Monday, September 25, 2006

Philadelphia Freedom

Something amazing is happening to Bruce Jenner.
Lest you mistake the figure on the left for your RA from freshman year, or your TA from sophomore year, that is indeed Bruce Jenner on too much Botox and silicone.

The Decathelete is beginning to look like a lesbian.

And not just any lesbian, mind you, but one unflattering tennis skirt away from Billie Jean, which is certainly aiming for the stars. Let's give him credit for picking a powerhouse role model.

20 Wimbledon titles
4 US Championships
The public humiliation of Bobby Riggs

For his own trophy case, Jenner just has the Olympic gold medal, the Wheaties box ,and Can't Stop the Music.

And he looks cute, too, in a clog-and-fleece, horseback riding, women's college poet, organic farming, alternate Saturdays at the co-op kind of way. You might chat hir up at the bookstore reading or the public parks clean-up day. (The trannies tell me we are spelling it hir now. One must keep up-to-date. You see how I didn't say "abreast" just now?)

He is not fierce , or even camp. Just a girl next door trying to make it in a world that must not judge her love.

And while we're celebrating everyone's right to do their own thing, please support this guy.
He makes Wheaties display boxes.

And that, my friends, is what we mean by drawing-in.

Friday, September 22, 2006

6 Degrees of the Internet

It started with a link to Hawthorne Village for the image below, and I began to free-associate-link through a subculture:
People who shop for the native-ity scene also like
Precious Moments, who like
Thomas Kinkade, who like
Dale Earnhardt, who like
NASCAR (natch), who like
Lifelike scuptures of their own pets ("purr-fect," says the link), who like
Collectible plates, who like
Clocks that make animal noises, who like
Charms, who like
Poems on placards...

and I began to wonder if I could prove a link between this group and their antithesis, the Northeastern liberal pencil-neck intellectual, whose link chain looks like this:
People who buy Bill Clinton's My Life also like
Bumper stickers, who like
Keith Haring, who like
Rainbow flags, who like
Organic produce, who like
Solar panels, who like
Revisionist history texts, who like
Herstory, who like
Storytellers, who like...
Native Americans!

and iPods.
and homeschooling.

I need more paper.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The past 2 years just got away from me

When you receive a birth announcement from a friend you didn't realize was pregnant... and whose first child you haven't yet met... you have lost touch with your friend.

As my office mate says, "You guys are tight, huh?"

Um, yeh. Sorry. I'll get right on that.
Jill B, from the Factory, readers. If you didn't get the announcement, I'll send. And thanks, Jill, for keeping me in your address book, even though I so clearly suck.

Ryan Joseph at 1:31PM today weighing in at 8 pounds and 1 ounces and 20 inches long

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I must give J---e B--u full credit for making that joke, but damn I wish I had.

I do not read Parade magazine for the celebrity gossip bet-settling, or the arthritis advice, or the Howard Huge cartoon. I read Parade magazine for the jaw-droppingly bad collectible art, and regularly exchange finds with several friends.

Headdresses off to the household that sent Nativity of the Christmas Star.

I have no beef with the multicultural Jesus. Here's a nice one (beautifully titled "Jesus at the Door, Black." As if Jesus at the door is not stunning enough.). The one I keep in my own sightline is fairly unorthodox. I like that he looks happy and well-fed. Don't go to Jerusalem, Josh!

Christians are not offended by Nativity of the Christmas Star, but certainly Native Americans are. Qutes below are actual ad copy.

"Creche Lights Up!"
And why wouldn't it? I love the Hyacinth Bucket pomposity of the word creche, which is certainly used only by people who collect them. It is so much icing on an already damp cake.

"Share in the spiritual bond between Native Americans and the miracle of the Holy Night..."
You weren't aware of that, were you? That's because you have never searched eBay for the phrase "native nativity." You must do that live.

"...inspired by the Native American art style."
You know the one: the tourquoise-on-beige one.

