Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Heave

When I was a child I was very attuned to war and its weird affect on the culture. Vietnam was in full force. What I most remember about Vietnam was the weird word. Nothing in normal English sounded like viet or nam. Never mind Vietnam as a three syllable word all together.

In addition to the odd name, one was also made aware by the conversations around him that war was very wrong. People were awake. The teenagers in the neighborhood had long hair, played guitars and seemed very, what I realize now, stoned. And they were feeling their youth. They wanted their chance at life.

It was not the Vietnam War that formed my real dislike of war did to the culture. It was World War II. Being the “good” war made the idea of any war even worse. If there was such a thing as a good war, than that means one day one might have to go to war. Furthermore, I did not know anyone in the Vietnam War. But my father had five older brothers who were all in World War II.

What I cobbled together from the personalities of my hard drinking uncles and movies about World War II---is that during war (like during illness)—joyful life is compromised.

The protestors of Vietnam during that colorful Hippie time seemed to be fighting not only against the war but for the sensual nature of sweet life and joy.
World War II was more of a total lockdown, “We just have to get very serious and win this thing.” This, of course, was the perfect attitude for that particular war, but a deadly idea for a child.

I hated the thought that people had to get that serious and be constantly enemy focused. Besides, joy opens up possibilities. Seriousness offers nothing but sameness. Just a “think about nothing else until this is finished” mentality.

Bush and his profiteers would have us believe that we are in a very serious “good” war where we must shut off our joy and keep our heads down. But truly, this war is another Vietnam. It is quite different in its particulars but fundamentally the same in its misguided thrust.

I am too old to go to war. But I am affected, like everyone else, by this joyless gray culture in which we live where people have their heads between their trembling legs, terrified of the terrorists and of our own nasty government. Add to that the sad smacking of our lack of social structures for health and civility, and one sees all joy has left our shores. All that is left is coercion, greed and pride.

And where are the young people playing guitars, loving in groups, protesting the wrong headed actions, trying to claim the open, relaxed joy of living? I fear they are all in church praying to a God who demanded they vote for the tyrannical reign that holds them captive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time for a Cool Change

Let’s see what Hillary is up to:

Blog for Vote Hillary

Monday, January 29, 2007


Does it not seem like Quacken Bush is picking a huge fight with Iran?

It is declared that any Iranians causing trouble in Iraq are to be killed.

Will this not bring civil war into full regional war?

I don’t think the president will be happy until World War III is in full force.


Another theory posited:

If all these terrorists are so scary and bad, wouldn’t the government of the United States have already executed a plan to succeed at this job in a timely fashion?

Perhaps imminent danger is nothing more than a bill of goods that has been sold to us. So this whole war may be nothing more than a few greedy men living richly off manufactured chaos.


A bunch of fucked up dudes on both sides just like to fight.

Friday, January 26, 2007

January 26, 1979

Today was a new low. I got in a fight with Sally. She pulled my hair and I punched her so it was pretty bad. I felt horrible. I knocked her off her feet. I thought I killed her. Well we talked, me, Sally, Mom, everything’s o.k. I did my papers. Bruce and Maureen came over about 5:00, we sang. It was fun. We went out for pizza and came back here and fooled around, Bruce left, then Maureen stayed. Goodnight.

This was junior year of high school. My sister, ever my tormentor, was pissed off at me because it was my turn to make dinner and I was playing my guitar and I didn’t want to be bothered...and when she came to my bedroom to tell me to get moving and make dinner (fries and burgers), I told her I’d do it in a minute. She demanded I listen to her and the more she demanded, the more I made it clear that I would make the fries and burgers when I was good and ready. She didn’t like the look on my face and told me to wipe off the smirk and then she started pulling my hair. And with that, finally, at the ripe age of sixteen, I hauled off and hit was the punch that was heard around the world. My sister never touched me again.

Bruce and Maureen were good friends from choir. Bruce sang. Maureen played the piano.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hair Today

It's happening. My hair is getting very long. It looks awful. And yet, I just can't bring myself to get it cut.

Something about having huge, sloppy hair that makes me feel like there is still time on the meter of my life.

