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Salutations: Journeys

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

I am blogging my readings for the salutations series, held at Green Apple books in the Inner Sunset.

The theme for this letter was Journeys.

The set up is this: Lots of people know that St Paul the Apostle wrote a ton of letters to the Corinthians. Not a lot of people know that the Corinthians wrote back . Here is one of those letters

 

Paul T Apostle

The Holy Roman Empire

Rome, Not Italy Yet

 

Cephas Of Corinth

Corinth, Mostly Greece

 

Dear Paul,

 

Thanks for your abundant correspondence. It’s nice to hear from you and we’re always interested in your perspective. It’s also nice that you might be swinging by for a visit. I’ll tell Saul to ready his extra donkey loft.

We also wanted to say that while we’re always happy to get letters and love it when you stop by, there’s something that’s been on our minds. I know this might be hard to hear, but this whole ‘Jesus’ thing is getting to be a bit much. It was all that you talked about in the last letter, dude. Rome’s got to have something going on, you know? A new lunch spot? It’s like the biggest city in all of civilization. There must be something there that doesn’t involve you talking about the bread of life for like the 15th time. Maybe there’s a chess club or something? Or some art stuff? It’s not that we’re not appreciative that you’re interested in our little town but the letters feel, well, preachy.

Speaking of that, the last time you were here Stephan said that he tried to show you his new plow and all the work he did in the further fields but you just kept telling him about the gospel of Christ Jesus. We get it. We’re only babies in his holiness, as you keep saying, we must rise into the light of the lord…we know… but Stephan was really excited about the new plow. You could have said “Great plow, Steve. Good job on the further field. You really plowed the heck out of it. Man, you’re gonna have some great crops this year. <beat> Also, on a completely separate topic… Have you heard about how the spirit of the lord our God lives in man?” And he’ll say “uh, yeah” and then you can both move on.

It would have really been a menschy thing to do, you know? He worked hard on the plowing.

As you promised, your son Timothy’s has arrived, he got here last Friday. He brought those scrolls you asked us to store in the special scroll locker you helped us build over by the Dead Sea. He, too, been very clear about the gospel of the word of life. Very, very clear.  I’m not going to say he won’t shut up about it, but I will say he does not speak about much else.

Petrach thinks he might be a little slow. We told him that thing you said about how “God protects even the littlest birds upon the tree” and asked him to go count the chickens to make sure they were protected. Alphonse keeps hiding extra chickens in his room so that Tim stays busy- more chicken counting, less the tree of life.

Phillip has asked that I clear a few things up about the whole section of the letter you wrote about him. We know you’re writing these letters just to us, and it doubtful that anyone else is going to ever see them, but even still, he doesn’t want it getting out that he’s “fornicating with his father’s wife”.  Because, well, he’s not.

Seriously that would be creepy….Ethel is like a second mother to Phil. Especially since his own mother was accidentally brutally hoofed to death during the annual running of the goats festival three years ago.

The real story of what you called “abominations unto the lord” is considerably less naughty than what you implied. As you know Ethel’s a little on the young side for Phil’s dad… and good for him by the by… but occasionally Ethel likes to get away from the harvest and the plentiful goat work and cut loose.

Phil invited Ethel to a manger dance a couple weekends ago, you know to unwind and have a little fun, up in Achaia. Nobody turned water into wine, but let’s just say they didn’t need to because there was plenty of regular wine. Anyway Phil and Ethel may have been a little …uh…shall we say…over served and they ending up passing ou…taking a nap… under the same wagon. Yes, they were technically “sleeping” together but not in the “biblical sense” and that’s straight from Ethel.  No one was “associating with sexually amoral people” but Phil did say the Achaians had some of the greatest oregano he’s ever smoked.

About the oregano, we sent Marcus back up to Achaia to trade for some. He came back with a ton, they love the goat fudge we make in Achaia. We’ll send some of the extra oregano with the next letter. You’re gonna completely dig this stuff.

It makes the whole short story John wrote about the apocalypse an amazing read. We are thinking of doing a dramatic reading of the story next weekend with plenty of wine and oregano. You should see if you can make it down. Petrach does the whole thing with different voices and acts part of it out. He even has voices for the horses of the apocalypse. Man. There’s no way I could it explain it but it’s hysterical. Afterward we’ll have a feast, because the oregano make most of us hungry. Chloe will make hummus.

