I have a confession. Do I have time? I have to get this off my chest, really I do. Forgive me, for I am ashamed. Well, here goes....

I am totally diggin' this year's Big Brother 7/All Stars!

Whew! I feel so much better already. No, I'm not watching it as train wreck, by the way, with disgust, cynicism, or criticism. And I hadn't planned on watching. I was completely off the stuff, scaling back my reality programming to Survivor and Amazing Race (because "the psychologist in me found great interest in human behaviors" blah-blah-blah).

Nope, Alvaro who has watched all the incarnations of BB, one through now seven, mentioned that it was pretty good. I informed him that I was done, sworn off. But, he insisted it was solid (I believe "solid" was the actual word he used).

I missed the first couple of weeks (and evictions), but tuned in around week three, mostly to stock up on ammo with which to attack Alvaro. But, no. Solid TeeVee, my friends.

There is some great nuance, some great strategy, and really great story lines. I believe the editing is tighter and the characters more robust. And, best of all, because they're all stars, the action is not only fierce, but they are all playing their parts for the TeeVee.

Now, for those now intrigued...it's too late! It's almost over, it's down to five: Will, Boogie, Janelle, Chicken George, Danielle, and Erika. Personally, I have the most affinity for Will, the lying, cheating, manipulating, charming, handsome physician (who just loves one Neil Patrick Harris). He's playing the game, baby!

I know, some of you are horribly disappointed. But, since I have confessed, you will forgive.


Real Survivor

They should just go for it and give the white team an unfair advantage in every competition. And every three days, the white team can go take something from the black team camp. [and sell them cigarettes and malt liquor at premium prices]

And then one day, they should let the black team take something from the white team camp, and then accuse them of looting.
[They could build little palm jails and have probation officers from the white team]

During white tribal councils, the white tribe should just shoot the shit with Jeff and drink martinis and then when they ask if they really have to vote someone out, Jeff will be all "No."
[then they'd high-five and say things like, "dats da bomb!"]

When the black tribe shows up, Jeff should be all harsh and stern.
[he could express his disappointment in them]

And they should have one tribe of indigenous people from wherever this thing is being filmed, but the producers should give them all chicken pox or diarrhea or something so they all have to quit and move away and let the white tribe take their camp.
[and those who don't die from disease will be detained as terrorist threats]

And then they should introduce the latinio team later into the game and they should let them into the white tribe one by one until one day the white tribe is like "what the fuck?" and all of a sudden the latinios outnumber them (but all sleep in one little hut).
[obviously there would be questions of their legal immigration status, at least just before any voting commences and they’d get voted off one by one]

And then the producers should forget about the black tribe for like a week and then be all "oh, are you still here? We forgot."
[then they can flood their camp with sewage and then send them all to Houston and Barbara Bush can call them “cute little monkeys”]

And the Asian team could have these little cars to drive around but they drive them really poorly. Even though the white tribe laughs at them all the time and calls them all sorts of names they'd still do the white tribes homework and stuff. You know, to be accepted.


Speaking of Race 2...

...or, how the other half (uh, 1%) live:

clicky here: still up!

"This is a pictorial summary of my surreal weekend in Kennebunkport, ME where I attended a very power packed wedding."

Where the brothas at?!

More Survivor

"Do you think the black team will be made up of all blacks, or will it be made up of all token [or stereotypical] blacks (as all blacks on the show have been so far)? They should have a black team compete against a token black team. The rules would be that all the other teams can vote off a token black instead of voting one of their own off but then they have to deal with the stigmatism of being labeled racist on national teevee."

Wouldn't it be funny if*:
  • The black team won the swimming contest?
  • The Asian team won the hip-hop freestyle contests?
  • The white team schooled in basketball?
  • The Latinios won the Goldman Sachs prep-school/Ivy league hook me up with a job frat brah contest?
Possibilities are endless.

*[note: this is the "funny if" EZ-Lite version - the scathing social commentary (and much funnier) version was edited -- I can be convinced to put that up -- or, you can write your own!]

A Cat Would Have Just Licked Itself

This morning, as usual, I walked into my work building, as usual.

The end.

No, there’s a story and a question. I walked into the elevator lobby of my building, as usual. There are a couple of people already waiting for the elevator, as usual – a gray haired guy and a young black woman – and joining them, some woman who walked in with me.

There’s the typical office worker guy, shirt carefully tucked in, clean shoes, belt and such. He has some sort of satchel with his important work papers and whatnot. His longish hair has prematurely whitened, and he sports a goatee. His friends probably considered him pretty cool until he bought and justified the minivan. Probably plays bass. He presses the fourth floor button.

There’s the young black woman who appears to be in pretty good shape but has that finger-in-the-dike physique that suggests that one day soon she will wake up 300 pounds heavier. She sports a shoulder tattoo that looks more like a Sharpie sneezed on her. And, because the tattoo is only like two shades darker then her skin, it looks like complete shit. No contrast, no detail. Just shit. Deal breaker. She selects the sixth floor.

