreme Court justices are drawn. So I believe that within the next twenty years, we'll see the gay marriage equivalent of Brown vs. Board of Education, i.e. SCOTUS will interpret the Constitution as giving equal rights to gays, straights, bisexuals, and transgenders and, as with Brown, a huge swath of the country still won't be ready for such a decision and there will be upheaval, but in time, most of the nation will become acclimated. Still, and I wish I could find the link but I can't, I agree with a recent Huffington Post essay from a gay male Baby Boomer: the past few decades have proven that a significant heap of folks of all stripes are ill-suited for marriage and the last thing we should do as a country is further romanticize it as an institution.
  • If you already have a compromised immune system, say, from CFIDS, do not get pneumonia in January because it will fuck up the first nine months of your year. And just when you think it's done, it will gleefully fuck it up some more.
  • The last three months of 2008 were pretty damned lively, though, and it's been great, among other things, to congregate with my tribe at arts events, get to parties and shows again, frolic with certain cherished individuals, and go for decent-sized walks almost everyday. Cage door, please stay open.
  • The novel is really starting to seem like a novel. I'm not done, obviously, but it's more statue than rock now, and while it still grinds at me constantly and occupies most of my waking thoughts and often my dreams, fuck it: this is what I signed on for and I feel blessed and proud.
Here's to health, joy, love, sex, triumph, and custard bismarcks for all of us in 2009! Best to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Or at least the next round of doughnuts at Top Pot:

My best friend and I were discussing something yesterday and he wasn't sure if my conclusion was accurate and then today it turned out I was spot on.

As most sentient adults know, so much of life is varying shades of gray, and unless you're weighing the pros and cons of, say, infanticide, most issues are rarely "right" and "wrong" in a strictly binary sense.

Yet that accurately sums up the current matter and now I wish I'd bet him a thousand dollars or litter box duty for a month.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Facebook Status Updates from the Evening of November 3rd until the Present that More or Less Bring Us up to Date for Our Purposes Here:

Litsa dedicates John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" to Joe Lieberman. Nov. 3, 8:34 p.m.

Litsa has donated her status to remind everyone to vote for Barack Obama today. Donate your status: b. Nov. 4, 12:30 a.m.

Litsa reminds you to vote TODAY. Find your polling location now: Nov. 4, 6:10 a.m.

decrees that if any state botches things a la Florida, she will personally ear-flick each of its citizens. Nov. 4, 9:00 a.m.

wonders if Mitt Romney feels like a horse's ass after spending 44 million of his own cash, coming in 3rd behind Huckabee, and still not getting tapped for V.P. Nov. 4, 1:39 pm.

Litsa high fives Massachusetts and New Jersey and thinks, Hey, South Carolina and Kentucky, that was really uncool. Nov. 4, 5:01 p.m.

Litsa wants to make out w/ Pennsylvania. Nov. 4, 5:41 p.m.

Litsa is thrilled Kay Hagan trounced Elizabeth Dole. Who's "godless" now, old lady? Nov. 4, 6:19 p.m.

Litsa does not want to hang out w/ white, Southern, rural voters anytime soon. Nov. 4, 6:34 p.m.

Litsa will share her cookies, forever, w/ Ohio. (O-fucking-hio!!!!) Nov. 4, 6:37 p.m.

Litsa 's whole neighborhood is cheering and she's literally crying she's so happy. Nov. 4, 8:01 p.m.

Litsa 's neighborhood is still partying; it's made national and local news and she can hear the news copters overhead. Nov. 4, 11:17 p.m.

Litsa 's friend just brought over beer folks are handing out in the streets. Signing off! Nov. 5, 12:18 a.m.

Litsa is enjoying her order of hope with a side of change. Nov. 5, 9:32 a.m.

Litsa was touched to hear her uncle in Greece called her folks this morning to congratulate them on Obama's election. Nov. 5, 10:11 p.m.

Litsa heard Rahm Emanuel shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Nov. 6, 12:02 p.m.

Litsa thinks, now that the election is over, everyone might want to give it a rest with the "Hussein" thing. Nov. 6, 8:56 p.m

Litsa 's new short story, "Pizza Day", is on Monkeybicycle now: zza.html. Nov. 7, 11:00 a.m.

Litsa isn't trying to be facetious but is really curious what Bill Clinton will do in his spare time now that the election is over. Nov. 9, 7:53 p.m.

Litsa hopes that, after Obama issues a new executive order overturning W's stem cell policy, he gets someone to bake her some tasty blueberry scones. Nov. 10. 11:27 a.m.

Litsa is pretty sure her neighbor's dogwalker is grappling w/ demonic possession. Or maybe high-grade lead poisoning. Nov. 10, 12:56 p.m.

Litsa has concluded there is no downside to steak fajitas. Nov. 11, 7:59 p.m.

Litsa thinks that if Aztec Camera had launched today instead of 25 years ago they would have been a much bigger deal. Nov. 12, 11:49 a.m.

Litsa fears we're all going to be dead a long time before she forgets the sight of the guy dry humping and then licking the brick wall on Broadway and E. Union today. Nov. 12, 4:18 p.m.

Litsa would like to point out to the kids tagging the neighborhood with pentagrams that actual satanists probably have more interesting stuff to do. Nov. 13, 9:20 a.m.

Litsa is warmed to know the love she has for French toast is, in fact, requited. Nov. 14, 9:39 a.m.

Litsa can't help but wonder if U.S. astronauts are all that excited about NASA's new invention that converts urine to drinking water. Nov. 14, 11:13 a.m.

Litsa thinks that unless gays toss, say, plutonium into the mix, there's no way they're going to screw up marriage worse than straights have. Nov. 15, 10:17 a.m.

Litsa will not take it personally that the deli near her home has stopped carrying organic tzatziki. Nov. 16, 5:47 p.m.

Litsa isn't worried that our president-elect will soon surrender his Blackberry, because he has assured her they will still communicate telepathically. Nov. 17, 10:52 a.m.

Litsa was once, many years ago, friends with someone whose favorite actor was Keanu Reeves. In retrospect, that should have been a tip off. Nov. 18, 11:52 a.m.

Litsa will think about the lasagna w/ bechamel sauce she had at La Spiga last night for the rest of this life and well into the next. Nov. 18, 4:17 p.m.

Litsa understands the prevailing strategy but thinks Joe Lieberman can still eat a dick. Nov. 19, 9:34 a.m.

Litsa 's friend once joked about Top Pot developing an opium donut and given the way the day is going and that it's only 9:15, she really wishes they'd get on that. Nov. 20, 9:19 a.m.

Litsa wants the pencil-chewing half-wits to know that if they decided to spontaneously combust, she'd be okay with it. Nov. 20, 12:58 p.m.

Litsa would like to commend herself for committing neither the murder nor hari kari that the day so clearly warranted. Nov. 20, 6:29 p.m.

Litsa had forgotten how awesome Whitman's Samplers can be until her dad surprised her w/ one yesterday. Yea, nougat! Nov. 21, 7:38 a.m.

Litsa sometimes falls in love with her neighborhood all over again. Nov. 21, 1:32 p.m.

Litsa thinks that if Bill starts acting batshit again during Hillary's SoS tenure, we should all agree to look the other way when she finally tazes him. Nov. 22, 10:06 a.m.

Litsa is disappointed that breakfast isn't responding to her commands and preparing itself because she thought they'd worked through all this. Nov. 23, 9:52 a.m.

Litsa is going to write a sonnet to the au jus sandwich and hand cut fries she had at the Virginia Inn tonight. Nov. 23, 9:07 p.m.

Litsa finished revising another chapter of her novel today. Which, all told, might be a bigger deal than the aforementioned sandwich. Nov. 23, 9:20 p.m.

Litsa 's downstairs neighbor seems to be running headlong into his east-facing bedroom wall repeatedly and for no discernible reason. Nov. 24, 10:22 p.m.

Litsa seems to have a poltergeist situation with her Ipod. Nov. 25, 11:39 a.m.

Litsa has extra family members in case anyone is running low the next few days. Nov. 25, 11:56 a.m.

Litsa has to go to the grocery store now despite her best plans and is psyching herself up as if she's at base camp on K-2. Nov. 26, 1:39 p.m.

Litsa still hasn't ruled out holing up w/ a stash of yam fries and Johnny Cash tunes for the next five weeks. Nov. 26, 7:37 p.m.

Litsa is thankful for her loved ones, the new first family, and that for the second year running, she was assigned Top Pot donuts and didn't have to cook anything. Nov. 27, 9:50 a.m.