Okay. I guess that’s all. Things are great here since we got this really shiny golden calf statue. KIDDING! Just trying to get your goat! Kid… goat? Goat! Get it? Man, I should do some of this stuff at Eurpides weekly Improv show at the Apollo. It would kill.

Anywho. Like I said it was great hearing from you. Hope everything is super in Rome.

 

Best wishes,

 

All of us here in Corinith

 

 

Bring out the dead

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

I have this joke I thought of yesterday that has no home. I’m not working on anything and even then I don’t know how I’d fit it in. It goes like this:

Man: Dad passed away last weekend.

Woman: Oh no I’m sorry.

Man: It was time. He was in a lot of pain at the end.

Woman: That’s tough. Was it cancer?

Man: No he was hit by a train. I hear that hurts like hell.

So you see my Dilemma- it’s a very specific joke and it needs to live in a certain sort of thing. It’s too big for twitter and too specific to be handed off to someone else who’s writing something else.

So I have it and it’s sitting here..

It started with the combo fact that I was on the train this morning and it seems that Facebook is either dead people or babies these days. I was telling a coworker that she had reached the age when you go to a lot of weddings. Which seems to happen in your late 20’s if I recall correctly. I guess I have reached the age when people have babies or die.

Which brings us to Prince, who did not have a baby.

Much has been said about the sadness around the death of the purple one, so I don’t need to re-explain what everyone’s already talked about.  Prince was an innovator, and while I wasn’t always a fan- I was always able to see that he was doing something completely different than anyone else in a way that was completely new. There are, of course, songs that I love- not especially the hits, but that’s not to say I live under a rock and therefore don’t know all the words the the whole of purple rain…

However I’d like to back out and discuss the whole way that social media has change the way we experience death. Especially celebrity death, but even deaths on a personal level.

Celebrity deaths, I have heard, seem to be happening more “often” than before. I’ve seen meme cursing 2016 as the stealer of legends- because of Bowie, Glenn Frey*, and now Prince. Yes, this is tragic, but no, it’s not unusual. People die all the time, however, in today’s modern age we knew that Prince was dead with in hours of his body being discovered, we could instantly launch into talking about it and we have a public forum for each of us to do so.

2016 is not a “year of disaster”, it’s just a year. Let me give you an example: I thought back to deaths that I registered from growing up, a celebrity death that I remember distinctly. I thought of two right off the top of my head: Elvis Presley and John Lennon. I remember that I heard about both rather rapidly although, since I was a kid, I don’t know how rapidly. Let’s pick one: Lennon (1980). I can’t tell you a thing about anyone else that died that year, however a quick search of the internet tells me that in addition to Lennon there were Bon Scott, John Bonham, Steve McQueen, Mae West, Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Durante, Ian Curtis and Peter Sellers. Those are just the ones that came up on the first website I grabbed off of google. So I doubt that list is even comprehensive.

Which makes me think about 1980- did people curse that year? I don’t recall. Somehow I doubt it- but you can’t argue that these people are legendary. I don’t remember any adults around me even commenting.

That doesn’t mean that having a year when Bowie and Prince died isn’t sad- it just means that people are going to keep dying. I mean, we only have one Ramone and half the Clash and those guys were kids compared to Bowie. So before you curse this year, remember that you’re going to curse every year from here on out, especially if you only face backwards. I also wonder about all of the hub bub on facebook. There are some people I expect to express sadness- people who I know love that artist and have forever. They need to use the support group that is social media to discuss. However I also saw, just this morning, someone who had posted “Here’s the obligatory post about Prince”, you know what? You don’t need to join the conversation. Just let it lie.

But further, the way we see any death these days seems to be via facebook. People you know, people who are famous, even people posting about friends, parents, whomever… who are long dead.  I think part of it is a public rending of cloth, a chance to say “I feel bad about this”. Some of it is also a coming together of grief, especially the public figures.  And some if it is, I guess, keeping the memory alive. However, even while I’ve been occasionally guilty of the public rending of cloth, I tend to think that grief of any kind is better expressed in person.

I’ve also always wondered about celebrating “death days”… well not celebrating- more like recognizing. Isn’t it better to talk about them in your regular life (IRL), tell stories, remember moments than it is to say something to the effect of “it’s been x years since you died and that’s stinky” on the Internet? Maybe that’s just me.

