Monthly Archives: September 2004

the sun shines outta our behinds


A good friend of mine living in North Hollywood is in a fabulous relationship with another man – they have been together for 15 years and are the kind of couple that make you think that America isn’t irreparably damaged after all. They got married in San Francisco during those crazy weeks when Tessa’s best friend Jason did so as well.

Recently my friend, whom I’ll call Perry, went back home to his deeply religious family for a week’s respite, and he discovered his parents were palpably relieved that the California Supreme Court annulled all of those gay marriages, because, well, that meant he wasn’t “actually married” anymore. In effect, they were happy that he was forced out onto the periphery again, after a few blissful months of feeling inexorably linked to his other straight-married friends.

Perry’s father said that Perry lived in “Pretend-wood,” where he was being filled to the eyeballs with leftist propaganda and had no way of receiving any “right” information. By all accounts, Perry opened up a can of whoop-ass on his parents, telling him they lived in “Redneck-ville,” and to FUCK OFF.

Obviously we couldn’t be prouder, but it shows just how hermetically-sealed some communities have become: his father actually believed that Perry was living in a place where absolutely no right-wing ideology was allowed to permeate the environment.

Which is funny, because it seems like I endure right-wing shit every day – and I’ve been living in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, two places where the Democrats outnumber the Republicans by at least 6 to 1.

I mean, a group of leftist desecrators climbed up the “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” billboard a few blocks from where we’re staying and changed it to “President Evil: Apocalypse” with a giant mug of Bush over Milla Jovovich’s face. And yet I still managed to hear that moron say “Freedom is marching on” when presented with his own government’s chilling analysis of our prospects in Iraq.

Listen to Wolf Blitzer, click on Google News, listen to someone else’s radio in traffic, talk to your cousins in Texas, read a smattering of headlines at the kiosk: we are inundated with the effects of right-wing philosophy even in towns where Ann Coulter would be ridden out on a rail. Frankly, I find it stunning – and dare I say hopeful – that Kerry has actually come back to tie Bush in the polls this week.

To be honest, I don’t know how ordinary people get enough information to think ill of Bush. It’s easy for Web-obsessed pinkos like us to read Daily Kos and Atrios in order to work ourselves into left-wing girlie-man froth, but how does anyone in the upper peninsula of Michigan come by their mistrust of Bush II?

I have bemoaned the education and media literacy of this country for a long time; I have bored my readers here until they clawed their faces off. But I have to admit this: moderate-to-crazy right wingers have a chokehold on all facets of communication, and yet some Americans are still thinking for themselves. If only 51% of them were to do so, then we will have a beautiful new country in November.

956 millibars



As I write this, Hurricane Ivan is just barely missing New Orleans. This is the first hurricane in history that is only one letter from my own name, and it would be right awful if it destroyed the most magically awesome town in America. Our friend Fran in Chapel Hill hated the fact that Hurricane Fran destroyed so many of our buddies’ houses in 1996.

(Actually, if we have a 19-hurricane year in 2007, then Hurricane Van will be only one stroke away from my name, and that would really suck. With my deep addiction to irony it would take out Brooklyn with me in it.)

Anyway, they say a direct Category 5 hurricane would leave New Orleans 20 feet underwater, and not nice water either – millions of gallons of fetid propane and giant balls of fire ants. Anyone who has any affection for New Orleans, or any understanding of the impossibility of evacuation, knows it would be worse than 9/11.

The Crescent City let me taste liquor for the first time (a bottle of Evan Williams with the Budster in 1987), site of some of the best times we’ve ever had, and is one of the few places in the world where I never feel steeped in anxiety. Tessa and I, for our part, would like to send our thoughts down to Mobile Bay, where our brother-in-law’s family is riding it out, and thank the Buddha for leaving New Orleans out of this one.


Royal Street, Sept. ’01

even kiss a sunset pig


We finally made it to Santa Monica, CA today and GODDAMN IS MY ASS TIRED. The Prius seats are delightful, but even a Barcalounger gets uncomfortable after a week of 10-hour days. We’re in a li’l sublet in Venice, because I decided about a year ago that there was no point in being in Southern California if you’re not close to the water.