Litsa says this as someone who isn't necessarily all "Holidays! Awesome! Yippee!" but yesterday turned out to be pretty damned great. Nov. 28, 11:21 a.m.

Litsa wishes the fanatics of all stripes would instantaneously evaporate and let the rest of us get on w/ things. Nov. 29, 12:10 p.m.

Litsa thinks we all deserve ponies and snowcones today. Nov. 30, 11:26 a.m.

Litsa hopes the fog enveloping the city is normal fog and not horror movie fog b/c she would hate to be eaten by beast-monsters before her novel is completed. Dec. 1, 12:18 a.m.

Litsa is glad it's sunny now and that the aforementioned horror movie fog lifted b/c she did not like worrying about the also aforementioned beast-monsters. Dec. 1, 10:54 a.m.

Litsa thinks this whole thing could be improved by a bowl of pistachio pudding. Dec. 1, 3:12 p.m.

Litsa doesn't get why Maureen Dowd blew so many words on Tina Fey's weight in the new VF cover story when Dowd's subject is one of the best writers working today. Dec. 2, 12:35 p.m.

Litsa just did something almost Chaplin-esque w/ her bowl of lentil soup, minus the grace and nuance. Sorry, kitchen floor. Dec. 2, 1:43 p.m.

Litsa wants to give Georgia a stern talking to. (Saxby Chambliss? For real? Thanks, wankers.) Dec. 2, 6:21 p.m.

Litsa knows to everything there is a season and all that, but still thinks it would be nice to have more than 45 minutes of sunlight a day right now. Dec. 3, 8:03 a.m.

Litsa calls bullshit that the gone but never forgotten Sonic Boom Records in Fremont is now a frozen yogurt place. Dec. 3, 5:52 p.m.

Litsa was trying to return a snowball thing and thinks she might have inadvertantly sent one to everyone on her FB list. Awesome. Dec. 4, 7:03 p.m.

Litsa wants to congratulate the title company w/ whom she's dealing for staffing solely w/ those who have been kicked in the head and recent mental patients. Dec. 5, 12:09 p.m.

Litsa was either sitting behind Dale Chihuly earlier today at the movies or an indigent guy. She's unsure which. Dec. 6, 7:43 p.m.

Litsa spotted two whole roasted chickens in front of the bldg next to hers yesterday; later, a guy asked her for "money for a whole chicken". Curious. Dec. 7, 2:22 p.m.

Litsa is very glad she did not have to go to REI again this year for her friend's birthday gift as displays of dried food kind of skeeve her out. Dec. 8, 12:17 a.m.

Litsa really hopes the riots in Greece finally stop today. Dec. 9, 10:38 a.m.

Litsa thanks Tina Fey for introducing "whittling IHOP monkeys" to the lexicon and will shower her w/ Green and Black's chocolate mint bars should they ever meet. Dec. 9, 1:10 p.m.

Litsa reminds everyone w/ auditory perception that not listening to the Pernice Brothers hastens the apocalypse and indicates you might be kind of a wang. Dec. 10, 1:24 p.m.

Litsa can't figure out why Paula Abdul exists. Dec. 11, 12:23 a.m.

Litsa thinks we should reenact "The Lottery" but instead of a random citizen it should be Blagojevich and instead of rocks we should pelt him w/ flaming garbage. Dec. 11, 11:21 a.m.

Litsa is pretty sure the lunatics are running not just the asylum but also the adjacent lot and the taco stand one block over. Dec. 12, 2:28 a.m.

Litsa is savoring the piercing morning sun. Dec. 13, 10:26 a.m.

Litsa thinks there should be a cash prize for not kicking someone in the shins when that person is so totally asking for it. Dec. 13, 11:41 a.m.

Litsa enjoys peering up the hill at the decorations festooning the bldgs to the east; she hopes her neighbors dig the arrangement of ornaments on her end table. Dec. 13, 3:38 p.m.

Litsa is enamored of the snow-covered birch trees outside her window and is going to traipse around for awhile. But first, a soy mocha. Dec. 14, 11:51 a.m.

Litsa is ridiculously pleased that after an already good day, "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" is on and will provide the soundtrack while she wraps gifts. Dec. 14, 6:24 p.m.

Litsa has more shoes if that Iraqi journalist wants to try again. Dec. 15, 10:04 a.m.

Litsa 's downstairs neighbor, based on the sound of things, is either continuing his protracted remodel or passing a small live animal. Dec. 15, 12:14 p.m.

Litsa will track down and ear-flick whomever recorded that crapfest version of Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas". Dec. 15, 8:11 p.m.

Litsa thinks W should spend his final month in office residing at Walter Reed Hospital. Dec. 16, 11:20 a.m.

Litsa wishes there were a way it could snow and still remain a balmy 55 degrees. Dec. 16, 12:43 p.m.

Litsa at this point is convinced the packing tape is out to get her. Dec. 16, 3:35 p.m.

Litsa doesn't know an enormous amount about the internal workings of the SEC, but based on the Madoff case, thinks maybe they need to lay off the long naps. Dec. 16, 7:11 p.m.

Litsa thinks Caroline Kennedy is smart and gracious and sane; still, getting appointed senator to New York seems like jumping several places in line. Dec. 17, 11:13 a.m.

Litsa thinks Rod Blagojevich and Bernard Madoff should be imprisoned together in a lucite box w/ no air holes so we can all watch them slowly expire. Dec. 17, 12:08 p.m.

Litsa wonders if we've been lulled into a false sense of complacency w/ the inaccurate snow forecasts and, like, now a tsunami is going to hit or something. Dec. 17, 9:08 p.m.

Litsa commences w/ the greatest day ever: an americano and maple cruller across the street at Top Pot, then a glorious walk in the snow. Hooray! Also: yippee! Dec. 18, 10:12 a.m.

Litsa still wishes sometimes that Elliott Smith were alive and creating today. Dec. 18, 8:17 p.m.

Litsa , for reasons she won't go into here, is recalling the scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray announces, "Morons, your bus is leaving." Dec. 18, 11:05 p.m.

Litsa wishes a whole bunch of her friends and colleagues the happiest of Hannukahs! Dec. 19, 12:00 a.m.

Litsa just realized the 20th is tomorrow and not today, and that she wished her friends Happy Hannukah a day early. Oy vey. Dec. 19, 12:12 a.m.

Litsa thinks y'all should read her friend Eric's hilarious new Vanity Fair piece on Orlando's evangelical theme park: Dec. 19, 12:13 p.m.

Litsa is bemused by how many of her artist friends are taking the snow *personally*, totally not dispelling the notion we're all a bunch of solipsistic crybabies. Dec. 19, 11:29 p.m.

Litsa is quite touched two friends have now offered to fetch her groceries from up the icy steep hill. High five, humanity! Dec. 20, 11:22 a.m.

Litsa wants to launch an indie rock "Behind the Music" wherein bands discuss their vegan chili recipes and library fines. Dec. 21, 8:05 p.m.

Litsa is toggling between M. Ward's "To Go Home" and the Mountain Goats' "This Year"; they sum things up perfectly right now. Dec. 22, 11:44 a.m.

Litsa isn't sure if the guy next to her at Half Price Books had roasted many bowls or just rubbed the pot all over himself for the past few days. Dec. 22, 6:13 p.m.

Litsa thinks the drunk sledders outside her window who are still at it five days into this are maybe way too fascinated by gravity. Dec. 23, 1:58 a.m.

Litsa reports the sledders outside her window kept at it until four a.m.; maybe today gravity will beguile them to leap from something tall. Dec. 23, 10:24 a.m.

Litsa got astoundingly good news when she got home! Merry Christmas, indeed! Dec. 23, 5:18 p.m.

Litsa says, Okay, let's do this thing. Merry Christmas and continued Happy Hanukkah to all! Dec. 24, 10:24 a.m.

Litsa has discovered the Williams and Sonoma chocolate-filled peppermint snaps she received as a gift are the earth's most addictive substance. Dec. 25, 10:09 p.m.

Litsa is irked that Sharon Stone, who is only slightly more relevant than Ashlee Simpson or a Kardashian sister, will be attending the inaugural festivities. Dec. 26, 12:33 p.m.

Litsa is pleased to report that someone working in the Broadway QFC's homeware section actually knew the answer to her question and was quite pleasant. Milestone! Dec. 26, 6:59 p.m.