Which brings us to the conceit of the blog, which is if the only music that’s good was made 20 years ago**

Old Song: In deference to Prince let’s dig into the catalog. I’ve heard Chuck Prophet cover Controversy from the Prince world recently and it’s a Prince song that I forgot how much I liked. I found a version online of Prince doing it– it says “official” so this might be one of the few times Prince allowed music onto Youtube. Anyway, it does all the things that made Prince great. It’s got about a 100 hooks, but it’s also got a groove that’s hard to get out of your head. It’s funk, but it’s pop, but it’s soul. It’s the quintessential Prince song from exactly one Prince era. Prince wasn’t completely like Bowie in that respect but you have to appreciate the fact that he never stood still as a artist. He was always thinking of the next thing. Well, now we’ll just have to go into the catalog and appreciate all of the things we may have overlooked.

New Song: Fraser A Gorman. He has a bunch of quality songs, however, because you haven’t heard of him let’s start with the “hit”. Shiny Gun is what amounts to a hit for this Australian kid with a folk rocky sound. It’s a great song, but you should use it as the appetizer for digging into the rest of his stuff. He’s got two records out now and both are full of gems. However, this one was the song that put him on the map. It’s the first song of his that I heard. It easily puts him the the same breath as Wilco, which is a feat in itself. It also makes me want to pay attention to him as he continues to develop. Remember that he’s only 23. Also it shouldn’t shock you that he’s being championed by another Australian who deserves your attention- 2015 Grammy nominee & wonder kind, Courtney Barnett.

 

*I’m not going to argue that he wasn’t a legend even if I hated the eagles like it was a full time job

** News Flash- you’ve got bad news on the horizon from this point forward.

How many Oaklanders does it take to change a light bulb? Hella.

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Yesterday, Nicole and I finished the Oakland half-Marathon it’s one of the best of these events we do and we’ve done quite a few. I mean everyone has their merits, but only one has Lake Merritt.

It started with a little pain because the night before we went to see the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at the SF Jazz. They were amazing but I was dancing on the same feet that were gonna run 13.1 the next day so I started the day with a creaky ankle. On an interesting side note- the date that was three dates behind SF Jazz was of all places “Bethany College” – props to you Alma Mater- you’re cooler now when I was there and we slogged through Beatles tribute bands and The Georgia Satellites.

Our experience with the SF Marathon vs The Oakland Running Festival is not night and day but it’s a little bit of a dichotomy. The SF expects the course & scenery to shine and the Oakland wants the people & the event to shine. To put that another way SF is like “F^@k you, here’s a bridge” and Oakland is more “Hey, how’s everything going. Would you like some more bananas? How about some snacks? You seem nice. Wanna hang out?”.

Oakland gives away not one but two beers, there were three places on the course giving away orange slices and one place giving away power muffins & orange slices (much love to Brown Sugar Kitchen– which we hear from new friend Britta is also an awesome place to eat)

Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, who kicked off the race, announced “I bet you’re going to run into hella people who love Oakland. So have fun!” Which makes me love Oakland even more when you put her against Ed Lee who seems even stuffier (and possibly slightly more corrupt) when pitted against that.

Along the course we saw tons of people with signs, a couple bands and 1 super awesome Asian drum team. There a number of churches emptying out as we ran, we were greeted by a number of Pastors, a few congregations and woman who was wearing her church best on a corner dancing and shouting encouragement.

This race’s hands down winner from the sign category was “If Brittney Spears can make it through 2007 you can make it through this race” barely beating out last years favorite “Run like you stole something because let’s face it- this is Oakland so you probably did”. Signs repeat lots, for example we see “Worst Parade Ever” lots but that doesn’t make it less funny, but there’s always one or two that are new and clever.

This year during the race we heard from another runner about the Santa Rosa half which comes with a bottle of wine- which is pretty good swag unless you drink it immediately following the race (freight train to sh!tfaced town!). Also folks that join the Deloach wine club get free entry. I don’t know the first thing about that winery or we might think about it.

And now to the conceit- I thought about trying to dig up some “running” songs but that seemed forced so here you go- one from the stove and one from the vault:

Old Song: Mr Greeves by the Pixies. This came out in 1989 (The number. Sound of the funky drummer- but more on that later). It got a ton of play when I was in college (see above) but it still sounds like a good song despite it’s age. I’m not saying I want to listen to it all the time but it stands up and doesn’t sound like you’re on a memory trip.

