Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Which I Post Bad Fiction And Apologize Later

I thought we'd make our hands like Playmobil hands, little round beige cups and we'd hold things like jousting poles and ski poles and other poles and probably swords and things that are used to save people, to save people's lives on mountain tops and in helicopters. And the bus was tiring and tinny though the sun set beautifully as we barreled into and out of Connecticut. If I ever wondered what Christmas felt like from far away, when I was older maybe and could not quite remember beyond coffee and mail piled up, I could think of us then, as we headed out and away, leaving Boston, dust and snow, slushy grime, behind us. Crystal said something about Emily and how she sewed a tutu to herself and had to pull a pair of sweatpants over it and went to class and we laughed like it was the first time anyone had ever laughed on a bus, taken this quiet journey and made it round and silly.

When the cat died my parents said they found him in the basement, in a laundry basket, rigor mortis had set in, my mother said, and I pictured him stiff and curled, like a necklace or a logo, a snake eating its own tail. He who was so alone for his life, and only found us when he was skinny, a sack of bones (like when they are kittens), and slept by the stove and begged for food because he was starving.

I don't know if the story starts here or if it started much earlier, maybe days or months or even years. Maybe it started when someone held a bottle in their small hand; popped, guzzled, glanced. And then I was born, small and wet and gooey and warm. Truth is, I don't know where stories start, but they do. The cat was a pet that died on Christmas eve and Crystal is a friend who rode the bus with me. We talked about about old people, old stories, about boys who are beery and sloppy in their love for each other, girls who disappeared into the abstract, ties that bound and later unknotted, letting us go.

Mona died seven Tuesdays ago, and I picture her body now, hardening and cold, the coffin not cushion but merely vessel or time machine. The future, brown and already forgotten, being laid out for her like a map of the country, a giant E framing Kentucky. I don't know if Mona curled the way the cat did, but she slowed and went in much the same way. Roger and I found ourselves in the hospital room one day and he was lovely and comforting and held my hand while I held hers and I talked to her, I really think I did, about Christmas and about plans. I did not talk to her about the pets or about the flower boxes that I suspected would go unwatered and would die. She had cared so much about them when she could, when her skin was still so brown and tight, the sun seeming sometimes to be her greatest friend. Mona who fed off of the planet's dim twirling and bobbed her head, like sparrows, in thanks for all of its working.

At the funeral, which was snowy and sad, I held something close to my chest. It was something hard and rocky, a tangible thing, and I promised myself that I would never let anything else die this way. That nothing would ever go missing again. The priest, or pastor, or minister, said some lovely words and we left her there, to be given back to the earth. You look good, so much older my aunt said as she piled herself into her black car and drove away.

I'd like to move to Pittsburgh or San Diego, let a new place warp its way around me. I think I'd maybe go to school or maybe I would simply live. in the cab on the way home from the cemetery I noticed the lock on the back door. Its plastic had been worn away and all that stood was metal. I pictured other passengers, led astray by this driver, led to back alleys and empty lots, clawing at the lock, praying for it to release and let them out. But O's their faces would make as they died at this murderer's hand. I pictured this in the cab and did not feel frightened, only quietly curious. Broadly relieved.

And I thought about time, on the bus and in the cemetery. I thought about malls and about snow, how it made an otherworldly mist as it melted and lifted itself up and away. There was a couple in the parking lot, walking from their car. And she held his hand and he held it back, but not the same. A simple, limp weight. But they were probably in love. And they would probably buy nice things for each other and all the common magic of being two people would fall into place and the planet would rest back on its haunches, everything perfectly ready for right now.

And I wondered what it would be like if we had hands that all of these things could snap perfectly into. If we could grip them and hold them. If we could ask time to forgive us. I'd like hands that could do this. I'd like us all to be strong. We wouldn't let go, until they could explain something, tell us a secret. Until these moments, these little bits, could save someone. In an ambulance or in a helicopter, as it chopped through the air, held aloft by people and places, evaporating below us.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The End Of The Affair

Isn't it sad when a vacation is almost over? Especially around Christmas. The excitement leading up the 25th is so great! And then you wake up on the 26th and everything is different, slowed, depressingly hushed. I'm still in Boston, but will be returning to New York tomorrow with a friend in tow. We'll be celebrating New Year's at a party in Brooklyn. Cheers to avoiding Manhattan on busy busy New Year's Eve.

5 things that happened over this vacation:

1) My cat Solo died. He had lymphoma and was very sick and basically starving. My parents found him curled up in the basement on Christmas Eve morning. It is sad, but he was always a loner and a bit skiddish (until the end, when he became much more friendly) so I never really had a great bond with him. Still, we all miss him and realize how strange it is to have a living creature sitting on the couch with you, purring, one day, and then completely gone the next.

2) I got two great coats that make me feel like a grown-up.

3) I've decided to join the gym and lose weight.

4) I saw Me And You And Everyone We Know and it was weird and delightful and very much just a filmed poem.

5) The Christmas tree kept falling down so my dad got a new stand and it worked very well. It is the biggest tree we've ever had.

How was your holiday?

Friday, December 21, 2007


Sometimes reruns of The Simpsons cut little bits out to shorten the run time. Occasionally it's the funniest joke of the episode. In tonight's case it was the funniest gag in "Trilogy of Error." So, I'll print it here to give it some justice.

Homer: Linguo... dead?

Linguo: Linguo IS dead.

So. There ya go.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas. Sigh.

It's coming down to the wire. The bustle has quickened, the songs are more cloying and desperate, the grim looks on shopkeepers' faces have become nearly as sunken and sallow as they ever will. Though this is always the time when I begin my Christmas shopping, I am still surprised, every year, by how awful and depressing it is. Especially in Union Square. Adventuring to the frenzied, Marrakeshian bazaar of the Christmas village they've got up there is almost as stultifyingly bleak as stopping into the large pulsating cave that is the Virgin Megastore across the street. But adventure to both I did, and came up basically empty handed. I didn't quite realize there was such a market for whimsical knick-knacks and carpety pashminas, but apparently there is. I fled that scene pretty quickly, not daring to look behind me as I scurried down 14th street towards the F.