"For it's been said that because of that wonderous night, the Native American lives everyday in the giving spirit of Christmas..."
Holy Macanolli! Who said that, William Henry Harrison?

"...including two fully sculptural lambs..."
Honestly, I don't know what that means.

"...strong demand is expected."
Not according to eBay

"Meticuously painted..."
by shut-ins

"...sculpted faux beadwork..."
Cletis! Wut's fee-oh?

Hawthorne Village also made an Irish nativity -- which means green and white, with Celtic symbols (you know, the knotty looking things).

Oh, and didn't the Celts love when the Christians moved in? Almost as much as the Native Americans did.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Need to Believe

NPR had the scoop: LonelyGirl is fictional. The 15 year-old video blogger, intellectually stifled by her parents, is the concoction of a pair of amateur screenwriter/filmmakers, as interpreted by actress Jessica Rose.

Just another Gotcha from the culture that brought you James Frey, John Karr, and Chapacubras of Maine.

We do love a good story, especially a too-good-to-be-true story. We speak of people being "in character," "acting out," "editorializing." We "enter into dialogue." And more than anything, we want "closure, " which the Journal of Nervous Mental Disease recently defined as “the desire for a definite answer on some topic, any answer compared with confusion and ambiguity.” (I can link you to that article, but you won't really read it) Perhaps the Journal could get the delusion-prone together with the pathological liars and they could form a salon.

"There I was: surrounded."

I've been thinking about this need to believe since viewing The Night Listener, a new film based on Armistead Maupin's book of the same name. This story of a man desparate to prove a lie, and terrified of succeeding at it, may itself be a lie -- as Maupin claims it happened (or is "inspired" by something that happened) to him. In an important scene in the center of the story, the lead character finds how easy it is to fabricate one's story, and how good it feels to give a listener something they want to hear.

James Frey claims that when he submitted the manuscript of A Million Little Pieces as a novel, publishers were uninterested. When he resubmitted the material as his memoir, it got immediate attention. He presents this as a "what-ya-gonna-do" apology, but he certainly enjoyed the marketing campaign and book tour that came with it.

But he picked the wrong victim when he hoaxed Oprah -- quite the storyteller in her own right.

Now John Karr may fit the JNMD profile when he simply scarificed himself to provide the closure we all needed (or maybe just him) to the Jon-Benet Ramsey murder. When he first confessed, I almost posted a piece called, "I was wrong about you, Patsy." But I took too long. Now I can go back to thinking it was her again. Fewer plot holes.

It's interesting how quickly we embrace the original story, then immediately reject it when the truth comes out... but we only fall for that once. That is, if the hoax is itself revealed to be a hoax (he did not have sexual relations with that woman) we just won't buy it.

Deep Throat really should have been George Bush. Or even Diane Sawyer. Much more interesting. Having Mark Felt walk in out of nowhere was like those expository last 15 minutes of every Mystery! episode where it's not even the butler who did it, but a footman who only had one line in the opening credits, when the camera lingered on his gloves.

Speaking of expository writing, I find I have no conclusion to this post. No closure, if you will. No summary, no Jerry Springer parting thoughts, no benediction. But I'll keep typing until it looks like I do.

Let me close with the reminder that everything on the Internet is absolutely true.
like this maybe
or this
or, I certainly do hope this. Because that's a great story.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It is a Summer of White Wisteria...

...growing on a short vine around the oak trees in the front yard. It is a vine we never expected to see again, because last summer there had been no rain, and most of it had dried up, even baked away in places where buds should have appeared. But it is raining today, and has been raining since Wednesday. It is hot in the car waiting behind the school bus, watching the blinking red lights, listening to the fans blowing in the dashboard. Stopping at every corner as the kids get out.

Sometimes it is a small one -- t-shirt and jeans, camouflaged knapsack over one shoulder, androgynous from the back. Youngish teenagers, arms and legs too long, hide cigarettes in their palms and take quick drags as if biting their thumbnails.