New Song : Corrine by Black Honey. These guys are a punk, psych rock sixties sounding something else. I’d love to think that they might get some kind of larger fame but I fear that they are such a niche sound that they just won’t have enough to break bigger. I bet, though, that based on everything I’ve heard of their recorded stuff that they probably kill it in concert and I’ll be keeping an eye out for tour dates that aren’t in UK or France.

Glengarry Glenn Close

Friday, June 27th, 2014

I have a client who has a quote in his sig file from Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s a play, written by David Mamet about a million years ago. It won the Pulitzer prize. Everyone’s seen the movie, some have seen the play and a couple people have been in it.

If you have a scrap of humanity, this play/movie makes you both hate and feel terrible for anyone who’s chosen sales as a career.  It, like Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, ultimately shows the slippery slope that anyone who lives in a capitalistic society lives on. For one person to get ahead, it’s usually on the bones of another person. The play is haunted by monsters and little guys that get eaten by monsters or become monsters themselves.

That’s not what I’m actually talking about though.

So for some unknown reason this play has also been co-opted by a certain kind of douche-bag who sides with the monster and sees the play as a motivational speech. I feel confident that my client, who is otherwise a nice guy, is not going to read this….but I think he’s that kind douche-bag.

The quote he chose was “Second place is a set of steak knives”- the full quote is “As you all know, first prize is Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? ” It’s about the evilest quote in the play. The second evilest is “Coffee is for closers” .

But anyway, like I said- that’s not what the bliggity blog is about. I was running and I started thinking about how I might be able to make that evil shit funny. So below is my first attempt. Apologies to Mr Mamet.

***

Blake: Let me have your attention for a moment! ‘Cause you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…[puts out his cigarette]…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch don’t want to buy land, somebody don’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw, so forth. Let’s talk about something important. [to John Williamson] Are they all here?

John: All but one.

Blake: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important! [to Shelley] Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only. [Shelley scoffs] You think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here for Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levine?

Shelley: Yeah.

Blake: You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Dave: I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

Blake: You certainly don’t, pal. ‘Cause the good news is you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got, all you’ve got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting with tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? Fourth place is a set of drinkware! You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. The drinkware is nice- kinda like Tupperware but better for when you’ve got nice guests. Get their names to sell them! Fifth place is you’re fired. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ’cause you’re going out!!!

Shelley: The leads are weak. Wait, there’s a fourth place?

Blake: The leads are weak. Fuckin’ leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business 15 years.

Dave: What’s your name? Did you say fifth place? There are only three of us.

Blake: FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, mister? ‘Cause you drove a Yugo to get here tonight, I drove an $80,000 BMW. That’s my name!!

Shelly: Your name is “I dove an 80 thousand dollar BMW?” What nationality is that?

Blake:  [to Shelley] And your name is “you’re wanting”. And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them. [at a near whisper] Then go home, home and tell your wife your troubles. [to everyone again] Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line, which is dotted! You hear me? Because 6th place is you get to have sex with Levine’s wife!

Shelley: Hang on… who wins 6th place? What if I do? That would be nice.

Blake: [Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and ILTAC] A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!  I-L-T-A-C. I Like Tea and Cake. I- I as you as in yourself. L- like as in you enjoy something. Tea- It’s a drink. It’s fucking drink with jam and bread. Do you sad sacks not even know what tea is? Jesus. C- Cake. It’s fucking cake people. You think they came in to get outta the rain? You think that some fuck left your cake out in the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. Cause it took so long to bake it and you fucks will never have the recipe again. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

Dave: Incredible.

Blake[to Moss] What’s the problem, pal? You. Moss. [Blake sits down.]

Dave: You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. How come you’re coming down here waste your time with such a bunch of bums?

Blake: You see this watch? [Blake takes off his gold watch.] You see this watch?

Dave: Yeah.

Blake: That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. You see the big hand? Where is it?

Dave: It’s on the 5.

Blake: Yeah it’s on the 5. Now where’s the little hand?

Dave: It’s on the 2.

Blake: So what time is it?

Dave: Time for …

Blake: It’s time to Close!!You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this, how can take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don’t like it, leave. You like it a little, come out with me later and I’ll show you my wang.  I can go out there tonight, the materials you got, make myself $15,000! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Or you can come with me and make like $25 for 10 mins work involving some lotion provided by the hotel and your gumption … oh and your hand.  Go and do likewise! A-B-C! Activate boron contraption. Get mad! I-L-T-A-C. Like italic only spelled right. You son of a bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell real estate? [He pulls something out of his brief case. He is holding two brass balls on string] It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

Shelly: Are those benwa balls? I think you can buy them in Chinatown. What do we use them for?