The woman that came in with me is what you would simply call normal looking. You wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a line-up. “Uh, she had, uh, hair, and she looked like, uh, a woman. She was white, I remember that.” Neither pretty nor ugly, just another late-20s, early-30s white woman. An extra in a film. Flip-flops (of course those suck), skirt, probably a toe ring (which absolutely sucks) or some such trite decoration, and a regular old summer top. Her top was something like a spaghetti-strap tank, probably cotton. Seventh floor.

I’m on the eighth floor (a clever elevator guy would have said, “hey, I guess I’m on the local, huh?). It’s a humid morning. It’s August in DC, it’s what I expect. I don't say a word.

Okay, we’re all on the elevator, the four of us until the fourth floor. No sooner did the doors close than flip-flop plain Jane start, and I don’t know what to really call it, she starts…swabbing herself. Wiping herself with some sort of pad or wiper thingy. Okay, it’s humid, so you dab a little sweat off right? No, this woman was wiping her face. She wiped her arms. She wiped her chest. She wiped her shoulders. After the white guy left, she continued to wipe (he glanced my way as he left). After black woman left, she continued to wipe (she gave a classic "oh no you di’nt" glance).

So here I am alone with the wiper on the same side of the elevator. After black woman left she – as is NORMAL – moved over to the other side. But what is NOT normal is she continued wiping herself and now it’s directly in my field of vision. I want to say, “What the hell are you doing?” And to top it off, as she’s exiting the car, she licks the pad or wiper thingy and wipes her eyebrows.

I felt dirty. And, not the good dirty.

So, here’s my question: Is this some ill human behavior or what?



From my very astute friend:

"I probably won't watch it because it is on teevee and I don't watch much of that these days, but for the record, I think Mark Burnett can pull off the race thing.

At first I had the same reaction as everyone else. Oy.

Then I thought about it and thought, what's the big deal? The big deal is that a show that divides people by race will challenge our delusion of being race-blind. We are not only NOT race-blind, but we shouldn't TRY to be race blind. Being white in America is significant. Being black in America is significant. If we pretend it is not, then we can't progress.

Most people's revulsion at the idea of a race-based Survivor is not because it risks perpetuating stereotypes, but because it deals with race, something that we as a culture are entirely unequipped to address. It's awkward and one of the unfortunate legacies of the 60s is to pretend that race and racism is a thing of the past.

However, to truly do this Survivor right, it should not only have the teams split by race, but there should be black, white, Latino, and Asian editing crews that produce 4 different shows. I can guarantee that the producers and editors will be 90% white and that will have more impact on the final product than the race of the competitors.

The "black" Survivor can be shown during the day because they're all lazy and unemployed."

Indeed. All good points. My initial response to the manufactured outrage over this version of the Survivor TeeVee show was, "great!" My second reaction was, "Mark Burnett, you genius sonofabitch. You did it again. Way to inflate ratings." I understand the next version will create teams based on physical handicaps, religions, and beauty standards. Oh, just kidding!

Survivor has created teams by sex, they've created teams by age. Why not race? Exactly, and finally, to be honest. How interesting. Clever. For the first time in a very long time, I am genuinely intrigued. Sure, there could be outcomes that prove embarrassing for one or more of the teams. But, whatever. It's all in good TeeVee fun. Let's evolve. Let's move past race. Besides, the mulatto team will kick some serious ass!

Even more interesting though, is the notion of editing. I have always believed that you could create a seriously interesting series of these TeeVee "reality" shows by pitting different editing teams against each other. In this case let's not take race into consideration. Simply, two, four, or a dozen editing crews (and directors) receive the raw footage and tell the most compelling story they can. I believe that we'd have such variety of output that it would be quite interesting. Perhaps the same outcome, but really different output.


Yeah, That Is My Towel

Adult Swim (every :45 to the hour)


Maybe it was the neighbor with the (stupid) leaf blower. I know for a fact that he is capable of raking or sweeping. He's probably younger than I am and I see him running every day. It's not fitness. But a leaf blower (electric thank god, not gas). I could understand if he had expansive grounds, or even a yard. But, he has a townhouse like me. Besides it August, there's not that much to blow (and into the street at that). He was even wearing gloves. Maybe he's a concert pianist.

But, I got to thinking, how did we get so weak? Collectively, soft as a rotten peach. That's the question. High SES Americans in the 21st century are pathetically morose. Too much money. Too many conveniences. Too selfish (think of the impact of the blower's noise and consumption versus its utility). It's just too easy to be us; too easy to be weak. Way too simple, I guess.