There is only one bus. The big teenagers ride in the back. Walter Marlin has stretched his arms across the back seat, one reached around Patricia, and his shoulders make little hills beow his ears. He is wearing his cap backwards. There will be no football team next year, and Walter feels cheated. He's waited a long time.

He has to ride past the last corner of what can be called Town, the corner where Patricia gets off. They kiss as if it will be months before they see each other tonight. She takes his cap and puts it on her own head, brim-front. The cap is bue and white, reading Spartans on the front, 40 on the brim. She points to the wisteria vines, but Walter doesn't see what she means. He is reaching for his cigarettes in the pocket of his shirt. The driver lets him smoke this last half mile because he is the only one left, and because he wants one himself.

Patricia has two blocks to walk, but her mother is there with the car to pik her up, an umbrella over her head and plastic scarf on her hair. She is waving, partly to Walter, but he doesn't see. He is striking a match.

The rain comes in waves, slowing a little, then heavy again. The bus turns around on the Marlins' land and waits for stray traffic to pass before it heads back to the other end of the road to park behind the elementary school until morning.

People like to argue doesn't it get hotter every year, but then someone says, no it's just that when you get older you feel it more. Someone says, no you remember more summers, just like you think the winters are different because there are more to compare. Polar ice cap, someone says. Someone who subscribes to National Geographic. Does that substantiate the heat or the cold? There is a clap of thunder and the dogs get scared.

That road the bus is on, that's Juniper Street for a about five miles. The rest of the time it is Rt. 17, going down toward Van Doren in one direction and San Bernardo in the other. "Directly between Van and San," someone tried to coin. It's not accurate, but that "directly," made it sound better. We are closer to Van Doren, where the 3M plant is, only about 20 minutes from the northside of town. Most of the citizens of Fulton work there, making tape. But the videocasette business is nearly dead and the Van Doren plant may have to switch to the transparent kind. Fulton worries about this, and for good reason.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sheela Na Gig

Drawing your attention to traditional celtic music as performed by Sheela Na Gig, from Chicago. Link to them from the blog roll on the left and you can download samples of their music.

You may recognize the whistle player, if you can see behind the titles. Drop by their page and tell them how you like it. Remember you read it on Drawing-In.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hey There

I purchased the Sony CD changer for 2 reasons, and the lesser of the two was to get rid of CD racks and jewlcases 4-eva. The greater reason was because it allows you to categorize (oh, sweet list making) your discs and then play them by category. You can also play the whole crazy collection, on shuffle, and enjoy the randomization that puts Tory Amos right after Robert Goulet.

What I have observed, sitting here for the past 2 hours listening to showtunes while updating the website, is that I own enough covers of "Hey There," that it plays about every 5th song. I can't itemize which versions they are, but it's not because you are not worth the drawing-in. It is because the changer is downstairs, and because (remember) I got rid of the jewelcases. But I am fingertips away from

"The most comprehensive music reference source on the planet" (their copy) lists 194 versions, but most of them are Rosemary Clooney, and hers is still the best.

There is a Kathie Lee Gifford version. She can make anything sound like the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. And I don't mean that in a good way. It's like she doesn't really know what the lyrics are; she just likes to sound BIG. In 4 notes.

Better forget her.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That is not what an engine looks like, by the way

When the boys at the dealership greet you by name, it might be time to get a new car. Bob, the Service Manager, gives me a once-over and says, "Are you here for service?"
I say, "Oh, I just come from the coffee now."

When I think of how a month ago I panicked (literal heart-pounding "better pull this car over" panic) when my Check Engine light came on while driving, I have to laugh at myself. Now I am one of these people . What we call... Known Issue.

And Mike the mechanic, with whom I am practically having an affair (or at least he is certainly getting the bulk of the entertainment budget) agrees with Johnholl of this discussion group, who says "vent valve." And says, of course, one can not replace the valve alone. It is part of some gigantic assembly that is still 1/10 the cost of a new car. So what do you think I'll do?