Litsa was cajoled-- both arms totally twisted!--by her friend from college into grabbing donuts at Top Pot then burgers at Dick's. Sorry, life expectancy! Dec. 27, 2:51 p.m.

Litsa just remembered she has more gifts to wrap before today's snow-induced belated Christmas gathering and rallies, as always, for the sake of the children. Dec. 28, 11:16 a.m.

Litsa wonders when novel writing became a communal event. Dec. 28, 8:55 p.m.

Litsa thanks her immediate and extended family for providing so much material. Though she would love them anyway, she's pretty sure. Dec. 29, 12:18 a.m.

Litsa pauses to reflect on the joy that Fuji apple slices and Adam's creamy peanut butter have brought to her life. Dec. 29, 11:29 a.m.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A brief summation before the unicorns take flight:

  • Typing the above sentence made me nervous. Like everyone I know, I don't want to jinx things. Certain states are too close to call and in recent years we've all become acquainted with the myriad of ways our elections can go bonkers. Still, I think this time tomorrow our new President-elect will be massively intelligent, prepared, intuitive and sport a damned fine jump shot.
  • All the talk about Sarah Palin being the future of the Republican party is dead wrong. Two decades ago, the more centrist Democrats formed the Democratic Leadership Council to wrest power away from the lefty branch of the party, mainly, so they could start winning elections again. I think we'll see a similar aligning of moderate Republicans such as Tim Pawlenty and Olympia Snowe and others because that's the only chance the Republicans have of not being perceived as evangelical wack-jobs by the next generation of voters. (I would include Chuck Hagel in the above group, but he's not running for re-election and, by most accounts, he's going to be Obama's Secretary of Defense so it's a moot point.)
  • During the primaries, I declared Chris Matthews insane. While I still believe this to be true, I've come to enjoy his reporting. He's nuts, but he knows he's nuts. Most importantly, he's a true scholar of American electoral politics, his perceptions are singular and, as a bonus, entertaining as hell.
  • Someone needs to round up the Pennsylvania guys--Matthews, Ed Rendell, and Joe Biden--and put them on a stage together. The sheer tonnage of unedited verbiage could fuel power grids in all 50 states. (I say it with love, gentlemen.)
  • It will be interesting to see what happens years from now when Malia and Sacha start dating. Who, exactly, will measure up their father?
  • Also curious to see if Obama nominates Hillary to the Supreme Court, as some have speculated. I think she'd be well-suited for the position and, as consolation prizes go, it'd be pretty great.
  • I never looked at McCain the same way again after he said Obama "dealt the race card from the bottom of the deck".
  • In 2003, I pitched an idea to one of my editors: I wanted to interview 50 people and ask, "What gives you hope?" He passed and every editor for the next four years did the same because none of them could see the point. In the summer of 2007, my Esquire editor said yes (though we curbed the interviewees to 20) and during the past year, I've felt a tiny bit vindicated. Something besides instinct keeps us going and it's useful to explore it in a non-cheesy way. Clearly, this campaign has shown that a huge swath of the American electorate believes that if we work very hard and keep working very hard, we can make life better for ourselves and our country. We don't have to accept things as they are.
  • When my brother and I were little, our parents had us watch the Watergate hearings because they wanted us to understand that America is a nation of laws and that no one, not even the President, is above the law. Since then, my brother and I have followed politics avidly. While we often reach different conclusions, there's no one I'd rather debate this stuff with. Still, it will be nice to collect his ten dollars tomorrow.
  • I never thought I'd respect a politician this much. Thanks, sir, for inspiring the country again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

David Axelrod, call me:

I enjoyed tonight's Obama-rama and thought it underscored the most pressing issues in a meaningful way.

However, I have a suggestion. I know campaigns have to target swing state elderly and families, but just once, it'd be great if a nominee honed in on childless artists in metropolitan areas:

"Let's meet Frank. He's twenty-seven, lives in Portland, and the studio he's recording in just raised its rates. Now, each night, he stays up worrying how he'll complete his demo. On top of everything, the bike racks in his neighborhood remain scarce and then, last week, the Stumptown on Division Street lost its wi-fi for the better part of an afternoon."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Facebook, Day #6:

I joined Facebook two months ago because my friend sent me a link to her photo page and I wanted to check it out. I didn't launch my profile for real until last Friday, though, and since then, my inbox has been a swirling miasma of close friends, cherished acquaintances, colleagues, and those long ago consigned to memory. I've sent out a bunch of requests, too, and so far, have really enjoyed the replies.

On the flip side, holy hell: total sensory overload. It's great, but also kind of jarring, to be in contact with that many people from sundry aspects of your life simultaneously. I feel like I've eaten a pint of chocolate chip mint, or viewed Laser Floyd five times in a row.

I'm going for a walk now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


From a commenter on Wonkette's debate liveblog:

"To these asshats on CNN, the undecideds… if you can’t figure it out by now then you should just kill yourself. You have failed at life."

In a strange way, I feel sorry...

...for John McCain. He now reminds me of the cache of VHS movies I unearthed in my storage room last week: once engaging, now irrelevant.

Twenty-eight days to go.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

And if the markets are like this next year, the ground will expel Mitt Romney's hair follicles and scores of two-headed earthworms:

The protracted economic catastrophe keeps reminding me of Patton Oswalt's routine, "The Apocalypse" from his first disc, Feelin' Kinda Patton:

The apocalypse is coming. That's the one thing I like about George Bush. I really think he can get us into the fuckin' apocalypse. Like the Biblical--I really think he believes that he will be the guy in the white hat. I think he's read that Stephen King novel The Stand a couple times, you know? And he really thinks there's a dark man in the desert somewhere and he's going to fight him or something like that.

And here's the thing. If the apocalypse happens, it doesn't have to be all bad. Here's how you can make it work for you, all right, when the apocalypse happens. And you'll know when it's happening 'cause, zombies. But here's the thing, if the apocalypse happens, then that means I'm wrong and there is a God and there is an afterlife.

But here's the good news, in the afterlife, like in heaven, you'll be in the fucking V.I.P. section of eternity. Because everyone else up there will be like, "Hey, man! How'd you die?" And you're like, "Fuckin' bus accident. How 'bout you?, man?" And they're like, "Fire ants. How'd you die, man?" "How'd I die? In the fuckin' apocalypse! Oh my God, it was awesome! I'm in the velvet rope section of eternity. You should have fuckin' been there, man. The fucking volcanoes came out of the ground and they spewed menstrual blood into the sky, and then it formed into Avril Lavigne's face, and she recited the The
Good Will Hunting screenplay and the words turned into razors and they bored into your flesh and George Bush was president and mediocrity held sway! It was amazing! Oh, my God! I'm in the V.I.P. section! Where're my Poccies at? Where're my other Poccies at? High five, Poccies!"

I really want the apocalypse to happen. Honestly, don't you?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The VP Debate Summarized in Two Haikus:

Joe Biden shoots facts
with aim and force that Dirty
Harry might envy

Beneath her updo
microbes gnaw cerebellum
That explains the winks

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So much I'm going to catch up on here in the next couple of days...

...but I want to get this in under the wire:

I will personally kneecap the first pundit who hurls "sexism!" charges at Joe Biden if Biden wins handily tonight, which I believe he will. Sarah Palin is grossly unqualified for the job she's seeking and if Olympia Snowe, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Elizabeth Dole opt to have her "disappeared" at some point, I will provide their alibi.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Would they prefer 'lipstick on a jackass'?

As I wrote yesterday, the Washington Post broke the story that Sarah Palin billed Alaska taxpayers for 312 nights she and her family spent at home. But the story that got the most traction was Obama using the decades-old colloquialism, "lipstick on a pig", when discussing the Republican health care plan. The McCain camp, now priding itself on vacuity and whining, said Obama engaged in "schoolyard insults", even though Obama was not discussing Palin and McCain has used the phrase publicly at least three times himself.

