Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mouth to Mouth

I love The New Group. It’s a solid theatre company doing very solid things. Their biggest hit in recent memory was ABIGAIL’S PARTY by Mike Leigh.

Tonight, with an old friend, I went to see MOUTH TO MOUTH by the very interesting playwright Kevin Elyot. It takes place in a South London suburb. The more I think about it, the greater I think the play is.

When MOUT TO MOUTH ends and you get down to the fundamental skeleton, it seems like it is nothing more than, “He died because of that?” But then, you start to think, oh no, it’s not just that, it’s this, too.

Beware: the relationship between a son and a mother. And many other things.

What Kevin Elyot does as a playwright, in this case, is he presents things that seem so banal. But while banality reigns over the settings and the plot, problematic sex and death lurk at every corner. It is done subtly and surprisingly.

The actors, across, are fantastic. To see this kind of acting, up close (we were third row center) is really what going to live theatre is all about. And as a bonus, by chance, someone I used to act with in college, Andrew Polk, plays the great showy role of the smart, gay, nihilistic, coke snorting doctor. He fits the niche of the modern day priest or bartender: he hears confession and worry but he doesn’t care about it too much. For him, it’s just about survival.

The rest of the cast is spot on. Christopher Abbott as the son (wonderfully real and perfectly attractive), Lisa Emery as Laura (wonderfully real and perfectly brittle) and Elizabeth Jasicki (simply comedic and brilliant) are all lovely to behold. Especially Elizabeth Jasicki—very right kind of spice you want in your play.

The director, Mark Brokaw, with his impressive list of credits, can add this one to the heap. He handled the material delicately, truthfully, slightly creepily, lyrically and with great reality. Ninety minutes.

Fifty Words

You know, sometimes you see a play and your response is, "I am SO GLAD the playwright went after it!"

Michael Weller's FIFTY WORDS at the Lucille Lortel, produced by MCC Theater, was a pretty interesting night of a marital fight.

In about ninety minutes, a couple goes through the huge range of most of the bad things that can happen in a marriage. And it is done deftly. At times, it is executed somewhat oddly. I got the sense that Elizabeth Marvel, as the wife, was not the perfect actor for the role. She was supposed to be a bit of a wacked, ambivalent Bitch. It was mentioned. But she spent much time making smiling faces that covered up, what?

Norbert Leo Butz was more grounded and believable as the angered, frustrated husband.

These two held the stage for the whole evening. You have to hand it to them. Directed by the august Austin Pendelton, you were always pretty clear about exactly what was going on. Though, again, I think a little more mess would have been a great addition. Some random behavior that could add emotional depth to the words of the play.

But, rarely does a play go head on into the bad nastiness of a really rocky marriage. Applause is in order for Michael Weller and for the actors and the director who took it on and really made a solid sandwich out of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Am a Beagle, No That's Not It

This is the third time I am pulling out this “joke” tonight—and it could very well fall flat here, also for the third time.

There is a famous line in one of the final monologues of THE SEAGULL, uttered by Nina who has returned from the provinces as a pretty failed actress, “I’m a seagull, no that’s not it, I am an actress.”

Back in college, so many actresses would do that monologue in class and usually it was very painful to watch. So I turned to one of my friends, after a particularly bad rendition, and said, “I am a beagle, no that’s not it, I am a mattress.”

Of course, it’s just a rhyming thing and is not high comedy. But to me, the humor lies in the dada quality of picking any old rhyming, useless words. This absurd joke relates to how ridiculous it is that all these untrained college actresses had the nerve to just march into the middle of class and insist upon performing this very difficult monologue. Vanity, surely. But then, at nineteen I auditioned for Juilliard as Biff from DEATH OF A SALESMAN, something best left to straight men, who once played football, over thirty years old and not after a full weekend of being high on mushrooms.

Okay, if you have to explain a joke that much, it clearly is a bad one.

Tonight, we went to see THE SEAGULL based on the most glowing theatre review I have ever read in The New Yorker.

It was beautiful. But it was over directed. It was mostly British actors, from a British production and it seemed like a British play. The British spirit is nothing like the Russian spirit. The play hit me as a very cold thing. Though, Ann Dowd as Polina, suffering from unrequited love, which is a huge theme throughout, delivers reality beautifully. Perhaps because the character is from a lower class? Or because I am from a lower class?