[note, add: too pampered, too coddled]

I'm at the barber shop to get freshened up (not THE barber shop in the hood with thugs and survivors talking ladies and sports - no, the shoppe in Kentlands). The dads here are a sorry ass bunch. Helicopters hovering over their precious offspring. Instead of explaining to crying lads that 1) this will go quicker and easier without the crying (or annoying howling) and, 2) there's NOTHING to be frightened of. Suck it up, son! Fear of this sort is contrived. Hand-holding. Dabbing of tears. Lollypops. That is, lollypops as pacifiers rather than rewards for composure and bravery. Where does this lead? "Here's the car you've been asking for son, uh, let's try to get better grades this semester, alright champ?" Oh, and this one couple brought along the portable DVD player to play Thomas the Tank Engine for the little sap.

I, as you know, am a HUGE softie. But, shit, when you see all the confidence and backbone drained from parents' eyes, it's nothing short of embarrassing.

Next thing you know, Junior will head off to college, meet Miss idealized fantasy excuse for a partner and settle down in a "luxury" condo. Junior will, of course get an electric leaf blower to keep the leaves off of the precious balcony.

No wonder the non-stop, transparently unsubstantiated fear tactics of the Bush administration are so effective. We're collectively weak. Scared. Frightened! Don't get me started on parents and mosquitoes either. The shame.

On one hand we've become paralyzed of living. Without air conditioning, alarm systems, and Blackberry hand-helds, some of us would simply curl up in a fetal position and whimper.

On the other hand, we are even more afraid of dying. I mean, people are TERRIFIED of aging. Dying? That doesn't even compute. Thus, the dogmas of the religions and the non-sciences of faith prosper. The euphemisms of illness and decline. The prevalence of drastic and expensive measures to prolong "lives" with the remaining quality and productivity of house flies. Think: Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo. Hey, Bill Frist? Tom DeLay? Maybe you're the ones with brain damage. Nice try.

What happened to authenticity? Originality? Distinction? Integrity? I am reminded of that song, the theme from the TeeVee show "Weeds" - how does it go:

Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of tickytacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes and they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers, and business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course and drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp and then to the university
Where they are put in boxes and they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Fully, I am aware that I have my prisms and my filters and I can only think and account for myself. My thoughts, beliefs, and sense of style are only my own - for better or worse. I don't care. But, at least I can claim them as my own. Not, MTV's, or Banana Republic's, or my employer's. At least I recognize this. I'm not saying that I am right or that I think perfectly or that anyone should think like me. On the contrary, please think for yourself. Be yourself. Find yourself.

Suck it up, use a goddamn broom. Get a context for your existence. Because, believe it or not, it's almost over.

Extra Extra Special

Bren and I encountered an elderly woman (from the senior apartments down the block) on our way from the diner. She stopped us about 100 feet from the farmer's market to ask us where the farmer's market was.

She explained that she couldn't see very well.

We helped her find the corn. She was all concerned that I keep an eye on the Bren. I explained that we were fine (but, thank you). She was delighted.

She said we were, "extra, extra special." Don't remember ever being called extra, extra special. I actually grinned (and am still kind of grinning).

What a way to begin a day. After coffee, that is.

Sometimes a jerk. Sometimes a kind and neighborly gentleman. Paradox.


The Kid

My Incredible Life: Chapter 937 - Small Things

My morning -- at some point around 10:00:

1) I open up WFMU on the World Wide Web "browser" to start Tuesday's 'Best Show' featuring Tom Scharpling

2) I notice the Gmail notifier ("G" is for Google), see it's mail from Rich. I see the subject line is 'oh snap' - naturally, I am intrigued. But, first thing's first. There is an order to this life.

3) [So many goddamn windows open: Blogger, WFMU, notes, Real Player getting started, news. Mantra: there is an order to this life.]

4) Achewood's first in the queue. Ha! Very good stuff. Ray all ragin' about grocery store promotions. So far quite funny since I was just thinking about that stuff...like when the woman at Target (tm) asks me the obligatory, "do you want to save ten percent today?" Well, shit yeah I want to save money on this crap, but we
all know the punch line to that question, right? Sure I can save 10% but I'd have to get a stupid Target (tm) credit card. It's the lamest solicitation. Tired, in fact. In fact, it's so old I have a pre-prepared response: "Yes I do want to save ten percent on this purchase but I don't want your stupid [fill in the blank] credit card. However, I should still get the 10% discount for being subjected to your company's annoying and unwanted solicitation." Yes, that is usually met with stunned silence and a quick and quiet completion of the transaction. I know, they're just doing their job, but we the annoyed public should, no need, to have the front line staff report upward that people aren't responding positively to this aspect of their job.

Which reminds me that I also have to hear the "Do you have a bonus/discount/action/annoying card" at every single transaction from Barnes & Noble, CVS, Giant, wherever. No, no, no, no, no. Just let me buy the shit I dragged up here to buy. I am not going to carry everybody's stupid card with me or - even worse - attach them to my keys and look like a retarded corporate drone cheerleader (imagine the key ring with a dozen store "discount" tags as pom-pon, you get it). No, I keep my keys on my key ring. keys, nigga, keys!

But it saves you money, they say. And I say, "Well, there's more to life than you saving me money."