Adam, my recognized-by-the-state-of-California-Domestic-Partner, has a look in his eye that telegraphs, "Don't you think I find you ugly enough already after thirteen years?"

Robyn, a lovely woman I work with who is practically blind--I am not kidding--said to me today, "You look so sexy with that hair."

There is major bozo action happening above the ears. My hair grows out, not down. Yet still, I can't seem to hack it off.

Will I become one of those insane people who never cuts his nails and ends up with those ghastly curled things sticking off the ends of his fingers?

Will I swallow one of those cleansing ropes and pull it out of my ass?

I hope not.

For now, I think I will let this mop get wild. It's winter. I can always wear a hat.

I can't be put in prison for unruly locks.

For some reason, I need to let it fly.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bushy and Me: Growing up Together

A man eventually faces his solitude.

This Bush guy is facing his.

(My only comment on his State of the Union Speech is: “With that horrific Dick Cheney sitting behind you sending out unctuous waves of greed, how can you be in such denial that this war has been nothing more than a bloody grab for oil money?”)

But then, we all have our delusions.

As one gets older, one may or may not hold fast to one’s convictions when surrounded by the scrum of disapproval.

The questions arrive. “Do I stick with what I want? Do I pay attention to what others want? Do I do what others want while quietly holding onto opposite convictions? Do I change my desires to match the needs of others? Am I right? Am I wrong? Do I know what I am doing?”

And you stand there, perhaps able to answer a few of those questions but certainly not all of them. This not knowing, no matter what your swagger, forces you to face your limited mortal being, your unique separateness.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


With the income gap widening, are we not seeing the return of a hardened feudalism with the pretense of freedom and opportunity brought to you by Nabisco?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Relinquishing the Hill

Hillary is running. Long live her campaign.

What I look at now, after losing years of my life under the Bush administration, is the fundamental difference between the two major parties of our great nation.

The Democrats support group caring but behave individualistically.

Republicans support individual liberty but push for group conformity.

Like the man who needs to learn the skills of navigation so he takes on a career as a bus driver, each political party arrives with its natural behavior and then proclaims the opposite in order to balance its energies. If this occurrence did not happen, each party would become unstable and splinter. This internal split of stance and action creates stability.

Politically, the two parties then behave dualistically as a huge push-me-pull-you monster. And so it goes. Creation-Conservation-Creation-Conservation.

And now we are moving away from the deadening paternalism of Republicanism to the creative, generative power of the Democratic Party. I encourage the Democrats to be brave, to embrace huge change that will benefit the environment, support the broad education of the citizenry and encourage individual expression.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why Hags Love their Fags

Because after we spend two straight weeks demolishing the walls, making sure the plumbing and electricity are installed in the exact location, give or take a millimeter, then put up drywall, spackle and paint...we then furiously vacuum, mop, wipe, organize, and curiously wash all the dusty tools and tool box before putting them away.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Climate Haiku

Dead Bodies for Oil
Arrogant as the Sun God
Snow on Malibu

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

January 17, 1974

Daddy brought home these used skates which didn’t fit. So tomorrow I’m getting skates. I played in the snow with Greg and George.

Greg is my brother. George, best friend down the street.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jack Frost Murdered my Yard

So---I was up this morning at seven. This is actually true.

Our good carpenter Kurt came to put in the new kitchen window (though the window was too small and we returned it. Have to wait at least ten days for a new custom window. We’ll live.)

But what was so amazing—as I was crossing the backyard to go to the garage to get some things, I looked down and the grass was covered with frost.

I have never seen this in Los Angeles. It was so fresh and fun. Yet so odd. I never even considered that something like frost would show up in my yard. With the lemon tree and everything else.

Well, you know how when your fridge gets real cold you can destroy the spinach or the lettuce? The leaves are destroyed and wilted and wet. (I imagine the ice crystals break down the cell walls.) This is what happened to our nasturtiums in the back yard. And our star flowers. And something that I only know as bat plants (the flowers of this plant look like little purple and red bat faces). Most of the murdered plants formed a border in front of bigger, sturdier plants.