One of the reasons I loathe Palin and those like her--male or female--is that they hurl insults but cry at any perceived slight and can't debate using facts and sentience. I'll note here, too, that the three most incurious and least empathetic women I know are huge Palin fans. So, in honor of Sarah and her tribe, I unfurl the lyrics to the Rolling Stones' strangely apt 1966 song, "Stupid Girl":

I'm not talking about the kind of clothes she wears
Look at that stupid girl
I'm not talking about the way she combs her hair
Look at that stupid girl

The way she powders her nose
Her vanity shows and it shows
She's the worst thing in this world
Well, look at that stupid girl

I'm not talking about the way she digs for gold
Look at that stupid girl
Well, I'm talking about the way she grabs and holds
Look at that stupid girl

The way she talks about someone else
That she don't even know herself
She's the sickest thing in this world
Well, look at that stupid girl

Well, I'm sick and tired
And I really have my doubts
I've tried and tried
But it never really works out

Like a lady in waiting to a virgin queen
Look at that stupid girl
She bitches 'bout things that she's never seen
Look at that stupid girl

It doesn't matter if she dyes her hair
Or the color of the shoes she wears
She's the worst thing in this world
Well, look at that stupid girl

Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up, shut-up, shut-up
Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up, shut-up, shut-up
Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up

Like a lady in waiting to a virgin queen
Look at that stupid girl
She bitches 'bout things that she's never seen
Look at that stupid girl

She purrs like a pussycat
Then she turns 'round and hisses back
She's the sickest thing in this world
Look at that stupid girl

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Okay, kids, here goes:

Everything has changed since I last traipsed these pages.

Barack Obama gave a smart and eloquent acceptance speech that soared higher than a Pegasus rocket and still delivered policy specifics. The next morning, John McCain announced Sarah Palin would be his vice presidential pick.

Since then, each day has brought a new revelation about Alaska's governor. At this point, we've heard them all: she wants Roe vs. Wade overturned; thinks abortion is wrong in cases of rape or incest; believes creationism should be taught in schools; was the mayor of a town of 7000 until 20 months ago; is under investigation in Alaska for ethics violations; has no foreign policy experience; supports banning books; doesn't understand even the basics of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; has concluded the U.S. is doing God's will in Iraq; and, as broken by the Washington Post today, billed her state's taxpayers for 312 nights she spent at home.

The twin culprits of book and CFIDS have prevented me lately from weighing in here as much as I'd like. But I'm going to try to resume posting a few times a week. In the meantime, to get up to speed, I'll paraphrase one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck: one day Sarah Palin will drop dead and I'll go to her funeral in a red dress.

Today's Washington Post story:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Highly Truncated Account of the DNC So Far:

I've been too sick to write about the Democratic National Convention in any real detail. However, I've watched several hours each night and even ordered Roma tomato and basil pizza from Toscana for Monday's kick-off. Highlights and observations:
  • CNN's Jeffrey Toobin and James Carville were dead wrong that Monday's speeches were too up-with-people-let's-all-hug. It was smart for the Democrats to first lay out who they are before eviscerating the Republicans. Also, even a tangential association between Michelle Obama and "anger" would have been a big, big mistake.
  • High five to Teddy for telling his doctors, essentially, to get stuffed; traversing the country; standing for the duration of his address; and injecting some blood and joy into the proceedings. (Jesse Jackson Jr. was pretty effective; Nancy Pelosi, whom I like, prompted me to hurl epithets with that second grade civics lesson "Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong" call-and-response. Her speech writer needs a new line of work, like cardboard sorter or sandwich maker.)
  • I've long adored and admired Michelle Obama, but after Monday's oration, she's now in the pantheon with Washington Square Park, The Beatles, rabbits, Joan Didion, Via Della Pace's lobster ravioli, Ernest Hemingway, and Top Pot's raspberry glazed donuts. Also, if more kids were as smart and cute and Malia and Sacha, I might have considered having some.
  • I knew Hillary would deliver a barn-burner because it was in her own interest to do so. But Tuesday night's speech was positively electrifying and if she was faking it, she fooled me and everyone I know. (Ultimately, she benefits as much as Obama, of course, but people, I'm trying to maintain the hopey-ness.) Mad props to her speech writer, too, because the Harriet Tubman segment was particularly engrossing.
  • Due to a protracted snafu at the QFC on Broadway and E. Pike where, apparently, it's a-okay to employ dead-eyed zombies with tiny microbes gnawing away their brain matter, I got home late and missed the first half of Bill Clinton's address. I liked what I caught, however, and was reminded why, until recently, he was my favorite politician. President Clinton is basically the friend you sometimes want to cockpunch (I'm being metaphorical, Secret Service!), but cherish nonetheless.
  • During the primaries, I maintained that in a different year, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd might have had traction. Not only do I want to have the proverbial beer with Joe Biden, I want to get soused with his whole goddamned family and, for the most part, I can't even drink. Biden's tone was note-perfect last night and I think he's going to make an excellent attack dog/bad cop/Robin/Chewbacca.
  • When Obama spoke last night, I was reminded again that repeatedly sacrificing chunks of my spare cash has been worth it.
  • To the pundits grousing that tonight's purported Greek columned set might reinforce the inane notion that Obama is elitist, calm the hell down. It'll either work or it won't, but don't get your panties bunched up before you've seen it.
Okay, off to run errands before the evening's festivities. And look! Over yonder! Might that be a unicorn alighting the sky?

[In all seriousness, the next 67 days are going to monstrously fucking hard and I think the outcome will be close. But yes, I very much believe this time next year we'll be referring to "President Obama". Onwards.]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The avalanche

One of my best friends is an experienced mountain and rock climber. Before his recent trek, I asked him if he or his pals have ever packed something akin to cyanide capsules. In case of disaster (god forbid), they could hasten things and not freeze or bleed to death for twelve hours in an icy crevasse. He said it was smart in theory, but a mistake in practice. He explained that when you're climbing, you have to believe that you can extricate yourself from any calamity, even if you logically know this isn't true.

In a way, we tell ourselves similar tales regarding relationships. Married couples, I think, do this the most. And it makes sense, because no marriage could work if the individuals went into it focused on the worst case scenario, that it could all crash down with little warning. Each time John and Elizabeth Edwards' wedding photo is flashed onscreen, I get sad. Their entire odyssey was always leading up to this moment and, realistically, there's no way out. Her cancer is Stage 4 and two of their children are young and even if she wants to leave--I have no idea if she does--she's not going to. So she'll spend her remaining time drained of the forces that sustained her.

I've long admired Mrs. Edwards and she doesn't need my pity. But we've all known a Rielle Hunter, someone who purports to be spiritual in order to mask their vapidity and baseness, and that makes the whole thing worse. In the footage released so far, she displays the I.Q. of a ringworm. It's inconceivable she'd land the videographer job with a prominent campaign if she weren't fucking the candidate. (I read Jay Mcinerney's novel about Hunter, Story of My Life, when it was released in '89. In the correlating Vanity Fair interview, she was totally grating. Nothing has changed, it seems.)

Still, though, John Edwards is the major culprit here. He upended his family, misused $114,000 in campaign funds and, basically, detonated what was once his life.

More so than anything, I hope his dick gets crushed by debris.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Essential truths:

  • Each statement uttered by John McCain or his campaign staff during the past week has made the Arizona senator sound like a complete ass
  • Andre Benjamin's smile could illuminate the darkest cave and should be studied as a possible alternative fuel source
  • Avocado slices and soy cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel smacks of leftovers from a Joni Mitchell sack lunch circa 1973 but is actually quite delicious
  • Writers should adopt David Bazan's "Fewer Broken Pieces" as our anthem
  • I get to legally kill the guy who revs his un-muffled Harley every night outside my bedroom window
  • Same for the designer on "Project Runway" tonight who'd never heard of Sgt. Pepper
  • Also, everyone who asks, "How many more pages do you have left to go?"
  • Chuck Klosterman is brilliant and should not be imitated
  • No one with a functioning cerebellum cares what Pitchfork thinks
  • Patton Oswalt and Wanda Sykes will cure what ails you
  • The Deluxe's turkey cobb salad suggests God might like us after all
  • My bunnies are cuter than your kids

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"And you may say to yourself/ 'My God! What have I done?'"--Talking Heads

On July 10, I wrote that, among the many things I would rather do than explain writing to those who don't write was "endure a Candlebox revival". (Please note re the original premise: I said "explain", not "discuss".)

At the time, I had no idea Candlebox had a new disc forthcoming. On any given day, a third of my inbox consists of music press releases, so I was alarmed last week when I discovered via their flack that the least interesting band ever associated with this city has decided to give things another go. I felt like I'd tempted fate and now all carbon-based life forms with auditory perception would suffer for my recklessness.

As it turns out, I was right. Today I received a follow-up press release announcing that the aforementioned record has debuted at #32 on Billboard's Top 200. Jesus fucking Christ, what is going on? Is a segment of the population really that starved for factory-stamped pseudo-grunge? Couldn't it meet the same need by watching a "Who's the Boss?" marathon? It would stir the same degree of imagination and cost less in cash and brain cells.