Anyway, I'm thinking that today's Achewood is all about being annoyed by the corporate establishment. I get it and I'm satisfied. In fact Achewood has been very good of late. All over the place but very nice. And it appears that I have to buy Beef's zine given the quality of the teaser (the sex issue).

No. No! But, hell no! We find out that today's Achewood is "Would Somebody Please Fuck Ray Friday" strip. Perhaps the funniest, most poignant strip -- dare I say -- ever! Jesus, that guy has a good brain.

5) I finish reading the strip and immediately think that I should comment to Rich about it, but wait, I bet he already has on in the queue (remember, "oh snap").

6) Open Gmail (by Google) and sure enough: "Onstad pushed it over the line today." Exactly.

7) I sit back and think, "Goddamn, I have an incredible life.... It's the small things."


Road Trip Diary - GSP

So, it’s like 11:30, heading south, driving since around nine in the morning. It’s one of those days when making great time trumps coffee, but only for so long. Remember, skillful, precision driving is a rush. But, it’s time. Gotta get coffee, even shitty coffee. It’s bright, it’s dry, and the traffic is relatively light.

Garden State Parkway (okay, GSP y’all, holla!) just south of Garfield (and don’t get me going on Garfield, NJ). We stop for food and coffee. Making great time. Toll road corporate monopoly rest area. Need coffee. Well, need caffeine. Caffeine is in coffee.

I’m in line for coffee behind a well put-together middle age woman (lady). I’m assuming she’s fairly affluent, well educated, etc. I imagine a new (not late model) Saab, BMW 5 or better, or sweet ass Infinity parked out front. You can gather a lot from simple heuristics. She’s not blingin’ but she doesn’t have too. She’s the type who thoughtfully selects quality over show. This is why she isn’t driving a Mercedes or Jaguar. You can tell stuff.

I’m beat and I’m just standing there doing my thing mostly inside of my own head. Pacing myself for several more hours rally racing. Jonesin’ for Joe. Only one person in line. Thank god. The lady and that’s it. Coffee time!

The girl has her nuggets procured and is heading to a table. She stops to ask me if she could go to the McDonaldland playground after we eat (yeah, right). I deflect a visit to the McE-Coliland playground with a parentally insincere, “maybe someday when we’re not on such a long ride.” You know. I’m way too germ phobic for the McBirdFluland playground. I’m grossed out enough as it is. I don’t need herpes. I mean, we are in Jersey. Can I get a witness?

The girl says, “Okay, someday, but can we write a note to remember?” Smart kid, blessing and curse for years to come.

So the lady turns and laughs and says, “She’s adorable!” I utter a distracted “thank you.” I understand that that is what one says when someone compliments your kid. You thank them. Whatever. So, the lady offers, “She was so serious. She really knows what she wants, huh?” Okay, I’ll play along, I add, “Yeah, she’s a real negotiator.” “Ahh, yes, she really sounded like a great negotiator” the lady finishes with a good, old money laugh (hearty and knowing).

Then the awkward pause. C’mon, I just want coffee. I’m not, one, interested in small talk. I don’t like small talk with my friends. Two, where is this leading? Well, here’s where it led:

“Is she fun?” the lady asks. WTF? Is she fun? What, is she going to offer to buy the kid? How much can you sell a four year-old for on the GSP? I look her over and steel myself with a firm one million dollars. What am I thinking?! Huh?! I can’t even answer logically, “Uh, yeah, fun.”

So the lady says, “I wouldn’t know…. Never had ‘em…. My husband never wanted them, doesn’t like ‘em.” I give the old smile-with-my-mouth-not-with-my-eyes smile. “Oh.” I force.

“But it’s too late now” she says. Well, technically, sure, but what the fuck do I say here? Well, I’m so sorry lady? Is that what I say? Maybe joke that it’s a good thing she’s menopausal since I thought she was going to ask for a sperm donation.

Nothing. Not a thing. Nada. I just look at her. Dumb as hell. You’ve all seen the look (see the beach pic, that look).

“But, I’m surrounded by kids. Lots of love. I have plenty of kids in my life.” Maybe she realized she violated the information threshold and this was her way of back peddling. I figure I’ll actually say something nice and let her escape easy. I’m a big softie, after all.

She picks up her coffee and I say – get this – I say, “Uh, well, we could be in Paris, you know?” Of course this sounds not only lame, but full-on retarded. What the hell does that mean? I meant, well, kids are a lot of work and a pain in the ass and maybe you made a good decision for your life and lifestyle. You could pick up and travel any time you want. Even to Paris.

Oh well.

Good News Re: New Jersey

Two words: Kickin' Pumas


Am I Surprised?

From US News & World Report (really):

"He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that."


I quit.


Bonus Two

Sepia Tone for Effect (built '29)

Waterbury, CT


40 & 99


What’s interesting, Dan, is that this is AMERICA. Small town, simple. Cicadae. white, very white. Neighborly. The kind of place w/o worldview context. The kind of place that feels threatened and vulnerable (easily). Closest big town is New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport. Insular.

