Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weehawken!



For Christmas, I got all the boys in my family a "Weehawken Indians" hoodie. (And those cool Spiderman mittens on Townes are also courtesy of me!)

BTW: Townes still liked me best, after 10 months! My brother and Townes picked me up at the San Antonio airport on Monday the 24th. Townes was cool at first, "Do I know you?" Hell yeah ya do, Mister! ;p By dinner time, he was asking to sit by "Aunt Steffie" just like in the old days! And when my brother and family had to leave for the other grandma's house on Christmas day, Townes asked, "Is Aunt Steffie going with us?" My mom also told me later: When I was off in her bedroom suite taking a shower, Townes stood outside the door, asking "Where's Aunt Steffie?" "She's taking a shower, honey." "Oh...When is she coming out?" "In just a second. Don't bug her,now." "OK." [continued vigil by door] : )

My littler nephew, Tavo, is only 2 and can't speak in complete sentences yet, but he loved the sound of the word "Weehawken"! Whenever all the boys had their sweatshirts on, everyone around was saying "Weehawken" and he picked up on it... He had a roll-y ball and he started throwing himself on it, yelling out "WEEHAWKEN!" each time! : ) (That's the thing about some of these Jersey town names---they're cute as hell!) :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas at Tiffany's



A week ago it was raining and slushing like mad in Manhattan, but for some reason I just had to complete my Christmas shopping THAT day. (I'd done the shopping for everybody else in my fambly, and all I had left was the Mom.)

The woman has given me thousands of dollars to help me out since I moved here, and I wanted to get her something expensive and nice AND evocative of NYC (per my whole "NYC" theme for all of my family members this year). Tiffany's!

The day was a rainy mess, and I had no idea what to expect when I got to Tiffany's. (Will the doorman and salespeople be snobbish?) As it turned out, both NYC and the Tiffany's doormen were prepared for both tourists and neophytes and bad weather. When I arrived at the entrance, the doorman took my umbrella and encased it in plastic for me as he welcomed me to the store.

Once inside the store, I first started looking at the jewelry and asking about what I liked... Turned out that most of what I liked was about $2900 or $5100!...After a bit of this, I finally decided to be real and ask about items within my price range. The neat thing was that the salesperson didn't mock me at all--Once I stated my lowly top price range, my salesperson very professionally started taking me around to various counters to view what I wanted to afford. Asking me to try things on, etc. She spent a good half-hour with me, though I'd told her outright that I had under $500 to spend!

In short, I felt wet and slushy and crappy coming in to Tiffany's, but despite my decrepitude, everyone there was phenomenally nice to me and made me feel like a high-roller. And I got my mom something beautiful that she'll like---with the iconic Tiffany's box to encase it in.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Boot-ylicious

Coming from the South, the buying of snow-boots in preparation for a Northeast winter is for some reason interesting to me. As is the interaction between the first two pair that I've bought as they sit around my room.

(1) Boots Detente.
(2) Boots In Step.
(3) Boots At Odds.
(4) Bad Boots Time Out.







Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Big in Norway

On Tuesday December 11, the stats for this blog showed that one particular IP number in Norway had visited this site 8 times in one day! ;p (Sorry, honey, but I'm not that prolific...Merry Christmas to you. And what a cute hat!) :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Manhattan MadHatters

I never thought of myself as a hat person at all. I'd always liked how women looked wearing them (though I mostly saw these in magazines and on TV), but I always felt self-conscious when I tried them on in stores every few years: "Oh, my head's too big!" "Oh, people will just think I'm being pretentious if I wear one."

Part of that discomfort stems from living in Texas for so long. In winter, it only rarely gets cold enough to even need a hat, so there's not a huge market for them. You can find 'em in malls and in boutiques, but that always involved a special trip and paying 50 bucks or more if you wanted something beyond your basic knit cap to keep the wind out of your ears. Aside from pure utilitarianism, women in Austin, where I'd lived from 1983 to early 2007, just usually didn't wear hats, unless they were college funksters. In fact, the whole time I was in Austin, the only hat I ever owned was a brown fedora that I'd bought at a costume shop back in the mid-'80s when I was trying to dress up like Garbo for Halloween.

New York City, though, is a whole other story! Forget my laziness about shopping and my unwillingness to spend much: Once October hit, the street vendors and cheapo shops were stocking hats en masse---just walking from the subway stop to work in the Union Square area, I'd pass at least 15 different venues with hundreds of different hats to choose from: berets, fedoras, cloches, charming Himalayan pom-pon hats, and hats I don't even know the names of! In every sort of fabric and color, and the most expensive I found seemed to be $20, though most were $10 or less. These hats really were in my face all the time (figuratively, not literally, at this point), so I couldn't help but notice them.

And then as the weather turned cooler here, the women (and men, too) started decking themselves out, and I couldn't help but notice THEM! Little old rich ladies in their cool-looking cloches with jeweled pins (and their corresponding little old rich men in their dapper felt fedoras); funky girls in their Himalayan and Oliver Twist caps (and their corresponding funky boys in their Sinatra/Tom Landry/Pete Doherty plaid hats tilted cockily back on their heads); "regular" gals and guys in their knit caps and hats with furry flaps to pull down over their ears just because it was COLD; not to mention the big tall furry Russian-looking things that I've seen on a few heads!