Zoe Kazan, as Masha, understood the humor the best. Of course, it’s the funniest part. But she was lovely.

I felt Kristin Scott Thomas overdid it as Arkadina.

And the director, Ian Rickson, let almost nothing get out of control. Would have been nice if something did.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Disgusting But It's True

It’s disgusting, but it’s true. I am looking at black people differently now.

I think it must be insecurity that makes one see others as “other”. Has to be. Then, in this competitive world you can think to yourself, “Well, I have a leg up on that colored one over there.”

It’s disgusting, but it’s true.

I was in a plane today, flying from LA to NY. It was loaded with recently retired African American women who were returning to NY after their retirement celebration trip to California. They were all members of a union. City workers. I asked one of the retired revelers where they worked but I couldn’t get an answer any greater than, “For the city.”

Okay, so they worked for the city.

And, I found myself loving them. Even though they exhibited all the things I usually do not like in city workers. They had huge asses and they moved very slowly (especially up the ramp when we disembarked…and you know how it is when you are getting off the plane, you just want to ZOOM) and from the amount of canes I saw, I assume many of them were collecting disability.

But I didn’t care! They are the new leading race. Something in me snapped. I saw every single black person, every single retired city worker as more human than I ever have before.

There is something else going on here. I made it a special assignment for myself to be more in the moment during this trip. Problem is, when you are a writer, you spend way too much time in your head…which can cut you off from how you are feeling. So, I decided that this trip, I was going to think less and just interact more so that I could have more spontaneous, joyful days.

That could be part of it. But really, I think it’s all about Obama and me. It’s disgusting, but it’s true.

California Did Not Fall Into the Sea

Hello from Big Sur.

There we all were in Big Sur having a wedding for two women who love each other. I was the minister. A Buddhist priest followed and chanted a blessing. These two women are now married according to the laws of California.

And what happened? Big Sur is still Big Sur. The fog still rolls in when you may not want it. Elephant Seals are just an hour away, flopping on the beach. Breakfast is still served.

No on Prop 8. Because there's just no reason for it.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

We Want Your Children

I feel for the Christian Right. In a way.

Tests on brains have shown that conservative people have different brains. Their fear center (the amygdala) is more active.

Poor dears.

So they are more afraid. And the more afraid you are, the more you see things in black and white. No time for touchy-feely gray.

So when they say the crazy statement, “Prop 8 is going to make it so teachers have to teach about gay marriage in school,” well, that’s just their fear talking. But their fear is not unfounded. Sure, this false statement is wrongly reductive and listening to them running and hollering like their hair is on fire is sad. But in a way, their lying statement is a concretized idea that they can bind their fear to. They have murky, scary feelings about gay marriage. This hardcore black and white thing flies out of their mouths, from their fear center, which is basically, “Get your faggot hands off my children!”

The Christian Right should be afraid, though, and I do feel sorry for them. The world continues to evolve, and they still believe in a two-thousand year old myth. Not the most adaptable sorts. It’s difficult to find peace when you are constantly fighting reality. And gay rights, as well as the shear number of gay people, is on the rise. This is real. And perhaps only natural.

Out in the animal kingdom, when population pressures or pecking order pressures get great enough, for many species this leads to an increase in homosexual behavior. I understand that we are not cows or monkeys, but we are cow and monkey enough that perhaps this is going on with us, too. If nothing else, people sure are coming out more readily, in like Junior High. The combination of people feeling more at ease with their sexual orientation and coming out mixed with the cow-monkey POSSIBILITY that there is an increase in the number of gay people because of social pressures mixed with just way more people on earth so way more gay people on earth mixed with television, the internet, modern dance, you just, you can’t swing a double donger without hitting a gay person. And that’s just at your family reunion.

The world is changing. And the Christian Right doesn’t want to face this in the worst way. They are throwing their children toward the voters saying, “My child. My precious child. How can you teach this to my child?”

And you just have to say, “Because maybe your child is a little homo, since there are so many more of them these days the possibility has increased, and wouldn’t it be better if (s)he could be way more relaxed about it? And if (s)he’s straight, wouldn’t it be great if (s)he would be way more relaxed about it, too, since the homos are showing up in droves, like zombies, albeit friendly ones?”