But to see all these dead plants from a winter frost in Los Angeles. It was very strange.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Polar Bear in the Pantry


The Hilarity! Coldest January in about seventy years in Los Angeles---and our kitchen walls are open.

Ah, what a great memory it will be. We've put up thick sheets of plastic over the kitchen doors. It works.

The difficulty about a complete kitchen renovation is the incredible inconvenience mixed with the length of time it takes. You do something major, like demo out the old kitchen and you say, "Great. Now we're getting somewhere." Which is true. But the road is so long.

You get the plumbing and electrical taken care of and you realize, "Hell, I better just yank out the rest of the wall that they destroyed." And you do. But you still have such a huge way to go.

And then you put up some dry wall (today)-- but you still have the new window to put in. And the spackling and priming. And they haven't even come to measure for the cabinets yet.

So, the appliances will come on Friday. And they will sit in front of the new dry wall and they will all work. Including a washer and dryer (Thank goodness).

But you have to wait a few weeks while they make the cabinets. And then when they do put them in, you have to get them finished and you need the tile guy (Haven't even figured out who that is yet)...connect everything up. Get the floor refinished. Paint.

And then, it's almost summer.

And we'll remember that the walls were open when it was thirty-eight degrees.
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Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday's Quote by Daniel Kaufman

Someone said to me today, "It's a good thing you aren't suicidal." I said, "I am, just lazy."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Can it Be?

Is The Terminator the man we’ve been waiting for?

Does he have Messianic tendencies?

Did breaking his leg shake his soul?

And why does he care about the air?

I think our governor is one of those middle-Europa practical guys. We know them well. They can fix the broken door, make the sausage, work all day at the plant and then get up early the next morning for swimming. Because it has to be done that way.

The guy is downright grounded. Even with the imperfect healthcare-for-all scenario, he really is going for it. And California is ready.

Plus—encouraging the market to come up with new fueling---completely gets my vote. You can make an economy based on anything. Why not base it on the future? (Who are these people who say things like, "You can't do that! It'll upset business!" whever someone wants to make changes. Are they morons?) We can always do better and the Kahuna in Sacramento knows it. Schwarzenegger---you may not have loved him in Rabbit Test—but the guy sees where things are going and really does run there first.

I hated the whole “Oust-Gray-Davis-with-a-bunch-of-signatures” thing. But here we are. And Arnold is going at it very well.

I am so optimistic about the future. I just, I have to be. The earth is pulsing with positive change.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Words, Philosophers, Mythology

I am curious. Beyond that, I am compulsive. Lastly, my memory is good for the basic underpinning of anything, but not the exact fact. Eg. Hume is in the empirical camp of philosophers--which is not quite right. He was a skeptic, influenced by Locke and Berkeley, who were empiricists.

Desultory means random, not quite connected. I often think it means half-assed.

Avuncular means uncle-like. I often think it means “cheery”.

The ancient Gods: Odin, Norse. Jupiter: Roman? Zeus—Je pense Grecque.

One wants to know. And which plays did Euripides write? Which ones were written by Aeschylus? And how about Sophocles? I think Sophocles wrote the Oedipus ones. Yes, that is true.

I read most of them. I forget them, for the most part.

Avatar? Acolyte?

Yes, I finally know the meanings of these words.

But meretricious? Is that something good or bad? I say bad. In fact, it means something sort of whorey, showy.

I do not know much about the history of China.

And I know very little about the Bible. Though I could name the twelve apostles, most likely.

It seems so essential to know things. Especially now. In this day of information.

And though I just took a break from writing this blog to read about Greek playwrights in the Wikipedia, I know that it will be hard to remember it all. Not that I want to impress...but I do want a grasp. To know where we fit now. To be in the river of time-ideas.

I would like to commit to harboring greater exact knowledge, while resisting becoming an annoyance. Why we want this, or why certain people want to fill their heads with these kinds of things, I do not know.

In the end...I want these things to make me feel alive...I do not want the dry facts to dry me out.