It's a darn CIRCUS OF HATS, I thought to myself. And that's the cool thing about a circus---there's no need to feel self-conscious since everyone around you is quite in their own world, doin' their own thing, with absolutely no inclination or desire to stop and figure out if what everyone around them is doing is the "proper" thing...You just DO it.

So, inspired by the streets o' NYC, and after years of being "bunged up" about hats, I finally stopped being paranoid and started buying some damn hats for myself! (The first two I do wear weekly; that cowboy thang I bought for Halloween---my coworker was "Bret Michaels" as seen on VH1's "Rock of Love" and I tagged along with him that night as "Rodeo"! ;p)


Monday, December 03, 2007

"People actually live here!"



I went shopping around midtown this Saturday. While amid the chaos of the 5th Avenue-tourists, heard from a passerby, "People actually live here!" : )

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day after Thanksgiving


This Friday I liked more than my Thanksgiving day!


After going to the Neue Galerie on East 86th to see the new Klimt acquisitions (and there buying a neat, highly non-Thanksgiving-ish book "Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin"), I then wandered south along 5th Avenue down to Joan's old home on East 72nd, then on across Central Park, where I came across a statue donated to NYC from Boston in the 1880s in honor of the Pilgrims! (Since I'd wasted my Thanksgiving eating pizza and watching football, I liked seeing a statue that was actually appropriate to the holiday.) And finally crossed over on the west side to John Lennon's Dakota apartment, where I caught my subway.







Saturday, November 24, 2007

NYC Thanksgiving 2007

Aside from my grad school years in San Fran in the mid-90s, this is the first time I've spent Thanksgiving away from my family in Texas.

Interesting to notice that most everything was still open here on Thanksgiving, whereas in Texas, almost all stores shut down. The huge Pathmark grocery store, for instance, was busy. I had nothing to do Thanksgiving day, so walked over there, expecting it to be closed, but no... So I ended up buying some stupid non-Thanksgiving stuff, like Coke and frozen pizza! :)

While Austin (my home-town) has a big Hispanic population, the Hispanics are "Tex-Mex" and Americanized, fully participating in American holidays like Thanksgiving. Here, though, the Hispanic population is primarily Dominican, and they're on their own schedule. While the nearby Burger King and Blimpie's were closed, the McDonald's was open, as was my nearby Dominican-owned beer store and sandwich place, as well as most of the "Bergenline" (nearby street) strip of shops. It was interesting to be able to walk around on THANKSGIVING and to find a bunch of stuff open, which had never been my experience before. (Aside from the Dominicans, this whole area is so international in general that I guess it doesn't make sense for store-owners to close down just 'cause a few Americans are home for the holidays. I can't decide if that's nice or not...)

While walking around on a Weehawken sidewalk late-Thanksgiving afternoon, I also came across a couple of 20-something NY JETS fans, all decked out in their green Jets regalia and saying, "It's almost kickoff! We're going to kick the Cowboys' ass!" WHOA, there, boys! I had to turn around and say "GO COWBOYS!!" and then explain that I was from Texas, et al...! (For non-football fans: The NY Jets played the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys ultimately kicked their ass.) The two boys were cute and flirty: "Well, your eyes are green like the Jets colors, so we know who you're really for!" ---- That's really a good line! And these guys were only about 20

Thursday, November 22, 2007

True Colors (Lovely Christina Crawford!)


Quote from a Kneel-buddy on Flickr: "[One of my best friends Neil] recently met Christina during the filming of a documentary on her that is to be added to an upcoming DVD collection of Joan's work. He said she was the most lovely lady and really liked her a lot. His opinion of her has completely changed..."

Eagerly awaiting the new Christina website!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Charming

It's almost Thanksgiving, and one thing I'm thankful for is the cute names of New Jersey towns. I've only lived here for 2 months, but almost every time I turn on the local news and see a weather map or something, there's ANOTHER one! Weehawken (my town), Teaneck, Cheesequake, Peapack, Ho-Ho-Kus... The names make me feel good when I see or hear them.

Another cute thing this morning: I was waiting for a REAL long time at the bus-stop, and among the 6 or so other people there was a young woman holding and talking to her 3-year-old. He started looking at me and grinning and then hiding his face, so of course I had to start grinning and hiding MY face back at him. Then I went and hid behind a tree so he couldn't see me. And he started bucking to get down from his mom, so she let him loose to chase me: "Where's your friend?" I ran and hid behind another tree, saying "See ya later, alligator!" His mom: "He KNOWS the answer to that one! Say it again!" I did, but he would only grin. Mom: "He KNOWS that! He says it all the time at home!" (BTW: The correct response is: "After 'while, crocodile!" :) He never said it! Later, I thought that maybe I should have fed him the answer in a weird way, like "After 'while, booger-bee!" Most little kids would know that was COMPLETELY wrong and correct me, "Uh-unh! After 'while CROCODILE, not BOOGER-BEE!")

Can't wait to see my nephew Townes this Christmas, plus littler nephew Tavo, who was just a waah-waah baby when I left Texas last year. I knew and liked Townes a whole lot, but didn't really know Baby Tavo yet, except that he liked to wrestle with me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In memory of the now-drowned Julie (courtesy of ELO)

"I am dead - drowned - tomorrow."

----------------------------------
Midnight on the water.
I saw the ocean's daughter.
Walking on a wave's chicane,
staring as she called my name.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head.