In effect, the Christian Right is right. We are coming after their children. No, it won’t be a law that gay marriage will have to be taught in schools, but there is a much greater chance that gay marriage will be talked about in schools, off the cuff, much as anything that exists on earth is talked about: like whale migration, imaginary numbers, Verdun and state capitols.

The world is changing. It is more open. And it is way more gay. Maybe more so than ever before. And we do want your children. To know it? Yes. Only because it is true. We are coming after your children with our gay openness. Lock them indoors! But don’t be surprised when you turn around if little Matthew is doing a grand jeté across the playroom floor to Clay Aiken’s latest offering. If he can’t help himself, he can’t help himself.

In celebration of California, as a Universal Life minister, I head up to Big Sur to marry two women this weekend. I hope there are children there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An End to Slavery

Going to Iraq to take over the oil fields was a really bad idea. Furthermore, if we had succeeded, it would have made slaves of many Iraqi citizens. They know this and that’s why they want us the HELL out of there. They do not want to be enslaved. Who does?

If we want a large energy sector in our economy, then we are going to have to get creative. Not warring, which is a drain in every way, but creative.

Creativity is what drives an economy. And B.O. is a much greater friend to creativity than the Republican buffoons. Let’s create new things! And let the Iraqis have their freedom. Release them.

I look forward to Barak Obama residing in the Oval Office, in great support of creativity, releasing the slaves of Iraq. The final release: by a brilliant American man of color.

Let freedom ring, brothers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hateful Things

Voting Yes on Proposition 8 is a hateful thing.

Adam and I have been married and then dismarried by Multnomah County in Oregon. Tonight was our fifteen year anniversary. We can get married during the next two weeks in the state of California. After that?

And if Proposition 8 is passed, will the people who were married in California while it was legal, will they be able to continue being married? So just a handful of them will exist? Like when they made the EV1 electric car and then discontinued it?

For our fifteenth anniversary, we went to eat at Delancey’s, a new Italian restaurant on Sunset near Gower. It’s a bit of a brew bar, too. Tasty. I highly recommend the white bean and oily tuna crostini.

Then, horror of horrors, we saw Wicked. Friends, as you know, this thing has been running everywhere on earth, forever. What can I say? It’s the Wizard of Oz story from the biographical point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, partially deconstructing the Land of Oz, but not so deconstructed that the place isn’t still completely recognizable. The one note charleys run around up there as paper characters, circling around and learning to either love or hate the outraged Elphaba who happened to be born with green skin and magical gifts. All sorts of things are made up that tie in with the Wizard of Oz story—it is uneven. It is difficult to tie into another story. You become a slave to that tie in. And one longs for the original Wizard of Oz , not this sideways romp that really, when examined logically, falls apart all over the place. The music screams, “I have worth even though I’m green." The actors in it are up there for almost three hours and they give it their all. You have to take off your big witch hat to them. It can’t be easy. They do it well. Teal Wicks as Elphaba sings wonderfully. Oh goodness, I was bored. Hatefully bored.

The tone was set for this hateful feeling because this morning, I read Sei Shonagon’s Hateful Things. Tenth Century Japan. It’s fantastic. Here it is.

