Monthly Archives: June 2004

soft-shell crab roll


Since Tessa are in that indefinite parcel of time called “your child-bearing years,” we’ve had to be careful about sushi, because apparently there’s all sorts of mercury that will give your baby three heads and gecko-like scales. The FDA put out a notice and even a list of all the different mercury levels in your favorite seafood, but the whole thing depresses my lovely wife to no end. Not only is it one more goddamn thing to worry about, but she actually loves sushi and it means effectively giving it up until the year 2014.

While salmon has very little mercury, it has plenty of PCBs – basically the green sludge that oozes out the back of factories in Elizabeth, NJ, finding its toxic path of least resistance to the nearest river. The government is supposed to protect us from this shit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bush Administration wanted to re-classify dioxin poison as a dessert topping.

Sure, voyagers on cross-country plane trips can look out the window and see vast stretches of unspoiled Western terrain, but have you ever taken the PATH train to Newark? It is like the Disney ride through Bubbling Purple Horrorville. Gurgling streams of steaming, rust-colored death syrup – all clawing its way into your womb to do terrible things to your babies.

During history class, I used to look at historical characters from the Dark Ages with pity




One of the commenters asked why there was no discussion of “Fahrenheit 9/11” on the blog, which I just saw this evening. I feel like the Web is so chock of armchair leftist pundits dying to register their intensely-held feelings on their weblogs for their small, disturbed following, so me discussing the film is a bit of a clich



For those of you how know me, you’d know that my appearance on a golf green at 10am this morning would come as a bit of a shock. First, I have never played nine holes of golf in my life. Second, I’m not what you’d call an “early riser.”

But there I was regardless, because Jamie Block wanted to, and I have to tell you, golf is fucking fun! All those years I spent rolling my eyes skyward, begrudging incontinent 79-year-olds in their pleated polyester pants, believing golf was the end of all creative thought: well, I suppose I was kinda fulla shit.

Let me be clear

singing in the dead of night



Okay, I blew that one up real big so that you can see how INSANE the packaging is on this product. Now, I realize I can get pretty riled up by environmental issues, and my sense of humor about chlorofluorocarbons is probably a little less acute than your average redneck grillin’ Beefmaster Franks on his FlameMaster 4000, but GIVE ME A FRIGGING BREAK!

That SD card is the same size that fits in your Palm Pilot or your digital camera, i.e., roughly the size of a man’s thumbnail. And the packaging, consisting of 80 lb cardboard stock and dual-bond plastic SO STRONG that it takes a BOXCUTTER to get through it, is BIGGER THAN a SMALL TELEVISION.

Oil to make that plastic, trees felled to provide the cardboard backing… couldn’t they have made a nice game of Boggle



You were the first girl who ever liked me, and though I haven’t thought of you in about five years, I watched “Children of a Lesser God” tonight, the same movie you and I saw in the theater, holding hands the whole time. I remember how deeply I wanted them to get together, and how I utterly longed for you and I to last.

You were just like the deaf girl – totally mysterious, angry, bitter, bizarrely pretty, and just enough of a wounded animal to invoke every ounce of protection in me. That night, when you hallucinated and told me the ingredients to an exotic bomb, I don’t know, I didn’t think it was possible to want anyone more.

When you came to visit again, and slammed the dorm door in my face, I walked around campus in an apoplectic haze, shattered. I didn’t know it then, but I resolved never to be hurt by another girl again.

Spring summer fall, spring summer fall, and gradually, I lost all track of you. I had heard whispers of a motorcycle accident, of marrying someone in the military, of three kids. Myself, I can’t imagine being happier where I am, with such a wonderful person who agreed to marry me, and the layers of amazing people that revolve around us, as we do them.

But for a brief moment tonight, I glimpsed into that tiny window and felt the sharp pang of a moment missed.

heaven knows I’m gouty now


They cancelled the 2004 Lollapalooza tour today, and when I found out who was on the bill, I gasped: Morrissey, The Pixies, the Flaming Lips, Wilco and Sonic Youth. Naturally, I assumed those bands would usher in a whopping fan base desperate to hear their heroes, but nobody is buying a fucking ticket.

