Monthly Archives: July 2009

stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before

7/30/09

The debate in the comments section about health care, while lively and interesting, haven’t done much to quell suspicion that lessening suffering among sick Americans isn’t a priority in this country. Every facet of the health care system is a little fiefdom patrolled by either thugs or busybodies doing their level best to keep things from changing, even if the change would ultimately benefit them.

I just wish conservatives would just start saying what they mean – it’d make things so much easier. They should all sign a petition saying “Life sucks. Tough shit. It’s a crazy world, ain’t it? Go fuck yourself.” I would actually applaud that document, as I agree with most of it, and it has the fresh whiff of pure honesty. Then we could begin the debate in earnest, and actually get somewhere.

Zel. M asked “if you’re on a plane and are struck with a life-threatening illness, where do you want the plane to land? If you choose Toronto over New York, you’re lying.” Well, yes, I’d be lying because I have money and I love New York… but back when I didn’t have health care? Roughly 1989-2000? I’d get my ass to Toronto.

You want good health care and a large safety net in case the unspeakable happens? Here’s how to do it:

1. make at least five million dollars

2. make sure nobody takes any of it away from you in taxes

3. buy a shitload of health care, and when they deny your claim, spend $750,000 getting yourself fixed up anyway.

God, it’s so easy! Why haven’t more people thought of this?

Anyway, I don’t give a crap. Today was goddamn miserable. Even though I just flew to Colorado for a wedding (for someone I don’t know), I suffered through the worst migraine of my everfucking life, complete with auras, dizziness, eye splotches and violent nausea. It was so bad that I left my wallet AND keys somewhere at LAX, or on the plane, or wherever, it’s gone. Now I’ve lost my wedding ring, my wallet and my keys over the course of two months. If I felt better, I’d buy an expensive tennis racquet and smash the FUCK out of it against a telephone pole, I’m so pissed off. Of course, I haven’t got a credit card to buy the tennis racquet.

shot in the arm, shot in the butt

7/28/09

Okay, somebody help a brotha out here. Frankly, I admit to being out of my depth on this national health care issue, and I’m having trouble fathoming why universal health care isn’t considered a moral question, akin to a human rights issue in this country. 45 million people have no insurance, and 14,000 people lose it every day.

The facts, as far as I can tell are these: we have the most expensive health care system in the industrialized world, yet we are the “sickest” country in the industrialized world, with one of the shortest life expectancies. I’m not trying to be a dick, but doesn’t that sound like a system that needs to be fucking gutted and reborn?

I would like to know why the Republicans and certain “blue dog” Democrats are blocking Obama’s plan. Unacceptable answers include “it’s too expensive”, because we have no problem funding two wars and bailing out the banks, and I refuse to believe that our actual health and the untold suffering of our uninsured countrymen isn’t worth the same (or more) money. We have the funds, period.

Please just someone tell me that the Republicans want Obama’s plan to fail because they don’t want him to succeed at anything. As cruel, barbaric and scorched-earth as that is, at least I can understand it. Or someone could tell me that conservatives are philosophically unable to care about people they don’t know; that, too, would make sense.

So I ask: what is the problem? If conservatives have a good argument, I swear to god, I’ll listen intently and keep an open mind. And you doctors, what would be your solution? I know health care is an inherent snoozer of an issue for most people, but I have to decide if I’m going to be furious or not.

lingering onward dreamily

7/26/09

A few pics from the summer so far…

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Lucy running past the camera

first orange on the tree out front – they’ll be ripe by December

the Libovola (new favorite plant)

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Lucy plays scrivener on our walkway

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patience for the avocado to sprout

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the only pumpkin grown in Venice, CA

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a yellow monarch fluttered by, and Lucy wanted a picture, so I quickly snapped the shutter and lucked out

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the amazing Tessa

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Tessa and Lucy contemplate the sunset in Malibu

schlub vs. heroine, round 74

7/23/09

I’m sorry to call upon you, my faithful blog audience, to do so much of the heavy lifting for me, but I’m fighting some kind of sleep deprivation and need to do a another CODE WORD question for today.