Hateful Things

One is in a hurry to leave, but one's visitor keeps chattering away. If it is someone of no importance, one can get rid of him by saying, "You must tell me all about it next time"; but, should it be the sort of visitor whose presence commands one's best behavior, the situation is hateful indeed.
One finds that a hair has got caught in the stone on which one is rubbing one's inkstick, or again that gravel is lodged in the inkstick, making a nasty, grating sound.
Someone has suddenly fallen ill and one summons the exorcist. Since he is not at home, one has to send messengers to look for him. After one has had a long, fretful wait, the exorcist finally arrives, and with a sigh of relief one asks him to start his incantations. But perhaps he has been excorcizing too many evil spirits lately, for hardly has he installed himself and begun praying when his voice becomes drowsy. Oh, how hateful!
A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him discusses all sorts of subjects at random as though he knew everything.
An elderly person warms the palms of his hands over a brazier and stretches out the wrinkles. No young man would dream of behaving in such a fashion; old people can really be quite shameless. I have seen some dreary old creatures actually resting their feet on the brazier and rubbing them against the edge while they speak. These are the kind of people who in visiting someone's house first use their fans to wipe away the dust from the mat and, when they finally sit on it, cannot stay still but are forever spreading out the front of their hunting costume or even tucking it up under their knees. One might suppose that such behavior was restricted to people of humble station, but I have observed it in quite well-bred people, including a Senior Secretary of the Fifth Rank in the Ministry of Ceremonial and a former Governor of Suruga.
I hate the sight of men in their cups who shout, poke their fingers in their mouths, stroke their beards, and pass on the wine to their neighbors with cries of "Have some more! Drink up!" They tremble, shake their heads, twist their faces, and gesticulate like children who are singing, "We're off to see the governor!" I have seen really well-bred people behave like this and I find it most distasteful.
To envy others and complain about one's own lot; to speak badly about people; to be inquisitive about the most trivial matters and to resent and abuse people for not telling one, or, if one does manage to worm out some facts, to inform everyone in the most detailed fashion as if one had known all from the beginning -- oh, how hateful!
One is just about to be told some interesting piece of news when a baby starts crying.
A flight of crows circle over with loud caws.
An admirer has come on a clandestine visit, but a dog catches sight of him and starts barking. One feels like killing the beast.
One has been foolish enough to invite a man to spend the night in an unsuitable place -- and then he starts snoring.
A gentleman has visited one secretly. Though he is wearing a tall, lacquered hat, he nevertheless wants no one to see him. He is so flurried, in fact, that on leaving he bangs into something with his hat. Most hateful! It is annoying too when he lifts up the Iyo blind that hangs at the entrance of the room, then lets it fall with a great rattle. If it is a head-blind, things are still worse, for being more solid it makes a terrible noise when it is dropped. There is no excuse for such carelessness. Even a head-blind does not make any noise if one lifts it up gently when entering and leaving the room; the same applies to sliding-doors. If one's movements are rough, even a paper door will bend and resonate when opened; but, if one lifts the door a little when pushing it, there need be no sound.
One has gone to bed and is about to doze off when a mosquito appears, announcing himself in a reedy voice. One can actually feel the wind made by his wings, and, slight though it is, one finds it hateful in the extreme.
A carriage passes by with a nasty, creaking noise. Annoying to think that the passengers may not even be aware of this! If I am traveling in someone's carriage and I hear it creaking, I dislike not only the noise but the owner of the carriage.
One is in the middle of a story when someone butts in and tries to show that he is the only clever person in the room. Such a person is hateful, and so, indeed, is anyone, child or adult, who tries to push himself forward.
One is telling a story about old times when someone breaks in with a little detail that he happens to know, implying that one's own version is inaccurate -- disgusting behavior!
Very hateful is a mouse that scurries all over the place.
Some children have called at one's house. One makes a great fuss of them and gives them toys to play with. The children become accustomed to this treatment and start to come regularly, forcing their way into one's inner rooms and scattering one's furnishings and possessions. Hateful!
A certain gentleman whom one does not wish to see visits one at home or in the Palace, and one pretends to be asleep. But a maid comes to tell one and shakes one awake, with a look on her face that says, "What a sleepyhead!" Very hateful.
A newcomer pushes ahead of the other members in a group; with a knowing look, this person starts laying down the law and forcing advice upon everyone -- most hateful.
A man with whom one is having an affair keeps singing the praises of some woman he used to know. Even if it is a thing of the past, this can be very annoying. How much more so if he is still seeing the woman! (Yet sometimes I find it is not as unpleasant as all that.)
A person who recites a spell himself after sneezing. In fact I detest anyone who sneezes, except the master of the house.
Fleas too, are very hateful. When they dance about under someone's clothes, they really seem to be lifting them up.
The sound of dogs when they bark for a long time in chorus is ominous and hateful.
I cannot stand people who leave without closing the panel behind them.
I hate people whose letters show that they lack respect for worldly civilities, whether by discourtesy in the phrasing or by extreme politeness to someone who does not deserve it. This sort of thing is, of course, most odious if the letter is for oneself, but it is bad enough even if it is addressed to someone else.
As a matter of fact, most people are too casual, not only in their letters but in their direct conversation. Sometimes I am quite disgusted at noting how little decorum people observe when talking to each other.
Sometimes a person who is utterly devoid of charm will try to create a good impression by using very elegant language; yet he succeeds only in being ridiculous. No doubt he beleives this refined language to be just what the occasion demands, but, when it goes so far that everyone bursts out laughing, surely something must be wrong.
A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him, but who speaks in an affected tone and poses as being elegant.
An inkstone with such a hard, smooth surface that the stick glides over it without leaving any deposit of ink.
Ladies-in-waiting who want to know everything that is going on.
Sometimes one greatly dislikes a person for no particular reason --- and then that person goes and does something hateful.**
A gentleman who travels alone in his carriage to see a procession or some other spectacle. What sort of man is he? Even though he may not be a person of the greatest quality, surely he should have taken along a few of the many young men who are anxious to see the sights. But no, there he sits by himself (one can see his silhouette through the blinds) with a proud look on his face, keeping all his impressions to himself.
A lover who is leaving at dawn announces that he has to find his fan and his paper. "I know I put them somewhere last night," he says. Since it is pitch-dark, he gropes about the room, bumping into the furniture and muttering, "Strange! Where can they be?" Finally he discovers the objects. He thrusts the paper into the breast of his robe with a great rustling sound; then he snaps open his fan and busily fans away with it. Only now is he ready to take his leave. What charmless behavior! "Hateful" is an understatement.
Equally disagreeable is the man who, when leaving in the middle of the night, takes care to fasten the cord of his headdress. This is quite unnecessary; he could perfectly well put it gently on his head without tying the cord. And why must he spend time adjusting his cloak or hunting costume? Does he really think that someone may see him at this time of night and criticize him for not being impeccably dressed?
A good lover will behave as elegantly at dawn as at any other time. He drags himself out of bed with a look of dismay on his face. The lady urges him on: "Come, my friend, it's getting light. You don't want anyone to find you here." He gives a deep sigh, as if to say that the night has not been nearly long enough and that it is agony to leave. Once up, he does not instantly pull on his trousers. Instead, he comes close to the lady and whispers whatever was left unsaid during the night. Even when he is dressed, he still lingers, vaguely pretending to be fastening his sash.
Presently he raises the lattice, and the two lovers stand together by the side door while he tells her how he dreads the coming day, which will keep them apart; then he slips away. The lady watches him go, and this moment of parting will remain among her most charming memories.
Indeed, one's attachment to a man depends largely onthe elegance of his leave-taking. When he jumps out of bed, scurries about the room, tightly fastens his trouser-sash, rolls up the sleeves of his Court cloak, over-robe, or hunting costume, stuffs his belongings into the breast of his robe and then briskly secures the outer sash -- one really begins to hate him.

