Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chick Habit

Corine Lesnes' Big Picture is one of our favorite blogs. Check out this entry on the globalization of "chick lit"!. The quote from Mallory Young says it all [translation mine]:
Countries formerly without "chick lit" have finally succumbed at once to the feminist joy of freedom and the post-feminist joys of comsumerism.
But wait! There's even CHRISTIAN chick lit! The literary equivalent of Diet ZIMA! All of the Jesus, none of the sex! Succumb to the post-feminist, all-American joys of consumerism AND the infantile need to cling to Invisible Grandpa's slave religion!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Lately I’ve taken to wearing very bright lipstick, in particular, two that had been in the bottom of my makeup case (okay, cases plus annexed corner and wall of small bathroom.) Nars Funny Face and Chanel Premier Rouge #1.(self-portrait, above.) Bright lipstick with just mascara.

My bright-lipped reflection in the mirror or subway glass always reminds me of my paternal grandmother, the woman for whom I am named. (Lillet was her maiden name. It was a toss between that and .. get ready ... Charity. Can you believe it? I wonder how different I would be today with such a different name?!) My grandmother’s usual maquillage consisted of a bold lipstick – a bright coral, brick, or rose -- and powder. We look very much alike, and when I wear a bright mouth I also see her in the mirror, and it is her I also see when I have freshly painted toes, for we have the same feet as well. When I gave her pedicures, I would meditate on this very sameness. The photograph my grandfather took of her 80 year-old feet -- with an underwater camera in their backyard pool -- is framed on my dressing table.

These mediatations may spring from a desire for a coherent personal mythology. Regardless, my grandmother is the one ancestor I have always willingly drawn upon: the bright mouth reactivates my connection to her. It recalls the never-before-experienced sense of peace and belonging I felt when living with her and running her house after my grandfather’s death. That time awakened in me a nascent somatic understanding of “family” as something whose fixity could be a source of solace rather than existential despair. That awakening began the long process that led me to the hard-earned, unmediated adult place I have reached; to my life with Trey.

In a family where nearly every single other member divorced at least once, my grandmother Lillet and her husband were always in love and I like to believe they are still. A dashing, retired Army general, he still chased her around the kitchen in his 80s, "catching her" to steal a kiss in the garage. They were happy. I know I wasn’t privy to whatever inevitable dysfunctions existed in their life, but regardless, they were palpably happy. Like scarlet macaws, they mated for life.

That's what bright lipstick reminds me of: my connection to my grandmother, and that I, like her, have mated for life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Did I Mention That Octopi Are Smart And Nice?

Trey and I saw this awesome octopus in IMAX Deep Sea 3D Saturday: we give it two thumbs up!

We Have A Winner

This piece says it all. An excerpt:
On Saturday, during her national radio response to the president, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the Bush administration of "incompetence" in the Iraq war.

What would be a competent way to pursue the war in Iraq? How would you drop huge bombs on urban neighborhoods in a competent way? How would you deploy cluster munitions that shred the bodies of children in a competent way? How would you take hundreds of thousands of people from their home land and send them to a country to kill and be killed -- based on lies -- in a competent way?

How do you ravage the housing and health care and education of communities across the United States, while war-profiteering corporations post bigger profits -- how would you do that in a competent way?

Senator Feinstein went on to say that it's so important, for the war in Iraq, for the United States government to "do it right."

How does one do this war right, when every day it brings more carnage? The only way to do this war right is to not do it at all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

New International Virgin

Look what we found at the Barnes and Noble at 68th and Broadway [Step on it, sucka!!]

Move over, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: here comes Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Is a favorite word. And a concept with which I am intimately familiar.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Enantiodromia is a concept introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung where the superabundance of any force inevitably produces its opposite. It is equivalent to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world, in that any extreme is opposed by the system to restore balance.

Jung used it particularly to refer to the unconscious acting against the wishes of the conscious mind.
I think Jung would appreciate that on the day I am reading of enantiodromia, I stumble upon this article, "The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion." Here's a choice passage:
"The sister of a Dutch bishop in Limburg once visited the abortion clinic in Beek where I used to work in the seventies. After entering the full waiting room she said to me, 'My dear Lord, what are all those young girls doing here?' 'Same as you', I replied. 'Dirty little dames,' she said." (Physician, The Netherlands)
And so is this:
"We have anti-choice women in for abortions all the time. Many of them are just naive and ignorant until they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. Many of them are not malicious. They just haven't given it the proper amount of thought until it completely affects them. They can be judgmental about their friends, family, and other women. Then suddenly they become pregnant. Suddenly they see the truth. That it should only be their own choice. Unfortunately, many also think that somehow they are different than everyone else and they deserve to have an abortion, while no one else does." (Physician, Washington State)

Thursday, March 09, 2006


One of these T-shirts is sold on John Aravosis’ AMERICABlog.

One is from Rush Limbaugh's website.

Can you tell which is which?