And then it hit me, as usual: the line-up that would make your average WXYC DJ go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs is likely to make your 15-year-old yawn in disdain. We have to face facts: The Pixies, Smiths and Sonic Youth were all making records in 1986, which by my count was 18 years ago. When I was 19 in 1986, I saw the Smiths and the Cure play at the L.A. Forum.

But I was NOT going to see The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Rascals, the Monkees or anything else from eighteen years before that, i.e., 1968. Those bands seemed like jokes to me, worthy only of derision or the clandestine, guilty sing-along in the car. These teens probably look at the Pixies the way I looked at Creedence Clearwater Revival: I knew I was supposed to like them, but I could really care less. I was way more into the Naked Eyes CD.

Someone said that music fans in their thirties were far less likely to stand around in a hot open-air mosh pit to see their old favorites, to which I say: no fucking duh. However, I don’t think Jon, Bud, Chip or I would have gone to a Lollapalooza when we were 18 either. I didn’t mind moshing to the Sex Police, Johnny Quest, My Bloody Valentine and the Heels’ victory over Duke in 1992, but there’s no way we would have driven outside of Chapel Hill to get peed on by strangers. If someone’s peeing on me, I’d rather know them.


remains of the day


Greetings from the shortest night of the year!

There’s something terrific about the ambient light of the gloaming sun, still barely visible at 10pm. It hints at infinite possibility, undeniable optimism. I know it drives people crazy near the Arctic Circle, the “white nights” and all, but for now it’s simply brilliant.

You read it here first: the weather the last two days has been the best in three years. Zero percent humidity and 74 degrees, with sky sporting about ten clouds. It was the perfect day for a quick jaunt over to Claverack, NY, where Merchant and Ivory � yep, THAT Merchant/Ivory � were having a benefit dinner for their foundation.

The entertainment was an Indian dancer, very beautiful, who gave a long performance that made me actively miss my friends Jyoti and Swati, the incorrigible twin Indian girls at Carolina during the Purple House years (’92-’95) who made a habit of drinking hard, keeping the nights brisk, and performing some of the most beautiful, intricate synchronized Indian dancing I’ve ever seen. I love the way Indian dancers use their eyes; most other cultures ignore the face while dancing (which leads to the famous “white man’s overbite” practiced by most Baby Boomers dancing to “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”)

At dinner, we sat with Andrew Solomon and our excellent compatriots Ben Feldman (our lawyer) and his partner Chip. The food was exquisite until I bit down on some sort of relish from the salad table that was so, um, unfortunate-tasting that I nearly hurled.

Good thing I didn’t, because as we got up to leave, Ismael Merchant himself wandered over to Tessa and me, asking us how we liked Columbia County, inviting us to dinner, and generally being a fabulous Old World host. That guy does it right, lemme tellya.

After that, he went back to talking to Salman Rushdie. I was dying to ask Mr. Rushdie how on earth he survived a decade of fatwa but that’s what starfucking morons do, and I’m only half of that.


I thought he looked quite handsome in person

We ran home to catch the West Coast satellite feed of Clinton on “60 Minutes,” and you have to admit it was pretty good television. Even near the end of his presidency, I was still defending Clinton to the hilt, because I always really liked the guy. We met him in Chapel Hill in early 1992, and since that day, my respect for him has been unassailable.

Yes, yes, Monica Lewinsky blah blah blah fucking blah. I NEVER CARED. And neither should you, really. If you were embarrassed by Clinton’s White House indiscretions, but give George Bush a free pass on his lies, then you have some serious thinking to do. In fact, go sit in the corner right now. When you’re done, explain why Bush can lie and cause the death of roughly 11,000 people, while Clinton is dragged through the Fires of Hell for a blow job. America, I’ll never fully understand you, and I don’t know if I want to.

wetness and wistfulness


Yesterday we went to the Farmers Market at Union Square to pick up some seedlings for the great Tomato-rific Plantathon at our farm on Saturday. You bastards are lucky I stopped writing on the weekends, or you’d be forced to hear about my new tomato heirlooms: the Pink Brandywines, the Yellow Zebras, the Abe Lincolns, and all the other rare finds that are going to be enjoyed