Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where dreams go to die...

Of all the things I remember, that first morning I ever held you, what looms largest was tucking your tiny fingers, coiled around one finger, into my palm. You were so strong, so vitally aware, and I thought that was likely the norm for babies. Later I'd learn it wasn't always like that, but more just who you are.

Like all first-time parents, my pledge was to always take care of you, to take up for you, be your champion and friend, keep anyone else from hurting you, ever. All the normal stuff, probably. And I remember being terrified, just flat-out petrified, 21 years old, virtually clueless.

You were the first person I ever met who was actually related to me. It was weird, seeing my own facial features reflected back, for the very first time. I just knew you were going to be inquisitive, smart, a reader, a thinker, intense...and strong.

Thankfully, you are just those things.

The plan was, at that moment, sun streaming through a dingy hospital window, your tufty little fuzzy head leaning on my shoulder, for you to surpass me. To leave behind in the dustbin of history whatever recessive gene or defects we, your parents, might have passed along that made neither of us live up to our full potential, so that you wouldn't struggle as hard as we'd had to to that point.

Today, that plan officially failed, 17 years later. And while I can accept you having a future you choose -- everyone deserves that much in life, even if we all don't get just that -- I can't help but feel terrible about it on some levels.

Which is worse, I wonder: having a parent who respects your individuality and autonomy, within reason, or parents who guilt, manipulate and force you to try and cram your square self into their round hole? I've only lived one of them, and you've lived the other. Hard to tell.

You say right now you will get your GED eventually. You'll enroll in E-COTT in the meantime, work more, get your license, get an apartment. Great. I worry, though, what lies between the saying and completion. It's never been your strong suit. In fact, less so with you than either your father or myself. We both learned of its necessity. You're still focused on the glittering promise of it all, blinded by the hope rather than burdened by the actual work of it.

I never imagined turning you in to the truancy board, back when you were 21 inches long, newly minted, beautiful in your tiny perfection. But I never imagined a number of things that've happened, like everyone else, I suppose.

It's true: I feel as though I've failed you. Still, in my heart, I know you've failed you much more than anyone else.

Just as I once imagined, you are brilliant. If we had a dime for every time a teacher has said that to us, we'd be living in a mansion - and every word of it was true. You're some other things, too, that I never was: unbelievably stubborn, unmalleable, stalwart. Not sure yet if that will serve you better than what being the exact opposite of those things has served me. Suppose either end of the spectrum is probably bad, in its own way.

I do know, my darling once-baby, you've just chosen what may be the hardest path to start out the gate with and one I'd never choose for you. Know how hard it is even with a diploma and a degree. But, fundamentally, it's your choice, your life, your music to dance to. I can only join in when requested, hold your hand when needed and love you, no matter what.

And so, I do. Even if right now, you might believe otherwise.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Open Optimism

If we could set aside our fears and insecurities and really open ourselves up to love in its myriad beautiful forms, I truly believe all of us would usher in the love of our lives.

Instead, with each new relationship we all seem to try and work out our past relationships, all the way back to when we were young. Thus unconciously blocking our true happiness because we don't really know what we want, or we're too afraid to try for it, or we're too afraid of losing it.

The "type" of person we generally go for is probably more a manifestation of our failed past than what we really want for our futures.

So, today, just start by saying "I am open to love in whatever forms it arrives."

I already do it every morning. That was my secret. Now it's yours.

You can't summon the right and proper love without visualizing first what you want, what you don't want, your own issues that keep you from pursuing said love and what you need to change in order to really be open, welcoming and purposefully searching.

So, just try it. Just this once. I already see a change in the men I'm attracting now, versus the type I attracted in the past. The newer versions aren't afraid of opening up, or putting themselves out there, just as I am prone to do when wanting to be with someone.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Thanks, Marc in KS

Since I know you read the blog, you best summed up yesterday's lengthy tome of a post with one email sentence: I am smitten.