Most people work fairly locally, don't go into the cities often and seldom, if ever venture into NYC, an hour and a half away.

This is AMERICA that is fearful of Ned Lamont. Moves too quickly, seems too young to know anything. "Greenwich millionaire with no political experience," is the line.

Worldview. What the kids learn in the schools. Context. How it all fits together. That is, relationships like Iran-Iraq-US, friend or foe dependent on the weather or the whim of the notorious military-industrial complex.

Interesting. Transformation can come from several places, but shit, it’s not going to start here.


Maryland to Connecticut

New Jersey Turnpike

Saturday in August. Warm not hot.

Traffic since Baltimore. Who are all these people? Where are they going? “Let’s just drive. That should be fine.” That’s what I said, “That should be fine.” What am I now? Retarded? Drive. Traffic from Baltimore through the Tappan Zee (and racecar rally racing along the Merrick.

Anyway, NJTP, John Fenwick Rest Area. Northbound, mile 5.4.

Women’s bathroom line? To the door.

Line for burger King? To the door.

Nathans? To the goddamn door.

Crowded. Hot. Hell. Pickpocket heaven.

Starbucks? Please. I’d rather die falling asleep on the road than stand in that line.

Who are these people? Why is there no one like me? Should I have taken the train? Flown? Who are these people? I’ve never seen so many characters; low-lifes, grifters, wiggers, foreigners, homies, glamour girls, people with no other choices, the elderly and the fat, fat Americans. Jesus, how fat can some of these people be? And, why are they in line for Nathans. Are you kidding me? Nathans, of all places!

Am I surprised? No. Not at all. I just forgot. I forgot these people. Being around the affluent, the intelligent, the hip, and the worldly in large degree, let me forget. I cannot do that. These people are all around us, some of these people vote. These are my people, our people, us. I don’t hate, fear, or look down upon these folk. I’m getting sloppy with my observations and negligent with my global context.

Walking dogs, changing babies, eating french fries (and Nathans). These people pass through the turnpike stops, often only one time ever.

But, who are the locals? The lucky few who get to see us every day. They don’t have to care or even be very nice. I’ve never seen so many characters; low-lifes, grifters, wiggers, foreigners, homies, glamour girls, people with no other choices, the elderly and the fat, fat Americans. Oh, I saw the BK manager. Whew! Where does one even start? Schlumpy? Is that a word? Maybe there is no other word – anywhere – to describe this gentleman. Timer on ludes? Figure that one out yourself.

Best and worst of all was the table cleaner. My worst nightmares come to life. She must have been about 70, maybe 75 years-old. Leg to torso of about 2 to 1. That is, her torso has shrunk to about the height of a birthday candle. Of course, her uniform probably requires her to tuck her shirt in…yikes, what a sight she was. Like a shriveled up, gray haired sawhorse. This old, old woman, wrist brace, nasty ass wet towel, sloshy, greasy (greazy) bucket. So slow moving, so fragile, so dead on her feet. I’ve joked that I’d be that employee someday, embarrassing my then teenage (or full grown) child at the mall or, in this case, the turnpike. I won’t joke about that again soon.

Hell is the John Fenwick Rest Area on the New Jersey Turnpike. I know this.


Dear Sir

Honorable Senator George Allen
United States Senate
204 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-4024

Dear Senator Allen,

Thank you so very much for welcoming me to America and to the real Virginia. I appreciate your kind welcome, sir. But, I am confused. I am a United States citizen. I was born in California (like you, correct?) and have lived in the DC metropolitan area for over 14 years.

While I have resided in Maryland, I believe I have ventured over the last decade and a half to the “real Virginia.” So, I’m a bit confused by your loud, creepy welcome. I know, I know, you’re a really busy guy and you meet so many people on your Listening Tour (where it seems you’re doing all the talking) that I’m sure you begin to confuse names and faces and personal histories. Funny thing is, since I’m the only dark-skinned guy at every stop, I really thought you knew me. But, maybe that’s just me being a little star-struck.

Anyway, I thank you for your service and wish you the very best on your campaign for reelection and your future bid for president of the United States of America.

Yours truly,

Macaca Jiggaboo McHeeb
Japtown, Maryland

Photo by: Paki VanWetback Wop

Questions from the Girl at 4 years-old

Bedtime, last night:

The Girl: Daddy, do all men and boys have nipples.
The Dad: Yep. Everyone has nipples.

The Girl: No. Women have boobs!
The Dad: Women have nipples on their boobs.

The Girl: Will I have boobs when I grow up to be a woman?
The Dad: Yes, you will.

The Girl: Do I have a penis?
The Dad: No sweetie. You do not have a penis. You know that.

The Girl: Yes. I have a vulva and a vagina.
The Dad: That’s right. You know your parts.

The Girl: I want to be a boy.
The Dad: Why, silly? Girls are great. Women are great.