The engine is fine. It should be a "check valve" light. We used to drive around coughing leaded emissions without being nagged by our dashboards. I'm for the environment, I promise you. But if it weren't for the inspection requirement, I would probably black tape that little light, and feel not the slightest twinge.

After all, I got started driving an IED. Sometimes it would stop on highway on-ramps. Takes more than a drawing on an engine to worry me. Click here, Pinto lovers.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Explicating Anonymous

The half-crumpled paper towels are crimped in the middle, where they have gripped the bathroom door handle before they were discarded to the floor. There are usually 3 or 4 by the end of the day, though one afternoon there were more than 10. Apparently someone isn't feeling very well.

Someone we work with thinks we are all so germy she should not touch the door handle, but that her litter could not, -- in any way -- contribute to the germ problem in the bathroom. She must be the same woman who uses a seat cover, but doesn't discard that either.

I wonder at the shock of discovering who this is. It wouldn't take much effort, just a lot of time, and a lot of fake primping in the mirror as the regulars come and go. What if it's someone I know? Would I simply blurt, "That's you?! what the hell's wrong with you?" Or would I try to protect her dignity: "Oops, you dropped something there"? Am I person who says oops?

I am not a person who puts up bathroom signs, though I certainly think of them. I edit and rework until I find the succinct language I think will do the trick.

Inconsiderate people do not change their behavior in response to a sign, as if they didn't know that eating other people's lunches, dropping paper towels on the floor, or leaving their dishes in the sink is "not done." "Oh, no?" they would say, blinking with wonder, "Why didn't someone say something?"

Some sign writers appeal to this stranger in our strange land with gentle pleading language like, "We must all share this area. Please keep it clean." (In truth, that sign would be comma-spliced, since the gentle sign leaver tends toward the ungrammatical: "To whomever use's this bathroom please keep it clean, it is everyones.") Laundromat missionary types.

Others know that bathroom slobs simply don't care. The party who puts up signs to them wants the populace to know that they do care and it isn't them. "This is not a trash can," they may post, above the towel pile. Perhaps just an arrow, and the word "Pig." Borderline graffiti, really. And a little brown-shirty.

I tend toward prag-castic. That is, a sign that suggests you would if you just knew how, but left to your own devices, you made a wrong choice. The typical adjective for this style is "bitchy."

"Please discard paper towels in the trash can." Ooohhhh. I see now.

So while we are at it, the receptacle inside the stall is not a trashcan. It is a holding bin for the wax disposal bags. Take one bag out, put your personal refuse in it, close the bag, bring it out with you, and throw it away. (please do not drop it behind the door). When you wad it back into the receptacle, or put your refuse directly into the receptacle (assuming there is a bag in there to catch it all, and of course that would be the better design) you remove all desire for the next person to reach in and take her bag.

If all of this is disturbing the male readership, here's one for you: stand closer please.
And get out of our bathroom. We'd like you to think we are as clean in public as we complain about at home. We are not.

Two Canada bathroom stories: Canadian bathrooms had a syringe disposal receptacle, usually near the sink, but sometimes in the stall.

My favorite bathroom sign was on Peggy's Cove, where potable water comes from one reservoir, and non-potable from a cistern. This is a paraphrase, but quite close: "This water is clean. The previous water did not neglect to flush. This water comes from an underground cistern, which discolors its appearance. Our drinking water comes from a different reservoir and is filtered. Thank you for your concern."

Read: Don't complain, and don't put up your own sign. And have a nice day.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2001

real journal entry

Wondering if I will regret more that I did keep a diary of these days, or that I didn't. Not knowing what the future will bring, I don't know what comfort words will bring now, or what purpose they will serve in the distant years.

It is nearly 11pm now. The newscasters are exhausted, but not relieved by any of the anchorwomen who could take their places. The images are overplayed and only Fox is brave enough to say that they have others, but we don't want to see them.

The facts will be well recorded, and perhaps as this is read, uninteresting. Here are the human interest stories of my day.

25 ear-old men have no frame of reference for what they are facing, but they know it looks cool on the Internet.