I did find a gift for my roommate, and figured I ought to buy wrapping paper so I can give it to her tonight or tomorrow in style. The Rite Aid on 5th avenue in Park Slope is basically Children of Men but with, you know, children. After searching in vain for red ribbon to match the green paper I was buying, I finally found a barren stretch of shelving. Ghostly markers describing ribbons and bows were all that was left, the last of the actual products having been scavenged long ago. As usual, I got in the completely wrong line at the check-out, one that seemed short and fast moving, but of course proved to be anything but. The woman two people ahead of me was haggling with the checkout girl and the manager about a receipt that had not printed correctly. She needed solid proof of purchase and the manager's scrawled initials just would not stand! What if there was a problem with the precious item? What would she do then?! But alas nothing could be done to salvage the receipt, so she huffily returned the ever-valuable High School Musical action figures.

Up to CVS on 9th street for ribbon. Success at last. But, this stuff is expensive. It was $5 for a little spool of green, red, and gold ribbon. I don't know where they make ribbon, but those little kids who work their fingers down to tiny, gnarled nubs to get it cut and on the spools are hopefully going home to mansions. But this is an expensive time of year, so I grinned and bore it. As I was leaving the store, a little boy was shoving some sort of Pokemon toy in his mother's face, begging her to buy it for him. She flatly refused and he kept complaining until she finally relented and said "Santa will probably buy it for you." To which the boy replied, "Santa doesn't buy it, he makes it." Well, son, it's actually little elves working their fingers down to tiny, gnarled nubs.

Though, presented with the choice of braving the Sturm und Drang of the shopping experience or making the toys myself, I think I'd take the nubs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rappy Rorridays



I'm reading that Raymond Carver story that's in The New Yorker right now, and of course it's all about suburban ennui, that great philosophical ache of both wanting and having. This same sadness and rumble-from-deep-below can be found on the television. I'm not talking about reruns of The Sopranos or even Brothers & Sisters. I am, of course, talking about Bravo's exquisite rumination on the modern American psyche, The Real Housewives of Orange County. If you haven't been watching this show, now in its third season, you really should be. As Rose put it last night, "If you looked up nouveau-riche in Merriam-Webster's, it would just be a video clip of this show." That pretty much sums it up. In case you've missed it, I'll give you a brief rundown of the three best ladies of Coto Canyon, CA.

Jeana: The former Playboy Playmate is maybe the most cannabalistic of all the mothers, pimping her two sons out to baseball careers they seem to only vaguely want and her daughter to the acting career she herself had a small taste of during the heady Hef days. Jeana is lazy and casually mean, obsessed with (talking about) her money, and friends with a big, fat, vaguely ethnic gay home decorator. He makes any house look like a Greek restaurant built in 1986. Mmm.

Lauri: She of the ultra Botoxed, stretched and tucked face, Lauri fancies herself quite the beauty. But at 45 the lines are beginning to irreversibly show, so thank god she found a new bajillionaire hubby several years after her first marriage crumbled. She's got a monstrous early-twentysomething daughter, Ashley, who is repulsive both inside and out, though she fancies herself the opposite on both accounts. Lauri has also chosen to basically forsake and abandon her troubled son, Josh. He's been in and out of rehab and juvenile facilities and he's just too difficult to fit into her newly perfect, be-zirconia-ed life. So, Josh moved in with Lauri's new husband's ex-wife. Beautiful.

Vicki: Vicki is probably the most tragic of the Housewives. A refugee from a glum, big-haired existence in the Midwest, Vicki is at turns a strong, assertive business woman, a "whoo hoooo!"-ing party "girl" lush, and a doting, far too overprotective and needy mother. Vicki openly admits to manipulating her children with money and wears tight pants and shows up unexpectedly at her dopey, potato-ish son's college in Colorado and does keg stands. She's horrifying and terrific, probably possessing a great heart, but one that only glows dimly from underneath the Emporio Fashion Bug wardrobe.

Are you intrigued? You should be. There are three other fairly hideous characters to boot. One who didn't believe her daughter when she called to say her father was lying dead on the floor from a heart attack. And another who calls herself "the hottest housewife in Orange County", whose layabout pucker-faced 21-year-old son (she's 40) refuses, with utterly sincere point of purpose, to get a job.


Saturday, December 15, 2007


In this edition of Opposites, we look at the writers' strike.

So, this,

Is the opposite of this.

T.S. Eliot Meets The Rock

Today I met up with a fellow Gawker commenter who I'd never met before, but had been speaking with online for the past couple months. We had decided to meet on the stairs at Union Square, setting as specific a location as possible because she doesn't own a cell phone (amazing!). Well, I am a fairly anxious person to begin with, so imagine my panic when I came upon Union Square and realized that the steps were gone. Not torn down, just covered up by the annual Christmas village craft fair thing. Luckily, after only five minutes of wandering around, I found her, wearing her bright red coat. I had been nervous that it would be awkward, but right when we hugged hello and started talking, I knew it would be fine. We walked to a Boston-themed bar on 2nd Avenue. We're both from Taxachusetts so I thought it would be fun. We sat and drank Guinness and talked about all manner of things.

We had a lovely conversation about our love lives, our writing, our strange expereinces on this computer interweb. It's so great to talk to someone who you feel like you know, but with whom there is so much unknown territory to cover. You find yourself rethinking yourself, putting your stories into different, but true, contexts. I suppose it's a bit like therapy, but shared.

We drank some more and then went to see Southland Tales. It was wild and weird and kind of all over the place but also kind of great. The most exciting thing about it was Justin Timberlake. He was, no joke, excellent. There is a set piece where he lip syncs to a Killers song, and it's just perfect. In it he is angry and sad and confused and hurt, something shown only through movement and facial expressions. It's a surprisingly potent comment on the rage and befuddlement of young soldiers. It's terrific and the film is worth seeing for that short scene alone. Though, there were some other rather brilliant parts (and, admittedly, some rather awful ones.) The whole thing was about beginnings and endings, change and reconciliation. It was the perfect sort of mind-bender for this first meeting, confusing and exciting and brand new.

