Wednesday, April 30, 2008
(btw - i totally didn't even know what "salad days" meant, and that it originated from shakespeare, but i'm seeing that term everywhere. what's the deal?).
besides, it's been like 6 years since i overheard one dude say to another at a concert, "hey, what time is your mom picking us up?" which made me think, shit, just how old am i?
anyway, whilst thinking about my own age i read this article. poor knut! he was so adorable before, but now people are just passing him by. no more haribo candies named after him! just cast aside by the cruel, fickle public. look at this devastating quote:
Andre Schüle, a veterinarian at the Berlin Zoo, dismissed concerns about Knut’s health, physical or mental. “I am very, very pleased about his development,” said Mr. Schüle. Knut is a healthy polar bear, but as a natural result of aging, “the cuteness factor is falling,” Mr. Schüle said.
don't be sad! you're still very cute!
update: thanks for all of your suggestions on the bridesmaid dresses. she picked this one, which was actually my choice as well. i was pretty happy at how everything turned out, until i saw this.
E, I miss you. This bicoastal thing really gets in the way of our cynical banter. So, here's Scar Jo's new video. Leave your unadulterated bilious remarks in the comments section.
Also, why is Salman Rushdie nuzzling her neck in this video? This question follows in a long line of Salman Rushdie-related questions: For instance, why is Salman Rushdie playing the obstretician in Helen Hunt's new movie? Why is Salman Rushdie in Bridget Jones' Diary? Why did Salman Rushdie write the most outsiderly and hilariously inexpert account of New York City ever committed to print? Why is Salman Rushdie hanging out at Bungalow 8? How did Salman Rushdie land Padma Lakshmi? Why did Salman Rushdie get an eye lift? Why did Salman Rushdie turn away and run from me at that Breyten Breytenbach reading a couple of years ago? The answer to some, though not all, of these questions is this: because all your heroes will eventually sacrifice their innate gifts and become vain, fame-whoring parodies of themselves.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
None of this would have happened, had Obama's bodyman (think Charlie from The West Wing) and member of Duke's 2001 national championship team, Reggie Love, taken Obama and his pick-up game to Cameron, home of the elitist Duke Blue Devils--although Krzyzewski might have yelled at him about capital gains taxes or something.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
So, here's a clip from Conan the other night: ittsiest of the it-girls (and bangsiest of the bangs-sporting actresses), Zooey Deschanel, performing with M. Ward and--how's this for street cred?--Blogger E darlings Yo La Tengo (or as one youtube commenter puts it, a "buch [sic] of fatasses in music class "). I prefer this song to the one they did on Conan, but either gives you a pretty good idea of what their deal is.
Deschanel is one of those "celebrities" whose name I'd heard bandied about without ever having any sense of what she looked like or what films she's appeared in, but I've been feeling the She & Him album (much of which she wrote, Scar Jo), and know who she is now. Her throw-back lyrics, awkward tambourining, and folksy twang are all win-win in my book.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
the conversation went something like this - mind you, she was very aggressive from the get-go, probably because she was anticipating my yelling at her:
her: ma'am, we only cover routine x-rays and a panoramic x-ray is not routine.
me: i don't understand. how is it not routine when it's in the course of treating something like a wisdom tooth?
her: now, if your dentist took x-rays of only a couple of teeth, that's cheaper and considered routine.
me: but the dentist would take those x-rays only because there was a special occasion, like a cavity or a broken tooth. i don't think that should be considered routine.
her: panoramic x-rays are very expensive and not routine.
i pretty much left it there. am i crazy? am i totally misunderstanding the definition of "routine?" my friend pointed out that they can label it however they want, but the bottom line is, they're not paying for it.
So, have you visited my house lately?
You very well might have because March and April were really the high season for house guests at our place in old South (of) Temescal/sort-of-Korea-Town/maybe Mosswood. Plus, I had a birthday party recently, and many of the 11 people I know in the Bay Area showed up. Anyway, if you've visited my house lately you might have found me preemptively explaining the copies of Entertainment Weekly on the coffee table (by which, of course, I mean "in the bathroom" because I'm classy like that). I don't know how I got signed up for the magazine, and I don't know who's footing the bill--maybe I have a secret Magwitch in Hollywood--but one day a couple of months ago, it just started showing up at my house.