To make amends for the torrent of stupidity I inadvertently prompted, here is footage of the LWs' new album taking shape. Because JR playing the cowbell for three minutes is still more interesting than Candlebox could ever be:

Friday, July 11, 2008

You are so fucked, dude:

It's been widely reported that Alexander Rodriguez told a friend regarding Madonna, "She's my fucking soul mate, dude."

This morning I read that A-Rod's soon-to-be ex-wife, Cynthia, is Greek.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things I Would Rather Do Than Explain Writing to Those Who Don't Write:

  • Forego spring rolls and shrimp phad thai for a year
  • Have a Viagra-fueled three-way with John and Cindy McCain whilst Sean Hannity lurks by the nightstand and jerks off
  • Listen to a well-educated person in their 30s act surprised that having children is, in fact, a singular and transformative experience
  • Hang out with a baby boomer who launches into an anecdote with, "Back when I was on campus..."
  • Endure a Candlebox revival
  • Discuss "one's journey" with Madonna
  • Make out with a life coach
  • Eat a bag of dog crap

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Bill Walton headbands, too:

Indie kids, you know I love you, but if we could stop with the bolero hats, I'd really appreciate it.

When you ape Gene Loves Jezebel, that story ends badly.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Or their ass cracks:

The past week has been pretty great, so I didn't write about the Sonics' upcoming exodus because I didn't feel like it.

But the Sonics were a big part of my youth and I'm sad the region's young-uns won't get to cheer them on the way all of us on the block did when we were kids. Basically, Clay Bennett and his cohorts ooze a smugness that makes me hope fire ants crawl up their dicks upon arrival in the Sooner State.

Don't rule it out: the part of Greece I'm descended from has put curses on the deserving for centuries.

It's all right, Seattle. I'm on it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A few couples close to me are trying to conceive...

...and they each report being bombarded with questions: Are you pregnant yet? Why'd you wait so long? Are you considering in vitro? Are you thinking of adopting? Are you pregnant yet? Are you? ARE YOU?

On their behalf, let me reply emphatically and without reserve: Shut the fuck up.

I don't understand how anyone besides the individuals in question (and maybe their folks) concludes that this is their business. As someone who doesn't want kids, I can relay that certain types of people are ceaselessly fascinated with others' procreative choices. I don't get it and never will. If you want kids, have them. If you don't, don't. (As Wanda Sykes and I discussed in the Believer interview: unwanted children become the biggest assholes.) But for god's sake, don't harass friends or family regarding their decisions.

Because eventually, they'll wish you were never born.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

When I was in high school, I had a zoology teacher...

...who taught with patience and gusto. Several kids--wankers, all--made fun of her because she was fat, and looking back, it seems unfathomable that she didn't know their whispered jibes were directed at her. Still, she remained unflappable in class and took extra time to work with me so that I'd stay abreast while my family and I traversed Greece for three weeks. Even at that age, I was fairly certain my future lay in the arts and that most of our curriculum would have little practical application in my adult life. But I enjoyed her class each day because she made the fundamentals of zoology tangible and fun. And now when I frequently read the science sections of the New York Times and have a layperson's appreciation--in an indirect way, it's because of her.

So I thought of Mrs. ____ last night when I watched this Time Magazine interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and host of NOVA scienceNOW. The erudition and passion with which he discusses life's atomic origins and Issac Newton's discoveries make me wish that when I was at the museum in 2006, I'd knocked on his door, offered him a mocha, and asked, "Can I listen to you think?"

It is my fondest hope that I one day interview Dr. deGrasse Tyson:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Apart from homicidal dictators and the occasional all-thumbs editor...

...I try not to wish death upon anyone.

But I was about to link to an interview w/ the nutball Dick Morris when my Blackberry went off. I checked and the New York Times email alert said George Carlin died at his home in Los Angeles.


I petition God for a swap.

(Also, belatedly: Tim Russert R.I.P.)


Friday, June 20, 2008

Group nudity, rum drinks, rockin' out : Eric Spitznagel on the high seas

The deeply gifted and forever adored Mr. Spitznagel has an awesome new feature, "Rock the Boat", in the July/August issue of Radar.


"If you've ever lived in Los Angeles, you've most likely experienced that moment when you're out with your friends and somebody says, 'Hey, we should drive to Las Vegas!' So you all pile into the car thinking you're being spontaneous and wild, until you get about midway through the desert and return to your senses. Las Vegas is never as good as you think it's going to be. Wayne Newton, in actuality, isn't so hilariously kitschy. He's just kind of creepy.

A rock cruise is like Las Vegas with all the exits cut off."


Monday, June 16, 2008

No one asked Bill Clinton how to fire up the grill:

Michelle Obama has her law degree from Harvard and Cindy McCain has her master's in special education from USC, but thank god we know their favorite recipes:

I have no idea if a McCain intern plagiarized this recipe, too (see above), but that's not the point. That these women are queried on baked goods makes me want to cram a flour sifter up some editor's ass.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I think Hillary gave a remarkable speech...

...and that her points on gender were particularly smart and eloquent.

I posted this elsewhere, but if she had set this tone from the get-go, had canned Mark Penn and Patti Solis-Doyle after Iowa, and had somehow, in defiance god and nature, gotten Bill, Terry McAuliffe, and Lanny Davis to shut the hell up for increments exceeding 60 seconds, the outcome might have been different.

I thought her endorsement today, as difficult as it must have been, rang true. I know some Clinton supporters will never vote for Obama--check out the comment section on most Hillary backers are intelligent and engaged, and as November rolls 'round, I think they'll get all hope-y like the rest of us.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Opa, Yasou, et al

Wednesday was one of those days that proves the adage, "man plans, God laughs" and I unexpectedly found myself in Phinney Ridge with a bit of time to kill. I ate at Mae's, of course, because I'm not a communist, then wandered the neighborhood for the first time in months. Turns out a new Greek import food store, The Shop Agora, has opened across the street and I popped in. Discovered it's wonderfully authentic without the contrived "rustic-ness" such venues sometimes feature and that it offers some of the best Greek sweets outside of family holidays. Came away with goods for two friends and for myself, and while I don't eat Greek food that often, when I partake next time, I'll definitely head back:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm going to wave the dork flag pretty high here...

...but I'm hugely proud to be an American tonight. And my cousins' kids who are five and under will never know a time in which all this wasn't possible. Onwards!

(Also: five more months to go. Dear god.)

I reiterate my longstanding offer: free head and pizza for whomever finds a cure

The New York Times May 30 CFIDS feature is one of the smartest and most insightful I've encountered. The professor interviewed, Leonard Jason, has it himself and does a fine job illustrating what it's like to live with the illness and why the word "fatigue" is misleading. If you know me, it'd mean a lot if you read it:

Thankee kindly. And I should clarify: I will pay for the head and pizza, but I won't provide it myself. Unless you cure it in the next week or so. I'm lookin' at you, CDC researchers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Et tu, Carrie?

A few years ago, Fran Lebowitz was asked about the recent proliferation of strollers and such on Manhattan's landscape. She replied, essentially, that these same people already have the rest of the country, so why did they need to overrun New York?

I felt something analogous at the 3:15 showing of Sex and the City today. The film is aimed at the type of women who go to New York and take the SATC tour, who don't catch that what made the show great is that its smart, flawed characters would never do something so passive and contrived. The big screen adaptation is a hackneyed romantic comedy and if I hadn't looked forward to it all year, I would have bailed around the time Charlotte, literally, shits her pants. (Okay, I know you don't see a lot of that in rom-coms, but it was the hoariest, dumbest sight gag.)

I completely respect Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, and crew, and I know the financial and demographic aspects of a wide-release feature are very different from that of a premium-cable series. But still. Three fourths of pop culture is aimed at the tour bus women. Couldn't we have kept this one for us?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lightning round:

As I've noted, the novel has been usurping most of my upright hours. But I've been feeling a bit better lately (again w/ the wood-knocking), so I'm going to try and resume posting here several times a week. To catch up:

1) Still can't wrap my mind around events in Myanmar and in China.

2) Feel awful for Ted Kennedy and his family. While I've made cracks about him before, I usually agree with his policies, but that's not even the point. Brain cancer is a horrific diagnosis and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

3) R.I.P. Sidney Pollack. He made it look easy.