When we got out of the theater it had begun to snow. "Well, this is weather, you know? Real weather" she said. And it was. So, we walked fast to the 2nd Avenue F station. We hugged and parted ways, she going uptown, me going to Brooklyn. As I walked onto the platform I could see her on the opposite one, parallel to me. Though going to different places, there we were, walking together.

Friday, December 14, 2007

AOL Sums Up Human Experience In One Headline

Okay, so maybe it's just about the weather. But, still.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golden Globes Nominations Announced!

Round about the time the Broadcast Film Critics Association announces their meaningless list of nominees, you know that the Golden Globes can't be far behind. And, like clockwork, here they are a day or so later!

Most of the movie choices are unsurprising. Though I don't understand why Laura Linney hasn't been getting much recognition for her wonderful work in The Savages. I thought she stood out more than her estimable co-star. I think the biggest thing of note is that there are seven nominees for Best Female Lead in a Drama Series. I think that's pretty great news for women on television, that they are headlining some of the better stuff being made, so much so that the HFPA has to add two extra places. So, cheers to you ladies. Now take your shoes off and relax, you're pregnant.

So here we go, hurtling on ahead until it all comes to a grinding halt on February 24th, 2008 when this year's Oscars are announced. Ah, the most wonderful, depressing time of year.

Get ur offiss poolz goin!!1!

Full List of Nominees

American Sadiators

Remember when the Dream Crafters Guild went on strike? Well, we're really starting to feel the long lasting effects as the television landscape becomes more sere and shriveled, leaving little to pick at but the dim bustle of bodies mushing together on Shot at Love with A Fake Bi-Sexual. Further evidence can be found in the "article" I just read about the new American Gladiators.

Though, it could be brilliant. I recently watched an old episode of the show in preparation for this post (every thing I write here is carefully planned and researched.) It was really charming in its unabashed camp and circumstance. It's everything the cliché implies: spandex outfits, the huge ringlets of permed hair bursting from the tops of heads, and, of course, the names. Names like Flame, Nitro, Pick-Axe, and Felicia that were meant to be cool and intimidating, creating the blurred, futuristic 80's world gone mad that people so wanted after watching Mad Max movies. Well, the names are just as good in this new installment. There's someone named Militia. Militia. His favorite event? Blowing up federal buildings in mid-western cities! There is also a be-pompadoured hobo named Wolf (I wish they'd gone with Hobo Lobo.) The women seem a little more tarted up than in the first iteration, but maybe that's just because I do not, nor could ever, find shiny headbands and terrycloth wristicuffs sexy. The ladies of this new version seem a bit more Maxim-ed out - one is even named Siren.

So, let's all watch and try to enjoy but really hate it but kind of love watching some assistant bank manager from Tulsa throw fuzzy balls at the huge, hulking head of a man named Justice.

Meet the New 'American Gladiators'

Size Matters

It could be argued that all episodes of Project Runway are about sizes, after all that's how they fit the clothes. Sorta, right? But last night's episode was the most about sizes in the show's illustrious 32 year history. The models this week had all dropped a number of sizes, and the contestants traded their medium Jack for their XXL shunned geigh, Chris. Yes! Due to a severe case of puff-face (no more medical jargon, I swear) poor, tennis pro-ish Jack decided to leave the show. It really was sad to see him go. He seemed to have a modicum of talent and appeared to have taken a liking to that wee monkey creature with the Fortress of Solitude atop his little head. But ah well. Things fall apart.

So, Chris was brought in and made something that Michael Kors could not stop calling "French hooker Shirley MacLaine French Shirley hooker MacLaine" or some such babble. He really is spinning off the planet, isn't he? The one straight guy whose name really doesn't matter should have been the winner for his (what I'm going to call) Basket Hat Dress 'n Leggings, but instead it went, perhaps in memorial to ol' Puffy, to the wee monkey creature's Contempo Casuals Look-of-the Week, which, interestingly enough, was worn by the evening's skinniest model. All told, the whole challenge swung wildly from meh, kinda easy to wah-wah-wee-wah, what the hell am I gonna do. Of course Chim-Chim had to get the skinny one. That the tiny little thing is now vindicated and assured in his talent can only mean good things for the show's drama level and only horrible things for my sanity.

Nothing much else happened on the show. Oh! Except that guy who is basically the quiet gay nerd from your high school literary magazine's staff was packed into Heidi's boxcar and sent off to the ovens. He deserved to go for his truncated choir uniform and also for his being annoying. So, so long, guy whose name I can't remember and I'm too lazy to look up. Good luck looking vaguely like a muppet.

Who knows, maybe you'll come back once Chris realizes he's come down with a nasty case of Puff-Everything.

Oop, I promised you no more medical terms!

Oh, also: Watch this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Language Is Dead

Well, the great thought-experiment of human language has finally come to an end. What were the findings? Well, apparently that "w00t" is a word. Yup, the nonsensical outburst has officially been named a word by that crotchety, schnapps-ridden old bag Miriam Webster.

Merriam-Webster. Whatevs!

The "word" "w00t" comes from something called "l33t" or "leet" that is some sort of computer nerd beep boop beep that is spoken in San Diego every summer, for four days. Though, apparently "woot" has also been used in the film Pretty Woman, when that grizzled old hooker in the fancy new clothes pumps her fist around and says "Woot, woot, woot!" But that doesn't really count or make sense. Isn't that what Aresenio used to say? He definitely was not using zeroes for o's. So I don't think they're the same thing.