Maybe I should sing in a field instead.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 9, 1974 Snow Day

There wasn’t any school. I got play-dough today. I made pies and stuff. I played a lot in the snow. I went sleigh riding. We tried to build a snowman but the snow is too soft. I had a GREAT day.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Children of Men

Children of Men

We went.

First of all...this thing is smart. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and based on the novel by P.D. James—you have this sci-fi chase movie, expertly realized.

Julianne Moore takes on a tiny role as a revolutionary. Michael Cain is brilliant as this old hippie guy in the woods hiding out as civilization is ending.

You see, what has happened is embryos are no longer viable. So extinction of the species has arrived. And the human race is living out its last days knowing the gig is up.
And how do they choose to spend this time? Well, Great Britain does it by setting up a xenophobic fascist state. There’s an uprising. There’s Clive Owen, all hero-like. But truly, the best thing is the filmmaking itself.

Gorgeous shooting of incredible art direction with a scoring that is unique, disturbing and hits it so right.

I love it when a movie knows exactly how to handle vision AND sound.

This is a huge experience into a nasty world. It’s very fucking grim. So don’t go see it if you aren’t in the mood for something like this. But do go see it if you can handle it.

Dead cows burning in fields.

Human Beings at their worst.

Sad, sad, end-of-days racism.

But ultimately, poetic. Oh, and there’s something very positive about it. But it cannot be named without destroying an early-on surprise.

People. Blech. But movies can be very good. Great film maker. If you want something easier on the system, you could rent his brilliant Y Tu Mama Tambien with hot little Gael Garcia Bernal.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hints from Hell-Louise

We had a party. We have new white chairs.
You can imagine.

Not red wine...just the black sole of a little girl’s and gray from living.

Big dirt stain.

I used water to try to get rid of it. The water dried. It left a brown water mark. I knew better than to let water sit on material all night.

The material is made from canvass. It has that very light speckled brown in the white.

Adam, my recognized-by-the-state-of-California-Domestic-Partner, brought home two spot removers. One turns things brownish. One bleaches--but you have to rub.
Together, a lot was accomplished...but then there was a bigger problem.

Some sort of batting exists under the white canvass. The more I worked the fabric, the color came up from the batting and stained the chair, right in the middle of the seat...far away from the original dirt. A whole new problem: Reddish-purple-brown. Like dried blood. In a few spots right in the middle.

Oh my goodness.

So I used hydrogen peroxide and a blowdryer. This helped, but not nearly enough.

Bleach on a cotton ball took out the red-brown stain.

But then, I had this big bleached spot.

So today, I made tea...used a toothbrush to apply the tea to calm down the bleached area.

Sprayed the browner stain remover, mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Speckled in a fine spray. Blowdryer.

Eventually, I ended up with a very decent looking chair except for two darkish brown spots...I continued to use a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and the blowdryer to get to the right color on those spots. Sometimes I used a toothbrush to really scrub in the hydrogen peroxide. But you have to be careful---because you can get brown speckle-spraying is better.

It went on and on...but it appealed to my perfectionist tendencies.

This was brilliant physical therapy between eight hours of reworking my television pilot. One feels guilty for procrastination. But people who create with the mind need to do things with their hands. It frees you up. And you end up with the chair how nature intended it to be.

In my television pilot (because the agents told me to do it)—I have more death and mayhem. Someone actually gets run over by a Brinks Truck. And the maid, running away from the I.N.S., eats the Virgin-Mary-Quesadilla that her daughter was trying to sell on ebay as the maid escapes through her kitchen window. Because in the world of television, these are the kinds of things that happen, so I’m told.

I think I’ll do a few more coats of Hydrogen Peroxide tomorrow. The chair is so close to being back to perfect. Control—anything to control.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Alumni Newsletter: Trying to Forget the Elephant

Alumni newsletters upset me, yet I read them. Why should I care that Rob Burnett from my graduating class was honored at Tufts University for an “outstanding career in the entertainment industry,” as executive producer of the David Letterman show?

I knew Rob very well. He lived on my floor freshman year. He arrived the second semester along with Nancy Jajinski from Ohio. They were both wait listed at Tufts and I guess a couple of freshman must not have made it back from winter break giving these two B+ students a crack at one of the universities in the “Most Competitive” column of the Barron’s.