Breakdown on the shoreline,
can't move, it's an ebbtide.
Morning don't get here till night,
searching for her silver light.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head, no no.

Bank job in the city.
Robin Hood and William Tell and Ivanhoe and Lancelot, they don't envy me.
Sitting till the sun goes down,
in dreams the world keep going round and round.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head, no no.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Central Park's Ozymandias



This is a statue on Central Park's Literary Walk erected in 1877 in honor of the poet and essayist Fitz-Greene Halleck. From the historical plaque:

"The statue was dedicated on May 15, 1877. The ceremony was attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–1893), as well as his entire cabinet. The throng of spectators, estimated at 10,000, was so great on that day, and the damage to the surrounding turf so widespread, that park officials were said to have subsequently outlawed assemblies of such great size."

The president, and his cabinet, and 10,000 unruly people! And today no one has any idea who this man is. Reminded me of the Shelley poem "Ozymandias," though not quite as desolate!:


Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

--------------------------------------------------

Aside from poor Fitz-Greene, I had heard of some of these other guys on the Walk (from top: Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Schiller):







Autumn Leaves

Today I hopped on a Jersey bus just to find out where it went and during my two-hour trip, ended up seeing some of the gorgeous fall foliage that the northeast is renowned for. (Unfortunately, I couldn't snap any pictures since I was in the bus the whole time, but I found myself talking to the trees as we passed: "Wow, you're gorgeous!" "Look at YOU!" "What a showoff!")

On the return trip, instead of getting back off at home, I decided to go on into NYC to see what the trees were doing in Central Park. The Park's a little further south than the areas of Jersey that I was in, and only a few of the trees there had started to change color. So, no great foliage pictures, but I did manage to fall in love with elm trees while I was there! I'm no flora maven, but the trees I remember from Texas were mainly oaks and pecans; while nice, big, and sturdy, there was nothing particularly "magical" about them to me. Elms, on the other hand...Now those are some interesting trees! While big and mighty in their own right, they're also rather weird, otherworldly, and dramatic. (As I've mentioned here earlier about NYC itself: A combination of substance and glamour---my dream trees!) ;p











Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gangsta lit!

I was sitting next to a little 20-something-year-old gangsta on the subway today. I snuck a look at what he was looking down at during the ride... A copy of "Jane Eyre"! :)

But he had the book tucked behind a folder. So no one in the FRONT of him would see what he was actually reading! Cute! ;p

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Quiet, sans hands

All Hands on Lindsay




New Yorkers Trump and Giuliani


Before moving to NYC, I'd always liked New Yorkers Trump and Rudy
Giuliani from what I'd read, because they seemed like "can-do" straight-talking kind of guys. Then once I got here, I find that the citizens of the city seem
to hate them for all kinds of reasons! Not a reason for ME to dislike them (I hate "conventional wisdom"), but once I learned more, I actually did think a lot less of them.

Trump: I'd always heard in the media about the skating rink that he
took over building from the city years ago. The city's effort was
haphazard. Union workers were lazy, the budget was out of control, the
project was way behind schedule. Then Trump took over, and got the
damn thing built within months. I admired that efficiency! I also
liked his personality and intelligence when I saw him on talk shows
like Letterman. He seems very well-spoken, funny, and down-to-earth.
But since I've gotten to NYC, some of his fugly new buildings have
been pointed out to me! I love the character and history of the
architecture of New York, but Trump is directly responsible for what
locals (rightly) call the "Houstonization" of NYC---big, ugly, generic
buildings that block others' views with their monolithic mirrored selves and add nothing to the character of the place.

Giuliani: I'd always admired him for standing up to the Mob as a
prosecutor back in the '80s, and for being a straightforward,
common-sense, law-and-order mayor of the city in the '90s. (Also, I'd
seen him on Letterman, and thought, too, he was well-spoken, funny,
and down-to-earth. I also liked that he once dressed in drag for a
political fundraiser and was pro-gay rights!) But now that he's
running for president, he's surrounded himself with extreme right-wing
advisers and he's suddenly non-committal on gay rights and
internationally, pro-Iraq-war and pro-torture... Not so "funny" or
"straightforward" any more!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tongue forked to flick at nothing in particular


Desert










Desert

is the true gothic

what lightness to guide
sunshine like
new tongued lithium

sucking last life
out of surprised cactus
and never
praying for rain

what obscure world
what mind to be in
that could come close
to your deliverance

think snake even thinks of you

think sun sets once
with you in mind

try lizard mercy
sun mercy
cactus
snake
sand
tongue forked to flick
at nothing in particular

your own absence


-----------------------------------------------

Way back 10 years ago to get to my new grad school in San Fran, I drove (with my brother) for two days from Austin through south Texas and the south of Arizona and New Mexico and California. The landscape was horrifying to me. Utterly barren and desolate. It reminded me at the time of the bottom of the ocean floor... turns out, as I later learned, that exact same part of the country was indeed covered by ocean. Weird and otherworldly, and I didn't feel comfortable around it at all and couldn't wait to get out of there.

Just today, though, at work I was reading a story by an author who'd grown up around the desert and loved it. He wrote about how comfortable he felt there with its "wide open beauty" as opposed to the dense, "scary," thickness of forests! Well, sure, if I'd been an early explorer, I might have found forests' density a bit scary (what's going to jump out at me??)...But at least I would have also figured that such density was life-sustaining... The desert just seems horribly barren and life-draining to me. Nowhere to go for help.