What this essentially means is that computers have taken over the world and we will soon speak (if we are alive at all) in a series of whirs, hums, and clicks that somehow denote zeros and ones. By then the world will have mostly ended (not with a bang but with a w00t), the Earth will be cold and bleak, the Megalopolis of Bosnewwashtimore will have either been lost to the briny depths of the ever-encroaching Atlantic, or blasted out and ash-covered, an odd zombie or two scavenging for scarce fleshy remains of the East Coast elite.

The surviving world will dream at night, after a long, hard day's worth of toiling at their robot masters' feet. They will dream of fields and meadows, hill and dale, the guttural grunts and feints of German, the smooth nasal of French, the braying, mule-like intonations of American English. Their dreams will sour as they remember that it was these very Americans who first brought them these hideous "leet" words. But then they will remember that we Americans went first, crushed under the weight of our own deep fried computer boxes. A smile will cross these survivors' dreamy, grimy faces. For that small blessing they will whisper a single word, sending it out into the cold, toxic night air.

A soft, lilting "woohoo!"

Pray for us.

Webster's Word of 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Readers' Room

So, I um, may or may not be reading this book. And I may or may not have read the earlier two in the series. I swear I do read "smart" stuff a lot of the time, but sometimes you just have to turn it off for a little while.

Plus, it's pretty snappily written and is at turns poignant and funny. So, why don't you join me as we travel along the bumpy roads of life and love with darling Jessica Darling.

Next time we'll read some Orhan Pamuk, I promise.

(Though I think Snow is secretly just about boys.)


MTV is genius for putting people who are genius at being not geniuses on their ingeniously edited programs for not geniuses. Take Teh Hillz's Lauren "LC" Conrad (where did she get that crazy nickname???) who expounds surprisingly candidly about how the show is created (and recreated) but then can't seem to wrap her rum-tainted, sun-blistered brain around why people would want to watch her life in particular. She says:

"I think we're relatable. We really are very lucky, the lives we live — we get to live in L.A., it's very glamorous, we have great jobs, and we have a lot of fun — but at the same time, no matter how great our lives are, we're still going to deal with the same problems as anybody else."

Right. That's true. Except not at all, because no one relates to her. No one watches this stuff to relate to people. They watch to gawk. Which is why when Lauren says this, earlier in the interview, I'm left a little puzzled:

"I think people are just fascinated with other people's lives in general. I mean, that's why we watch any scripted show, or when we're in high school and we gossip about other people. People are just obsessed with other people's lives. I don't know whether it's kind of a way to escape their own, or something to follow...I really couldn't tell you."

I'm puzzled because that's... kind of depressing and true, right? I mean, obvious and cliche, but true? LC SOLVED REALITY TV. Many, many people have said this same thing before, but it's kind of treated as novel this time around because it came from the glossed, Hypnotiq-stained lips of an MTV reality TV icon. And was actually sorta thoughtful. But it also sort of creates this image of LC dejectedly poking a stick at her own reflection, wondering what all the fuss is about. Or maybe the quote is just false, false, false modesty.

So, yeah. I didn't watch the finale last night!!1! It's waiting for me on the DVR. Can't even watch it tonight because I'm going to see some raggedy Pinter play. PINTER! In lieu of real life .

Somewhere, I think Brecht is chuckling.

LC on MTV Setups

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Great Place To Stuff Your Face

My roommate's sister is in town for a few days, and last night we all went to dinner. Now, I'm not really much of a "foodie" (or much of a person who likes the term "foodie"), so I kind of left the restaurant decisions up to Rose and Molly, who both work at nice restaurants and can tell the difference between foie gras and a pile of poop. (I do realize that using the word poop in a restaurant "review" may not be the best idea. But, oh well. Poop.)

So, Rose suggested Little Dishes, a place in our neighborhood that she'd been to before and liked. Well, it was delicious. Comfortable, unpretentious atmosphere, and a friendly, knowledgeable (and kinda cute?) server.

We ate:

  • Cheese Plate - three cheeses with house-made fig & almond cake
  • Hen of the Woods Mushroom Salad - arugula, radicchio and Uplands Pleasant Ridge cheese
  • Cream of Parsnip Soup w/ Bacon and Apple
  • Prosciutto Americano - with Macintosh apple, Bayley Hazen Blue cheese & Pine nut salad
  • Pan Roasted Duck Breast - with sautéed broccoli rabe & fresh plum & red wine veal sauce
  • Mac & Cheese - cheddar, parmesan, gruyere & breadcrumb topping
  • Caramel Bread Pudding - with roasted pecans
Yum! It was just the right amount of food, because most of them were, you know, little dishes. With a bottle of Rioja, we got out of there for about $60 each. Which is a lot, and I normally never spend that much on food, but it felt really worth it and I definitely recommend you go for a special occasion or something. Or, a regular occasion if you're rich. In which case, you have to take me.

Bone app a teet.

Little Dishes

Suck It, Canada!

You know how Canadians are always rubbing it in our faces how peaceful, be-healthcared, and full of maple syrup they are? Well, looks like the master has become the pupil, because here's this crazy kook. In Canada! With no discernible ties the US! Hah!

He was just convicted on six counts of second-degree murder, and will spend the rest of his life in a Canadian prison. Though, there's actually no such thing as a Canadian prison. So. Oh well. It's also suspected that he killed some 40 other women in the Vancouver area. 46 people total!!

The remaining 10 Canadian citizens could not be reached for comment.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Do you ever go to that party where it's just crumpling in on itself? Where the world seems bent and warped, that the only cure for is both fresh air and cigarettes?

Well, tonight was tonight and today was this:

Tino Sehgal

It was a strange, precarious art piece. I guess the intent of most art is to make us think, or, even better, to make us baffled. And baffled I was.

But, at least I'm not expounding on America and upon all that which is broken.

(Which is a lot.)

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Two Girls, One Cup is horrible. This is definitely the best reaction clip. Ew.

