Monthly Archives: July 2004

aux barricades!

7/29/04

I know the last thing all of you need from me right now is another graceless blog on politics, but I have to vent this particular frustration:

Two nights ago, after John Edwards’ speech, CNN’s audio AND video wasn’t working for the left-leaning pundit, thus they spent close to twenty minutes with Ralph Fucking Reed, the once and future king of the Christian Coalition. He drop-kicked every jackbooted talking point into the face of Wolf Blitzer until FINALLY Jeff Greenfield made him play honest defense.

Seriously, having Ralph Reed as the only Democratic speech critic? That’d be like Che Guevara doing the post-mortem on Dick Cheney’s luncheon address at the Carlyle Group. I couldn’t believe it.

And THEN, tonight, someone in the CNN booth thought it’d be awfully clever to include the walkie-talkie transmission from the guy producing the Fleet Center DNC party, who said “fuck” and “goddamn” en route to getting the balloons to drop. This came right after Kerry aced

immune to your consultation

7/27/04

Everyone has a few guardian angels that helped them out when they were young and insane, and I had two sets: the parents of Marcie and the parents of Hampy. Both Hamp and Marcie were among my closest confidantes at high school, especially while I weathered the horrors of puberty, and the dark rumblings of my own family, which was beginning to break apart.

Hamp’s parents were especially kind to me

picayune gazette bee plain dealer

7/26/04

My buddy Salem asked an interesting question about Kerry and the recent poll showing that only 30% of Americans “felt like they knew who John Kerry was.” He was flabbergasted that anyone with a modicum of clue would have at least a small understanding of who he is (Vietnam vet, war hero, Senator, etc.) but to me, it’s a little more depressing.

First off, the poll itself is its own leading question. If you ask if you “know” somebody, it forces you to contemplate all things you don’t know about them. Further, in this case, the race for the presidency has been mostly about Bush, since he’s such a wildly incompetent dumbass. We “know” who he is, that’s for goddamn sure.

But such a question, put forth by the media, is simply the evidence of hunger for stories and manufactured spectacle. Like I’ve already moaned before, the genesis of a 24-hour news cycle would have been considered TOTALLY FREAKIN’ INSANE in the 70s when I was a kid. Not enough happened! Not enough happens now, so they have to create it.

This unquenched thirst for “news” has made everyone egregiously sloppy; I’m surprised it took so long for the Jayson Blairs and Stephen Glasses of the world to be outed. How about a few examples of Terrible Journalism just in the last week?

Okay – this article from USAToday has the headline “Some Hybrids Not As Reliable As Gas Models.” It says that “The discrepancies can be dramatic… Toyota and Honda hybrids reported twice as many engine problems as owners of gas-engine Toyotas and Hondas… reliability doubts could make Americans reluctant to buy vehicles that could cut fuel bills and U.S. dependence on imported oil. Reliability problems also can make vehicles worth less as used cars.”

Which should scare all of you away from buying a hybrid car

joys of opinionlessness

7/25/04

SightUnseenTessa(bl).jpg

Despite all my commitment issues regarding live theater, we saw a lot of it this weekend, and I’m proud to say it was fabulous (partly due to a hew habit of bringing a backpack for lumbar support). Our very own Laurie Williams Gilmore made her debut on Broadway and was fabulous as the German art critic in Sight Unseen.

When she came out for her bow, Tessa wept because she couldn’t have been prouder even if she was Laurie’s mother. When you see someone so deserving and so talented getting whoo-hoos and a-hollerin’ from the audience on 47th Street, it does a soul good and proffers the illusion that we might be living in a meritocracy after all.

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One of the coolest things about being on Broadway is the backstage room with your name on the door, and if you’re in the union (referred to as “Equity”) then you get an Equity Cot! If I were Equity, I would never leave the cot, I would just stay there all night between shows and stew in my Equity juices.

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Also seen this weekend: The Bourne Supremacy, with a car chase so good that Scotty and I cheered when it was over

Matthew McCauley (1750-1832)

7/22/04

One thing about having a wife you’ve known for seventeen years is that you can bring up people from 1991 – someone neither of you had thought about in decades – and you’ll each have our own independent memories of them. In the very beginning of the decade, Tessa and I happened to live on the same street in Chapel Hill (McCauley St., for those of you playing the home game) and we both noticed the same woman walking her dog every day.

Thing was, this woman didn’t have one of her arms. And the next year, she didn’t have her other arm either. She seemed to be losing limbs at a rapid rate, quickly enough that my housemate Clay thought we should take action (although I’m not sure what his plan was).