The Girl: I want to be a man like you.
The Dad: Ah, you’ll be like your mother and me in many ways. But, you’ll grow up to be a woman.

The Girl: Can women be astronauts?
The Dad: Of course. There are lots of women astronauts.

The Girl: Can men be teachers?
The Dad: Of course. There are lots of men teachers. Grandpa was a college teacher for a long time.

The Girl: Is [male classroom aide] a teacher?
The Dad: He’s like a teacher, but mostly a teacher’s helper. Maybe he’s learning to be a teacher.

The Girl: [Male classroom aide] is bigger than you!
The Dad: Yes, he’s taller, but I’m older!



"I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."

- Teresa Nielsen Hayden


Questions from the Girl at 4 years-old

Bedtime, last night:

The Girl: Daddy, when you die, can you move?
The Dad: No, honey, you can no longer move.

The Girl: Daddy, when you die, do you still have a birthday?
The Dad: Well, people can still remember and celebrate your birthday.

The Girl: When you die, can you still see?
The Dad: No, you can’t see, but you can’t do anything else either.

The Girl: When you die, do you sleep?
The Dad: Good question, but you cannot sleep. Some people say it’s like sleeping.

The Girl: Why do people die?
The Dad: Well honey, any and everything that lives has to die for a lot of reasons.

The Girl: Why did [classmate’s] grandmother die?
The Dad: I don’t know, but no one and nothing lives forever. It’s normal.

The Girl: When you die do you know it?
The Dad: I don’t know, honey. Maybe for a little bit, but probably not.

The Girl: When you die, can you come back?
The Dad: Nope. Once you’re dead you stay dead. Remember, it’s normal.

The Girl: Daddy, when am I going to die?
The Dad: Nobody knows, but not for a very, very, very long time, sweetie.

The Girl: When are you and mommy going to die?
The Dad: I don’t know, but not for a long, long time, sweetie.

The Girl: When you die can I die too so I can be with you?
The Dad: No, you don’t want to do that. But, that’s so sweet, honey.



"Aesthetics is all about parameters."


Me - Part I

I’ve been asked to write all about me.

Whoa, that’s a difficult assignment. Where to start?

There’s the dark and convoluted chronology, from there to here – broken home rags to riches sob story. There’s the personality characteristic angle, charismatic yet standoffish, friendly yet a rude jerk. There are the arts, the journey, and the definition through relationships. There’s the published works, the happiness, the bitterness, the close calls, and place where the lies meet truths and become the “official story.” Self-righteousness meets superiority complex meets big-hearted softie. Veneer applied unevenly resulting in imperfections in skin thickness.

This is what Google says:

clicky here

No apologies, no regrets, right? Defining moments, defining events. Bridges built, bridges burned to cinders. Sorry ‘bout that…really I am.


Actor in a huge play. Genius. Artist.

End of Part 1.

Most of Their Lives

Oh Thank God!

Email exchange post-TERROR PLOT FOILED!

Outgoing: HEY! How are things going? How was the flight -- CODE RED a problem?

Incoming: Code Red should be called Code Crap. I arrived almost 4 hours early and sat for 4 hours waiting for my plane. No line and NO SECURITY check of my bags which had 2 prescription eye drops in my carry-on.

[Wait till the election]

Quotations To Bank On

by young, cosmopolitan, formally educated, Indian woman at work:

1. On terrorist extremist who are willing to blow themselves up: “They just need to get laid.”
— August 4, 2004

2. On Ethiopia’s loss of productivity due to a leaf that Ethiopians are increasingly chewing on: “There’s something to be said about getting high.”
— August 5, 2004

3. On sitting next to a group of Amish persons in an airplane who don’t use deodorant: “It was bad dude, I thought I was going to die!”
— August 10, 2004

4. On why she will eat a fish but not a chicken: “Fish are fish, dude, animals are mammals.”
— August 30, 2004

5. On moving up the professional ladder: “I’m on the path to mediocrity and that’s just fine with me.”
— March 23, 2005

6. On the smell of her office after eating Chipotle: “Does it smell like dookie, dude?”
— April 5, 2005

7. On whether I was referring to “Twin Peaks” the homeless program in Pennsylvania or some other “Twin Peaks”: “Twin Peaks…not the porno movie?!”
— April 7, 2005

8. After co-worker described her 130-lb dog: “Oh my god, dude, it’s as if I was a dog!”
— July 7, 2005

9. On the large number of staff working on a particular project: “That project has long testicles”
[She met to say tentacles.]
— October 21, 2005

In reaction to her door that shuts by itself; as office door swings closed: “Fuckin’ door pisses me off! Always looks like I’m up to something in here.”
— November 7, 2005

11. In a phone conversation with former co-worker: "Hey man. We must have ESPN. I was just thinking about you in the shower. Uh, wait, that came out all wrong."
— November 11, 2005