Dave: I think your wife knows, and I’m ready to come in #6.

Shelly: (to Dave) You know there’s only three of us, right?

Blake:  The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it’s yours. If not, you’re gonna be shining my dick. And you know what you’ll be saying, bunch of losers, sitting around in a bar. [in a mocking weak voice] “Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.”

Dave: It *is* a tough racket. Also, did you just ask me for a hand job?

Blake:  [He takes out large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase.] These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. [He hands the stack to John Williamson.] They’re for closers like the coffee and Levine’s wife. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. [to Moss as he puts on his watch again] And to answer your question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fuckin’ ass ’cause a loser is a loser.

Reboot v 2

Friday, May 30th, 2014

I’ve been remiss in posting to this stupid blog forever. I don’t know why. I just got sidetracked, but this morning I was listening to 99% invisible on KALW and they did a story about the Jolly Roger (the Pirate Flag) and why it exists and where it came from etc.  This struck me as a totally interesting and also totally random topic.

This got me to thinking… I do all kinds of stupid random searches every day to find out about stuff I heard on the radio or something, so maybe I could rethink why I have a blog and provide a periodic (or perhaps sporadic) view into what I end up finding out. Maybe it’s interesting, maybe it’s not- but ultimately it’s also an exercise in pen to paper. So maybe the fact that I’m writing makes my brain think more about the writing.

So this is me announcing that. I’m going to try to do 10 column inches once a week or so about a bunch of random stuff.  I don’t think it will end up being as much about me as I have written in the past, but we’ll see. At the very least it’s a good way to get back into the pool.

Giants 7, Cardinals 1

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

I was gonna talk about last night’s debate, but I feel like after reading Factcheck.org– they did a pretty comprehensive job and honestly I’d have a hard time adding any color.

What I will tell you about was our trip to Game 2 of the NLCS.

So one of the advantages of having a roommate even though we could afford the place by ourselves is the fact that we can spend big money on “silly” things.  One of those silly things was $311 on NLCS tickets for game two against the cardinals.  Which Nicole was kind enough to put on her discover (“it all comes from the same place” she says) The Giants have definitely struggled at home so it was with a little trepidation that we arrived at the yard on Monday  They had just dropped game 1- although not in classic Giant’s style.

Up to this point usually when the giants lose one it’s pitching falls apart and they get shelled and then the batting never shows up so it ends up like 6-2 and the whole game feels like a slog through wet sand. Game 1 started out like it was gonna be that- Giants are down 6-0 and Baumgarner is out of the game. Then all of a sudden stuff came to life and we ran it up to 6-4 before starting the walk through wet sand. So, it just felt slightly more hopeful.

But anyway, I digress, we get to the park around 5 for a first pitch at 5:07. We were running a little late but that was largely my fault, I have issues when temps get warm, Nicole calls it “Hot-angry” (pronounced haTangry). Basically I have become so much a of a bay area person that when it gets up to about 75 or any humidity at all, my body shuts down and I get grumpy.

They were predicting normal bay area temps- 71ish but with normal fog rolling in around dusk and temps getting down into the 60’s. So I put on an under-layer- I use my running tights as a pair of long-johns- so I stay warm when it gets foggy or windy. So I’ve got another layer on and it’s still sunny and 75 at gametime.

We stopped just before the stadium to have a burrito and let me get back to normal less sweaty body temp.  We still had plenty of time after I returned to the living so we walked over to the park only to find that Muni had broken down in between downtown and the park, so everyone got to the stadium at pretty much the exact same moment. There were lines around the corner at every entrance. So we were in line when Angel Pagan put one in the center field seats.

It’s kinda fun to get to a game when your team’s already winning.

It’s also funny when the people in the seats next to yours (who you don’t know) ask you where you’ve been.

So the game progressed and things went very, very well. In the post Season, my record is 1-2 so far. I went to 3 games during the last playoff run in 2010 and with the exception of the World Series game, they were heartbreakers. So this was nice… the giants played the whole game with the lead and there were very few truly tense moments.