4) The good part, as it were, of Hillary's RFK comment is that it irrefutably proves a point Phyllis Chesler made over 30 years ago in her seminal work, Women and Madness: that women are humans, with all the greatness and folly that entails. I.e. it's a mistake to cast women in the saint roll because it's infantilizing and, ultimately, inaccurate. In general terms, women and men's strengths and weaknesses are sometimes different, but on the whole, each sex brims with total awesomeness and absolute crap. And maybe that's the strongest argument for shattering the remaining glass ceilings: not all that much is going to change.

5) While we're on the topic, and I've made this point elsewhere, but of course we're going to elect a woman president in the near future. I don't understand all the teeth-grinding editorials suggesting we might not. Women are almost 51% of a nation of roughly 300 million. All of our stars aren't hitched to Senator Clinton's campaign and it's a little bizarre to suggest otherwise.

6) If this doesn't swell your heart with lovely and buoyant feelings, go ahead and swallow the last pill because you're already dead:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'll weigh in on a panoply of things...

...later today or Friday. This past week has been a miasma of health and real estate snafus, but I'm pleased to report the novel is still going well. (Wood knocked, salt thrown over shoulder. All that.)

In the meantime, here are excellent recent interviews from two of the very best ladies.

Toni Morrison in Time Magazine:,8599,1738303,00.html

Amy Sedaris in The Onion's A.V. Club:

On a somewhat related note, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker have endorsed Barack Obama and Maya Angelou is backing Hillary Clinton. Any election wherein authors' support is trumpeted is kind of great.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Nope, no discernible connection:

1) Media bloggers who use the term "Fey-tigue" regarding Tina Fey are irredeemable cretins who will toss the Devil's salad in hell, with their eyes open, listening to Jon Bon Jovi discuss how critics don't take him seriously but that he's in it for the fans.

2) When Hillary says she'll "obliterate" Iran if it launches a nuclear strike against Israel, she's being forthright about U.S. policy, if shockingly cavalier concerning civilian casualties. If anyone attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, the U.S. will be ensnared, essentially, in World War III. You can't blame her for the honest response, but I wish she hadn't sounded like Tony Montana while discussing a nightmare scenario that literally could eradicate swaths of humankind.

3) When was the last time you had Eggs Benedict? How great does that sound right now?

4) The cherry blossom trees near my home are blooming and even if Seattle is still ridiculously chilly, it's lovely to watch spring poke through the blanketing gray.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sadness and salvation:

1) I have no illusions that certain segments of the electorate or the media are going to drop the subject, but I think Obama's press conference yesterday regarding Jeremiah Wright was erudite and wise. If more of the populace were the same, it would be the last of the topic.

2) You have to have gargled a bathtub of crazy to think Michigan, where Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot, is indicative of anything. Roger Simon of Politico sums up why the junior senator from New York has gone off the rails:

3) And because animals often seem like the best reason not to mainline Kahlua and burn this world to the ground, secure in the knowledge that God has one eye closed, here are some photos of pomeranian puppies:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Goddamn Jeremiah Wright:

It's great that Barack Obama remained composed while fielding questions about Pastor Wright today. But in this instance, I feel no pull toward gentility. I've given notable time and money to the Obama campaign and I'm disinclined to stay polite while an addle-brained yahoo attempts to hijack it. (Yes, I know Wright served honorably in the Marines and has spoken vociferously on behalf of the poor and against racial injustice and for that, of course, I respect him. But much like Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, and Erica Jong with their pro-Hillary editorials, it's likely Wright's recent words mostly will help himself.)

So, to Jeremiah Wright, I say this: African-Americans aren't a monolith any more than women and I'm in no way telling you what to think or say. Obviously. But it will suck all the dick in the world if the best presidential candidate this country has seen in my lifetime isn't elected, not because most voters rejected his positions, which would sadden a lot of us but would be fair game, but because he once trusted you and you now appear clinically insane. Remember that scene in Jungle Fever where John Turturro futilely explains to the assholes in the diner that David Dinkins and Marion Barry, while both black, are two different guys? And how the assholes can't fathom it, because they're assholes? That's what we're facing come November if you don't step off the national stage immediately. Enough voters will attribute your words to Obama and we'll be heralding President McCain, who, while an honorable man, wants to leave Iraq pretty much never and might not be able to find his car keys by the end of his first term. In large part, an African-American will have prevented an African-American from becoming president.

Which is more odious than any conspiracy you could concoct.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Good German:

The oft-mentioned, deeply cherished, and awesomely talented Mr. Spitznagel interviews Bob Odenkirk and David Cross for Vanity Fair and I'm happy eight different ways:

I've been listening to Charles Mingus'...

...Mingus Ah Um and this morning I discovered something he said that's note perfect and wise:

"Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird, that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Even the most open-minded among us make jokes about the inbred... I think we should heartily applaud ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous for lifting the stigma and demonstrating that, even if your parents share genetic code, you can hold a job and, if you work very hard, moderate a debate between two of the most intelligent and historically relevant presidential candidates of the past few decades. Kudos to ABC's news division for hiring different sorts within the inbred phylum, too: based on tonight's questions, it appears Gibson's parents are first cousins and that Stephanopolous' folks are siblings, maybe even twins.

Americans are ready for change after all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gloria Steinem once said that writers don't like writing...

...but they like having written. I sometimes genuinely love the act of writing, but in the larger sense, she's correct. You're isolated when you're working and composing in your head when you're not and this occasionally renders you a tad batshit. But when you're done, it's candy apple delicious and there's nothing so invigorating and humbling as when someone tells you in person or in print that they like your work.

So today it was fun discovering my words linked to a piece in the Guardian U.K. (click on "delivering the punchline himself")...

...and on Seattle Daily photo (see blogroll on the right, replete with very kind appellation):

Also, I'd like to give shout-outs to New York Daily Photo, Almost One a Day, and Thessaloniki Daily Photo, truly delightful sites that have usurped a bit of my free time lately:

And if you haven't already, check out Rebecca Traister's Salon feature, "Hey, Obama boys: Back off already!". Singularly intelligent and even-handed, Traister's piece is one of the best I've read during this cracker jack season:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Words on words and music and some on other words:

My dear friend and fellow scribe, Chris Estey, recently asked me and a scoop of other writers and musicians which album, given our druthers, we'd tackle for the 33 1/3 book series. The answers are featured on Three Imaginary Girls:

The aforementioned Mr. Estey is covering the seminal EMP Music Conference all weekend for KEXP and the result is a crackling good time:

My "Bleacher Friction" piece is also on the literary blog I sometimes write for, The Nervous Breakdown, replete w/ lively comments:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bleacher friction, lefty thuggery, a Hobbit: notes from the 36th District Democratic Convention

Two months ago at the Washington State Democratic Caucus, I was elected an Obama delegate to the 36th District Democratic Convention. As my cousin, Ellie, said recently, "Litz, I'd be more surprised if you weren't totally supporting Obama." As is often true with those who love you most, she meant it as both a compliment and a dig. Which is fine, as she treated me to a very nice steak last night.

As per the literature I'd received, I arrived at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday at Ballard High School to sign in early for the day's proceedings. (Mad props to my dad, a lifelong moderate Republican, for picking me up and dropping me off. While this is a great time in my life, things have been dicey physically. Dad usually rises at 4:00 a.m. and he knows how sick I am in the mornings, so when he found out I had to be there early, he volunteered to transport me. Righteous that the father/daughter thing supercedes party affiliation.)

After traversing the lines required to establish credentials, etc., I entered the gymnasium and found a seat on a low bleacher riser in the delegate section. Two women in Hillary shirts sat in front of me and grimaced when they saw my Obama button. I managed a tight smile, but in all fairness, it's not as if I wanted to hug them, either. As other Hillary supporters filed in, the women beckoned them over and soon I was the lone Obama delegate in the front two rows. They introduced themselves to each other and pointedly ignored me. I was tempted to join the Obama crew forming nearby, but found the fly/ointment scenario too appealing. The Clinton ladies kept uneasily eyeing my notebook, and while they were trashing Obama and the media, I would have taken notes regardless, because, like many writers, that's what I do. I agreed with them on certain points, too: Republicans will scream, "Pastor Wright!" all through the general; some jibes against Hillary are sexist.

A guy waving an Obama sign ran down an aisle yelling, "We're about change! We're about our children's future!" If I'd had a week to live, I would have stabbed him in the lungs. As it was, I took another hit of coffee and hoped his shoelaces might untie. Then other Obama supporters hoisted placards and Hillary folks responded in kind and the whole things smacked of a homecoming rally, with less hair and more fleece. (Much like an aerophobic self-hypnotizes before take-off, I focused intently to block out the rampant fleece.)