** Favorite.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Sides to Every Story

Of course, the intelligent, steady B. Obama is going to win this election. This excites me, internationally speaking, because B.O. understands there are two sides to every story. I am impressed with his foreign policy thrust: to see other countries as real places, deserving to be considered, fully. I am not talking about Iran, so much, but more, his general attitude--that we are part of this huge world and everything we do affects everyone else and vice versa.

So--in any conflict, President B.O. understands, it's not just what YOU want, but also, what does THE OTHER PLACE want? It's a bigger, more generous view. Where generosity exists creativity can flourish, problems can be solved.

Republicans are famous for HOME LAND, WE ARE NUMBER ONE, PATRIOTISIM, VICTORY!-- this is a very one sided view of the world. It just screams, ME! WIN! NOW! MINE! I GOTTA HAVE IT! PRIDE! GIMME! I'M BETTER! HUNGRY! KILL!

The problem with sticking to the one sided view is one ends up stoking one's inner monster into action. Eventually, the monster within will grow and break its way out and try to eat all the villagers of the world.

And if you are very unlucky, a camera might catch that inner monster. Some would even recognize it as a gargoyle.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election Trains

Have a fabulous trip. You got on the right train.

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Language is Thought

Tonight’s final debate showed the poor ancient mariner, McCain, exasperated and cranky as usual. You really were waiting for him to shout, “Hey you, get off my lawn.”

Besides dismissing the very serious issue of a woman’s right to her own health during pregnancy, McCain also dismissed Obama, twice, for his eloquence.

This can only backfire. Eloquence is a virtuosic use of language. Language is thought. Obama’s great eloquence is an expression of his great command of his well formulated thoughts. Obama’s access to his full range of well studied information and well formulated policies into cohesive language puts us all at rest. A huge sigh of relief. A smart man has arrived. And he is going to figure some stuff out. And he is going to talk about it clearly as he is doing it. Eloquence.