Reminds me of a party-argument I had with a guy years ago... What would be worse: Being in the wild confronted with a bear, or being on a city street confronted with a criminal? I picked the criminal---he might hit you and take your money, but in most cases he's not going to cut you all to bits. And, there are always people around in a city to hear you scream and help you! (Well, unless you're Kitty Genovese...)

I wrote the above poem while I was in my poetry program in San Fran 10 years ago. My professor (who later went on to fame as the author of "Under the Tuscan Sun") found fault that I had compared "desert" to "gothic"----granted, the two "landscapes" are quite different... But when I wrote the poem, I was thinking, "Damn, I'd be a lot less scared in a decadent, dead-people-haunted European castle than in this godforsaken utterly barren land!"

Darn that I don't have my whole collection of poetry books here with me in NYC... But in Ted Hughes's "Birthday Letters," he writes about his and Sylvia Plath's visit to the same exact part of the country...and how horrifying it was to them, as well. I searched fruitlessly online for a copy of Hughes's poem "The Badlands," a look back at the trip that he and Plath took across that part of America... They were really spooked! They actually camped for a night there, unlike me, who just passed through... A line of the Hughes poem, that he attributed to Plath saying, was something like "They want our life force"... The desperate desert creatures wanting to grasp onto the visitors' spirits...

If anyone out there has a copy of this poem from "Birthday Letters" and can share it here, I'd appreciate it----I explain things poorly! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bus etiquette

On the bus from Jersey into Manhattan this morning: There's a whole etiquette involved about getting off the bus. I.e., people in the back of the bus often try to rush up to the front when it's time to get off, though they're not supposed to. (The cool thing is to let the people in the seats ahead of you get up and get off first.)

Today, I was on such a bus, and at the end of the line, a guy behind me in the aisle was about to push ahead of me... so I got in front of him, as I should have... but then I apparently accidentally pushed against a chick in front of me with my big-ass bag. She wheeled around and said, "Why are you pushing me? Stop pushing me!" I apologized profusely: "I'm sorry; excuse me!" But the chick wouldn't let it go: "You're pushing me, why are you pushing me..." I finally got fed up---"I SAID 'I'm sorry.' I SAID 'Excuse me'----What the fuck else do you want me to say??"

She shut up and got off the damn bus, as I did. Goddamn. Morning Drama.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweet!

A guy that I work with, a San Fran native though he's been in NYC for 7 years, has recently been in e-mail contact with a girl that he's seen in SF recently when he's gone back home to visit. A week ago, he told me that their e-mail contact had tapered off over the past couple of months... And then today, the latest news is---the girl's going to London around Thanksgiving to visit friends and would like to see him in Berlin the week after, and...she bought him a cheap plane ticket!

Wow! What a cool, romantic, neat thing! :)

I've been so caught up with dullards for the past few years... what an inspiration! ;p

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shallow

A couple of days ago, I mentioned here on this blog being grateful to God for getting me through my transition from Texas to NYC. I just got this reply:
----------------------------------

Anonymous said...

God wants you to be happy, not angry - or have you all of a sudden lost touch with his divine grace? You are the most hypocritical, vengeful and by far SADDEST person I've had the dubious pleasure to come across. You are a locust, and will always be one. I feel sorry for your room-mate when you start acting like yourself. You just can't handle being treated well.

----------------------------------


The person who wrote the above is pathetic. She follows me around on the Internet and repeats what I say. When I mention God, she tries to mention God. When I mention a roommate, she tries to bring that up, as well.

As far as God's "divine grace" goes... While I have been thinking about God since I was 15 or so, I think that Julie's sole relationship with God is that she on occasion asks Him to provide her with the correct eyeliner.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A legitimate question

"Not once while Mom was sick did Casey ever attempt to call, write, or
contact Mom or any of us for that matter, and now to come off like the
loving nephew just sickens me. No, it rather flat out p****s me off.
Is there no other way to contact this fine upstanding person other
than through the ludicrous ask casey link?"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Self-serving family members

Last Sunday one of Joan Crawford's twins, Cynthia, died. Her daughter-in-law sent me a message about her passing, along with information about where to send donations, which I posted on my Joan site.

Another Joan webmaster, with a close connection with one of Joan's grandsons, was perplexed that I had "somehow" gotten the information before he did. He invented a story about how the grandson had already had the information but that he, the webmaster, hadn't posted it because he was so sensitive to "the family's needs." Uh-huh.

As it turned out, the grandson didn't know about his own aunt's death because he hadn't been in touch with any of his family members, including his own mother. His mother was notified immediately of her twin's death, as were other family members and close family friends, including "Aunt Betty"---Joan's personal secretary when she was alive. The grandson's own mother didn't even tell her son about his aunt's passing. He had to read the news first on my website.

Now, he's trying to milk his aunt's dying just as he's been trying to milk Joan Crawford's memory. Here's his latest message from the Casey website:


"Casey would like to extend this message to the numerous Joan Crawford fans that he received thoughtful emails from:

'I have received many supportive letters regarding Cindy's passing in the past few days. My family and I thank the fans who have taken the time to send their regards.'

Casey

Casey and I thought it would be best if the PRIVATE letters from the fans regarding the death of his aunt, Cindy, not be posted to the site but rather sent to everyone privately that expressed his or her condolences."