What was truly bizarre is that she kept walking her dog even as she lost her arms, so that by 1993 or so, she had the leash tied around her waist. Bud and I used to watch her go by and fall silent, as if out of respect.

So Tessa and I were talking about this woman tonight, and she says, “well, how did she get the leash on the dog, and then tie it around her waist?” I wished she hadn’t said that, because a half-hour later, I was still obsessed with the conundrum. This woman was totally self-sufficient and seemed to have no help at home. So how the hell did she do it?

All the woman had to work with was half of her right arm. Tessa bet me dinner that I couldn’t put Chopin’s leash on him, and then get the leash around my waist. We dragged the sleeping dog into the living room and performed the following:

1. I’m sure the lady had the leash on a peg for easy access, and thus could use her elbow to thread the leash through the small loop at the end (where you’d normally hold it). This is important for later.

2. I told Chopes to sit, which he did, because he truly thought he was getting a late-night walk out of this. Oh, how he was mistaken.

3. I grabbed his collar with one foot, then grabbed the metal “snap” part of the leash with the other.

4. After five minutes of struggle, I managed to snap the leash onto his collar. He despised this part, but maybe the woman’s dog had more patience.

5. With the leash still looped through its own handle, step inside it (while it’s on the floor).

6. Use your feet to push the leash loop up around your waist, and secure it with the part of your arm you have left.

7. Walk dog around neighborhood, and inspire blogs to be written circa 2015.

So Tessa owes me dinner – so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Or maybe that woman had her husband do it.

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senses working overtime

7/20/04

Tonight we watched the unthinkably twee “mockumentary” called The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, which was made bearable only by the presence of Ilana Levine, who offers an oasis of quality in any misbegotten production. The show did ask an interesting question at one point, however: “Which are you more inclined to believe in, ghosts – or aliens among us?”

To, me the question was sort of like asking if the tooth fairy or Santa Claus seemed more realistic (my answer: tooth fairy), but Tessa and I spent the better part of an hour formulating an answer.

I had to say that my head would answer “aliens,” because it wouldn’t require a complete paradigm shift in the afterlife. My heart, however, would answer “ghosts,” because of long-held mysticisms and all those stories everyone else has about plates and jewelry being rearranged while you sleep.

Here’s the thing about aliens. You’d have to be a pigheaded, grotesquely-exceptionalist moron not to believe there are other self-aware, sentient races of creatures out in space. Where it gets hard is believing they’ve come here, and have elaborately avoided detection. First, they’d have to have a reason to stay undetected (which seems counterintuitive given the distance they’d traveled) and the means to do so. Not impossible, mind you, but stunningly unlikely.

But ghosts are another matter. If we’re talking about the clich

open-faced sandwedge

7/19/04

If there’s one thing my parents sucked at, it was making sports a priority for their kids. The only thing I ever really learned in my youth was soccer, and that was because I was at school in London when I was 10, and if you didn’t play football with the other kids, they’d take it as a betrayal.

I got very good at it and began to love it

acrophilia

7/18/04

Just saw the documentary Outfoxed – I guess we could have attended any of the 3000+ screenings in America, but instead I just bought the damn thing so that me and mine could enjoy a little left-wing propaganda without having to talk to strangers. You know how us liberals hate strangers.

The biggest flaw with the movie is myself: I was chagrined, yet I wasn’t shocked and had a hard time caring. The stuff with Jeremy Glick (who was abused even though his own father perished in the World Trade Center) was pretty great, and there were some other theories that sent chills down the spine, but I guess I’m past thinking that there’s any sense to getting your news from any of the usual suspects anymore. Thank god the satellite radio gets the BBC; I’d rather have someone with bad teeth tell it to me straight, thanks.

So my thoughts turned more celestial, which brings me to the three pictures I’d like to share with you today. Click any of them for a bigger version.

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This is a fortnight ago, at a gas station in Harlem. I had to make sure to wear an orange bandana, you know, you can never be too sure with those gangs running around. Especially with the full moon out. People commit crimes!

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While surfing the TerraServer for aerial pictures of everywhere I’ve ever lived, I came across this 2002 shot of my fraternity at UNC where we shot several scenes of “The Pink House.” I looked closer, and saw my car (red arrow) – an egregiously shitty white Mustang convertible that finally died right there in that parking lot – is now enshrined forever via satellite.

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The skies were so clear two nights ago that you could actually take pictures of the Milky Way with the digital camera. I thought this view of the Big Dipper on the horizon was even cooler. The green light in the foreground is the farm about a mile away, and the orange light is Albany in the distance.