Rob was a clown. A high energy, nonstop clown. I was also a clown but not so relentless. Plus, I had this darker brooding thing going on. And, I was best friends with Joe and Ed, and Rob tried to horn in.

Rob was not so much funny as he was bossy. And, he was non-handsome yet extremely confident. All that bad hair and a firm belief in the self? How did he do it?

Junior year of college, I studied in Paris for one semester. Nancy Jajinski was also her cape. Rob, though not with the Tufts-in-Paris group, but with the American University in Paris, was living right around the corner from me. We went for a walk together one day through the Bois de Vincennes. He treated me to his very strong views on art. He was against anything abstract. He felt that the only true measure of an artist was whether or not he could paint someone’s face to likeness. No matter what I said about all other forms and styles of art, he would say loud and definitively, “But that’s not as good as someone who can really paint a face or a place that really looks like a face or a place.” A complete literalist, I just rolled my eyes and thought, “Fuck. This person is bullying me with his opinion and he just won’t see my point of view at all. And we all know that the amazing art that was made since the impressionists onward is so important. I mean, come on.”

Deaf to me, we ended our walk and he went back home to his apartment on Boulevard Picpus. And I went back to mine on Boulevard Soult. And I did not see him again for the rest of the semester. But I did see her cape. She hated me. Being one of those very serious blond haired, blue eyed Jewish girls from Ohio, holding on tightly to the idea that she was a proper WASP, shunning anything expressive or vulnerable or creative, in her eyes I was but a riff raff.

So, Rob and Nancy, those wait listed slide-ins, do not figure positively in my life. And there on the cover of my Department of Drama and Dance, Tufts University newsletter, “In the Round” (Our theatre was The Arena Theatre, thus the name), I have to look at Rob’s face with his hand clutching a metal elephant with four other honorees (the elephant is the Tufts mascot—P.T. Barnum gave Tufts his dead elephant, Jumbo, which was stuffed and placed in the Biology building lobby. When the Biology building burned down, so did the taxidermy pachyderm).

I rail. Of course, I’m just jealous.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

January 2 is a tired Day

After weeks of flying, eating, buying, dining, drinking, eating, snacking, visiting and eating some more, the holidays finally end.

The Christmas tree is in the green can. (Green cans are for LA clippings. Blue-recycling. Black-Garbage. Can you imagine that meeting?)

Some bills are paid. Some are not.

The big question on January 2 is, “Can we get back to normal, now?”

Finally, for one day, you get to slow down (even though you are actually gearing up). The day has arrived when the whole shebang has been put away for another year. And you realize, “This holiday stuff is exhausting!”

And then you put on your work outfit.

It's a Little Hot Outside

Welcome to the new year. 2007

Beyond my understanding.

Let’s talk about global warming. The next ten years are very exciting because right now, in garages and labs across the country (and in the greatest numbers in California), creative, ambitious people are figuring out how to make very efficient engines; how to easily use bio-refuse as fuel; how to creative a true mathematical model that gives the answer to the world’s troubles in X=trees planted + feet used – burned fuel + anything else that is good.

We were in New York City for two weeks. And it was unseasonably warm. I am not going to say it wasn’t freaky, but it was also not unheard of. As a temperature observant child, I remember some very warm December days. Not for ten days straight. But for maybe two days at a time. Okay, fine—

So I wasn’t so upset about the temperature being so springy while I was there. Many days in a row, strange. But warmish in December, not the worst thing to happen to a person. But there was something going on in New York that was straight out of Science Fiction: Pussy Willows.

You never saw pussy willows in December in th 70’s.. No matter what. December--No Pussy Willows!

But there they were, all silvery and fuzzy, pushing out all along the tips of thin branches.

Pussy Willows were always the first sign of spring. It was so exciting. In December, not so.

Dear Pussy Willows:
I’m sorry we are upsetting your world.

(Note: Great Britain has experienced its warmest year since records have been kept. They started keeping record in 1659.)

But I am optimistic. People are going to figure this out. It’s exciting.