Now, I am a huge fan of AMERICABlog. I check it ten times a day. John breaks big stories and is relentless towards the Bush Administration (The coverage of Jeff Gannon was my personal favorite.) But I think that many top liberal bloggers get so overwhelmed (and who can blame them) by being CONSTANTLY at the front lines of the insane shit transpiring in the world today that the inevitable gallows/ER-humor sets in to offset outrage fatigue. Which I understand. Exposure to absurdity requires release.

What I can’t accept, however, is why the fuck anyone would honestly think any good is being done by wearing a T-shirt about Guantanamo Bay, even one reading Please ask me about Guantanamo Bay. Dittohead-types are wannabe schoolyard bullies who think this shit is funny. But to be truly opposed to torture, extraordinary rendition and prisoner abuse, you must oppose the dehumanization of people: the erasure of a detainee’s humanity, their objectification, their particularity denatured to ABSTRACTION.

And so, if you are opposed to this depersonalization, why are you buying a fucking T-SHIRT, a "IRONIC" T-SHIRT ABOUT TORTURE THAT IS INDISTIGUISHABLE FROM THE SHIRTS ON THE "PRO-TORTURE" WEBSITE, when what you should be doing is spending that 13 bucks of time or money talking to other people, donating it to Amnesty International or contacting your reps? You can't use the same medium to express supposed outrage at the forced sodomy of maimed detainees as you would to express dude, I saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Coachella and they fuckin' rocked! What the fuck is wrong with you people? You are essentially DOING THE BAD GUYS' WORK FOR THEM! There's nothing IRONIC or CLEVER when people are TORTURED, FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

Snark has its places: ranting, stand-up comedy, bar conversation. But the guy wearing the git mo? shirt is the biggest kind of prick, interpolating his need of public in-group clever-points over any actual empathy with the crimes that occasion his righteousness: in this case, particular men in a particular hellhole, feeding tubes being shoved down their throats again and again and again.

The Dittohead may be an asshole: Mr. Wardrobe by Cafe Press is a COLOSSAL asshole.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?

I am at work hitting "redial" on Babbo's reservations line -- I have been asked to make a reservation for 4 on Friday at 7:00, which is about as likely to happen as, say, Scott McClellan telling the truth.

I have eaten at Babbo only once. A friend of mine had found a gift certificate to the restaurant in an old dresser she was refinishing, and generously put it towards a "girls night out." And the food was truly spectacular -- I remember having the soft shell crabs which were unlike any I had ever eaten. I think we also had olive oil gelato. It was an elegant, happy night.

Around redial attempt 21 I look at the online menu online, idly thinking of a possible future date with Trey. And I suddenly felt really sad and ill when I saw this:
Mint Love Letters
with Spicy Lamb Sausage $18

Lamb’s Brain “Francobolli”
with Lemon and Sage $18

In Costa Rica we spent a week at an eco-lodge on the Osa Peninsula, where they had free-range chickens that woke you up in the morning. One of their sheep had given birth four days prior to our arrival. Our new friend Scott, a ten-year old boy who vacationing there for a month with his parents, was totally excited to take Trey and I down the secret path to see the lamb.

As I get older, metaphors seem to plangently, compulsively decouple themselves. Sometimes this delights me: sometimes I feel as if I may go mad. [God help me when I am 90, I will probably just rock back and forth for hours with sweet-bitter tears streaming down my face 24 hours a day.] Because I'd be hard-fucking-pressed to find something more truly innocent than a 5 day old lily-white lamb gamboling, yes, gamboling awkwardly alongside its mother. In fact, I had no right to use the word gambol until I saw this lamb. Every rheorical use of the animal in 31 years of reading now made violent and vivid sense: lamb of God, the lion and the lamb, sacrificial lamb...

So, seeing that one can grind up a lamb and serve its flesh [and now, having written what I just wrote, I find something deeply perverse about the concept of spicy lamb, as if it were the Jon Benet Ramsay of dishes] with Mint Love Letters for $18 -- it just makes me feel, well, weary, sad, and a little crazy, as if the menu featured Spicy Baby Panda Sausage. Sentimental, self-indulgent as you may deem me, I feel like a small girl whose dead friends are on this menu, and I now even feel guilty about the crabs. Having but recently turned this corner in my life, I can't get strident or righteous -- and oh God, am I on my way to becoming that person, the one you all know I mean?

But I can't deny the truth that makes itself resoundingly clear to me every day, that is about more than meat: When we privilege abstraction over empathy, we engage in the practice that can make possible egregious degradations. Our euphemisms and doublespeak are but lurid yellow tape swaddling crime scenes: detainee, merchandise, collateral damage, aerial bombardment, "peppered real good," "separation barrier," "intelligent design," "Culture of Life." Abstraction -- logos. Our dazzling accidental gift, our pearl without price, our probable undoing in the absence of empathy, of wisdom, in the absence of connection. We must unabashedly embrace our contingency -- it is all that can ameliorate our Fall.

Myrmecophagidae Loves Felidae

And the other way around.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Paging Lars Von Trier

Wouldn't documenting this city's genesis be the ultimate Dogme project?