If I strap a ceramic blade to my leg and board a plane, is that a breach of security?

Would I have the courage to crash a plane rather than let it be hijacked? How could I be sure this is a better choice?

At this time, everyone seems sure the mastermind is bin Laden, because we can't think of anyone else.

George W looks like a chimp.

The sky without planes is eerily quiet, and empty looking. In the deep silent night, every passing car sounds like an approaching jet. I slept some on the couch, some in my bed. But always with the lights on and only fitfully.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Highlights from Clinton Day

The arts.

Perfect weather for Clinton's Olde Home Day. In New England, Home Day is what your town has if it is not rural enough for a fair. If you are in the city, and not a town at all, you have Freshman Move-in. You leave for a good Town Day or county fair.

Here are yesterday's observations:

Something for everyone, if you put "Photos with a Princess" across from The Travelling Reptile Exhibit and the state police rollover crash demonstration. She was clearly Disney's Cinderella, but not Disney-sanctioned, so just "a princess." Girls were invited to wear their princess gear, and they did.

My townfolk are game enough to catch flying $1 bills in a plastic booth and stage a pie-eating contest. But not at the same time.

The one boy in the Irish step-dancing troupe has grown and seems a little less self-conscious about being the one boy in Irish step-dancing troupe.

Puppet shows will still draw a crowd. Ditto the kids' tae kwon do demo. I also learned that boys will twirl batons if they think it is a martial art.

Highlight from the library book sale was a children's book called You Can Be Liked which had the added bonus of its cover stamped in red ink, "Discard. Discard. Discard."

Basket Beanery makes a first rate lemon slushie.

Really, nothing beats the Agnes Moorehead sign. This was just an excuse to post it.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Men's Favorites

Finding the current guest-blog A Perfect World - premiere source for proof of the Lemon Frog - is one of my favorite threads we've drawn-in recently. Not only did the hilarious presentation of the Sears 1971 catalog kill an entire hour, but blogger "Toonhead" also has a section devoted to the Betty Crocker recipe card file.

I am not ashamed to report that at one time I could recite this entire info-mercial, as presented by star of stage and screen Miss Nanette Fabray. It started with her blowing an over-sprayed curl off her forehead and back onto her helmet of hair and declaring, "Cooking Can be a Bore!"

The Betty Crocker recipe card file had saved her sanity, thanks to its Budget Casseroles and Children's Parties categories, all pictured in glorious technicolor (and stereophonic sound. That... is a very obscure Nanette Fabray joke that one other living person will get, which brings me to...)

Introduction of Dodie to the drawingin site. Dodie is not her real name -- it is her childhood family nickname -- and it does not hide her identity anymore than I hide mine, but I figure if I get a pseudonym, she should too. I think she misses my being able to perform the Fabray monologue much more than I do, since for years she could call it up like I was a jukebox.

Even today, she will call just to quiz me on specific recipes/per-category, especially "Mmmenn's favorites," which you must say with a lot of M (sounds like YUM, because the way to man's heart...etc). So here, for you Doe, are Wakiki Meatballs.... and Cranberry Puffs.

We had the card file in our house, of course. Doe and I would study them like flashcards, and I can guarantee we learned these recipes more successfully than the French Revolution or A Separate Peace.

A word about These Cookies. Known in my household of origin as the worst cookies ever made. They are actually quite good, in spite of this photo, where they look like poo frosted with more poo. They are banana-clove cookies with a lemon icing. My sister baked these for any occasion, and I would complain about how awful they were, then eat half a dozen (perhaps this is the lemon the frog refers to). When you serve them, you must say, "No one likes these."

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Lands End, Lemon Frog, like it matters...

No one thought at the time that Lemon Frog was a poor choice of name for the husky-girl boutique section of Sears. Certainly when I shopped there, I didn't think so either (quite sure I had the blue one), but every time I have tried to tell a Lemon Frog story to someone since then...they can't get past the name.

Names Sears rejected:
Li'l Woman
Groovy N Curvy
Hip Chix (get it?)