12. Witnessing one lunch group member bringing another a cup of water: “Get your own damn water...I guess if you were choking I'd Heimlich you -- but I don't know how.”
— December 9, 2005

13. Response to sharing co-worker's (very) spicy potato chips: “I don't want a fuckin'' stomach ulcer on my conscious. Those things are for yuppies.”
— December 9, 2005

14. After declaring that co-worker had new dress pants on, even though he owns similar pants, worker challenged her. Her response: “Dude, I know more about your wardrobe than anyone here.”
— January 25, 2006

15. After looking at a [United Nations] poster of a young Kurdish girl: “You know, the funny thing is, this kid is cute now, but when she grows up she’ll look like crap.”
— February 23, 2006

16. After co-worker described the official color of a friend’s dyed hair as “Bordeaux with four drops of black cherry,” She replies: “I want to drink that!”
— February 28, 2006

17. After suggesting that she should stay with company founder while transitioning to new office, she replies: “I’m not staying with that dirty old man.”
— August 14, 2006



"Truly, I don't care."

- D.V. Edson, 2006



It's Funny

What is a blog, anyway? Why would anyone write shit anymore?

Blog. Stupid. "Uh, today, I saw Molly Winters and she said hi and then me and Billy went to 4th period and passed notes with words like "penis" and "dither" and stuff. My blog rules! Shout out to Molly and Billy. Uh."

What's the point?

Stories? Yeah, I got stories. Like stories about Tom Glidden and Lee Rudnicki and that time at work I uh, well, er...I hear people read this, so, uh.... I do have some good news to share with you:

As you know, I moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago, to pursue my career in the entertainment industry. Life in LA has been an incredible ride so far, and I am in the middle of several exciting music and film projects, one that has just come to fruition.

As the story goes ... shortly after I got to LA, I met a Japanese film director by the name of Junichi Suzuki, who was planning on making his first motion picture to be filmed in the United States, then entitled "Death Ride." In the fall of 2004, I was asked to become a producer of Death Ride, and I accepted what turned out to be a very challenging, fun and rewarding experience. To make a long story short, we made Death Ride, and subsequently sold the film to Lion's Gate.

Today, our film, the newly entitled "Haunted Highway" was released throughout the United States on DVD. You can pretty much get it anywhere that DVDs are sold, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Amazon.com, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Target ... and even Netflix.

To say that moving to LA and making this film has changed my life is an understatement. I have recently been accepted to UCLA film school, and am starting a screenwriting program at night in the fall, with the goal of producing (and writing) more motion pictures.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this news with you. Rock on.

Say No To Joe

So, I'm on the phone with Dan and he says, "Yeah, Lieberman's now our Nader...he's our Liebernader." I almost fell out of my chair.

Barbie is Swell...

...but Mars is sweller (and being a Space Shuttle commander kicks ass!).

Shoot the Looter

"Among the injured was an apparent good Samaritan who did not live in the building but came to the aid of its residents, Migliore said."



These Kids and Their Music

The Bren Playlist Top-Five This Week:

1. Zombie Zoo - Tom Petty
2. Slow Ride - Foghat - Live 8.5 min version
3. Chris Michaels - Fiery Furnaces
4. Anything from Sleater-Kinney
5. Just a Kid - Wilco

Kids these days.


What If...

So I'm reading a Patrick Smith ("Ask the Pilot") chapter called, "Terrorism, tweezers and terminal madness." It's about the dog & pony security procedures enacted after 2001 hijacking/crash/terror thing.

He wrote in 2004:

"I'm unsure which would be the better quotation to drop here, Franklin's famous bit about sacrificing liberty for safety, or maybe something more ornery from HL Mencken. Whichever old sage would be more appalled by the goings on, we're more than happy to empty our pockets, rat out our neighbors, pull down our pants. Enough of us, at least, to keep the beast fed and happy. This is what we want: if it equates to safer flying, or more accurately the perception of it, by all means, yes, x-ray my Nikes and take my nailclippers. The TV cameras and newspapers have quoted us time and time again, acquiescing with a sigh: "Well, it sucks, but if it makes flying safer I'm all for it."

This made think (yeah, thinking again). Since most intelligent people realize that typical U.S. screening is basically for show, why do we continue to participate? To fly, right? To take our important business trips, right? To get where you want/need to go.

But, what if we refuse to take off our shoes, take off our belts, jackets, or empty pockets? I don't mean in a belligerent manner. But in a very nice and sweet, and genuinely deferential manner? After all, the mopes are simply doing their jobs (or "following orders" if you will). One would simply fail (or decline) the level one screening. Politely decline if you can. Explain that rather than suffer or endure public humiliation that you'd rather participate in one-on-one and private screening. In fact, you would feel and be several percentage points safer.

By bogging down the system, we not only take back control of the process (while making it much safer in reality). Make 'em work for you rather than the other way around. Slow it down to a crawl. Sure it's 15 minutes you're not gonna ever get back, but you own the high ground.