When I look back at the disastrous years Sean, Seth and I spent at that place in Hollywood, I really think many of our profoundest depressions could have been soothed by the sight of the largest ocean on earth. No knock on our buds who still live up in Beachwood Canyon, but it may not be the best place to go through the worst years of your post-adolescence.

Woody Allen says that “half of life is showing up,” and that’s the general point of our being here this month. I had a pretty massive deal fall apart in New York, and instead of getting utterly demoralized, we’ve decided to cross coasts, grab our nads and hope for the best. They say that the fastest way to make God laugh is to make a plan, but I have it on good information that God actually pees on those planning to hit it big in the entertainment industry, so we’re keeping our expectations modest.

I will try to write in the blog some of our tribulations, but unfortunately, there is no way 85% of the good stuff could ever be put on the internet. I’ve already fucked up my chances of running for Senator; I’m not going to do the same to our TV and film career. I will, however, post as many pictures of D-list celebrities as I can, so that right-wing pissants reading this diary can be sure to use them as a reason why I haven’t suffered enough to have an opinion.

Anybody want anything while I’m here?



My Mormon family, which includes the 100 living and in-law descendents of my maternal grandma, have begun to coalesce back in the homeland Zion of northern Utah. Once they scattered themselves across the Los Angeles basin, but now they have all returned to the Mormon promised land, and everyone is living in houses under construction, with bare rooms waiting for unborn children.

They aren’t much for the hustle, bustle and smog of Salt Lake City; they prefer the university setting and unshakably beautiful mountains of Provo, a place I’ve frequented since I was three months old. It’s funny that the unofficial symbol of Mormons is a beehive, because my family has finally buzzed back to the honeycomb, surrounding the Queen Bee that is my Great Aunt Idonna.


Donna circa 1939

“Auntie Donna” inherited the role of matriarch once my grandma passed away, and her house in Pleasant Grove is now the aorta for my family’s activities – much to her chagrin, because she loves living alone, and the 40+ cousins at her house each day are driving her up the wall.

Today and yesterday Tessa and I went around to a bunch of my favorite cousins from the different families and she got an ear-and-eyeful of my family’s bizarre and lovely peccadilloes. I wont bore you with the details, but suffice to say she gorged herself on Mormon Jello, saw breeding in its purest form, and could probably make the movie “My Big Fat Mormon Christening.”


my awesome Worsley cousins – click here for the 1991 version

Last stop before heading for the sin of Las Vegas, we drove up 700 North to see my grandma’s old house. The site of so many of my earliest memories, the best Christmases and cousin crushes, her house was magical to all of us. We pulled up to the driveway and this is what we saw:


The Mormons may live forever, but damn, their houses sure don’t.

scratch’n’sniff picture book


click any image for bigger


apple orchard – Mt. Vernon, IA


rare and delicious Song of September apple


Prairie du Chien Street, Iowa City


dead Midwest giveaway: cursive house lettering


Lexington, Nebraska


Interstate 80, Platte River


Buford, Wyoming


Rawlins, Wyoming


Best Western, Evanston, WY

I-80 bluez


Out on the road at 4:44am, staying in a Days Inn in Lexington, Nebraska with my wife sick, my dog suffering from a neurological disease that makes him walk into walls and another 1,056 miles to go, a searing migraine and the faint echoes of this day three years ago in my head, wondering if there’s any possible way we can still win this election with an electorate so easily swayed by lies, with my lower back in spasm from carrying the pooch up stairs and sitting in one position for four days, you’ll have to excuse me if I have nothing inspiring to add to today’s conversation.



I’m lying in my brother’s bed in Iowa City, IA tonight, trying to catch up with the emails that scatter out of my computer, a trail of virtual paper that has streamed forth like a sack of confetti opened in a speeding convertible.