That isn't the story I'm telling.
I thought of the Lemon Frog today when my hunt for new jeans had taken me through Eddie Bauer (as if that isn't humilating enough) where nothing on the rack of Mom Jeans fit properly.

Full disclosure: 30 " waist; 25" thigh.
I am always one season away from reinstating suspenders.

The woman at Eddie Bauer said, "How do you like them to fit? Fit to the thigh, or roomy?"
I said, "I like them to fit my thighs; therefore, they should be roomy. Get me?"
In my day.... you bought a 501 28/31 and you liked it.

Moment of silence for the sky-blue cord: the jeans that broke the dress code.

She was very nice, taking me through the relaxed fit, and the classic fit, and the boyfriend fit (I didn't ask. they were $65. Remind me to blog about that and the right hand diamond some day.) But we got nowhere, and I trudged toward Sears ~~ toward the Lands End, toward the Lemon Frog.

I still tried on the Levi's, but I have not found a fitting pair of Levi's in over 20 years. They do not size them "waist/length" anymore. You probably knew that.

Gloria Vanderbilt, now captioned as "Anderson Cooper's mother," has a line of colored denim that look exactly like Toughskins, only with a swan. Swan = ugly duckling

Lemon Swan.

2 excellent ToughSkins sites: here and here.

I bought Lee's. And not for the first time. And not from Sears. But from Penney's, so this is not better and I should have left that part out.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Marks on a Lifeline


Inside the Biddle Street Laundromat, Azma Badeau sits with her back against a washer and her feet stretched out toward the soda machine. The spin cycle massages her shoulders and loosens a knotted muscle she earned carrying in a full basket of clothes. At forty-either, Azma does not consider herself too old to do these chores without help, but neither is she strong enough. These sudden knots of pain take hold of her more often these days.

Not that she has any shortage of help at her disposal. Any man in Jordan Creek would lean out a window to offer a hand. Just this afternoon one pulled into the parking lot behind her. “No, of course,” she’d said, with a gesture toward straightening her hair. “I expect I can still haul my own dirty clothes.”

Women look out for her, too, in the concerned way young wives have toward any unmarried woman. Every Jordan Creek matron is entitled to speak authoritatively toward her, even if she is nineteen, and panting behind her enormous first pregnancy. On the other hand, they do not doubt that she possesses the powers her highway signs speak of. They offer her wifely wisdom, but cautiously and with respect: “Miss Badeau, you nearly left your umbrella, and the radio swears we’ll get rain today.” Azma smiles and pretends she needs their help because it amuses her. The muddier she appears on a daily basis, the more her sudden bursts of insight impress her neighbors. They sit in groups on their porches at night, telling stories about Azma’s dalliance with the occult.

They use for evidence Nevlin, the 15 year-old Negro boy who lives with her, and for whom she has never offered excuse or explanation. In few parts of the country would it be acceptable to say “Negro” in any context, but Jordan Creekers have never used any other word to describe Nevlin. Even the Blacks in town say it, since in spite of his wooly hair and wide African face, he is not at all black. He is a translucent mother-of-pearl, with a rabbit’s pink eyes.

The men who think of Azma living alone, and the women who sigh that she has never had a child, are wrong on both counts, because they do not count Nevlin. To them he is less a human member of the community than a curiosity which, as far as they know, Azma conjured up out of an incantation and a full moon.

The truth is nothing so spectacular, which is no doubt why they choose not to remember it. Nevlin was born the child of Azma’s college friend Cessie Hornsby. Another thing Jordan Creek has forgotten is that Azma got away to college, for a little while, even if she didn’t stay. She won a scholarship to a state college in Kentucky that was giving tuition to kids from Appalachia who had the gumption to fill in the application form. Azma didn’t have the gumption, but her teacher did – a mannish looking thirty year-old from the Virginia Tidewater who later married, and never knew that Azma didn’t go back for a second year.