----------------------------------


Since the grandson wasn't notified of his Aunt Cynthia's death, even by his own mother, it seems a bit odd to me that now he's seeking to have condolences sent to HIM. His attempt to feed off of his famous grandmother's memory is ridiculous.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thank god for Pathmark!



After 6 months of schlepping among tiny mom-and-pop grocery stores in Manhattan, I was ecstatic to discover a huge, PROFESSIONAL grocery store, Pathmark, once I ended up living in Weehawken, Joisey. Seriously, I've heard so much PC propaganda about the value of the "little stores" (especially when I lived in San Fran in the '90s)... but the truth is--- those little grocery stores are usually incredibly over-priced and have a sparse selection and the fruit/vegetables aren't the freshest. So, tell me... what's attractive about that, except intellectually? For stuff to work, it's got to work in actuality, not just fantasy. In actuality, this Pathmark store a couple of blocks away from me is amazing. (Well, no, not "amazing," exactly---it just has a lot of stuff, which I appreciate greatly.) I can get the exact baby-dill pickles that I want (near impossible to find in Manhattan), and refried beans (also near impossible to find in Manhattan, even in the Dominican neighborhood that I used to live in). And the entire fruit/vegetable section is fresh---I guess 'cause this major chain can afford to have new stuff brought in regularly, rather than having stuff sit there for a week or however long...

The PC-folk who moan and groan about "the demise of the mom-and-pop stores" really need to take a look at why those shops are in demise. If the bigger chains do the same thing better, then that's what matters. Who wants to pay more for lower quality?

The Terrorists Within

In the aftermath of the 9/11/01 WTC attack by foreign terrorists, people seem to have forgotten what a terrorist threat the religious right wing of our own nation used to be.

4/19/95---The Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, 168 people dead. For what? Because McVeigh didn't like having to have state-sponsored license plates? I remember the atmosphere in the US at that time being absolutely poisonous with hatred toward Clinton... not because the majority of the American people disliked him (his approval ratings were always high), but because the right wing kept up a constant drum-beat of hatred and disapproval in the media. Culminating in the whole impeachment process for the utterly inane "event" of him getting head from an intern. Forget that the country's economy was good (!) during his years in office, or that there were no major crises internationally under his watch.

On the contrary, George Bush has run this country into the ground, killing over 3,000 American soldiers in the process. (More Americans than were killed in the WTC attack.) Osama bin Laden masterminded the World Trade Center attacks. He is an Islamic fundamentalist, and still on the loose. We captured and hung Saddam Hussein, but so what? Hussein was secular, running his country of Iraq from a purely non-religious, authoritarian standpoint. He had nothing to do with 9/11. What exactly did we accomplish militarily by invading Iraq? The country was no threat to us. Osama bin Laden was in no way associated with Iraq, and he remains at large.

I guess my original point was/is: If Hillary Clinton is elected and once we're subsequently out of Iraq, then the whole home-terror is going to start again. Just so those psycho boys have something to do. They like to feel persecuted and react to that, the Drama Queens.

I've already been hearing it from the psychotic right-wing fringe media: "We've got to defeat the devil Hillary Clinton!" I'm a bit puzzled about what they find so threatening and "evil" about her. Her record as Senator of New York for the past years has been utterly centrist and mainstream. A bit too right for my own taste, actually. (Just as her husband Bill was a bit too mainstream center for my personal taste.) Hillary's centrism aside, everything I've seen of her for the past 15 years has been nothing but "competence" and "intelligence." What a shocker to actually again have a president who's both "competent" and "intelligent"!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blasts near Bhutto kill 126 in Pakistan

Remember: Musharraf condemned the blasts...But, oh, the coincidence of his rival returning and the murders...

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON and PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writers 54 minutes ago

KARACHI, Pakistan - A suicide bombing in a crowd welcoming former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto killed up to 126 people Thursday night, shattering her celebratory procession through Pakistan's biggest city after eight years in exile.

Two explosions — a grenade followed by a suicide blast — struck near a truck carrying Bhutto, but police and officials of her party said she was not injured and was hurried to her house. An Associated Press photo showed a dazed-looking Bhutto being helped away.

Officials at six hospitals reported 126 dead and 248 wounded. Police chief Azhar Farooqi put the death toll at 113, including 20 police, with 300 people wounded. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the differences. But it was believed to be the deadliest bomb attack in Pakistan's history.

Bhutto flew home to lead her Pakistan People's Party in January parliamentary elections, drawing cheers from supporters massed in a sea of the party's red, green and black flags. Police said 150,000 were in the streets, while other onlookers estimated twice that.

The throngs reflected Bhutto's enduring political clout, but she has made enemies of Islamic militants by taking a pro-U.S. line and negotiating a possible political alliance with Pakistan's military ruler, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the war against terrorism, condemned the blasts in Karachi as "a conspiracy against democracy," state news agency Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

"It is premature to pinpoint who may be behind the attack, but there were threats from extremists elements," Farooqi said.

An estimated 20,000 security officers had been deployed to protect Bhutto and her cavalcade of motorized rickshaws, colorful buses, cars and motorcycles.

Authorities had urged Bhutto to use a helicopter to reduce the risk of attack amid threats from extremists sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida, but she brushed off the concerns.

"I am not scared. I am thinking of my mission," she had told reporters on the plane from Dubai. "This is a movement for democracy because we are under threat from extremists and militants."