I am all for eloquence. And for a woman’s right to choose.

Now, read this hilarious posting from October 7 by Helen Philpot.

Margaret and Helen Post: Maverick My Ass Hilarious. Take time to read her other posts, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Buckley Stops Here

Christopher Buckley, the son of the conservative creator of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr., resigned from his post at the magazine because he endorsed Obama instead of McCain.

He couldn’t take the hate mail


COULD IT BE that he has seen the emptiness of the conservative movement, a callow lot that wants power and financial gain at all costs, while offering nothing in return?

It was a pretty dicey move for him to endorse Obama. Of course, I remember when all those damn Democrats voted for Reagan and the Dems didn’t drum those people out of the fold.

Why so dogmatic, ye Republicans? Smells like the end—

Christopher Buckley, one assumes, is intelligent enough to know what kind of beasts surround him, so when he endorsed Obama on Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast, he probably knew what was in store.

And maybe, just maybe, like his father, he stood up for what he believed in, for what is the correct and sane choice at this moment and for that he was handed his head.

And McCain still proffers supply side economics. While Rome (and Los Angeles) burns.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Was Reading Some Seneca This Morning

I was reading some Seneca this morning in Lopate’s great book The Art of the Personal Essay.

One piece was about NOISE, the other about ASTHMA.

Living as I do, in smoggy, loud L.A., I was struck by the similarities to ancient Rome.

What struck me most about the asthma piece was Seneca’s take on death, a take that I have had for years. It gave me great peace and a little hit to my vanity that Seneca and I, on very separate occasions, separated by about two-thousand years, arrived at the same conclusion: Death is going to be just like it was before you were born, and that wasn’t particularly painful, was it?

The Roman Classicists were so pragmatic.

Imagine if you will the day before you were born. What was that day like? If you are a pro-life blastula fetishist, then imagine the day before you were conceived. What was that day like for you? There’s death for you.

When you go to your great reward, I imagine it is that day. Get the New York Times front page all about that day. That’s where you’re heading.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Someone, very liberal, who is absolutely voting for Obama turned to me the other night while a bit drunk and joked:

What does the CHANGE in Obama’s campaign stand for?

Couldya Help a Nigger Get Elected?

If you missed Frank Rich’s Op-Ed this weekend, do take a click below.

Obama the Terrorist

Friday, October 10, 2008

Doing the Gay Math

Proposition 8, which will be voted on in the state of California on November 4, will take away the rights of same sex partners to marry.

It could pass. Though, men and men and women and women have been getting married for months and it doesn’t seem to be weakening traditional marriage or destroying children. So perhaps, people will vote to allow these benign gay rights to remain intact.

Being gay, one struggles.

I remember in high school turning to my friend H, a light spirited, musically talented blond girl, asking her about some of the jocks she knew, “Why do those guys hate me so much? I didn’t do anything.”

Really, I just wanted to be liked, like any other teenager. And I was. But I was also despised, sort of. I say sort of because I was only despised for an attribute of me, not all of me.

Being despicable for no other reason than a condition of who you are, at rest, is pretty wretched stuff.

Why do I slide back to high school? Because that is when most people are honest. And though it is painful, it is all so clear.

So you have to ask, why would someone hate you so much for something like that?
My answer: I think anyone who was different in any way was hated.
And why is that?
My answer: Because competition is fierce and any aggression that can be used against you to push you out of the pool, permanently, of “real competitors” is a boon to the aggressor.

Numbers. Human beings are mathy. This math is used to gain the competitive edge. Strong, able kids of medium intelligence calculate the curve of what is allowable in terms of character traits. The fewer people within that curve, the better, because those are the only “real” people you will have to compete with. There is a collective choice by the inner curvers to agree to keep all the others they deem unfit, out. This reduces stress for those who remain within the margins of “normal” since the number of possible competitors becomes collectively decreased.

Any attempt to allow more people into the allowable area of the curve is stressful for people all ready inside. It means more competition. Besides, with more character traits flying around, which would increase if the unallowed were allowed, the rules would get looser. And then, with looser rules, how do you know exactly how to compete? More stress.