A district official gave an eloquent and heartfelt introduction and for the next two hours, Washington State Democratic candidates and elected representatives sequentially addressed the 3000+ crowd. When Congressman Jim McDermott approached the podium, he received a standing ovation, minus one curly-haired Greek girl. I do not understand why Seattle Democrats love this guy so much. He's been in office since I was a little kid, and while I often agree with him on the issues, I think he's kind of a thug, but for the left. Seriously, why is it okay that he illegally taped Newt Gingrich? Brain-damaged alligators have a more acutely honed sense of ethics than Gingrich, but we can't cry, "Watergate!" when Republicans pull this shit but look the other way when our side does it. And I disagree with McDermott's points in Fahrenheit 911. If the Bush administration is as inept as he claims--and he's right here--then there's more of a reason to be scared, not less.

We arrived at the time where the Obama and Clinton camps were each allowed three minutes to sway the throng. Clinton's apostate spoke first and it was the actor, Sean Astin. A man near me lifted a homemade sign that read, "HOBBITS FOR HILLARY!" so clearly at least a few knew he was on the roster. Astin said he likes Obama and will gladly vote for him if he's the nominee, then discussed why he supports Hillary. He was a class act, but spent most of his 180 seconds discussing Clinton's "barrier-shattering" tenure as First Lady. His assessment was accurate, of course, but the only time he mentioned her role in the Senate was to note she won re-election by "a landslide".

The Obama contingent decided to divide their time among four speakers, and the first was a 79 year-old grandmother whose family emigrated to the U.S. after escaping the Nazis in 1938. She said she wants her grandchildren to live in a country wherein they are proud of the president, his accomplishments, and what he stands for. Her words were lovely and meaningful and everyone clapped loudly. Next was a guy in his twenties who, if he convinced anyone of anything, it was that his parents should be forced to pay reparations for spawning such a cloying fuckwad. He spoke almost entirely in non-sequiturs, announced, "For Obama, style is substance!" and usurped the remaining time so that the other Obama speakers were shut out. A Hillary supporter in front of me asked loudly, "What did that even mean?" and I leaned forward and said, "For what it's worth, I completely agree with you. He was awful." She met me halfway and pleasantly responded, "Well, I guess we're all amateurs here."

The next several hours were spent discussing and voting on the 36th District platforms and resolutions. Issues included ending the Iraq War, a pledge of support to our troops and veterans, providing universal health care, and the exigent need to halt climate change. At this point, I had been sitting on the floor for the past two hours with my legs stretched out, unable to remain contorted in the bleachers. The chills were awful and when one of the Hillary supporters saw my cane, she asked if I wanted her seat. I thanked her and explained that I needed to stretch my legs--hence sitting on the floor--and that I had my water and Cliff Bar and would be fine. The chills became almost unbearable, though, and when it became evident that we were five and a half hours into things and still several hours away from electing delegates to the convention in Denver, I knew I had to leave. If I became much sicker, I would be immobilized for the upcoming week and I cannot spare that kind of time away from my novel. I'd concluded weeks before I didn't want to go to Denver--again, the novel and health--but I'd wanted to vote for those who would. However, I knew the district brimmed with erudite Obama supporters--aforementioned asswipes to the contrary--and that, in a state where Obama won every county, my presence the rest of the day would have negligible impact, except to weaken me.

At 2:15, I took a last look around the room, exited the gymnasium, went outside and called my dad.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hooray! Only seven more months to go:

  • Listening to Hillary Clinton tell a joke is like thinking about your own conception. Either way, you're unlikely to eat for the next hour.
  • Maureen Dowd referred to Barack Obama as "effete" again today. Didn't she throw the same shit at Al Gore in 2000? Admittedly, neither guy is butch, but last I heard, the job requires no working knowledge of belt sanders. Not sure why Dowd needs a president who swings his dick with one hand and crushes Bud cans in the other.
  • It's nice, though, to have reached the long overdue point in history where an African-American man isn't automatically assumed to be tough.
  • If John McCain endorses Viagra like Bob Dole did after his '96 loss, my lady parts and I are emigrating far, far away.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Surpassing, even, mint and chocolate or eggs and Sunday mornings

As noted before, I'm not a big fan of YouTube, largely because I have things I still want to accomplish before I'm dead and it's not as if there's an infinite amount of time in which to do them.

But I'm psyched for the upcoming DCfC disc, so I thought I'd peruse some of the lads' concert footage to tide me over. Then I stumbled upon this video for "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", which is lovely and appropriate for all sorts of reasons:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Goddamnit, people, I'm in no mood for this shit: Cooper House to become office space

I'm thrilled that it's not going to be demolished, but it's about a mile from here and it kills me that in a city teeming with the newly rich, no one had the wherewithal to restore and augment its glory. If I had the money, I know exactly what I'd do with it. And, yes, the bunnies would have their own wing.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


For the past week, I've wanted to address Geraldine Ferraro's ludicrous screed and the more batshit elements of Pastor Wright's beliefs. I respect each of them in some ways and in others think they're gargling bongwater. And there's much I want to say about the complex, challenging, and moving speech Senator Obama gave this morning.

But I discovered last Friday that Lulu has lung cancer. (Initially, it presented more like arthritis, which would have given her more time.) She's almost ten, which is impressively old for a rabbit, particularly a Holland Lop, and up until a few weeks ago, she was a super-intelligent, sprightly ball of fluff. She and her remaining brothers have had a great run of things and I love them (and Oscar, who died in '03) like I love my family and friends. But she's getting sicker rapidly and this morning, I made the call. Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. her vet will euthanize her and I'll be in the room soothing her.

So there's much I want to write about the campaign, but I won't right now, because my heart and head are filled with sand.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gentlemen, if we may have a word:

I'm not going to write about Elliot Spitzer except to say I think he should resign. Not because he cheated on his spouse, but because he violated the same laws he once prosecuted as New York Attorney General, indicating his judgment is way out of whack. (Bonus points to The Daily Show for deeming it "Fuck-gate".)

Instead I'm going to address the headline on the bottom left of the current issue of Esquire, "WHEN THE HELL DID 39 YEAR-OLD WOMEN GET TO BE SEXY?". My Esquire editor is awesome as popcorn and I've read Esquire since high school. Also, I understand that, ostensibly, the headline is complimentary and, no, I haven't had a chance to read the piece yet. My beef is strictly with the headline's implicit surprise. So, to the editor(s) who wrote and approved the headline, I say this:

1) If I took my shirt off, I guarantee you'd stay in the room and,

2) Eat a bag of dicks.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Pre-sleep thoughts on Democrats:

1) Florida and Michigan party officials drank lead-based paint as kids.

2) Bill Clinton is the ex you tried to stay friends with but who keeps trying to fuck you. Dude, you're not getting back in.

3) I wish Hillary didn't represent New York. It's like your high school principal managing the Beatles.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it's between hipsters and retards. I mean...

...either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know."

Chuck Klosterman is wiser than your grandpa and writes better than a fish swims. From the online version of New York Magazine:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Quantitative Overview of the Only Individuals or Entities More Annoying than the Democratic Voting Populace of Ohio:

  • My Legal Writing professor who had the I.Q. of a sand fly and the writing skills of its larvae
  • The half-life of plutonium
  • Wes Unseld of the Washington Bullets and his cry baby antics during the 1978 NBA Championship against the Seattle Supersonics
  • Large chunks of black peppercorns in otherwise delicious Italian salami
  • The gum stuck to the bottom of my white Pumas
  • Women who allow David Lee Roth to penetrate them
  • The phalanges and sexual organ of David Lee Roth
  • Hitler's mom's gynecologist
  • The CNN producer who, apparently, elects not to cock-punch Lou Dobbs before and after each segment
  • Any dining partner, who, upon discovering that I don't like olives, responds with, "You don't like olives? But you're Greek! Ha! Ha!"
  • Those who act as if their preference for tea instead of coffee connotes moral superiority
  • The clog in my garbage disposal
  • White people who post their umbrage on
  • That bacon originates and results in death
  • Ragweed
  • The Democratic voting populace of Texas

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yeah, but I don't wear ass-less pants:

A guy who is the spitting image of Rob Halford just looked up at my kitchen window, saw me pouring tea in my sushi pajamas, and smirked.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll listen to Journey for a month and wear a fleece hoodie in public if someone...

...can explain to me how Chris Matthews has a job.