The fans behind us were wasted, but thankfully  they were wasted fans of the same team we were cheering for.  Here’s why: Every time something cool happened- Giant’s score, solid single to advance the runners, strike out: we all stood up. Why this is important: Every time they stood up they covered our seats in beer & vodka. So as long as we all stood up in the same moment  we stayed dry while our seats got wet. As long as we remembered to towel off the seats in between good things we were fine.

Our bags were not: they emerged somewhat beer soaked.

My bag was mostly full of game stuff so it was easy to wash out gloves, scarves, hats etc and  even the bag was one of those crappy backpacks that everyone has and I put it straight into the laundry. The only real casualty from my bag was my cool Indian head scarf from the street market in Dehli but it’s still usable – just not as a head scarf anymore (which if you ask Nicole is a good thing).

Nicole’s bag didn’t do so hot and we’re gonna have to work extra hard to get it back to Timbuk-2 coolness.

However, it’s all worth while to walk out of the stadium after a win and listen to the whole crowd go crazy. We cheered the whole way down second street to the Muni stop.  That sort of thing is fun to experience.  To get some of that. Here’s the last strike of the game from Sergio Romo (apologies for my terrible iPhone camera work)

All in all it was a great day. Lots of high-fiveing, Gangdom styling, beer wiping, chant yelling and the like. Let’s hope we get more like that.

 

 

Dissappearing Mittens

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

So I think Mittens won the debate last night by not losing the debate last night. He also won by not being the Mittens we’ve come to know and fear.

Sure, he still promised that he would kill Big Bird and show Jim Lehrer the door. Yes, of course he said he would eliminate “Obama-Care”. He told us that spending money on “green initiatives” was bad, he made a point to explain how the President was doing the wrong thing by not drilling for oil in National Parks.

But, and here’s the weird thing, whenever push came to shove on Paul Ryan’s budget he basically pulled the old bugs bunny with the charging bull routine and moved away.

We would use the remaining money to feed sick kittens

He spent a lot of time saying pretty words. He spent a lot of time saying that stuff that could be true but just well…isn’t. He changed his claims on health care, he changed his tax plan. He’s basically “rebooting” himself as Romney 1.0.

Mr. Romney said a similar thing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” At the time, he said, “I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.”

But Mr. Romney’s aides later clarified that he would only explicitly guarantee insurance for people with pre-existing conditions if they have maintained coverage with no significant lapses.

Romney: My number one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. … I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans. … I will lower taxes on middle-income families.

He never explains how he’s gonna do this. It’s like me saying “I will promise to walk to the moon in the next 6 years by building a very tall staircase from stuff I find around the house”. Yes I have stuff around the house, but how can I make that into a moon staircase?

The interesting thing for political wonks is that he appears to have decided that America is not buying the Romney 2.0 version. He tried to be the Dick Cheney republican with the cross and the flag, the anti-gay, anti-women, anti- immigrant thing. Apparently, either he’s not good at that or America is moving away from the crazy tea-bag thing.

We’re gonna have to see in the coming days how this all plays out. Does the kinder gentler Mittens work? Will it still work when a President, who frankly looked stunned by this switcher-mitt-a-roo, figures out how to process this?

I expected to hear more about the 47%, Bain Capitol, yachts registered in the Caymens from the President. He didn’t hit Mitt where Mitt is most vulnerable- his wallet. There was also no mention of the things that make the President awesome like  don’t ask don’t tell, equal pay for women, health care for the poorest and reasonable immigration law.

There are still 2 more debates and 1 from Biden and Ryan- I guess we’ll see what happens then.

 

 

Post Racial? Not likely.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

On NPR this morning I heard something that shouldn’t have startled me but it did. A woman named Bobbi Lucier (sp?) was speaking from the American Legion Convention had this to say about Ann Romney “It’s about time we get a first lady in [the white house] that looks like a first lady and acts like first lady”. I can only, sadly, assume that this is a racist statement. Are we post racist? No. Every time someone calls the President a Muslim or calls for his birth certificate we should call it what it is. Racism.

There’s an interesting article in Atlantic Monthly this month that discusses this point with more eloquence that I could by TA-NEHISI COATES entitled “Fear of  Black President“. It’s a terrific, although dismaying, read.

How many people are looking at the President as Black first and President second? How many on the right are doing more than the expected knee jerk “I hates me some democrats” kind of reactions.

