Monday, December 16, 2002

Unto Us A Child Is Born

Three Halley-Loo-Yeah Choruses for Gary and Fiona Turner and their lovely new baby Cameron!

Sunday, December 15, 2002

The Lord Above Made Liquor For Temptation

Big holiday party weekend. Go get a little drunk, but no driving please. Still watching My Fair Lady and the title's from that:
The Lord above made liquor for temptation,
To see if man could turn away from sin.
The Lord above made liquor for temptation-but
With a little bit of luck, With a little bit of luck,
When temptation comes you'll give right in! :
I'm not even sure why people drink. Mostly to feel uninhibited. That's my problem -- I feel pretty uninhibited without drinking a thing. So I mostly don't drink, especially because it makes me do two things that I'm better off not doing -- kiss strangers and sing really loud. My friend Symon in the UK made me go to a pub and drink pints and pints of beer one time with him. I warned him not to. He wasn't a stranger, so I didn't kiss him, but I started singing and really couldn't stop until they nearly asked us to leave and then hung out a cab window singing at the top of my lungs, making an ungodly noise all through London in the middle of the night, until he had to practically sit on me to keep me away from the window. I was singing My Fair Lady -- every bloody word -- with my absolutely dreadful phony British accent. I know Sy was covering his ears because of my accent, not the decibel level.

Back From Church

Open your hymnals kids and sing out -- it's Greatest Hits Week at church. Joy To The World. O Come All Ye Faithful. Angels We Have Heard On High. Silent Night. Oldies and goodies. I prayed a lot today. So much to pray for. I prayed for you. I did. Don't you need it? I know you do. I prayed that you can step back and look at everything with a little more distance -- it always helps.

Pull a card -- try the Wheel of Fortune. When you step back you see yourself small and you see the big old world rolling around and around, the days go by, the weeks, the months, new seasons. Amazing that we're in the season of Christmas now. How did that happen? Fortuna in the Marseilles deck. It reminds us there are forces larger than ourselves. Stories come from our missteps, our faux pas, our human failings, from our mysterious passions.

I was an angel a year ago. Now I'm an angel again as we had our riotous rehearsal today after coffee hour at church. A rowdy crew of girl angels (ranging in ages from 4 to 46) wait at the back of the church and on queue, "Then suddenly a band of angels .." come ass over tea kettle, thundering herd of girl power up the aisles past pews, singing "Glor-or-or-or-or-ia In Eggs Shells See Day-O" I have a candy cane stuck on my back molar that one of the Brittney look-alike 14-year-old girls gave me right before we ran up, makes it hard to sing. Each girl is funny and zany and out of control and pretty and noisy and angelic. It's really fun to do something at church with a bunch of people NOT your age.

The jesus in the manger is a dirty old baby doll with a rubbery face and an open mouth that shouts out "FEED ME." Up on stage the angels (halo-less, wing-less) and the shepards, (most will wear old dish towels on their heads with rope headbands, but we're not in costume yet) stand around Mary and Joseph. What a strange story. They had a baby but he never got her pregnant. Hmmm. So it must be about something else. That miracles can happen. That love can happen. That in the darkest coldest winter night, a star can shine out and love can warm you. Not a bad story.

In the car coming back from church I'm singing stuff from choirs long past, "For Unto Us" from the Messiah and "Wassail Wassail, All Over The Town" and Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols and really feeling sad that my favorite person to sing harmony with, my sister Tracy, isn't there to sing with me. We're in a familial fall-out, not speaking to each other for some idiotic reason. Gotta fix that.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

This Weather Is Not Nice

It's just not easy to wear your furry red santa hat in this pummelling rain storm. Looks like someone upstairs is playing with the temperature dial and one second the rain is dumping, next some sharp, pointy, sleet thing is needling you, then chunky ice-snow balls visit your unhappy head, to be washed away my hammering rain again.

Please, guys, I moved here not too long ago from LA where they only had about 3 days of weather a year and every other day they clipped out of a sunny travel brochure and pasted up like a movie backdrop on the Hollywood Hills since nobody was noticing anyway. It's hard to get used to this stuff. And you need a pile of little costumes -- like rain boots and snow boots and crampons for your mountaineering boots -- like one of those Colorforms Miss Weather girls. I long for the good old days -- a Hawaiian shirt, jeans, flip-flops and sunglasses.

Flowers At Work

Got flowers at work the other day. I tell you, it's really hard to decide if the reason you flip for getting flowers is just how lovely they actually are or the unspoken satisfaction of seeing everyone else looking so damned jealous and wishing they were for them.

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Off to church for a rehearsal. Tomorrow night we do a big Christmas Carol Service. I'm a reader and I'll be singing along too. I can't wait to hear the brass quintet. No snow here, but lots of rain.

Some Mornings Just Need To Start With A Strong Cup of Andrew Sullivan

Don't miss what our favorite Republican blogger had to say about Trent Lott yesterday -- I did miss it and glad it's there today to catch up with.