Thankfully, I'm Rich

God love the New York Times, which thinks I have the time and money to go to 53 places in the strange future year of 2oo8. Most of the locations do seem genuinely fascinating, though. I mean, who wouldn't want to cruise the Mekong in "Indochina's new hot spot", Laos? I know I've been dying to go to Hvar, on the Dalmatian Coast (mostly to hang out with the people in the photo.) And they've already been lining up at the airport to jet off to the list's 40th location...Detroit? Okay, but why not just go sit around the Marcy Houses for a while? Though, Detroit is just across the river from Windsor Ontario, which promises to be the...most...excit...and...

YEAH! So, go! This city is crowded. Get the hell out of here.

The 53 Places to Go in 2008

I Am an American, Part III

I Am an American, Part II

Tonight I went to the Gawker Christmas party at Chairman Denton's lovely SoHo loft. After an hour or two of getting to know my coworkers a little better, I shuffled on off to the birthday party for a girl I used to work with. The celebration was at M Bar in the east 40's, and I paid $30 for two vodka gimlets. After that I milled about midtown for a while, then went to 72nd to a friend's apartment where we drank cheap big-bottle wine, played with her dog, and talked about theatre. It was a pleasant night.

In the cab on the way home I feel asleep. I often do this. It's embarrassing and silly, but those of you who have ever taken long car trips can understand the odd lull of the humming car, the shake and rattle of this vehicle bouncing you toward home. When I finally came to, we were on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, almost to my apartment. I struck up a conversation with my cab driver, just as our ride neared its end.

He was 34, from Africa. His children, 10 and 15, and his wife are all still in the Ivory Coast. "Oh, I've heard it's very lovely there," I said. And I had. I'd read an article some time ago about the Ivory Coast and how it had achieved what some called the "Ivorian Miracle." An African nation sovereign in its government, providing social services for its population, doing what countries in good, peaceful health do. Of course I am a dumb person and forgot that this Miracle had been written about in the past tense. "Oh no," said my cab driver, shaking his head. "It was very, very nice. But then the civil war came, five years ago, and things got very bad."

He lives in the Bronx and works two other jobs. His family has just been approved to start the immigration process, but before they can come here they must first apply for visas and green cards and all manner of other things. He has lived in the US for thirteen years. He has been trying to get his family over here since.

When he dropped me off, I drunkenly handed him $40 for the $30 fare and said "Thank you, and good luck." He thanked me back and drove away, his yellow cab fading into the reds, greens, and browns of this particular night, on this particular street, in this particular part of Brooklyn.

When I walked up to my apartment, on 13th street, there was a sign on the door about the exterminators. I checked my mail, and there was my Entertainment Weekly, waiting for me as always. My apartment was empty; my roommate out somewhere. The house was quiet. The world suddenly still. And I think of it now, that roll and tremble, this forward ache for the world to be both small and large all at once.

I thought about my parents in Boston, who I will see at Christmas. About my cat who is on chemotherapy (apparently, this exists). How all of that is just one bus ride away. How I grumble and bemoan this iPod and magazine chore. And yet, how light and giddy I feel when I've finally arrived home, knowing that something indefinable has just opened up to me. That strange place of possibility that appears only to some of us, sometimes.

And yet calls to all of us, rumbling along as we do, infinitely.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Am an American

Last night I had a drink with a friend from school who was in town for the day. She brought along her British friend that she'd done some theatre with in Edinburgh. The bulk of the conversation was basically me saying: "So, wait, how do people do _____ in the UK??" He was very nice about it and answered all my questions thoroughly. But I couldn't help but feel like a bit of a rube. Why is it that whenever I meet someone foreign (friends of friends, deli store workers, cab drivers) I feel the need to probe them about their strange customs and ways of dressing? Has my love of the Old Timey Times really gotten so bad that I feel the need to act like some seafaring explorer who has just stumbled upon Africa?

What I did eventually determine last night was that, as we all know, The Europe will not make you pay for health care. Being godless Communists has its benefits, I suppose. If anyone reading this would like to come to the New World, I'll happily take you on a tour, showing you where freedom was invented, and then I'll break your leg so you can get a taste of free market capitalism medicine. All I ask in return is that you explain to me what an American accent sounds like.

Now, go about your silly little foreign way. I have a steak to eat.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not Opposites

Sometimes here on LolCait, we do Opposites. But today, we'll do Not Opposites.

So, Project Runway's Christian:

Is completely not the opposite of, The Jungle Book's Mowgli:

Music Makes the Boojwazee

The Grammys are the most important music awards called The Grammys. They are always nominating top recording artists such as Beyoncé, The Foo Fighters, and some drunk, beehived English lady. The only thing that could possibly be better than winning a Grammy would be spending a night at the bus station. Though, I guess this means that awards season is starting again, which is always exciting. I can’t wait for more prestigious awards shows, like the Golden Globes.

Complete List of Grammy Nominees

Fit To Be Yuletide

Rose and I decorated our living room last night for the holidays, little Santa hats on plants and picture frames, white lights around the doors. For a bit I felt very seasonal and cheery. But then that was gone this morning when I trudged down Fourth Avenue toward the subway, blasted by arctic winds, ruing the day someone decided to invent winter. In general I’d say that I’ve lost a bit of the “Christmas spirit” as the years have gone by. It’s probably just a fact of getting older and having more worries and anxieties gnawing away at my happiness. I just don’t have the time to stop and get swept up in this wonderful season. This is kind of a bummer. But! On the internet this morning there arose such a clatter that it could only mean one thing! Christmas, with all its goodwill towards men, love, and celebration, had come early this year. Yes, my small heart grew three sizes when I read the following sentiment:



Um, yeah. It came from commenter FshHnt 21 on an story entitled First Rise in U.S. Teen Births Since '91. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do read AOL often. Why I started, I’m not quite sure. But it’s comments like that that keep me coming back. Friends and coworkers have always been baffled when they see me trawling the site, looking for the most hideous thing possible. Generally I can only stomach about 15 minutes of it. I guess I just think that there’s some inherent value in exposing yourself to the worst kinds of argument and ideology. Know your enemy!, I suppose. So if you are ever in the mood to get nice ‘n angry, go to AOL and read the comments. They usually manage to turn an article about a loaf of bread into a debate on why gay people need to rape children to live.