While not half as fun, you may be anonymous if you wish with this one… it has been my experience that couples don’t have a hundred different disagreements, they have one basic disagreement that manifests itself a hundred ways. I’m sure you can find these sentiments echoed in the Make Your Marriage Last non-fiction self-help book of your choice, so it’s not like I’m going to win the Pulitzer with this observation, but if you are in a relationship, what do you think your basic “fight” is always about?

Tessa and I get along wonderfully famously, and have done a lot of the work necessary not to find ourselves in many pickles, but back when we were young’uns, our basic argument was this: she tended to overfunction, and I underfunctioned as a result. While it still happens from time to time these days, that sort of thing continues to inch its way towards balance.

And what would you say? Distilled to its basic form, what are your arguments basically about?

and if a ten ton truck

7/21/09

Unlike most code-word questions I ask, I must admit that yesterday’s category came saddled with motives that were, frankly, ulterior. You see, I have lost my wedding ring – it is gone, gone, gone, and although it’s been about two months, I can’t think about it without plunging into a micro-depression.

It was the perfect ring for me. I’d always liked Lindsay’s wedding ring, something he found in Italy – a big, fat restored wedding band from the actual Roman Empire – and wanted something like it. Tessa conjured perfection with a ring that looked like three fused together: the outer bands were gold, the middle platinum, while still remaining masculine and un-showy.

When I took a writing sabbatical for a few days in May, I remember having the ring as I entered the motel room, and then never seeing it again. As astronomical luck would have it, that particular motel room was scheduled for renovation the next day (after not having been touched for 30+ years), so when I went back, the entire place had been gutted, and workers were putting up new drywall.

Even before that, I knew… I knew the second I hadn’t seen it, that it was definitively gone. Not “oh I’ll find it eventually like I always do” gone, but GONE. It has an inscription inside with private meaning to my wife and me, and I don’t know how it could ever be replicated.

I feel naked without it. The Buddhists teach that all material goods are unimportant, and I try not to get hung up on imbuing too much meaning into a thing, and accepting the impermanence of the world, but FUCK. I still have a bunch of Mad Magazines from 1979. Can I trade them in for my wedding ring?

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holding Lucy during her first rainstorm on the terrace in Brooklyn, May 2005

red-headed male ISO silver watch calculator

7/20/09

Exhausted from a pitch session at one of nation’s finest networks, and I’ve got the Lulubeans in the morning, so here’s our CODE WORD question for the day: what object have you lost – either recently or in the past – that still makes you sad every time you think of having lost it?

Unacceptable answers include “virginity”, “sense of purpose” and the 2004 election, even though I do commiserate, y’all.

o leif, where art thou?

7/19/09

Every once in a while an art form comes along that makes me think, “shit, if I had all the right equipment and mountains of extra time, I’d actually be pretty good at that.” This does not apply to ping-pong, pottery or suspension bridge engineering, but I think I’d actually be kick-ass at the art of the mashup. Stored in my head, in the place where the location of my car keys ought to be, is the tempo, key and rhythm of pretty much every pop song from 1964 to about 2000… with a good helping of stuff since.

Before the mashup, this kind of encyclopedic knowledge was useless, and could only function to annoy others on a long road trip, or to sap the energy of those standing near enough to me while I rant about the motherfucking Pussycat Dolls rewriting “I Will Survive” without even knowing that’s what they were doing. These days, if I were a famous DJ in the Mission District with a large, disturbed following and a hijacked copy of Cubase, I’d be revered as a god – but god knows timing is everything.

As it is, we can all sit back and enjoy the other Aspergian savants who cull these tracks together for our enjoyment. If you haven’t seen it yet, the Rickrolled version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is genius:

…as is another old mashup favorite, “Toxic Love Shack”:

I’ll always have a soft spot for anything involving the Beatles:

Of course, the day will come when my particular 40-year chunk of meticulously-annotated pop music will be shared by less and less people (assuming it hasn’t already) and there will be mashups of six different tunes, none of which I’ll know. Shit, if you look at the songs above… like “Love Shack” (1989), or the Nirvana (1991)… you’re already going back before any current college freshman was born. This is how it should be, but sometimes I feel like Tessa’s 91-year-old father, talking into a cassette recorder, listing the chords to Broadway tunes that were never to be.

