Friday, July 28, 2006

Best Video Ever

It just doesn't get any better than this!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"We Just Want To See Them"

As Toll Rises, Lebanese Resort To Mass Graves
Saturday 22 July 2006

In Tyre, victims of airstrikes are buried in hastily built coffins so a hospital can hold other bodies. Many had no relatives to ID them.

Tyre, Lebanon - They would bury their dead in mass graves, the doctors decided.

The government hospital had run out of room for human remains by Friday. More than 100 bomb-wrecked bodies were already crammed into poorly refrigerated container trucks, and more corpses were pouring in daily.

So they built cheap coffins of pine. Bulldozers carved 6-foot-deep trenches into a desolate lot littered with old telephone poles. [...]

Soubiha Abdullah rocked back and forth as she waited for the bodies of her family to be pulled from a heap of remains. The doctors had given her rubber gloves and a surgical mask, which she wore over her head scarf.

She had come to identify and bury 24 members of her family, including her sister and her sister's nine children. They died trying to escape their village; Israeli planes had attacked the road as they drove.

"I'm saying, 'God give me the strength to see them,'" she said. "We just want to see them, even if they're pieces of meat."
My mother was not returning my calls, and I asked her friend to check on her. Her friend broke into my mother's house to find her collapsed upon her bed, dead. The police said she had been dead for two days. After listening to her answering machine messages, seated with my sister upon her stripped and empty bed, I think it may have been for as many as four.

The first thing I asked the funeral home director was "Can I see her?" He tried to dissuade me, but was kind enough to go into the holding area to describe the condition of her body. I knew that regardless, [even if she was a piece of meat] I had to see her, and had to make sure my sister and my aunt had the chance to see her too. As hard as it was to see my mother's body, had I not been able to I would have gone something very close to mad. And we picked out the clothes for her cremation: we brought her flowers, we got to see and touch and kiss her twice: once as she was found, and once dressed in the clothes we chose for her. I anointed her with her Chanel No. 5 and massaged her cold skin with the pikake lotion my sister had sent her from Hawaii that remained on the coffee table, unboxed. Her prone body seemed to breathe. A joke, to have her so there and so not there. It was awful. And yet, (shamefully?) not as awful as if it were my sister, my child, or, worst of all, my husband.

And compared to Ms. Abdullah, I have won the lottery. What a luxury, to have the opportunity to have my mother's remains respected in a cheesy Morthern Virginia funeral home. I loathe that funeral home for many reasons and yet they afforded me a grand privilege so many will never have. And ultimately, my poor mother in all her particularity was the victim of her own lifestyle. I think of my particular and plangent grief and imagine it amplified by a billion. To not be allowed to see or touch or kiss or dress or cradle your loved one's flesh? Flesh rendered meat not by time or folly or age but by calculated malice? To have someone you love consigned to a box with a number?

When will people fucking realize that there is no other? That when you condone this happening to anyone, you invite it to happen to you? No one is fucking special or exempt, and that is why we must all try every fucking day to be a little tougher and kinder and better. As a nation of so called plenty, we are wanting a VERY GREAT DEAL. What we are wanting in terms of lack is to see them, see any and all them as us.

Friday, July 21, 2006

"I'm Sorry, I Don't Understand What You Pressed"

Um, why is it okay to ship precision-guided bombs to Israel, [to use against Lebanon and Palestine] but using gonna-be discarded IVF embryos to save lives is murder?

Can we please take to the streets now? Seriously. E-mail me if you want to organize something in NYC and or in front of the UN or Israeli embassy. Thanks!

Oh, and thank you bullshit media, for your piercing exegeses:
The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.
NO!!! Say it isn't so!

At least the US doesn't have its young girls autographing missiles yet. YET.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

RIP: Overheard In New York

The new Overheard in New York:
Someone who moved to New York six months ago: something really ignorant

Someone who moved to New York one year ago: something not quite so ignorant

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Well, I'll Be!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Call Me Vanessa Redgrave

I can't believe ANYONE attended this pro-Israel rally. I'm so ashamed. And as usual the media coverage of this issue is a complete fucking travesty, as is this foot-stamping adolescent conflation of ANY critical address of Zionism with "anti-Semitism" that is so fatuous it makes my blood boil.