Some people have expressed interest in seeing some pictures from our Labor Day Jartacular weekend, so I’ll indulge. I know how boring – or even vaguely threatening – photos from an event you did not attend can be, but suffice to say this: all of you would enjoy the faces herein. They are all so goddamned funny, which is all I could possibly ask.


we started the weekend on top of the hill, passing around a $50 bottle of scotch – all photos by Lars Lucier


I like our profiles, I do


the profane crowd went to the circa 1949 bowling lanes in Great Barrington


Sophie Block: 7 years old and hit a strike


Jordana at the Columbia County Fair with the local flora


Michelle came from California to hug Sean. despite his “transition lenses”


Tessa was the emcee of the gangbusters quiz show


Lindsay prepares to buzz in a wrong answer


in all, very few things I’d change for the Jartacular 2005 – except maybe we’ll actually play Jarts next time



Okay, obviously I have to do this every year: this will be the annual Of Course I Know What I Must Seem Like To You blog, where I attempt to convince my more cantankerous readers that I fully GET WHAT I LOOK LIKE FROM THE OUTSIDE.

If you’re even a casual blog enthusiast, you’ll know that I have “lots of great experiences” and I’m “surrounded with wonderful people” and “interact with D-list celebrities” and that I probably seem too far removed from any actual anguish in this country that my opinion means virtually nothing.

Hell, I’m writing this blog from a hotel room in Chicago, which means I haven’t got a “regular job,” which transitively implies that I don’t understand the way regular Americans think.

I lived without health insurance and in tens of thousands of dollars of debt, one car problem away from destitution, from the time I exited college until the age of 33, and then suddenly I didn’t anymore. Yes, my wife and I are both very white and very liberal. These days we are blessed to have a farm in rural New York, and neither of us have desk jobs where we slog to work on the subway every morning at 8:15am. I used to do that; I don’t anymore. We work in the entertainment industry trying to create movies and TV that you will hopefully want to watch.

When you see me posting about how much I detest most Americans, you probably figure I haven’t earned the right to say jack shit about anybody. Writing for television sounds like a fucking prissy-ass job, yes? We would have much more street cred if we were welding rivets at the tops of skyscrapers, but alas, I am sleeping in.

I used to care about the way I seemed to people, but now, I’m on enough medication to not give a shit anymore. Do I look like an entitled armchair liberal? Of course I do! Do I avoid jobs that require manual labor? My brain and my slipped L5 disc say “fuck yes.” Do I not understand the average American? Of course I don’t – in fact, I’m afraid of him.

But don’t for a minute believe I don’t GET IT. You can call me several things, but I promise you this: my self-awareness is so painful and acute, I’ll have already beat you to it.

tin soldiers & nixon’s comin’



I’m on dial-up in a Motel 6 just outside Youngstown, Ohio, so I’ll only have patience to send off a few words before I curse the heavens at 2.6 kilobytes a second (which is really slow, for those who know my alacrity with vulgarity). However, I have a few notes:

1. Cracker Barrel makes a habit of discriminating against gays and lesbians, and surely they’d lock the workers in the kitchen during a grease fire, and they are funded by right-wing wackos who speak in tongues. But FUCK they make a good pancake.

We were also wondering if they just invented those “early Americana” pieces of flair stuck on the walls. It seems all too easy to dream up a creme soda from 1907 and draw a caricature of an African American gentleman enjoying it lustfully.

2. I’m getting depressed about the new polls out, regardless of Bush’s “fleeting convention bounce.” Kerry’s “W stands for Wrong” speech is cringe-worthy and he’s rambling more than ever. The debates can’t come quick enough, but at this current clip, I’m a little skeptical they’ll do us any good. The one-thousandth soldier has just died in Iraq, and Bush is ahead by seven points because people think he’s a folksy-folk.

You know that old cliché about “the best trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”? I think the best trick George Bush ever pulled was convincing the country he was one of them.

3. I have spoke of him oft before, but my Dad deserves much love from the blog – he turns 65 this afternoon. And he can still kick many an ass at tennis. Not mine, sadly, but many other asses.


me, Kent and my dad build a trike, 1973. our pants ROCK!

name that tube


I’d elaborate, but I’m getting up in a few hours to drive 3200 miles. If anyone was wondering how awesome the Labor Day Jartacular was, suffice to say the two winning teams for the Quiz Show had to determine 1st place by a sudden dance-off.