I feel like there’s a vehemence to the dispisal of President Obama that we’ve lacked in other instances. Can you imagine if the President’s record was anything other than exemplary? In a world where the things being dug up are as inane and misplaced as birth certificates, can you imagine if he’d done anything on Par with President Clinton? There would be calls for lynching.

There’s no way we’re going to change minds at this point, people who are that racist don’t even realize how racist they are. “I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about looks!”

The best solution is to win. Please register to vote if you haven’t, please talk to your friends about the state of the world we’d be have in a Romney presidency, please vote.

Get Bookish!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Recently Nicole and I were up in Portland and had a chance (actually 3 chances  to wander through Powell’s Books. If you haven’t gone- go- it’s a real treat.  So we were browsing around and we notice in the “book award” section that Powell’s is nice enough to give you printed lists of all of the 20th century’s National book award winners, Pulitzer prize winners and greatest books of the 20th century.

They give them to you in book mark size.

So we start looking at the list and I have to admit even with an English degree I was sorely lacking. So we have started reading the lists! I picked up a copy of John Cheever’s “The Wapshot Chronicles” and Nicole is reading Jennifer Egan’s “A visit from the goon squad”.

We’ve only got like 250 books to go!

At the end of the list we’ll have bragging rights and smarter brains! Hooray for us. I’ll keep you posted.

Also. I have been sorely remiss in updating the ol’ bligity blog. So perhaps in my re-commitment to life of letters I will also attempt to write a bit more.

To that end: expect a travel-logue from Portland in the next few days.

Nobody really *wants* to have sex in a bathroom.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I’ve been doing a good deal of travel this year. Not a ton, but enough that I’ve spent some time recently in airports and conversely, airport bathrooms.

Not so strangely enough, this time spent in airport bathrooms has led me to think more about Larry Craig.

Recently, Nicole was telling a story about how there was a number of mainline Philadelphia republicans who had been frequenting gay bathhouses on their way home from the city to satisfy certain “needs” that they were not able to satisfy at home. It’s kinda sad that there’s still enough of a stigma about being gay that people don’t feel comfortable enough to just come out and say “I’m gay” and then be allowed to live normal bathhouse free existences.

However, I am basing this thought on the same notion that more porn= less rape generally is thought of, that people when given access to an outlet for their needs will generally choose the more sociologically sound. Not that I want at all to compare being gay to porn, but what I’m getting at is that if people can get what they really wanted all along that they’d be calmer more productive individuals.

So back to Larry Craig. I’m in LA in the United terminal and I duck into the men’s room to wash my hands. All of the stalls are full. People are… um… doing what normal people do in stalls and there is a serious, shall we say, aroma going.

It stinks.

And there’s paper towels everywhere.

And the trash can has a very recent diaper on top.

And there’s puddles of who-knows-what.

How does anyone other than a desperate, desperate man come into this room and think of… sex?

Yuck.

I can’t even imagine, and for the benefit of science, I tried. I tried to think sexy sexy thoughts but all I could think was how stinky it was in there. Oh and let’s not forget about noises…ew.

So here’s what my postulate is: If Larry Craig could have allowed himself to just *be gay* then he’d never have to try to pick up guys in an airport bathroom or any bathroom for that matter. And if mainline Philadelphia republicans were cool with just admitting something to themselves, they could go back to their house in the suburbs and do all the things that they wanted to do at the bathhouse only with someone who would also have dinner with them afterward.

But no, Larry Craig had to do the same thing he did when he was caught up in the cocaine/ male congressional page scandal back in the eighties. Deny everything and then come out against homosexuality.

Larry, don’t you know that displaying that kind of homophobia only further helps convince us otherwise?

My friend Patrick once said that the only way that you could be sure that you weren’t gay was to have sex with someone of the same sex and not like it. However I think Larry Craig has done the opposite, he had sex with someone of the same sex and liked it so much that he was willing to do something truly filthy to hide something that’s completely normal.

I know what you’re thinking, if Larry Craig had just come out in the eighties and said “I’m gay”, he would have been an unelectable Idaho Republican congressman. But, what if he were instead, a really lucrative Idaho lobbyist with a partner to come home to and clean starched sheets on which to satisfy himself instead of Minneapolis airport toilets. I keep thinking of the directv commercials that follow one line of reasoning to it’s utmost – you know if you just got what you wanted in the first place, everything would end up being fine.

Wouldn’t that be a better life?