Last month, Bhutto told CNN she realized she was a target. Islamic militants, she said, "don't believe in women governing nations, so they will try to plot against me, but these are risks that must be taken. I'm prepared to take them."

Leaving the airport, Bhutto refused to use a bulletproof glass cubicle that had been built atop the truck taking her to the tomb of Pakistan's founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, to give a speech. She squeezed between other party officials along a railing at the front and rode high above the street.

Her procession had been creeping toward the center of Karachi for 10 hours, moving at a snail's pace while dancing and cheering supporters swarmed around the truck, when a small explosion erupted near the front of the vehicle.

That was quickly followed by a larger blast just a few feet from the truck, setting an escorting police van on fire and breaking windows in Bhutto's vehicle. Party members on top of the truck scrambled to the ground, one man jumping while others climbed down a ladder or over the side.

Christina Lamb, Bhutto's biographer, said the former premier had just gone to a downstairs compartment in the truck for a rest when the blast went off.

"She knew she was a target, I was talking to her about it .... she was worried that the lights were going off, the street lights, and that snipers could be on tops of buildings and bridges," Lamb told Sky News. "Luckily the bus had a downstairs enclosed compartment for her to go and rest in, and she just happened to be there when it went off, so she wasn't on top in the open like rest of us, so that just saved her."

Farooqi, the Karachi police chief, said the first blast was from a grenade and the second a suicide bombing targeting Bhutto. Police found the severed head of a young man believed to have been the bomber, Farooqi said.

At the scene of the attack, bodies lay motionless in the street, under a mural reading "Long Live Bhutto" on the side of the truck.

"People were shouting for help but there was no one to help them out. It smelled like blood and smoke," said AP photographer B.K. Bangash, who was 150 feet from Bhutto's truck when he heard a small blast just before midnight.

The bombs exploded just after the truck crossed a bridge about halfway on the 10-mile journey from the airport to the tomb.

Pools of blood, broken glass, tires, motorcycles and bits of clothing littered the ground. Men carried the injured away from burning cars. One bystander came upon a body, checked for signs of life, and moved on.

Some of the injured were rushed into a hospital emergency room on stretchers, and others were carried in rescuers' arms. Many of the wounded were covered in blood, and some had their clothes ripped off.

Karachi has a history of violent attacks by Islamic militants, but Thursday's was believed to be the deadliest. In 2006, a suicide bombing killed 57 people, including the leaders of a Sunni Muslim group.

The United States condemned "the violent attack in Pakistan and mourns the loss of innocent life there," said Gordon Johndroe, foreign affairs spokesman for President Bush. "Extremists will not be allowed to stop Pakistanis from selecting their representatives through an open and democratic process."

Richard Haass, president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, said the attack emphasized that "one of the fundamental realities of Pakistan today is that the government is not in total control of the country."

He said he did not think Musharraf would declare a state of emergency, saying there were more serious challenges to state authority recently, like the summer battle between militants and police at Islamabad's Red Mosque.

The bloodshed marred what had been a jubilant day for Bhutto. She received a rapturous welcome from tens of thousands of supporters, many craning from tree branches and foot bridges to glimpse her return.

The 54-year-old politician wept for joy.

"I feel very, very emotional coming back to my country," Bhutto told AP Television News at the airport, after passing under a Quran held over her head as she got off the plane.

"I dreamt of this day for so many months, and years. I counted the hours, the minutes and the seconds just to see this land, sky and grass. I'm so emotionally overwhelmed," she said, dressed in green with a white head scarf to match Pakistan's national flag.

Bhutto had paved her route back to Pakistan through negotiations with Musharraf, a longtime political rival whose rule she has often condemned but whose proclaimed mission to defeat Islamic extremism she shares.

The talks yielded an amnesty covering the corruption charges that made Bhutto leave Pakistan, and could lead to a political alliance uniting moderates in parliamentary elections for a fight against militants allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban.

U.S. officials are believed to still favor Musharraf, despite his sagging popularity, over his two main civilian rivals — Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the elected premier ousted by the general in a 1999 coup and sent back into exile when he tried to return last month.

Washington considers Musharraf a source of stability in a nuclear-armed country fighting militants along the border with Afghanistan, an area where Osama bin Laden may be hiding.

Still, amid the uncertainty that parliamentary elections will establish a U.S.-friendly government, the United States wants Pakistan to at least keep moving toward democracy — and Bhutto's return could help that goal.

Musharraf had urged Bhutto to delay her return because of political uncertainty in Pakistan, including a pending court challenge to his presidential election victory this month.

The Supreme Court will rule soon on whether he was eligible to compete in the vote by lawmakers, since he also holds the post of army chief. If he is confirmed for a new five-year presidential term, Musharraf has promised to quit the military and restore civilian rule.

Bhutto said there was still a long way to go in political reconciliation with Musharraf, but added that she expected the court to decide in his favor. "If the court did not stop his election, it's unlikely to stop the result of that election," she said.

After flying in, Bhutto declared she returned to fight for democracy and to help Pakistan shake off its reputation as a hotbed of international terrorism.

"That's not the real image of Pakistan. The people that you see outside are the real image of Pakistan. These are the decent and hardworking middle-classes and working classes of Pakistan who want to be empowered so they can build a moderate, modern nation," she said.

Bhutto became leader of the Pakistan People's Party more than two decades ago after the military's 1979 execution of its founder, her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a populist prime minister still exalted by many Pakistanis as the finest leader in the country's 60-year history.