Got My Santa Hat On

Can't talk myself out of wearing this great furry red santa hat with the white cuff. Got my Cindy-Lou Who from Whoville socks on -- red wool with fur at the cuffs too, but the fur around my ankles is minky brown. Seems the perfect holiday outfit. Tis the season and all that. Love my hat.

The Jinglebell Thigh High Stockings must be a big seller. Also love this puppy catching snowflakes too.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Under Where? Sub Ubi?

Was thinking about men's underwear ... pretty uninspiring. But don't miss The 12 Thongs of Christomas at this site.

Resist The Mall

You know you'll just get in a snit with some idiot sales clerk, in some insanely long line, buying some totally pointless pair of pj's for someone you really don't like and your winter coat will feel too heavy and sweaty and some kid will nearly knock you over outside of Abercrombie & Fitch and you'll be so sorry you bothered. Don't do it! Don't go! Get online! Get out the catalogues! Make some cocoa! Don't fall for it.

The Stingiest Man In Town

This is a TV special my dad worked on in the 50's and we listened to the album (a musical version of The Christmas Carol) every year at Christmas. I'm trying to see if I can get a recording. Wish me luck. It's a real sentimental favorite of mine.

What We All Want For Christmas

We would like to have someone love us. Someone who understands us and appreciates all we do. Someone who thinks we're really special and terrific and charming. Someone who sees the child in us -- that passionate, crazy, funny, curious, nutty, troublemaking kid, who's always up to something. That's all we want under the tree. Go check. Is it under your tree? If not, go find it. You deserve it. All wrapped up with a big red bow.

Hard One

On a cold morning, he's waking up slowly, feeling good, in a warm cozy room. He wants me to see it. He pulls back the sheets and says, "Look!" I've seen one before -- a hard penis in the early morning light.


But it's my 7-year-old son, so he wants an answer when he says, "what is it, Mom?"


Here we go. I'm telling him about "tickley feelings" and "perfectly normal" and "hoses" doing demonstrations with my forefinger -- up then down. Even at 7 years old, he's no dummy, we're perilously close to the "what do you do with it," and "what's it for" questions.

He turns and looks at me seriously, "Do you think SpongeBob is on or did I miss it?" Off to the bathroom and then to watch TV.
I'm saved. At least for today.

Good Weekend For Old Movies

I've been listening to My Fair Lady in my car on the way to work and it's pretty funny. I'll rent it this weekend. I really love these lyrics.

I'm an Ordinary Man

Well after all, Pickering,
I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance,
to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants...

An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
doing whatever he thinks is best, for him,
Well... just an ordinary man...

BUT, Let a woman in your life
and your serenity is through,
she'll redecorate your home,
from the cellar to the dome,
and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you...

Let a woman in your life,
and you're up against a wall,
make a plan and you will find,
that she has something else in mind,
and so rather than do either you do something else that neither likes at all

You want to talk of Keats and Milton, she only wants to talk of love,
You go to see a play or ballet, and spend it searching for her glove,
Let a woman in your life and you invite eternal strife,
Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands...
I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let
a woman in my life,

I'm a very gentle man, even tempered and good natured who you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein,
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would, let an insulting remark escape his lips
Very gentle man...

But, Let a woman in your life, and patience hasn't got a chance,
she will beg you for advice,
your reply will be concise, and she will listen very nicely,
and then go out and do exactly what she wants!!!

You are a man of grace and polish, who never spoke above a hush,
all at once you're using language that would make a sailor blush,
Let a woman in your life, and you're plunging in a knife,
Let the others of my sex, tie the knot around their necks,
I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition than to ever let a
woman in my life

I'm a quiet living man,
who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room,
who likes an atmosphere as restful as an undiscovered tomb,
A pensive man am I, of philosophical joys,
who likes to meditate, contemplate, far for humanities mad inhuman noise,
Quiet living man....

But, let a woman in your life, and your sabbatical is through,
in a line that never ends comes an army of her friends,
come to jabber and to chatter and to tell her what the matter is with YOU!,
she'll have a booming boisterous family,
who will descend on you en mass,
she'll have a large wagnarian mother, with a voice that shatters glass,
Let a woman in your life, Let a woman in your life, Let a woman in your life
I shall never let a woman in my life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Shellfish Shellfish Shellfish

So is working out in the morning selfish? It keeps happening. Instead of getting up at 4:30am to get an hour of exercise in before my son is up -- often by 5:30am or so -- I've been sleeping really late , all the way til 5:00am and then the end of my workout slams right into his 7-year-old, "Mom I'm hungry, Mom, I'm bored, Mom, let's play cards." It's hard enough to do abdominal crunches without an audience, but with a kid asking you to play Goldfish, or asking you if he can eat Goldfish and soda for breakfast, you can just get so frustrated you decided to give it up, or if you stick it out and keep exercising, you are treated to a variety of frightening noises in the kitchen all made to sound like he's sawing off one of his limbs and busy practicing his juggling by tossing ten frying pans in the air. Whoops, three just crashed to the ground.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Good View From The Scroll Lock Key

Great fun to be so close to the SuperNova conference without actually having to be there. I'm gonna run up to the lunch room, get a tuna sandwich and a Coke, get tiny, run down the wire to Palo Alto and take my seat on one of these bloggers Scroll Lock Keys to watch the show. Thanks for the coverage Dave, David, Dan and Doc!