Love that word: smitten. Yes, I am!! It's been years since the word applied.

Times like these I miss my one close guy friend, Brian, who I could use for some advice (and a wingman of sorts) on making the next move. 'Cause I'm a smitten

Despite the feathers and eventual landing in a KFC bucket, though, it feels wonderful. Only I wish it didn't push all politics, current events and even daily duty thoughts right outta my head.

Disregard this post, anyone else. I'm not feeling quite myself lately. ;-)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Soul suckers or the self-centered: these are your choices

There's this person I know...let's call her Joann. Probably best, since that's her name. Anyway, Joann's been on the periphery of my life since 1996, when I worked my first job as a single mom. At first, we were friends, kinda hung out together from time to time, really glued at the center by a wonderful woman and mutual friend, Deanna.

Initially, when Joann started taking on my characteristics...I wanted a jukebox, then she wanted a jukebox in her house, Deanna said I was the most well-rounded person she knew, and Joann started talking about how culturally rounded she herself was kind of amusing. You know, imitation being the most sincere form of flattery.

Later, when she started hitting on every guy I liked, got her hair cut and colored just like mine, started hanging out with my biological father's blues band, filled with people she didn't even really know, and even went so far as to join the same gym I was at - even though by then we were no longer friends, for what should be obvious reasons - it became sort of creepy.

Okay, more than sort of. We were delving into Single White Female territory, here. For the unitiated, aka "people living under rocks," Single White Female is a movie starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda. Fonda is the girl with the nice boyfriend, home and life. Leigh becomes her roommate, and eventually her soul-sucking vampire. She seduces the boyfriend, changes her looks to match Fonda's and basically wants everything good Fonda might have.

Did Joann succeed in sleeping with any of the guys I wanted, dated or had a relationship with? I don't know. If so, I'm ashamed of my taste in men. Also, just in case, I stopped filling her in on who I was dating...especially after her own boyfriend met me and starting trying to go out with me in front of her.

But I do know this: she did introduce and then deliberately cause problems between the aforementioned Deanna and her boyfriend. Which is crazy. You see, normal people and even some hardened criminals wouldn't dream of hurting Deanna. She's just one of those "deep down good people" like my friend Marc would say, a woman well on her way to eventual, inevitable sainthood.

So the point in writing this? Not an exercise through the past, darkly. Unfortunately.

About a year ago I saw Joann at court. She was coming in to file some papers for her employer, a local lawyer. She invited me to dinner with Deanna who I missed and adored. Deanna, sad to say it, was the carrot. And Joann knew this.

During the course of the evening I explained what I do for a living, how it works and the wonderful things it entails.

Fast forward to today.

Today I saw Joann in court again. Can you guess what she is doing with her life?

If you guessed records collection, pick your prize.

Ten years later, and she's still a soul-sucking vampire without an original thought in her head. Of course, it's probably a little too crowded in there already, what with my dreams, goals, feelings and personality already occupying most available space.

Right now, I'm on the outs with a few of my friends - legitimate friends - or angry over some things I've yet to voice. Since things went bad in my life with family, I've learned who my real friends are, and frankly, it's been a rather eye opening experience, one that's shed some light where maybe darkness and serenity would've been preferable.

Nevertheless, I'd take those friends in a heartbeat over someone who is borderline creepy stalker, untrustworthy and somehow hell-bent on stealing your own essence.

Soul suckers - stay away from them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Musical obsession du jour

Take This Waltz - Leonard Cohen

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women

There's a shoulder where death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the gallery of frost

Ay, ay, ay, ay

Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws

Oh I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lily
In some hallway where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and death
Dragging its tail in the sea

There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues

Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz -- it's been dying for years

There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon

And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lilies of snow

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
With its "I'll never forget you, you know!"

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz ,
With its very own breath of brandy and death,
Dragging its tail in the sea.