Eventually, the allowable numbers do increase because sane people are the force behind the vector of social change (Voltaire, King) and this is infuriating to those who were trying so hard to keep the numbers down. (And rightfully so, since isn’t it in their best interest to keep competition reduced?)

It’s just math. And it just takes a little bit of awareness to realize this. I am upset about the thousands of Californians who want to take away gay rights because they are bigoted and lazy enough that they want to compete less. In addition, I loathe them for being so stupid. It’s simple math.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Psychological Profile of a Moose Hunter

The following blog entry from my friend, “Postcards from Hell’s Kitchen” puts forth a striking psychological profile written by Debbie Ford about the lipsticked Sarah Palin. It is a bit self indulgent, as all psychological writing is, and questionable in its results since it begins and ends so reductively, on the one hand.
But on the other hand, it is juicy, damning, intelligent and makes me shudder with agreement.

I do not believe in a definitive, complete diagnosis of any individual. Obviously, most everyone has too many sides, too many relationships drawing out those sides, that to say someone is a complete narcissist or totally passive aggressive or 100% depressive, you choose the neural calamity, is more a reflection of the sayer’s inability to see a larger composite of someone’s traits.

However, one does like to be given proof for one’s opinions. Sure, all discourse is suspect. We endure the introduction, thesis, support, with a final, “In conclusion,” knowing too well that the support is chosen from a limited, self-serving field of vision and the conclusion, though obviously emanating from the author’s logic, may not emerge in the mind of any given reader the same way—but who cares?

Let’s get to it:

Seductress Sarah

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Depression Will be PVRd

Obama is going to inherit a mess, but since he is a large thinker, drawing large thinkers will come naturally. These people will problem solve, incentivize, manage and stand firm. With a Democratic House and Senate.

With the help of Hillary Clinton.

And so many others.

Though Iceland has gone out of business, which is pretty interesting, and has taken a loan from Russia to stay open, I do not believe we will suffer as greatly. Of course, China has done for us over the long haul what Russia is going to do for Iceland overnight.

Sloppy, mismanaged decade, one could say. Never let the debt get too big. People keep forgetting this.

But there we sat on our sofa, watching the presidential debates, which we PVR’d. In fact, we PVR’d four channels because we like to watch the variety of commentary afterward. How can there be a depression when I can record four channels of television, simultaneously?

B.O. has a Big Plan. And it smells pretty good.

J.M., well, hard to play on those letters. Poor old man, rambling around that red carpet like old Uncle Charlie at some nephew’s graduation party, a nephew he doesn’t like much, and it’s past bed time. Wheezing into the microphone as he bee-lined to the next question.

Referring to the future president of the United States as “That One” was quite a shock. It reminded me of my grandmother who was born in 1910. She referred to people she didn’t like as “That One.” She also said of her own sister, in disgust, “Up her hole.”

One wonders what is going to come out of Mr. McCain’s mouth next. Maybe something like, “I am replacing Sarah Palin,” or “I concede the election.”

Can’t wait for That One.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Who Needs Money, Really?

As the banks fail, so don’t we.

Human beings are loaded with moxie.

I think I even still remember how to make corn muffins.

Since corn is eternal, I probably won’t go hungry.

This contraction, this big huge contraction, like a dying octopus caving in right through the middle of his beak, well, it’s a sea change.

Sometimes a certain era becomes just a big dead octopus. And there the suckered carcass rots on the ocean floor. People are freaked out about death. I think there are a few religions out there based on this fear. But death is pretty cool. Think what comes from death! New life. New ideas. I even got $250 this year when my Great Aunt Rose died.

Systems or portions of systems die. It’s a cleansing. People will be more cautious where they put their money after this. It is time for caution. Thought. Introspective creativity. New templates.

It is best if we are in a state of slow motion for these kinds of things to take form. How can you create new systems and implement them if everyone is going super fast? You can’t.

So, the contraction had to happen. It’s about China. It’s about the environment. It’s about war. It’s about atomized egos.

Get into the slowness. Find your groovy, relaxed, aware self. Try to keep your easy lifestyle capitalized as best you can. Understand it is better to focus on the health and happiness of living beasts than it is to focus on super successes. Invite your neighbors over for a pot roast. Invite me over for a pot roast.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The RACE is on

I had sympathy for Sarah Palin? Because Katie Couric asked her very simple questions and she could not answer them? That she was so dumbfounded and vulnerable and looked like such a terrified loser that I thought she was the victim of the terrible running-mate choice actions of cynical play-to-the-base politics? That I actually saw her humanity and wanted to hold her in my arms and tell her it was all going to be okay?