We used to joke about our generations’ insatiable collection of cultural detritus, how we would remember thousands of song lyrics, board games and TV shows of our youth, all of it deemed – even by us – as useless. That wasn’t entirely true; it was always useful as an in-joke or a cultural touchstone, and there are still a few memories left that were never regurgitated and exploited by the nostalgia machine.

But there will come a time when there will be so few of us around, far too distracted with joint pain and resentment to muster a memory about things like Dynamite Magazine and spokey dokes. And then, at long last, it will be true: that heaping, neon mound of trivia will finally be completely useless. I will be in my rocker overlooking the sunset, hear some stupid dialogue on the overhead television and say “Jesus, that is so ‘Barney Miller’. Am I right? Am I right? Can I get a frickin’ AMEN around here?” And the nurse with the Jell-o will say to her supervisor, “Human Unit 793b12 is talking to himself again.”

Until then, however, WE STILL ROOL THE SKOOL. WE’RE SENIORS! And NO, we will NOT BUY YOU LIQUOR, MOTHERFUCKERS!

taint nothin’ but a grundle

7/16/09

Wow, thanks for all the comments and emails, guys! Lucy and I will spend the weekend looking through them for our first installment. I also have to make sure I catch her in the right mood, because you know how cheeky little tykes are. The fabulous, frustrating thing about really young children is their constant dreamscape, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to get them into the car, but I will truly miss her completely absurd tangents when she decides it’s time to make sense. I hope it’s a long time until then.

It being Friday, and nobody is on the internet anyway, I’ll try and put down what’s been swirling in my head of late. Those easily bored can find respite over at Cute Overload, where a dove is raising some baby bunnies.

1. Meditation – Who the fuck knew thinking about nothing would be so hard? My teacher is great, though, and you can’t beat the science behind it. It’s the Vedic method, using a mantra, and it is forgiving, lax, and chill. Although I did have the first panic attack of my life in the middle of the night last night… apparently a common side-effect of the first-time meditator. More on that as I learn, if anyone’s interested.

2. Mark and Christine renewed their vows… this time in front of friends and family, and even though I was asked to officiate last year, I was honored to make a repeat appearance. The only problem with surprise weddings is who doesn’t get to come, so this was a wonderful bit of equilibrium – especially for their little boy Jack. Can you say you were at your parents’ wedding?

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3. Brüno… man, you have to give it to Sacha Baron Cohen – nobody has contempt for racists and homophobes like he does. That wrestling match scene? Jesus, did any group of people deserve to see that more than that auditorium full of galoots? That’s performance art, ladies and gents!

4. Boogie-boarding… We’ve been living feet from the ocean for three years, but haven’t acted like it until now. Lucy takes this boogie-board class just down the beach, and it looked so fun that Tessa and I bought wetsuits (or more accurately, “springsuits”) for ourselves. I shall not be posting pictures of myself in the springsuit due to the distracting codpiece, but I assure you, fellow countrymen, this pastime is non-stop delightful.

we’ve got somethin’ for what ails ya

7/14/09

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Let’s shake up the summer doldrums, people! Get your asses in gear! I know it’s hot, you’re feeling blasé, college hoops is still four months away, but life’s meant for livin’, dontchya see?

Lucy and I have been talking about an idea called “Ask a 4-Year-Old” where you, the blog audience, asks questions… and we answer them for you on video. You can post the questions in the comment section, or you can email me. Any topic is fine, as long as there are no swear words (I know, the hypocrisy is mind-bending) and I assume all of you will keep it *ahem* APPROPRIATE. So what’s on your mind?

tantric yogurt

7/13/09

Not that anyone needs to care (and in fact, that’s the point) but I’m starting a meditation class today. It’s a Vedic seminar that will go a little bit each day until Friday, so if any of you have experience in that field, by all means, TRY AND KILL MY BUZZ.