And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder,
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross

And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist

Oh my love, oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It's yours now; it's all that there is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Olbermann from Ground Zero Sept. 11, 2006

I'm not the least ashamed to say watching this made me cry. The full transcript, below...

And lastly tonight a Special Comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.

And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However. Of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast — of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds… none of us could have predicted… this.

Five years later this space... is still empty.

Five years later there is no Memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country’s wound is still open.

Five years later... this country’s mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later... this is still...just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial — barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field, Mr. Lincoln said "we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We can nto dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground." So we won’t.

Instead they bicker and buck-pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they’re doing — instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush… we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir — on these 16 empty acres, the terrorists… are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation.

There is, its symbolism — of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it… was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party — tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election — ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications — forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government, by its critics.

It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation’s wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President — and those around him — did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused; as appeasers; as those who, in the Vice President’s words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken… a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated Al-Qaeda as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ’something to do’ with 9/11, is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase, is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space… and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible — for anything — in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced — possibly financed by — the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death… after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections… how dare you or those around you… ever "spin" 9/11.

Just as the terrorists have succeeded — are still succeeding — as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero…

So too have they succeeded, and are still succeeding — as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney’s continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm.

Suddenly his car — and only his car — starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man’s lights go on.

As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced.

An "alien" is shot — but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help.

The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials areseen, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there’s no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight.
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American…

When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"… look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.
May this country forgive you.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Worst person of the week

Hands-down, me. When you said this morning with a strangled sad note in your voice, "I was afraid you were writing me off" I've never felt like a bigger jackass in all my life. And there have been some amazingly bad runner-up events...but this takes the prize.

I wasn't writing you off. Only -- I was, for a moment.

Just couldn't keep dealing, or wearing a face of stone. I'm so sorry.

It's the most asinine thing, being paralyzed knowing how much I'm going to miss you so I stay away because of it. Robbing us of the short time we have left together because I can't handle having such a short time left together. To the point of starting to bum out in a crowded room because of song lyrics from the Animals, of all bands...and I can't help it.

But that's not all of it, entirely, is it? You know what the rest of it is, I think. How futile and pointless it seems to grow old and have to suffer. How you're living reminders of an unimaginable future that befalls everyone "lucky" enough to live so long.

I knew, even though nothing was said, everything seemed somewhat normal. . .I knew you knew exactly what I was doing. That you felt it. Just like I knew it was hurting you both. Today you confirmed it. Told myself I just needed some time off, to get the stress away before it caused something truly awful...and that was valid. It still is. But that doesn't make it any less selfish or cowardly.

I'm sorry. Sorry I hurt you. Sorry I love you, sometimes. Sorry, sorry, sorry I'm not as noble, stoic and decent as you both are, even though I'm going to start being just that, again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Words of wisdom from Harold and Maude

Maude: I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They're so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?

Harold: I don't know. One of these, maybe.

Maude: Why do you say that?

Harold: Because they're all alike.

Maude: Oooh, but they're not. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals. All kinds of observable differences.

You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who are this,
[she points to a daisy]

Maude: yet allow themselves be treated as that.
[gestures to a field of daisies]

While we're not all special, unique snowflakes in the general sense, in our own lives, we are. And Maude is right: valuing what's special about yourself means not ignoring these things, or allowing people you love, who have known you all of your life, to disrespect you or stomp on your feelings.
Even if you don't want to hurt them back, you have to stick up for yourself.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Creative Zen V - revisited

The bad:

So, first night with the Creative Zen V, and it locks up while trying to change the owner name. Also? It preloads a ton of useless photos that serve only to take up space. If you don't remember to compress the files, approximately 95 songs will eat up half of all usable space. Just delete the picture files via the software when you're in sync mode. Much easier than deleting them individually on the player.

I managed to "unlock" it by pushing a pin into the reset hole - which is entirely too small and hard to work with. Should it lock up again in the next few days, it's going back in exchange for an IPod.