And what did I get for my compassion? An ego-drunk girl-child. A power hungry lunatic. She wants to get into office so bad, praying for McCain’s death, so she can become, GASP, president. Or at the least, a Cheney level policy controller. She wants it like dogs want pot roast, like vampires want blood, like low end beauty pageant queens want undeserved fame.

Please excuse me for falling for her for one second.

She’s back to her old tricks of speaking with forked tongue and winking in code. She is trying to scare people with lies, as we have seen this week. “Barak Obama pals around with terrorists…he’s not like you or I.”

It is racism, fear-of-otherness, whatever you want to call it. She is a tiny-souled monster.

Sarah Palin is diseased pond scum.

I release her off my radar.

And now for the positive antidote:
Time to watch Richard Trumka. I surely cried.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Body Snatching

I want to put something out here about Sarah Palin.

She was out of her body during the debate. To me, that’s all that matters. If you’re out of your body, you’re out of your mind, you’re out of synch with what’s really going on.

She was still the terrified woman (girl) looking to be loved, winking at the camera like some bloated Jon Benet Ramsey. She is a weather girl. If she were a man (boy) up there with his hair all up and winking at the camera, I’d say he was a weather boy.

What was most telling was at the end of the debate she and Biden, good sports, both, came together for a gentlemanly shake. She hung onto him, not literally, but emotionally, almost as if she were saying, “Oh my God, I got through it, did you think I got through it? What do you think Daddy? Tell me I did okay. Glad that’s over. Phew!”

Not long ago, I felt sorry for Palin as she dug herself into an incoherent hole in front of Katie Couric. Now, she has redeemed herself in the art of being able to speak in sentences with noun, verb, noun, verb. But that’s about it.

The McCain campaign has nothing. She has nothing. It’s not her fault. But what is disgusting and troublesome to me, and it is something I have witnessed in many of their brethren whether they are running for office or not, Republicans are often detached from their bodies, floating around in wacky ideology, soaring around their projected world view in complete fear.

This fear feeds into their egos which feed into their terror of communal answers to huge problems. Their fear drives them to want every single problem solved with market forces which is just an economic term for competition. Their fear requires competition in everything.

I’ll have none of it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Why am I feeling so Blue?

And why does it feel so good?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What Way to Make a Living

Tonight, at the Ahmanson, I witnessed the musical 9 to 5. They took the movie, added tons of new songs by Dolly Parton, lots of 1979 office design, catchy choreography, expressive mid-century Dali-esque sequences, a huge screen in the rear with backlit visual effects, very particular period props (a great sequence with a tank of a photocopier), a couple of the musical theatre stars from Wicked and Allison Janney who is totally game and solid. It was enjoyable. Directed by Joe Mantello.

The show stopper was in Act II when Judy, played by Stephanie Block (originally played by Jane Fonda in the movie) sang Get Out and Stay Out, a plea to her ex-husband to leave her be so she could get on with her life of empowered single womanhood. Stephanie, as many people know, can sing he ass off. She certainly did tonight. Force of nature, really.

Look, I don’t know why people like musicals so much. Hell, I love them. There’s something about sitting there with all that going on. It’s a great expression of life. You have story, acting, design, music, dancing. What else could you throw in there? I guess sex and guns. But wait! This play has those, too.

I don’t know if I would suggest that you should put down your white out and run down to the Ahmanson to see this office musical right this minute. I mean, it’s pretty corny and the cause-vagine is so thirty years ago, it is hard to understand why one would need to see it now. And as a piece of feminist history, let’s face it, how could it carry any weight? Being a musical-from-a-movie-via-Dolly Parton-etc.?

But it’s a romp. And maybe the point is, it can be just a romp now that we’ve come so far in the work place. Sure, women still don’t make as much money as men for the same work and men are still pigs in their hearts if not in their actions, but there have been considerable advancements. Just look at C. Rice or S. Palin or that CEO, who was she?

The play is less political than it is entertaining. And there we are. This show is on its way to Broadway. Try to get free tickets.