And really, go fuck yourself Hillary:
“Israel must know that Americans and people who value freedom and the rights and dignity of human beings around the world stand with Israel as she defends herself against these unwarranted, unprovoked attacks of Hamas, Hezbollah and their state sponsors."
I don't endorse violence. Which is why NO moral person could POSSIBLY support, say, bombing the sole power supply for close to a million people living imprisoned in the desert and possibly soon to be without water in so-called retaliation for the kidnapping of a single soldier. That's an atrocity. It's a war crime. No ambiguity there, none. How do you sleep at night, Hillary, you presposterous neo-neo-con fraud?

Every time I read something new about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel reminds me of my psychotic ex-boyfriend. Once in the middle of some wretched drama he said to me: "That's how I've always been. If someone gives me a flower, I'll give them a dozen every day, but if they slap me on the arm, I'll beat them down with a baseball bat." Same dynamic: massive, tragic scale.

The ONLY message anyone should be sending at this point to Israel is knock it the fuck off and try to restore some kind of stability before everything goes to shit and the Rapture Ready eschatological vermin get their deep-fried Super Sized End Times. Here's an idea: let's value the rights and dignity of ALL CIVILIANS to not be reduced to COLLATERAL DAMAGE, regardless of nationality or race.

I Can't Believe I'm Telling You This

I am officially addicted to the message boards. I cannot tear myself away from exchanges such as these:
-just found out a friend's dh cheated on her with a neighbor over a year ago. she now suspectshe is cheating again with a coworker. she has no idea about the cheating last year. i can't tell her and just feel awful. ugh.
* tell her asap, what kind of friend are you if you don't
o would be betraying my dh and then what kind of wife would i be?
o OMG, I would not open my mouth, leave this alone like the ticking bomb it is
+ op: that is my theory. i listen to her and am supportive but don't want to get in the middle of it
* Re: just found out a friend's dh cheated on her with a neighbor over a year ago. she now suspectshe is cheating again with a coworker. she has no idea about the cheating last year. i can't tell her and just feel awful. ugh. (more)

OR this:
# any fresh direct $ off coupons? don't care about free meat or shrimp.
New York - Jul 17th, 2006 10:39pm
ok, why the hell is my fresh direct shopping cart now $170. am I normal?
* depends on how frequently you shop. i spend about $100 every week or so.
o not as often. i sometimes use it to maybe i'm not going crazy
* just spent $150 at fairway today - still nothing to eat in the house
o lol. ok, I don't feel so bad anymore. i also got diapers, water, stocked up on chicken, etc.
* don't forget your free code - shrimp at checkout
o yup, thanks!
o stupid question - does it get you free shrimp or a discount?
+ nope. A box of oatios.
Oh, the humanity!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lillet And Trey Visit America

Trey and I got back from Maine last night. Really, it wasn't long enough -- although staying in a motel is always fun, sometimes 2 days of solid family isn't exactly restful. Seeing our nieces, however, was fantastic and Maine is pretty and there were enormous crows on the hill behind our motel window and a jolly fat woodchuck romping in the clover.

New York is home to a spectrum of body types from Kate Moss to Big Momma. But in Maine pretty much everyone is just plain FAT. Not zaftig, not bootylicious, not sturdy, not big-boned, not husky, not solid, but sickeningly obese. It was most pronounced when we went to the lake: I saw a man -- several men -- whose bellies distended in such a way they appeared to have some horrible disfiguring disease. When I see that particular kind of massive man gut all I can think of is colon cancer.

We saw people who were so overweight you could tell they were unable to walk properly, were constantly winded, who strained to sit down. I wholeheartedly agree that there is an incredibly wide range of body types and I especially get upset at how women are made to feel inferior for not being a size 2 and that we live in a time where Marilyn Monroe would be considered a prime candidate for Jenny Craig.