Oh, and the earbuds...horrible. Either I've got freakishly small ear openings, or they're just too large. They either go in right and hurt like hell or don't go in all the way and fall out. Not so cool.

The good:

Great sound with many different choices for acoustics. Creative is a pretty good name in the computer audio industry and it's easy to hear why; this tiny machine offers as great a sound as its bigger and better sibling, the Creative Jukebox.

Really intuitive software, except for the initial load. Then it required seeking out new firmware, line alteration of the registry and finally deletion and reinstallation of the device driver just to get it going. After that, though, loading music was a breeze, and mine's nearly filled after I added three more cds worth of music before work this morning. Am thinking maybe more storage would've been smarter. Oh, well.

Not sure yet:

As far as I know (no research, yet) Creative doesn't offer a docking device or car converter to play through your stereo for this particular MP3 player. You can get the usual suspects, though: skins, car charger and the small stuff.

One touch memo recording - haven't tried this feature yet.

PodCast downloads - I also haven't tried this yet. The software is intuitive, also, so when I get around to downloading a podcast, it should be straightforward enough.

Calendar and events reminder - this I like. With so many different appointments, it's a great feature.

Navigational Joystick: Well, I didn't much like the menu navigational devices on the bigger Zen, and not so sure I like the dinky joystick, either. It's super sensitive, and hard to use for deletion of items. But it does work, and it's unobtrusive for the most part. Also, you can use the flat "play" and "rewind" or "screen reverse" buttons next to it, instead.

All in all, for the price and features, it appears to be a good deal. Provided it unglitches. Had I known this product just arrived in June '06, I wouldn't have purchased it. Never like first-run equipment because it's always glitchy and there's not been enough time to get the bugs out.

Follow my Voice: With the Music of Hedwig

Caught this last night on Sundance and adored it. Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell, along with a record producer and several top indie/alt musicians create a Hedwig tribute album -Wig in a Box - to benefit Harvey Milk High School, the first school for LGBT students. Along the way we meet four Harvey Milk Students and learn their stories while also watching the Hedwig tribute album take shape.

Through video diary entries and chronicling the world around them, the four explain who they are, where they're coming from and invite us along for part of the journey.

In between, Frank Black does a raucous take on Sugar Daddy, Yoko Ono and Yo La Tengo team up for Hedwig's Lament/Exquisite Corpse, Cyndi Lauper offers a moving version of Midnight Radio and TMBG creates a puppet version of The Long Grift.

Great film, great music, and they raised $25,000 in proceeds for the school.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Creative Zen V: MP3 player

I marveled at the wonders of the MP3 player earlier this year, on this blog, after borrowing my daughter's Creative Zen Jukebox. All that diverse music, right at your fingertips!

So, today, I bought one - a one gig Creative Zen V. Half the price of the Jukebox, it fits right in the palm, holding 500 songs. So far I've ripped the Hedwig Soundtrack, Exile on Main Street, Liz Phair's Whip Smart and my Guster cds. In less than ten minutes, while I type this. And the player charges from the computer, rather than an outlet.

This singular love of the MP3 player must stem from all those childhood years spent trying to 'ho my little girl dimples in exchange for jukebox quarters at my parent's restaurant. Totally shameless, too; I walked up to customers, strangers and regulars alike, and tried to put on the charm for a mere 25 cents. Worked too, usually.

Since there's no space in my humble abode for a jukebox (though I did impetuously purchase one when I lived in a third story apartment, and then just as quickly reneged) this tiny wonder is going to have to do - until it runs out of space and I get a bigger one.

Until then, once it's charged and ready, look for a real product review coming soon to this space.

Terry Durst: My Hometown Hero

I just love, love, love it when someone gets fired up about stuff with which I've a personal relationship. Oh, that, and to get passionately enraged over something as insignificant as a few lines of a movie review is so delightfully insouciant it must be shared....