Fifteen years after that, and fifteen years ago, Cessie came for a visit. She drove a Volkswagen beetle, and carried a pathetic-looking infant. It was no more surprising than Cessie showing up in the first place, with her shag hair cut and clove-smelling cigarettes. Azma took it in stride. When she went to the back porch to fetch a jar of tea that was brewing in the sun, Cessie left through the front in her Beetle without her baby. Azma sat down next to him on the kitchen table, and asked him what he wanted for dinner…

Azma has been watching the lines develop in Nevlin’s hands since he was a baby. It is through them, and not from his mother, that she has pieced together Nevlin’s story. Marks on his lifeline tell her how he lost a parent very early, and lead her to believe that he is not Cessie’s child at all, but someone who was passed along to her, and who she quickly got rid of. When he was a year old, she saw a sign of ill health – impending heart trouble – and took him to a pediatrician in the city who was able to draw up exercises she could do with Nevlin to make him stronger. The doctor had a hard time believing Azma had read signs, though she was absolutely honest with him, and the baby did have a high pulse for his age.

She delighted as his fingers grew long and thin, symbols of his spirituality and his potential for intellectual achievements. When he was seven, and his bones had settled into their permanent positions, she had him trace his hand on a piece of paper and study the shape of it. She explained that the spaces between his fingers and the way his thumb dropped away from the rest of his hand were special signs that he would do great things in the world.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Keith Urban is not Hot

I regret stooping to such blog-vious subject matter as celebrity chat, except that has declared Keith Urban hot star of the week, and backs it up with this photo.

Here's how I got here: Suburbia reads, which she has turned me on to, and which I don't really get, but I've been visiting. Celebitchy's blogroll includes a site called Barbie Martini, two words that always get my attention. And Barbie Martini (actually a collective of celeb-gossipers) says "hot."

Even in 1975, when this look was popular, he is not hot. Though he is holding what appear to be a glass slipper and a package of black pantyhose in this picture, and has lovely hairless forearms, I can not concur with hottie of the week.

Australian - generally hot

anti-Nashville look - hot in theory

David Spade hairdo - no

highlights - really? why? are you a 40 year old Mom?

Brown on brown? I believe I can smell the Drakkar Noir from here.

trucker wallet - ouch

Shop class leather bracelet - he made it himself

wait a minute... where I have seen this look before? oh, yes. I remember now.

Sunday, September 3, 2006


–noun (used with a singular verb)
3. the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.:
[Origin: 1655–65; sēmantikós having meaning, equiv. to sēmant(ós) marked (sēman-, base of sēmaínein to show, mark + -tos verbal adj. suffix; akin to sêma sign) + -ikos]

The dinner guests are discussing the connotations of the word "mistake." We are gathered to welcome home a friend who on Memorial Day had set off into the world on a significant life change. She is home on Labor Day, looking for the words to describe this change in plans.

It is not that she needs to explain her decision (other than to find an expedient way to tell the story) or even to make her peace with it. She has done that.

It is whether she should refer to it as a mistake. And this is where the topic has turned.

One argument is that this word carries a connotation of fault, and weakness. To call it a mistake, one guest suggests, casts the subject in a bad light. Another guest counters that owning mistakes, and correcting them, is the mark of a mature person. The mistake-maker actually influences the outcome of events, rather than calling them something that just "happened."

It is stronger than saying one changed one's mind, which sounds frivolous, even though it is the most accurate [change of mind - a decision to reverse an earlier decision]. A change of heart - a reversal of one's feelings, intentions, opinions- seems harder to argue, as emotions are subjective and often illogical.

Our hostess offers words like "choice," and "decision," which sound definitive and reasonable. But we learn that "choice" descends from "gustare," to taste, and "decision" and "decide" trace to a Latin term for "settlement." Meaning our friend could not settle on gusto for South America. Also, in some sense, partly true.

Even if we take our modern feelings for words like choice and decision, and ask if she made her lists of Pros and Cons, and organized her potential regret, and guided-journeyed herself through the next 2 years... the answer is yes.