But Jenny Craig is part of the problem, as is this massive obesity problem, and that is that NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW HOW TO FUCKING EAT!

Even without the vegetarian thing, Trey and I were dumbstruck at the food options or lack thereof everywhere we went. The first night we went to a steakhouse that our nieces adore, because it has talking animal heads on the wall and an animatronic Christmas tree that tells jokes. It would have been my favorite spot at age 10, for sure! We figured we'd be able to find something on the menu. Usually menus have the commie hippie fag vegetarian dish that is five oily zucchini slices plopped on a serving of Uncle Ben's. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!

But "finding something on the menu" proved much harder than anticipated. Every single salad had meat and cheese on it. Not the "With grilled chicken add $2.00" option: the meat and cheese were gonna be in that salad NO MATTER WHAT! There was not a single dish that did not have steak, chicken, shrimp or fish, not even the usual cheapskate garden side salad. And when the food came, the entrees came on platters the size of an open magazine. It was crazy! Not to mention the newly disturbing sight of watching my angelic ten year old niece dig into a still bloody slab of prime rib an inch and a half thick the size of her head. Even if you are going to eat meat, no 10 year old should be eating a prime rib the size of her head.

And her mother used to be a head oncology nurse at a major cancer hospital in Manhattan. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If You'd Really Like To Know

what it is like to be me [Lillet], you could do one of the following:

1) Watch Mullholland Drive
2) Watch Cat People (Tourneur, not Schraeder!!!)
3) Stand under the nice whale at the American Museum Of Natural History

But if you'd like to save some time, just watch this YouTube interview with Kate Bush.

From her crazy outfit to the godawful batshit dumb questions she is asked, this is often exactly how I feel: trying to just make something nice and tell the truth, only to be assaulted by mendacious crap.

In particular, listen to the tone in which the interviewer states: "I'm really trying to find out more about your influences."

When you hear that question, what you are really hearing is:

I don't want to have to have my own opinion about the inheritances I can't be bothered to hear in your music because I am too preoccupied with delivering an acceptable soundbite: Just spew me one worthy of Pitchfork already?

We are all more than the sum of our parts: and our chosen "progenitors" don't always tell the whole story. There are influences in whose clutches we struggle, making very beautiful things in the effort to free ourselves. But even if "those who can't, critique": don't make artists do the work FOR YOU on top of your own covetousness and passivity. Real criticism is an art of its own: true critics have the desire and balls to discern what the artist is too enmeshed to articulate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Housewife Vacation

Trey and I had planned on driving to Maine today to visit his sister who is back from Europe, but our trip got delayed until Thursday. I had already taken off work and gotten a temp, so I am hiding out at home playing housewife.

I woke up and checked on our garden before going out to buy olive oil and the Post to read about this. [What a killer lede!] See our basil?

Our neighbor, Mrs Pantani (remember her yard?) saw me gardening the other day and brought over these basil plants ("FROM-A ITALY!") and told me to keep them in water until I could plant them "IN-A DA NIGHT!" which I dutifully did. It was steaming hot even in the morning and I could smell the simmering basil from a near-standing position. [Behind the basil are sunflowers! They grow so fast!]

I think Mrs. Pantani likes being kind to the young newlywed housewife on her block. I like being the young housewife on the block. We rode the subway to work together the other day: she works two days a week in the garment district hand-sewing buttonholes.

I came home and made myself a big batch of kale with garlic and nutritional yeast [I AM INCREASING MY FOLATE INTAKE. YOU KNOW WHY!!] and am reveling in the feeling of BEING AT HOME with my sleeping husband in the next room. This morning, despite the heat and the landlord's son tromping around upstairs waiting for his next fix, and the form letter from the funeral home, all is right today, like wiggling your toes in the sand.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My First Belle And Sebastian

I can't what was better about Belle and Sebastian's show in Battery Park yesterday: that they played "Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie," or that the baby in pink (center of picture) bopped along to every song.