Merry Christmas!

Things We Lost In The Mire

Tonight was one of entrances and exits. Oddly smooth, perfectly coiffed entrances by Nate Archibald into Blair Waldorf's precious snatch, and an untimely exit by Chris, our big, fat, geigh costume designer friend from Project Runway.

Both Runway and Gossip Girl were vaguely depressing and wrong tonight for vaguely the same reason. There are just not good choices being made.

Are there really debutante balls on the UES? I don't think so. Deb balls are something far too gauche and nouveau riche for the withered old sacks of bones that haunt the east 70's and 80's.* So the whole conceit of the episode just felt woefully off. Couple that with the sexy-pex preview for this decidedly unsexy, unpexy episode and Houston (pronounced Howston), we've got a problem. While Chuck's rejection promises some wonderful revenge schemes in the future, where the hell is this show really headed? The whole elderhip parents storyline is growing sillier and more useless by the day. Jenny has become whiny and insolent and so far removed from the books' Jenny character that it's just not worth drawing comparisons anymore. The Minorities both got lines tonight, but they were boring and only served as exposition. This show is in trouble. Delicious, ridiculously watchable trouble.

On to Bravo and their "talent breeds entertainment" reality phenom. Tonight's judges made a wildly inappropriate decision. Ricky, for all his loose-fitting, ugly, tacked-together garments, was the clear choice to go home. Also, he wears mesh hats. Mesh. Hats. Chris was fun and fat and really should have stayed. These producers seem to be making not only bad decisions based on talent, but also bad decisions based on entertainment value. Ricky's weeping and silliness will only carry us so far. Chris's pleasant queeniness would have been great for another several episodes. But I guess he was just too fat for TV. (Did I mention yet that he's overweight?) The team that won deserved to win and Michael Kors was reasonably tame, but are we really being asked to stomach such an erroneous decision? Mrs. Seal ought to flex a little of her exec-producer muscle and tell the powers that be that big, fat, gay guys are always better to watch than little sadsack shits wearing mesh hats. Yes, you read me right (again.) Mesh hats.

So, oh well, here we go. The circle game continues on. These two great shows continue to falter and we're all left stupified and sad. And we don't want that.

If we wanted that, we'd watch the news.

*CORRECTION: Apparently they do. But! Still! The thing was clearly filmed at that "We maik ur dreemz come tru!!" place in Brooklyn. So, still not "classy" or WASPy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Never, Ever Diet

As those of you who know me or are close enough to smell me are aware, I basically eat two foods: cheese and potatoes. Be they fried, melted, mashed, or pumped into my veins with an IV, I just can’t get enough of them. Thank god they’re both really, really good for you. Now, cheese is usually cheese. Served just as is. But, there are many things to do with the potato! Which is why I found this list of mashed potato recipes so important and hungry-making.

Most importantly, there is something called the Mashed Potato Taco. It is likely a harbinger of the Rapture and I would very much like to eat it. So please make some and email one to me.

We're able to do that now, right?


Top 11 Mashed Potato Recipes [AOL]

P.S. This post also brings up the deeper, darker, more urgent question of why I am constantly on, but I’ll save that explanation for another post.

Something Funny, and Old

The Future May Not Be Dead

The writer’s strike has been scary. The Office is gone, 30 Rock isn’t far behind, and my precious, precious Lost may have a truncated 4th season (if a season at all.) So, it was with great joy that I saw this article that says the strike may be coming to a close. It also divulged some interesting tidbits about writers’ salaries. Apparently the mean income is around $62k a year. That’s pretty good! But, the writers of course don’t think so when that figure is measured against how much the industry as a whole profits off of their sweat, blood, tears, Hawaiian shirts, and prostituted MFAs in playwriting. Sigh. May this horrible, horrible tragedy (the worst in our planet's 6,000 year history) soon come to a close.

UPDATE: Mohn Musack

The famous person never came. The tickets just sat there sadly. I wept.

But, I did meet another famous-ish person who was very nice.

I'll give you a hint: Her name starts with L and ends with ili Taylor.

So. Yeah. Both disappointment and surprise mixed into one evening. Like a Chekhov play!

Beauty and the Geek: Fin

Also on the television last night, as previously mentioned, was the stirring finale to the ridiculously wonderful Beauty and the Geek. Since they announced that the ultimate decision would, for the first time, be “up to America”, it was pretty much a no brainer that Dave and Jasmine would win. Sam and Nicole were just too manufactured by the producers, whereas Dave is a Larper who wears high pulled tube socks and clunky black walking shoes and Jasmine’s head is full of newspaper and old melon rinds. But, both are very sweet and really did seem to make genuine changes on their journey through the show.

Some of you may not believe it, but it really is great television. There’s really no drunken debauchery, no crazy fighting, no sexy sexy hook-ups. I mean, there is fighting and hooking up and all that but it’s done with remarkable graciousness and in a very friendly way. Really, the show is about people befriending those they wouldn’t normally and learning and growing and getting make-overs both inside and out. I really can’t articulate what exactly it is that makes the show so funny and oddly touching, but… it is. So, watch next season. I definitely will.

Congrats to you, Dave and Jasmine. Dave, I hope you can get a new broadsword and maybe some pants that aren’t shorts. Jasmine, I wish you good luck and great fun with the third grade.

Deepak Oprah

Did anyone happen to see the recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show that featured Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the ladybusiness spiritual awakening fantasmagoria Eat, Pray, Love?

It was completely horrifying. There was Elizabeth Gilbert, looking serene and benevolent, kindly listening to far uglier people recount their own spiritual journeys and nodding her head softly as if to say “Yes, yes. I am amazing. Thank you. I am also better looking than you. And rich. Are those pants from T.J. Maxx? Oh, Calverts? Even better. Bless you.” Meanwhile Oprah wouldn’t sit the whole time. My roommate and I determined that it was because Libby G. is taller than Oprah, and Oprah Cannot Abide that.