So she has chosen. And decided. And changed her mind and her heart, and if she calls it a mistake, that only means she "took in error."

It is not the first definition in the list, or even in the top 5, but I did find this one, dear friend, in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law
2 : an erroneous belief: as a : a state of mind that is not in accordance with the facts existing at the time a contract is made and that may be a ground for the rescission or reformation of the contract

It doesn't really matter what you call it. You did what none around that table would have -- not once, but twice -- in taking the risk to do it, and then to rescind it. It is not ours to judge.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Meet My Enabler

Friday evening, pre-Labor Day Weekend. I am coming down from 10 long days of covering for the Boss, with still 3 more hours of work ahead of me -- 2, if I concentrate, which I can not
because I am over-caffinated and the task is ridiculously uninteresting.

My dear sister, greatest of all sisters, without whom I would never survive, sends an IM:"Busy?"

(Constantly. )But never too busy, and I say "sup" (because we like to talk in poorly organized teen IM slang as a way to mortify her 13 year old daughter).

She says they are facing a long rainy holiday weekend, and she thought they would have a movie marathon of the best of Jodie Foster through the ages. "Like starting with Tom Sawyer?" she says.

Picture standing at your front door with the screen propped open, chatting briskly with your neighbor because you really do have jam on the stove, and you can't talk right now... and the cat runs out.
I am now completely derailed.

"Do you even know what that did to my brain right now?" I type.

There is a scene in Little Man Tate where Fred stares at a pool table and sees exactly where the balls are about to go seconds before Harry Connick hits them. This is my brain, swelled with titles dumped out of a folder and swished around into various themed piles.

I write, "You are diabolical."

But now I have to do this -- not because she wants it, but because IT wants being done. The little grey cat licks its shoulder, sticks its tail straight up in the air, and prances into the bushes.

So here they are.

The 5 Best Jodie Foster films
Overall -- that is, the complete package delivers what it sets out to deliver. Our Jodie has made some of the worst movies ever made, and though she is always the best thing in them, many are unwatchable. These are first-rate.
5. Taxi Driver
4. Contact
3. Inside Man
2. Little Man Tate
1. Silence of the Lambs

Why The Accused isn't on this list: A little heavy-handed. Contact is too, to be sure, but counters it by having an original story line. The Accused is essentially a standard Battered Woman movie with some stunning acting in it. (see below).

Unfortunately for my sister, this is not an appropriate list for her mother/daughter movie marathon. But I needed to clear my throat.

Best of the Lifespan
This is really what she was looking for
pre-teens - Freaky Friday
teens - Taxi Driver
(she is acually the same age in this, but of 8 movies between 1976-1977, these show the transition between Disney and not-Disney)
20s - Hotel New Hampshire
(Most of the movies of this period are not good. This is post-Hinkley, fat Jodie, and she just did not suit the Big 80s movie making style. This really is the best of that decade, until The Accused, but you probably shouldn't show it to a 13 year old)
30s - Silence of the Lambs
40s - Inside Man

Best Jodie performances
(some of these have very little screen time, but every second fascinates. These are not in a ranked order.)
The Accused
A Very Long Engagement
Bugsy Malone - acting circles around this ridculous premise
Siesta - I don't understand this movie for 5 minutes. Just watch her.
Inside Man
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Wanna get high on ripple?

So Bad it's Good
Svengali - everyone should see this once. Jaw-droppingly bad.
Carny - Only in 1979 does a movie like this get greenlighted.
Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys - yes, a peg-legged nun. You've never seen that before.

So Bad it hurts
Nell - I respect your "process" and all, but dear God.
Mesmerized - someone needed work
Backtrack - Blue Velvet, it ain't.

British Jodie
Anna and the King

Southern Jodie
Silence of the Lambs

French Jodie
Jodie is so hot in French
Moi Fleur Bleue
Le Sang des Autres
A Very Long Engagement

This ought to reactivate my FBI file.

fun link: Kids in Mind, where someone else has counted the F-words for you.