Part of me was mortified--everyone knows the Postal Service is quietly judging you based on your subscriptions (which is why, I make sure to keep my subscription to Cement Americas current)--and that part always wants to explain to people that I'm not, you know, the kind of person who actually goes out and signs up for Entertainment Weekly. But then another part of me waits for the magazine with bated breath, reads it cover to cover, only skipping over mentions of American Idol, Britney Spears, Gossip Girl, The Hills, and other pop culture phenomena that make no sense to me. So, "cover-to-cover" maybe isn't right--I read a good 19% of each issue. But those pages I read I read with great attention, and let me say this: Magazines for people with short attention spans?! What a country! Even though I slave through the maximalist New Yorker profiles in multiple sittings, I read the whole Tina Fey profile in EW last week while toasting and cream cheesing a bagel. I didn't even contract Tina Feytigue!
Ironic unself-awareness of maximalism references aside, I do have a point. The current issue of Entertainment Weekly taught me two things: 1) George Lucas' original concept for the fourth Indiana Jones centered around space aliens invading the earth, and he is obviously the dumbest person in America, and is lucky to have Steven Spielberg to save him from the rancid porridge residing in place of his brain matter; and 2) Adam Sandler is going to play an Israeli commando-turned-New-York-City-hair-stylist who falls in love with the Palestinian owner of the salon he takes a job with. Hijinks and Hezbollah! Merriment and Mossad! (See trailer above). Joke premised on Adam Sandler's foot? Check. Rob Schneider in brown/black/yellow face? Check. Sure-fire box-office gold? Umm, fuck yeah check.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Big Portuguese portions are keeping this bride-to-be bulging through the hips and out of her dress.
anyway, someone out there understands my hate affair with david brooks. to wit: The Brooks method is to take a banal, long-existing or only partially true observation, give it a cute name and take credit for it. In other words, he’s a perfect op-ed columnist.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The trailer for the film version of Blindness is above. In theory, there's a lot to love here--Julianne Moore is in it and it would be inappropriate and disturbing for me to elaborate on why that's excellent, so let's just accept that it is; the director created the visceral mind-fuck that was City of God. But clearly something's lacking. While the book is both dystopic and beautiful, the trailer suggests your standard near-future, science-fictiony, disaster fare. My friend Nancy says the problem with making Blindess into a movie is that the full achievement of the work itself has no place in cinema--that is, the book is terrifying precisely because it presents an entire world to us mainly through characters who have no sight. The ugliness of our species is lade bare, but simultaneously made invisible. Even the characters are nameless--they are anonymous, blind guides through a sudden apocalypse. That Saramago crafted a book from this premise is an achievement itself.
I know I complain a lot about how Hollywood likes to ruin things that I love, but how can you adapt Blindness--maybe one of the three greatest achievements in the last fifteen years of international literature--into a movie about sight? Julianne Moore's character--the Doctor's wife, the only one spared--says at the end of the trailer, "The only thing more terrifying than blindness is being the only one who can see." I disagree with the proposition, and her role, it looks like, will get more emphasis in the movie than the book--she, not the blind, will be our guide. If that's the road we're being led on, if this is a movie about being the sighted voyeurs, then this film's going to be a clunker.
But there is hope: If you'd told me the plot of Children of Men--also, a Julianne Moore film, also a film about an inexplicable epidemic--and then said it was going to jump off the screen and punch me in the solar plexus, I'd have been skeptical, but that's exactly what that film did.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Wow, talk about blog post explosion today. I must be crazy busy at work! Anyway, 'Pockets and I not-so-recently took up residence in a little section of Oakland that we like for many reasons, but one of the weird blessings/curses of our neighborhood is that we're about a five-minute drive from Ikea. This is a blessing because when we suddenly decide we should keep our pasta in tall air-tight, glass jars instead of the broke-ass boxes pasta comes in we can cruise on down to Ikea, grab a couple of hot dogs from the Ikea restaurant, and pick up said jars--maybe a stop at Trader Joe's, and still, we're back in time to watch Runway.
So, in the clip from 30 Rock above, which aired months ago, in those sepia-tinged days of Clinton inevitability, a simple play on words makes for a witty joke. What if a character--in this case, vapid Jenna, prone to errors in judgment--was made to air her patriotic bona fides on MSNBC, but confused the word "Obama" with "Osama"? At the time the scene (what with pompous man-child-windbag Tucker Carlson having literally been struck dumb at the end) made me laugh the kind of laugh one gives only to absurdist humor. But now, having seen Ted Kennedy, John Ashcroft, Fox News (sorry, no Youtube available), ABC News and CNN --to name only a few of our paragons of government and media--commit the same error, the 30 Rock joke starts to look more sad and prescient than absurdist.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
in other news, thank goodness 30 rock is back! yeah, i guess it was a little bit weak, but you gotta love "we no longer wanna hit that."