She served twice as the democratically elected prime minister between 1988 and 1996 — the first female premier in the Muslim world — but both governments fell amid allegations of corruption and misrule. After Musharraf seized power, she was charged with illegally amassing properties and bank accounts overseas while in office and she left Pakistan.

"You held your breath and the door for me..."

Thank you, God. I've come to you again and again as a complete beggar in the past few months, with absolutely nothing to offer you, just my begging... I'm knocked out by how much you've responded and blessed me in my times of need... THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.


--------------------

I had no choice but to hear you
You stated your case time and again
I thought about it

You treat me like I'm a princess
I'm not used to liking that
You ask how my day was

(chorus)
You've already won me over in spite of me
Don't be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldn't help it
It's all your fault

Your love is think and it swallowed me whole
You're so much braver than I gave you credit for
That's not lip service

(repeat chorus)

You are the bearer of unconditional things
You held your breath and the door for me
Thanks for your patience

You're the best listener that Ive ever met
You're my best friend
Best friend with benefits
What took me so long

I've never felt this healthy before
I've never wanted something rational
I am aware now
I am aware now

(Alanis Morissette)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?





I think when she posted this photo, she just thought it was sexy, and never thought of its source, "Leda and the Swan," by Yeats.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Direction plaques on NYC streets

From the NYTimes Wednesday, apparently there's an acknowledged problem when people get off the subway----they can't figure out in what direction they're going! So the city's been placing a few "direction compass" thingies on the sidewalks outside of the subways that have direction points and streets listed.

I agree---being new here, I've usually been completely lost when emerging from the subway between avenues, having no idea which way I should head. As the article mentioned, the street signs are so far apart and the avenues so far apart that you can't actually figure out where you're going, so must ask kindly New Yorkers for directions.

In the NYTimes article about the new sidewalk plaques, one interviewee said, "We need those because tourists are always asking us, 'Which way to Third Avenue?"

I couldn't quite tell if this media native was being snippy. But, she's actually right about needy tourists: I personally have asked dozens of kindly New Yorkers for directions since I've been here! To read the article in the Times, you'd think that most New Yorkers were French-like in their attitudes toward dummies asking for directions, but au contraire---every single New Yorker I've ever asked for directions in the past 8 months has been more than friendly. Bank instructions, bus instructions, park instructions, elevator instructions, how to order food, for chrissakes... I've been, now that I think about it, incredibly pathetic (!) and New Yorkers have been absolutely GREAT in response! ;p

I was taking a smoke break outside of work today with a co-worker who's a native New Yorker. We were talking about other places we'd lived (we both hated San Francisco---extremely provincial; and she'd heard good things about my home-town of Austin). I was telling her how much I didn't feel at home in either Austin (despite my 25 years there) or San Fran, and wondering if my extreme liking of New York was warranted after only 8 months...

"Why do you like New York so much?"

"It's gorgeous. And everything's going on. And I love the people. And back in Austin, when I was driving, I would honk when people in front of me wouldn't move when the light turned green. And anyone riding in the car with me would be incredibly embarrassed. And people there always commented that I talked too fast and walked too fast..."

"You're a New Yorker."

Poll: Some Germans see good in Nazi rule

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer Wed Oct 17, 1:25 PM ET

BERLIN - A quarter of Germans believe there were some positive aspects to Nazi rule, according to a poll published Wednesday — a finding that comes after a popular talk show host was fired for praising Nazi Germany's attitude toward motherhood.

Pollsters for the Forsa agency, commissioned by the weekly magazine Stern, asked whether National Socialism also had some "good sides (such as) the construction of the highway system, the elimination of unemployment, the low criminality rate (and) the encouragement of the family."

Forsa said 25 percent responded "yes" — but 70 percent said "no."

Stern commissioned the survey, conducted Oct. 11-12, after Germany's NDR public broadcaster last month fired talk show host Eva Herman over comments she made about the Third Reich.

News reports quoted Herman as saying there was "much that was very bad — for example, Adolf Hitler," but there were good things under the Nazis, "for example, the high regard for the mother."

Herman, 48, who has written books urging a return to more traditional gender roles, has stood by her comments.

"What I wanted to express was that values which also existed before the Third Reich, such as family, children and motherhood, which were supported in the Third Reich, were subsequently done away with by the 68ers," she later said, referring to 1960s-era leftists.

Praising the 1933-45 Nazi dictatorship is taboo in Germany. The Nazis were responsible for the murder of some 6 million Jews and for starting World War II — a conflict in which at least 60 million people died, including more than 7 million Germans.

The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, showed that people 60 or older had the highest regard for aspects of the era, with 37 percent answering "yes."

Those who grew up directly after the war, now aged 45 to 59, were the least enthusiastic about the Nazi era, with only 15 percent responding "yes."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK, first of all, I find the radio host's opinions of "motherhood" completely smarmy. Don't know that she should have been fired over those opinions, though. (Full dislosure: I'm 42 and gay and not a mom. In general, though, I've found that people have kids just 'cause they love their spouse and want to make babies. There's nothing particularly "noble" about having babies and then having to raise them! I always hate to see a fetish made of the process.)

The silly "Motherhood" issue aside: The headline on Yahoo---"Some Germans see good in Nazi rule"---made me click on it to read more. My mother is German (born in 1941---her small town, near the Wolfsburg VW plant, was bombed during the war). And I've also read about German history post-WWI, leading up to the rise of Hitler and, eventually, WWII.