The homeless guy who routes for change in the convenience store pay phone across the street speaks in the same cadence and is every bit as lucid.

Does Matthews have a G.E. executive's mom duct taped to the water heater in his basement?

There's no other explanation.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What the fuck?

I can't fathom the circumstances under which this decision would make sense.

From today's Dallas Star-Telegram via Wonkette:

Police Concerned about Order to Stop Weapons Screening at Obama Rally:

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Because we could all use a pallate cleanser:

The video for Chris Walla's awesomely catchy and moving-in-a-good-way "Sing Again" packs more familiar faces and indie fun times than the green room at Neumo's. Commence with rockin'. Or bending slightly at the knees and swaying almost imperceptibly. (I say it with love, emotards I stand behind at shows.)

On plagarism and pride:

As everyone knows by now, Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Barack Obama have been friends and political allies for fifteen years and both say they talk several times a week. David Axelrod helped coordinate Patrick's campaign and oversees Obama's and according to CNN, as early as a year ago, both Patrick and Obama said publicly that they sometimes use each other's lines. Since yesterday, in at least two interviews, Patrick has made abundantly clear that they sometimes swap adages and that he encouraged Obama to employ the phrases in question. Plagiarism, by definition, involves theft. As a writer, I take the charge extremely seriously. If I thought Obama stole another's words, I'd forfeit my position as county delegate. But it's like Patrick gave him the keys and said, "Here, borrow my car" and the Clinton campaign is crying, "Grand theft auto!" Logically and morally, it doesn't make sense.

Re what Michelle Obama said about feeling pride in her country for the first time in her adult life: I have complete respect for her and I like that she often speaks off the cuff and perhaps she misspoke, but any way you parse it, it was a ridiculous thing for a potential first lady to say to a room full of reporters. Please, Mrs. Obama, do not morph into Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Besides, if there is another life after this one, think how much we'll get to laugh watching it all...."--Molly Ivins; "I've always said that in...

...politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.”--Ann Richards

As the Texas primary looms, I can't help but wish Molly Ivins and Ann Richards were still alive.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the precipice of turning 41:

1) Regarding my last post: I was wrong about Denver. All of us who were elected county delegates at Saturday's caucus must attend our legislative district caucus on April 5 and/or the county convention on April 19. Then we attend our congressional district caucus on May 17th. Out of the county delegates, a group of convention delegates is elected. They attend the state convention in Spokane on June 14 and then, of course, the DNC in Denver August 25-28.

At my caucus on Saturday, I was elected precinct secretary and asked to speak on behalf of Obama before being elected one of the county delegates, so I was recording the caucus minutes and discussing with Obama supporters the points we should make and it's entirely possible something got lost in the fray. But I asked a number of detailed questions of those running the show and was under the impression no one was quite sure what the hell was going on. Or if they were clued in, they were unable to elucidate the proceedings.

I still had a number of questions and went to the Washington State Democratic Party web site and as far as I can discern, the info I listed above is correct. I know a whole bunch of writers who tend to vote Democrat and I might corral said scribes and see if all of us can help with the party's written materials. There's no way a button for the state party crab feed should be front and center but the delegates should have to dig around to find what, exactly, we're supposed to do. And I think it's confusing to refer to both county delegates and convention delegates as "delegates", even if the latter is elected from the former. It's sort of like calling prime rib and sirloin steak the same thing because they both come from cow, when really, they're similar but different.

Given the deadlines of my novel and the parameters of my health, I'm not sure if I'm going to try to get elected a convention delegate. I want to go--of course--and am fairly certain one of my editors will assign something in conjunction, but I don't want to end up in a wheelchair with an unfinished novel in order to do so. I've decided to take it day by day: if I'm persistently ambulatory and still writin' well when the congressional district caucus rolls 'round on May 17, I might toss my hat in the ring. We'll see.

[Side note: My condo on Nickerson hasn't sold yet and I'm still registered in that precinct. I'd read that you could "re-register", i.e. update your address and precinct at your new precinct caucus site on caucus day, but so much of what I'd read that week was incorrect, so I decided not to risk it. I caucused at the Coe School on Queen Anne instead of Prospect Church on Cap Hill and while I missed hanging with my new neighbors, it was nice seeing some of my old ones.]

2) What's up with Democrats wringing their hands over the notion of "electability"? Yesterday I read in the New York Times and in the Stranger online two different pieces decrying the impetus to choose a candidate based, in part, on whether she or he can get elected in November. I agree with the larger points: that it's a bit cynical and that it's impossible to predict with utmost certainty what voters will do, particularly this year.

But here's the thing: Democrats haven't won the White House with a significant majority of the popular vote since Carter beat Ford in 1976, and that was in huge part because Ford pardoned Nixon. Clinton didn't win a majority of the popular vote in 1992 or 1996--hey, Ross Perot!--and it left him without a mandate and vulnerable to the Gingrich-led smackdown in 1994. Gore won the popular vote, but just barely, and while it seems clear the Supreme Court decided the outcome, the Florida embarrassment could have been avoided if the esteemed Vice President had won his home state.

So yes, "electability" isn't an ideologically pure notion, but it is an important one. Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry all have one thing in common, you know? I happen to agree with most of Obama's positions--he still hasn't sold me on nuclear energy--and I think he has the best shot to beat McCain, so the electability question isn't a tripwire for me. And no, I'm not naive. I realize I think an African American first-term senator will beat a decorated war hero who's whiter than toothpaste. But I know many life-long Republicans and Bill Clinton voters in several states who are voting for Obama and I think that's significant. No matter what, though, I believe it's crucial to remember how difficult the next nine months will be and that all three candidates have smart, conscientious supporters in their camps.

3) For the most part, being 40 was awesome. The novel, new home, dudes, and donuts. If possible, I heartily recommend living at least this long.

4) And now I'm 41. So far, so good.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's been a long and invigorating weekend and I can barely keep my eyes open, but...

...I'm pleased to report that at my caucus site on Saturday, I was asked to speak on behalf of the precinct's Obama supporters, then I was asked to be a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Denver, ho! I know his positions in fair detail, but I intend to learn them as well as Daschle. Re Friday's rally at Key Arena, I'm too tired to elaborate and if you're voting for him, you've read about it by now. Also, I don't want to proselytize.

And because we've got nine months to go and it's important to keep a sense of humor:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


  • I figured HRC would take California, but you have to give her props for winning Massachusetts. Obviously, I'm displeased, but I'm not Teddy's biggest fan and I'm intrigued that Massachusetts Dems, of all voters, weren't swayed by the Kennedy mystique. (They weren't swayed by John Kerry or Deval Patrick, either, but that's ultimately less noteworthy.)
  • I think Obama's momentum will propel him to win the nomination. If I'm wrong, though, like I've said before, I'll back Hillary. I've read a bunch of comments on sundry message boards today wherein supporters of both parties have said they'll jump ship if their candidate isn't the pick. Weird that any voter could lose sight of the Supreme Court.
  • My dad grew up under Nazi occupation in Greece and survived the country's subsequent civil war. I have so many family members who grew up without food and shelter, much less the right to vote, so election years always resonate with me. I feel grateful to have been born here and in this era.
  • Read that Mitt Romney has spent nearly forty million of his own cash in this campaign. Can't help but think that, after all this dies down, his kids (and presumptive heirs) are going to be pissed.
  • Cindy McCain's hair tonight was colored and styled exactly like Gwen Stefani's. Unintentional no doubt (rim shot!), but I like that, while her husband is going on about showing that dipshit Rumsfeld a thing or two, she might be channeling her inner rock star.
  • I don't understand women who vote for Huckabee. If a candidate proclaimed, "All darkies should fix me a sammich!" she or he wouldn't garner African-American votes. Yet ladies surround Mike on the dais. Evangelicals of any stripe perplex me.
  • The 2008 campaign seems like it was scripted by Aaron Sorkin on Red Bull. I mean that in a good way.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Or fuck Sam Giancana's mistress:

One of the smartest comments of the week, and certainly the funniest, comes from Ramesh Ponnuru at the National Review re Caroline Kennedy's New York Times editorial endorsing Obama:

"She says that Obama could be a president like her father. I assume that means he'll be overrated, not that he'll bring us to the brink of nuclear war."

I respect Caroline Kennedy quite a bit, but for eight years I attended Catholic schools where JFK was considered on par with Jesus, the Pope and ice cream. So I find it refreshing whenever a more objective view of our thirty-fifth chief executive is presented.