Other than little bits like that, it was just a really fascinating piece of evidence for the Oprah Controls the World case. This whole crowd of women, claiming complete reversals of thought and faith, thanking Oprah for steering them to this one book. Think about that. Who she be? I mean, really.

Anyway, if you missed it, there will be more episodes like that to come, I’m sure. May I also recommend that you be drunk and stoned, giddy from having just watched the Beauty and the Geek finale, tired and exhausted at the prospect of going to work the next day, maybe even looking for a bit of divine intervention yourself.

Save me, Oprah Jones!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mystery Celebrity Encounter

Once in a while I do some box office work for a little extra cash. Occasionally, should the show be popular enough, a big celebrity will come to see it. Tonight it happens to be someone who also has a famous sister and whose name may rhyme with Mohn Musack.

He/she has not come to pick up their tickets yet, so I'm anxiously awaiting. What will they be like? Will we immediately hit it off and become the best of friends and creative collaborators? Will he/she stab me in the eye for lookin' at 'em stinky? Will their sister (rhymes with Boan Busack) also be in attendance, saying funny things with that charming Midwestern drawl of hers?

Probably not. Probably I'll just mumble awkwardly and they'll shrug their shoulders and mutter "Thanks" and that will be that. But I'm sure my brush with enormous, though fleeting (Crust Mike Hogs didn't do so well), fame will embolden me to really pursue my dreams so I too can someday mutter disinterestedly at some geek behind a pane of glass who will later exaggerate the story to the point that I had DINNER with them and I was SO NICE and WOW, CELEBRITIES ARE JUST REGULAR PEOPLE, HUH??!

So, let's wait and see. Maybe I'll even get up the gumption to tell them how much I loved Toast Joint Flank.

Things to See: 'Gone Missing'

This is a terrific show at the Barrow Street Theatre. I urge you to see it if you can. It's a little bit of everything: funny, sad, thoughtful, and pretty great music.

They might have some ticket deals, I would look on the website.

NY Times Review

Gone Missing at Barrow Street

People I Hate

Gimme Shelter

So my office is on the ground floor of the building, meaning you can just walk right in from the street. No doorman, no security cameras, no nothin'. Normally this is fine. However, every once in a while (oddly frequently, actually) some sort of hobo or just deranged person-about-town will come into our office unsolicited. He or she usually wants to just use the bathroom. After being told it's a private office, they will generally not listen at all and still go to use the bathroom. Like the fellow who's in there right now, who walked in in his slightly-askew suit and loudly asked "Now, is this is a factory?" Yes, sir. A dreeeeeam factory!

Also, this fellow was wearing tap shoes.

Another time, a very disheveled looking woman, wearing one of those big, pink-ish winter nun coats, came in and started yelling at people, then decided she wanted to read all of the magazines we have up front. She was eventually shooed away, but it was unsettling nonetheless.

Almost as unsettling as the time I was here with just one other person on a Friday night and some rather large and imposing gentlemen entered and began inspecting all our computer equipment. Turns out they were just curious if we were a graphic design firm, but for a minute there I could picture me and Scott tied up in the back room, having to sleep there all weekend until someone found us on Monday.

Anyway, don't really know what the point of this is. Just to tell you that people are often just wandering into Gawker to pee, poop, or read. So, if you're in the area come on by. Except, in a couple of months we're moving to a new place on Elizabeth street, on the 4th floor. So, do it now! Before it's too late!

Wear your tap shoes!

End Times

I’m almost done with Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” and I’m finding it at turns both terrifying and oddly lulling. I’m not all that into the spare prose, and “boy book”-ness of the thing, but the post-apocalyptic setting really nags at me. In a good way. I guess in general I’ve just acquired a strange fascination with the idea of a the world after it ends, who and what is still around, what everything looks like, how things march on. I felt the same about Children of Men (maybe my favorite movie ever), and almost wanted to see Resident Evil: Extinction for its depiction of a deserted (literally) Las Vegas. For that matter, pretty much every zombie movie hooks me and terrifies me and makes me think about things I don’t want to (but kind of do?). An especially great one is the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Not so powerful and artsy as 28 Days Later, but absolutely horrifying in its far bleaker ending.

Why on earth am I so drawn to the End of the World genre, especially those featuring zombism? I really have no idea. I suppose the argument could be made that it’s some subconscious reaction to the post-“Rudy Giuliani Presents: 9/11” world, and that I’m just steeling myself for what I think the future might hold. Or, maybe they comfort me because I can sit back and say “Nah, that’d never happen.” Yeah. Maybe that’s it. I get comfort from zombie/apocalypse movies. That must explain why, a few years ago, I had zombie contingency plans all mapped out in my head and read Max Brooks’ “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide” completely unironically, several times.

Sigh. Anyway, I’m going to go grab a bite.

(Get it?)


So apparently Californians not only select the wrong governor, they also select the wrong beauty pageant winner.

Poor Christina Silva, who lived for one glorious, be-tiara-ed week as Miss California USA, had to relinquish the title to the far better named Raquel Beezley, after an accounting error was discovered.

Miss Beezley, who represents the eerie, haunted Californian moon colony of Barstow, will continue on to compete in Miss USA.

Mz. Silva, I imagine, will drive her Ford Taurus wagon off of Mulholland Drive "by accident", wearing the crown, sash, and necklace that she was kindly allowed to keep.

Wrong Woman Named Pageant Winner []

Cat Attack!

In the 1963 film The Birds, Tippi Hedren plays Melanie Daniels, a woman who gets attacked by lots and lots of birds.

In the 2007 actual thing that happened, Tippi Hedren's animal sanctuary caretaker Chris Orr was attacked by a Bengal tiger.

Is this ironic? Or just funny? Or both?? Either way, Tippi looks completely crazy now and owns a tiger. While her preserve is, I suppose, doing good work, it is named Shambala, which is very bad.

Also, she gave birth to Melanie Griffith.