To deny that Hitler had any good points in his social program is to completely deny human nature. (And to thus be condemned to repeat the same psychological mistakes.) Truth is, after WWI, Germany was drastically penalized by the victors and the post-WWI years were miserable for the country and its people----extremely high inflation, high unemployment, general social chaos. Basically, average Germans felt like shit about themselves on a daily basis for a couple of decades.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he did, aside from his psychotic Jewish policy, almost immediately whip things into shape economically and socially: As mentioned above in the article, public-works projects almost eliminated unemployment and improved the infrastructure of the country, and the crack-down on crime also improved the quality of life. Hitler also strengthened the country militarily and improved its standing in the world community.

Looking at the overall picture, I don't see how it's so outrageous to say that the Third Reich had "some" good points that the average German citizen was initially at least tolerant of.

That Hitler's sending Jewish people to their deaths is psychotic is a given. I'm not at all arguing that the concentration camps were in any way forgivable. They weren't. My only point: When Hitler came to power in '33, he didn't come in wearing horns. As the poll above suggested, and as reality suggests, there were things about Hitler's policies that appealed to the nation at that particular time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When you're dead tired of "dumb"...

When I get sick and tired and bored of thinking about/countering incredibly dumb stuff like "I would love to try your no-shampoo" and "F. Scott Fitzgerald is big on TV," I just have to look at this girl, who's brilliant in appearance. I love how she looks. A real palate-cleanser. I almost think she's more interesting to look at than Joan. As long as there's a face that interesting to look at, who (momentarily) cares how stupid the rest of the world is.




"I would love to try your no-shampoo"

There's something pretty sad about some Pisces. (The so-called "dust-bin of the Zodiac.") I never thought that about the sign, but I must say I'm beginning to, based on the two Pisces I've come to know well in the past couple of years.

First, there's the mess of this:

"And thank you for forgiving me the other day. I am not balanced these days; I may feel hurt or jealous or very sad, but I'm not evil, not at the core. But some of the things I have done have been vicious: I am not proud of them. I know I'll never speak to M. again; I have accepted that. Btw, I would love to try your no-shampoo, only conditioner trick. Would you be so kind as to give me a detailed, really detailed description as to how to do it? Thanks in advance. (Your hair is beautiful and you have a beautiful body - I used to be a nurse once - but I was never formally trained. I like you, you don't have to like me.)"

BTW: What the innocent recipient of the above message didn't know is that the sender used to be, not a nurse, but a psychiatric patient. Nothing wrong with that, but... Just say you were a patient and not a nurse. Or else don't say anything at all. And, don't act like conditioning is of the utmost importance. And, most importantly, don't ever say "I like you, you don't have to like me" after revealing something as stupid as you think conditioning without shampoo is really great. Yeah, you're going to make a non-judgmental friend that way... a friend who's as retarded and shallow as you are!

And then there was the wacky mess the other day of Pisces Neily claiming: (1) F. Scott Fitzgerald was best known for his TV work (!) and (2) that he (Neily) knew all about sports, i.e., the history of the Yankees, Sox, Cowboys, Patriots, when in fact his own boyfriend came online in response and said Neil knew nothing at all about sports.

My head reels at the constant annoying blah-blah-blah of people who have no idea what they're talking about it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dumb as a post

A Joan Crawford webmaster: "F. Scott Fitzgerald would go on to be a successful writer best known for his work in television."

I don't make this shit up.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How 'Bout Them Cowboys!


Sports-Night Monday: Too bad, Yankees... And, How 'bout them Cowboys!

I was trying to be loyal to my new town, hoping for a Yankees win in the playoffs over the Indians. (I was looking forward to wearing a "Boston Sux" shirt.)

And then while watching that on TV, kept switching over to the Cowboys/Bills game...

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHGHGHGHGHGGHGH! Seriously, the last 20 seconds??!!!!!!!! Loooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee da Boys! Stuff like that reminds me I'm a Texan! ;p

Tuesday, October 09, 2007



My office on 5th Avenue. I had to argue with the "powers-that-be" about keeping those curtains. (Their argument and my argument both coincided: "It makes the room look like a bordello!" ---in my mind a big positive!) ;p I prevailed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Nagasaki: Deserved... Be Grateful

I just saw a post on another blog about the tragedy of Nagasaki. In short, Nagasaki never would have happened if Japan had not first bombed the US's Pearl Harbor. It's hard to believe that people forget what caused the Nagasaki destruction.

For light-weight people from light-weight neutral countries like Norway, it might be hard to imagine what would inspire other countries to war. Thank god for the hard-core UK and the US in WWII. If it were up to the Norway mentality, Europe would all be a part of the Third Reich right now. No way the US would have followed that passive path---The US has a history of guts and a bunch of incredibly hard-ass men---too bad the north-east men have forgotten their original role in this country's founding.

That said, countries like Norway (and France, come to think of it) are a joke. Acting all holier-than-thou at the time, sacrificing nothing, but then wanting to gain the spoils of war afterwards.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lovely Lindsay

The first photo is of Dina Lohan with baby Lindsay... Bizarre how similar Lindsay later turned out to look, and how utterly floozy-like Dina looks here. You'd think with a new baby, you'd slightly tone down the hair-dye and make-up...