Friday, April 4, 2008
So, if you're even an occasional reader of the blog, you might've gleaned that I'm of South Asian extraction, a fact perhaps made clear--or at least not controverted--by my enthusiastic, albeit controversial, use of "cracker" and "redneck" in quotidian exchanges, but up until the age of 11--hand to teeny tiny baby Jesus in heaven above--I didn't know I wasn't white.
Those sad, awkward days I spent in Mr. Kennedy's 6th grade class, a school term memorable for the vicious literary skewering we--students and teacher alike--executed on school-mandated masterwork, Come Sing Billy Joe (which Amazon sells in whimsical Spanish form as well: Sal a Cantar Jimmy Jo!).
At this point in my life, my goals were three-fold: I hoped to add a Ferrari to my Micro Machines collection, I wanted a pair of Reebok Pumps like Will Rivers wore, and I prayed that I'd wake up one morning in the corporeal form of Shock G, fake nose, honeys and all. Yes, wayward white, suburban youth that I misapprehended myself to be, I prayed at the altar of rap music (the expression "hip hop" would still be a Tribe Called Quest album or two away from seeping into my consciousness).
Fast forward 19 years, and I have no idea where my Walkman-worn copies of As Nasty As They Want To Be or Sex Packets are--though, for the sake of nerdy admission--my original Pakistani record-shop, bootleg copy of Cube's seminal Amerikkka's Most Wanted rocks out in the glove of my '01 Corolla, so don't step. Fast forward 19 years, and the world is a complex place. The black-fetishizing, suburban white boy within me still cries for a pair of Girbaud jeans, but who's he supposed to vote for when 50's telling him that Obama's the path to race enlightenment at the same time that Snoop's saying Obama's fronting for David Duke? If Tone Loc and Biz Markie (see above) don't weigh in soon with an opinion, then I'm at a total loss, and may cast my vote for Marion Barry. What's a poser to do?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
In an other life, one in which I provided the world with some modicum of benefit, the life I lead before I took up my current occupation (writing orders that turn out to be unnecessary, doing research for cases that settle before anyone looks at my incompetent work product) was a life marked by various hardships: 5:45 AM alarm bells, followed by a commute made up of multiple modes of transportation (bus, subway, foot) to a job that took years off my life and allowed me to use the bathroom only at designated times of the day.
I can't say that I miss the time I spent miseducating the Bronx youth--after all, there is no joy like the joy that comes with sitting in a temperature-controlled office, putting on your headphones and blasting Prince while reviewing some CEO's emails (emails which may or may not contain damning admissions of liability, but which most certainly contain pictures of bare breasts fashioned with Christmas ornaments--attorney client privilege prevents me from providing a link here). Well, there might be an equivalent joy, now that I think of it: the joy of being able to evacuate one's bladder at the moment the urge arises. Thank you, corporate America. Thank you for that.
Anyway, back to my previous life: one day, at some point in the middle of my first year, I was told that for the rest of the term a Mr. Yeats was to provide me with a Tuesday respite from my den of unruly little monsters. He was the Social Studies teacher, I was informed, but I had not yet met him; I had not heard mention of his name even in the course of my first three or four months. It turned out that Mr. Yeats had spent the better part of the school year, imprisoned in teacher's purgatory, a mythical place that I would later fantasize being dispatched to, and which I imagined as a cinder-block-lined room with dozing teachers and strewn-about copies of the New York Post.
Apparently, Mr. Yeats had been involved in some incident the previous year--a student had accused him of some crime or indiscretion, and until the matter was resolved, he had to live out his week-days, 8-3, in teacher's purgatory down near the UFT office in Brooklyn. What Mr. Yeats did was never made clear to me, but upon his return, he seemed hell-bent on not repeating himself: The man was the most oblivious, disengaged teacher I've ever seen in inaction. Literally, he stood at the chalkboard, with his back to the students, droning on about the Boston Tea Party. So many fights broke out during Mr. Yeats' "classes" I gave up yet another bathroom opportunity to sit at my desk, trying to impose some order.
Anyway, two things reminded me of Mr. Yeats today: this insane article about a teacher being cast off to the middling confines of what I imagine is Phoenix's teacher purgatory because she dared use masking tape to designate boundaries for some of her more active students, and this wonderful This American Life piece on "The Rubber Room"--the proper nomenclature for New York's teacher purgatory.