Tiger Mauls Man at Actress' Preserve [AOL News]

Songs in the Key of Not G

So, on this old rickety computertron that I might be posting on sometimes, my letter "g" does not work. I have to type words like "goiter", "gargantuan", and "gdrunk" using Copy 'n Paste. That's pretty sad.

But, why is this suprisingly important key broken? How did I wear it out?

I'm soliciting your responses. I only pay myself based on pageviews. So please, help me feed myself.


Mission Accomplished

So, now we end the first day of all of this.

As of writing this, I've had two comments.

To readers "Crystal" & "Jessica":

I hope you'll keep commenting and tell all your friends. Tell all your enemies. I think we'll have fun.

So, fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a pretty horrifying, gruesome car accident.


I am the most famous blog commenter in the history of the world.

I hope that you guys will aspire to be as amazing as I am. So please, please, please leave comments on this damn thing. I want suggestions, questions, unabashedly drunken recriminations. All of those good things.

Maybe, like I do on Gawker, I'll award best comments of the week. Or, more realistically, the month.

So yeah. I want to hear what you have to say. It's important to me. And it should be important to you.

Don't disappoint me.

Monday, December 3, 2007


From time to time here on LolCait, we will discuss things that are opposite. We'll start with this:

A wig:

Is the opposite of, a bald cap:

Think about it.

Do Want

When did this happen?

Because, um, yes please.

What Makes Me Sad

My roommate, Rose works at a restaurant, and she works late. So, often times I am home all by my lonesome. Many of you may read books, or magazines, or the backs of cereal boxes, but I choose to while away the hours watching hour after hour of television. I've had some sort of Digital Video Recorder (DVR for those who are techno-savvy and/or nerds) for about three years now, and the fossil records have started to reflect a sea change.

I started with Frontline and Lost and The Sopranos. Then, Little People, Big World and Project Runway started. These are both fine reality television programs, but (un)fortunately the mudslide didn't stop there. The DVR (Digital Video Recorder for those of you with no memory and/or who are not nerds) has now become stockpiled with episodes of Teh Hillz and The Real World and [shudder/gurgle] A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Am I reacting to these war-torn times, simply seeking out the easy pleasures of drunken fools hurling themselves (emotionally and, quite satisfactorily, physically) at each other in the hope that my mind will be diverted from that which is too horrible to bear: that our world is broken and melting, that we are living in the heady days of the swan song?

Erm, maybe?

But, really what I think it is is that my brain has become lazy and atrophied. Why this happened I don't know, but it seems to directly correspond with when I stopped writing plays. Yeah, that's right. I used to write plays. And sometimes they weren't even awful. But, I seem to have given up and so I've just slumped down, gravy-smeared inch by inch, into the general miasma of American television wartchin'.

But, this isn't the thing that makes me sad.

What makes me sad is that some people don't realize HOW GOOD THESE SHOWS ARE. They're arch entertainment when viewed through the proper lens (one acquired through years of back-breaking couch sitting and Entertainment Weekly reading). Where else can you find the words "society" and "(self) respect" tossed around like popcorn at a particularly rambunctious showing of This Christmas? Where else do the lines between pop-art, social commentary, Milton's Paradise Lost, and fecal matter so casually blur into one another? Now, this is quite a trite argument, but some people just don't seem to be won over yet! And it's truly mind-boggling. I still watch "good" television, but it's so hard to find these days, and there are many hours to be filled. I urge you: please, please, please give these truly hideous shows a chance. They'll enrich you beyond your wildest dreams. Call it schadenfreude, call it alcoholism, or call it abject sadness, but for whatever reason, these programs really connect. Humanity is achingly beautiful. But, friends, that's two words. We need a little ache with our beauty, a little sea salt in our martyr wounds.

So, please tune in and turn off. For every lame walk outdoors, phone call with friends and loved ones, or Marquez book you read, you could be spending countless hours absorbing the Chekhovian brilliance of Beauty and the Geek. Once it's done, you can turn it off and think on the actual world. One that is filled with the kind of sadness not so easily articulated as "That bug was scary. I hear its face could eat me."

Yeah, you read that right.

Its face...could eat you.

Talia Shire is a Great Big Star

Except, she's not.

But, I bet that got your attention!! Did it??? No? You don't care? Oh.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about is Gawker. I know that's awful, and lame, but big things are going down, are they not?

The way I feel about it is this:

1) I would like $55,000 a year to say funny things.
2) BUT! I love my job for Gawker Media Advertising Sales Power Unit. They're good folk.
3) That's why I have this piece of shit.

When I was younger and in nursery school, there was this kid, whose name I can't remember, who cried everyday on his way into school, and cried everyday on his way out. I guess it seems a bit like that, no? I mean, one time I forgot to wear a change of shoes when I wore my rain galoshes. That day sucked. Another time I wet my pants and had to wear "school pants". That doubly sucked. But I didn't cry when I got there, and I didn't cry when I left. You know why?

Avon Barksdale knows why. He says (of prison):

"There are only two days: The day you come in, and the day you go out."

So, yeah. Right? Let's treat that with a little dignity.

I am being roundabout here. Apologies.

Never, ever leave me, k?

Things begin.

Well, maybe this was inevitable?

I have two other blogs. But, I've never had one that's just mine. And since I've recently become hugely famous, I figure now's the time to start. If you are reading this, you know that I am more famous than if Jane Fonda were to mash her genitals up against Pablo Picasso's and a Cubist Lindsay Lohan were formed. So, yeah. I'm pretty huge.

Now, my assumption is that you're going to want to know everything about my life; who I am, what I do, what I think, where I'm going. And, you'll get some of that. You'll also (hopefully) get some more in-depth things, some musings on things I care about, some things that you hopefully care about, and some other stuff that no one really cares about but thinks is vaguely worthwhile. Really, I have no idea what this is going to be. But I hope it'll be fun.

I hope you'll join me as I try to post every day that I'm not curled up under the dining room table, deeply regretting my life, hoping for the dim siren song of Lady Death.

Whee! I'm excited.