Hats off Mr. (Mrs/Ms?) Durst:

From the Cleveland Free Times, Letters to the Editor:

"So for Michael David Toth, Matthew Barney's new film makes David Lynch's masterpiece Mulholland Drive 'resemble a Walton's episode, by comparison?' ("Occidentally in Love," August 23.)

This is one of the dumbest things I've ever read in your paper, as well as a completely cliched approach to reviewing a film. Barney is all glitz and glamour and surface (oooh! aaah!) with very little substance. Lynch reaches to the depths of his soul and doesn't have to impress anyone with theatrics. He is a born filmmaker. Barney is an art star.

I mean, really, think about it. There is no way in hell that any piece of art on this earth would make Mulholland Drive look like The Waltons - ever.

Jesus. Get a film critic with some brains."

Heh, I truly love it. Even in my most Mulholland Drive enraptured, intrigued days I'd probably not get that feisty. But maybe.

Olbermann lays the smackdown on Bush

This is better than an Olberpornn post....much better. Tonight, Keith responded to Bush's speech yesterday, attempting to link the media writ large with Al Qaeda. After last week's Rumsfeld Rumble, our illustrious seeker of truth pulled out the really big guns:

It is to our deep national shame--and ultimately it will be to the President's deep personal regret--that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policies--or even question their effectiveness or execution--to the Nazis of the past, and the al Qaeda of the present.

Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 -- without ever actually saying so--the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, "a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government."

Make no mistake here--the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the "media."

Because, you know, it did work rather well with Saddam and Iraq and 9/11. Just keep saying it over and over in the same sentence and a certain small percentage of the population will completely buy the notion that our media is somehow a terrorist organization. Lather, rinse, repeat. They will buy it, too - but that doesn't make it any more true than the aforementioned Saddam 9/11 nonexistent linkage.

And still more:

Whatever the true nature of al Qaeda and other international terrorist threats, to ceaselessly compare them to the Nazi State of Germany serves only to embolden them.

More over, Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama Bin Laden and others seek--a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety.

Which is a question all thinking people need to ask themselves: if our government and those that wish to do us harm are both after the same listed goals above, how different are they, truly? Both seek to intimidate the American populace. Both offer bombs and weaponry in lieu of diplomacy and peace. Both want what they want when they want it and they'll be damned to get anything less than that.

And, finally:

It thus becomes necessary to remind the President that his administration's recent Nazi "kick" is an awful and cynical thing.

And it becomes necessary to reach back into our history, for yet another quote, from yet another time and to ask it of Mr. Bush:

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Surely that last can only be a rhetorical question on Olbermann's part.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When is enough really enough?

Like that recent Craigslist poster, I find myself up in the middle of the night, wondering what love is and what it's all about. Not like him though; not eros, because that's mostly absent in my life, but agape, the Greek word for brotherly love as differentiated from romantic love.

Used to think I had it all figured out, and then everything fell spectacularly to pieces. . .and I find myself wondering if it's all just too elusive, or if we can only really love our familes in theory. It's so much more difficult when demands are made, when the people you love really need you and you're failing them. Also spectacularly.

I've overlooked a lot for people who mean something in my life, and there aren't really many such people. Have probably given family the benefit of the doubt much more often than I lend it to myself.

Warts, flaws, failures, we all have them, and I tend to care in direct proportion to a person's failings, always rooting for the underdogs among us, including me. But how much is forgivable, and how much are we all willing to give up, if it means sacrificing ourselves? And what happens when you know everyone's aware that what they're asking for far exceeds your own capabilities, but they keep asking, or worse, keep using guilt and your own better nature against you?

This is it, what keeps me awake at night, the impasse between obligation to self and obligation to the people you really care about, and what it all means when those issues conflict. It's probably best not to ask these kinds of unanswerable questions, or try and address issues that will likely contribute more harm than good. But that's what's on my mind. Before it's completely gone, that is.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Lyrics

And yes, I'm laboring. As usual, holidays are for other people. But so is poverty, so I should be glad to be working. And I am.