Sure, there will be occasions where a screener will freak. Explain to the supervisor that you are bashful and a little OCD and that taking off your shoes in public is embarrassing. Suggest that you are very frightened of athlete's foot. Explain that the last time you took off your watch, it wound up missing. Explain that if you took off your belt your pants would fall down and that you may be wearing underwear with holes. You once put your jacket through and it got all ripped up.

Have no problem with your laptop (that belongs to your employer) or your bag going through the X-ray. Keep your valuables in your pocket.

What if we took back our dignity?


A Crush

Oh stapler...I'm smitten.
Of course, it doesn't work for shit.

Creepy News/Blogs - Oh Really?

So, I'm reading some news and I'm reading some blogs today. No big deal and I see that Fox News Agrees to Settlement of Sex Discrimination Suit. Whatever, right? But then I remember that in October 2004, Fox News talk show host Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment suit filed against him by his former producer.

Well that reminds me of some of the stuff he said (while allegedly watching porn). First think of Bill O'Reilly (pic link to help your cognitions). Get him nice and clear and in color in your head:

"You would basically be in the shower and then I would come in and I’d join you and you would have your back to me and I would take that little loofa thing and kinda soap up your back… rub it all over you, get you to relax, hot water… and um… you know, you’d feel the tension drain out of you and uh you still would be with your back to me then I would kinda put my arm — it’s one of those mitts, those loofa mitts you know, so I got my hands in it… and I would put it around front, kinda rub your tummy a little bit with it, and then with my other hand I would start to massage your boobs, get your nipples really hard… ‘cuz I like that and you have really spectacular boobs…

So anyway I’d be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda kissing your neck from behind… and then I would take the other hand with the falafel thing and I’d put it on your pussy but you’d have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business."

What's the creepiest? The very creepiest thing - EVER - is that he used the word "



Fly Eye for the Fly Guy

I figured that since I happened to be suit shopping, I could work my way down the ladder for a change. Usually, its check the clearance rack and save an extra eighteen bucks by getting the close-enough-for-work mismatch jacket and pant combo (you know, a whole goddamn suit for $87.50 – no-wrinkle/no-stain). So, today I thought that I would conduct kind of an experiment, but without all the messy control groups and random assignment business. I tried on a $2,700 Italian suit today.

FUCKING SHIT, dude! Now I know how people could spend $2,700 on a suit. Now I know why the first thing an NBA pick does is buy a $2,700 Italian suit. Now I know why Ken Lay fishes in a $2,700 suit. Now I know why Bill Gates cleans his toes with a $2,700 suit. Now I know the very reason the Mafia even exists: the $2,700 Italian suit.

I felt like the Motherfuckingshit. Like I was going to walk out of the store and have to duck to avoid all the pussy that would be flying right at my face (I’d duck so that I wouldn’t wrinkle my new $2,700 Italian suit). I felt like I'd never have to spend another dime on haircuts or soap or toothpaste or toilet paper or razors because my bitchin’ new $2,700 Italian suit was going to more than compensate for lice and ticks and B.O. and missing teeth. I felt as if I could be homeless and beg for money and because I looked so fly, I could easily make enough in a couple of hours to buy me another $2,700 Italian suit. How I felt led me to realize that Superman’s costume is merely a manifestation of how dudes feel in a $2,700 Italian suit. I could fly, resist bullets, and change the rotation of the planet.

But a fella can't easily reconcile spending the equivalent of sixty bags of weed (1998 prices, last time I checked) for something that would come out of the closet once a year, if that. When's your funereal? Shit, when’s my mother’s funeral? Shit, when is my Italian tailor’s funeral? That'd be the next time I could wear it. That suit is what SurroundSound’s SurroundSound sounds like. It’s all spinning gold 22” rims and private jets. I’m hubcaps and coach.

Instead, I laid out the equivalent of eight bags of weed for a perfectly nice suit, tie, and shirt (I would had to have laid out another several hundred dollars for a tie, shirt, and cufflinks worthy of my new $2,700 Italian suit, so now I’m up to like 3,500 bucks!). My new suit feels like heavy, new denim lined with sandpaper though. And it kinda looks like a hand-me-down from Bill Lambier. Sure, it’s a fine suit for a really important business meeting my boss invited me along “for experience.” I could probably wear it on a business trip and easily pick up on a drunk MILFy sales rep from Toledo in the bar of the Hyatt. Sure, I could even wear it for really important occasions like Federal court or to propose marriage or something. But shit, I don't begrudge anyone who would lay out the dough for a $2,700 Italian suit.

Ahhh, if only I had me a $2,700 Italian suit…I could rule the world. I could even rule the corporate world.

The moral: Never drive the Porsche first. You’ll be too easily spoiled and the Toyota will feel like garbage. Drive the Chevy first, then you’ll be happy as a clam with the Toyota. Same goes with dating porn stars or playing the Hollywood bowl first.

Just be as you are. Keep your cubicle clean and don’t drive too fast.