Here's the song I can't get enough of lately...for some strange reason, it reminds me of my parents every time I hear it.

Going to Hell

--The Brian Jonestown Massacre

(Lyrics aren't online, so this is my translation.)

I been out on my own,
I been gettin' what's mine
I watch you grab what you can like crazy
Because you're all out of time

Well, you live in a dream
But you know it too well,
There's no one who cares,
And you're living in hell

Well they said you been good,
And they said you been bad,
I like to laugh when you're happy, baby,
You make me cry when you're sad

I live in a dream
But you're living in hell
And there's nothing to do
Cuz I know it so well
I know it so well

I been out on my own
I been doin' real fine
I watch what you get what you can like crazy
Seems you're all out of time

Well, you live in a dream
And it's dragging me down
And there's no one to help
Because there's no one around

There's no one around
There's no one around
There's no one around

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Thanks to yet another glitch in my dvr box, I got to watch Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang today, rather than a steady diet of the old 80's sitcoms beloved by my daughter. For once, the curses at the cable company come with a silver lining. And what a lining it is!

Robert Downey Jr. shines in this dark horse comedy, both satire and homage to 30's detective films, raised to the next millenium by dark wit, sexual observations and of course, more gore than its black and white counterparts. While the plot twists are engaging, eventually the denouement proves slight and rather flimsy. But the beauty of this little gem is all in the journey and, even moreso, crackling, witty dialogue, all used to advantage by first time director Shane Black.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang defies genre-fication and description. It's well worth the rental and would've been quite fun in theatres.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Instant Love by Jami Attenburg

It's been a long, long time since I sat and read an entire novel from cover to cover, nonstop, and enjoyed thoroughly every minute of it. "Instant Love" provides cleverly intercut stories of perpendicular and intersecting lives; it's a sparse, brutally honest look at beginnings, middles and endings and the strange need humans have to connect, even if only for a moment.
Attenburg's journalistic past gives her an eye for detail in dialogue and imagery that never rings false, so her characters have all the quirk, depth and callousness of very real people. This is as far from chick-lit as you can get, and offers up a sharp, edgy, both sad and euphoric, sometimes cynical but never bitter view of what drives people to - and away from - love.

Some excerpts, not personally relevent but breathtakingly well written:

"She'd be the first to listen when she talked about how he loved his dog more than her, told her how to talk and act and walk, how he'd given her typewritten instructions on how to deal with a dog, how he'd watched her like a hawk when he wasn't off being famous somewhere, how he was slowly closing in on her but only on his terms, only when it was convenient for him, how he almost got her, she was this close to falling for it, how all the little things she liked about him in the beginning were all the things she hated about him in the end."

"I look at him, try to picture him here in the morning and the evening, with the sunrise and the sunset, every single day. I can see someone, but it's not him, it's not his face. I see Alan's smile, and I see the legs of a man I invited to my house once, strong and lean, and I see a man with my father's mind, and I see a man who works two floors down from me at work who makes me laugh all the time in the elevator, and I see someone with my sister's generosity who can give until he bleeds - I like that sometimes, the bleeding - and I see the satisfied faces who look at me for that instant as they groan like I'm the woman they love. I see bits and pieces, parts, fractions, hundreds of people comprising the one perfect man, and I know suddenly that he's out there, even if this one, he's not the one."

“We are all walking around this city with our hearts sadly swimming in our chests, like dying fish on the surface of a still pond. It’s enough to make you give up entirely.”

"You would think I could help a friend, that my back would be strong because I'm young and healthy. But my back is actually weak, because I have never had to use it before, not once. I have never lifted a heavy object, and I certainly never had to carry someone who needed my help."

"At least I have the good sense to kick my men out after we're done. In and out in two hours or less. I don't pretend to be nice. I take what I can and move on. They should have the common courtesy to do the same. "

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