Heart of Change, Change of Heart

I was going to write something simple, witty and perceptive, but now I don't recall what the heck it was, so here's something we're doing on Thursday -- an audio conference with John Kotter and Dan Cohen on Change. I guess we're all in the market for a change, eh?

Sunday, December 08, 2002

No Room At The Inn

In the center of my dining room table there is a Nativity Scene -- all the requisite figures of the birth of Jesus scene -- carved out of wood and hand painted. They are rough and simple wooden carvings from Poland I think. I like them a lot because they are so plain. My son helped me set them up on the table yesterday. We talked about all the figures -- angels, shepards, wisemen, etc. He likes to ask me all their names. They have lovely names I say, but "weird gifts" he tells me. Frankincense and myrrh are not on his Christmas list.

After this non-stop day where he seemed particularly hell bent on making a mess of my house, the figures have been joined by a small red Hot Wheels Corvette race car parked next to one of the sheep, a half-drunk bottle of blue Gatorade, standing quite close to Joseph and a stray piece of pepperoni from the pizza we ordered tonight within spitting distance of the baby Jesus. I don't know the significance of this gathering.

Ornamental

Close your eyes and think of an ornament from your parent's or grandparent's Christmas tree, or maybe a menorah from way back that you saw at your relative's many many Hanukahs ago. I can remember some really ugly weird ornaments my mom and dad saved from WWII when there was rationing and you couldn't get anything but these cheesy prehistoric plastic bulbs. I'll never forget those ornaments. But where did they go?

I will forget some of my ornaments from last year however, since I'm managed to misplace one of two boxes of my Christmas stuff. Ugh. I did not lose the nativity scene figures. I did not lose my very deep collection of Barbie ornaments (Silk Flame Barbie, Harley Davidson Barbie, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot on the NYC Subway Grate Barbie, 1960's Black and White Striped Maillot Barbie). I didn't lose my 7 odd Snoopy ornaments from Whitman's Sampler chocolate boxes. I did not lose our Scoobie Doo on his toboggan ornament. I did not lose my 1957 light blue convertible Chevy Bel Air with the Christmas tree and presents in the back ornament. I did not lose my Dunkin Donuts faux styrofoam cup ornament. I did not lose my Wiliams Sonoma silver frying pan, grater, whisk or knife, fork, spoon ornaments but they are all tarnished and need polishing. Problem is, I lost a lot of stuff and I can't remember what was in the box. Also, I don't think it's LOST lost, but merely hiding somewhere under some box.

The tree lists a bit to the right, but looks very cheery decked with lots of little white lights and all the ornaments I still have. It smells great and I can still do the thing I like to do best at Christmas, lie on my back under the edge of the tree, and like a car mechanic, slip my head up under the bottom of the tree, pretend I'm in a pine forest and look up at the lights and with any luck see my face all stretched and excited in the reflection of a red glass bulb.

Chaos Machine Officially Unplugged

Son of a Blog! Everyone's having babies it seems! Congratulations to the fathers in the waiting room -- Tom Matrullo and Gary Turner. Waiting's the worst part, isn't it!? Well, at least it's quiet.

I just got my chaos machine down to sleep and I wander my house picking up after him, wondering how one little force of nature can make so much mess in such a short time for goodness' sakes. He found a box from Halloween with a clown suit in it which meant he just had to peel off his pj's put on a clown bowtie, a big pair of sunglasses and I mean BIG and parade around the living room half dressed.

Very funny, but hey, what happened to bath, book, bed -- my usual routine with him around here! He's amazing. He was also making homemade Christmas Tree ornaments ... but that's another blog. I'd like to know why a seven-year-old thinks a Cambridge Parking Violation would make a great ornament? Whatever. It is finally ... Silent Night, Holy Night, Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Snowman

One of my favorite things during the holidays is to watch this tape (you can get a DVD too I think) non-stop and drink cocoa. Corny?! Oh, yes, very corny, but really a terrific film. It's based on the book, The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs and it's just a terrific thing.

First of all, it's a story -- a complicated, action-packed, detailed story -- told without words. It's quiet and soothing and very inspiring. It all about the adventures of a little boy and a snowman, who suddenly comes alive.

Raymond Briggs also wrote and illustrated the most touching book about growing up in England during the war and a wonderful remembrance of his parents called "Ethel and Ernest". I need to buy it. I nearly wept reading it at the library one day last year. It's amazing.

First Ski

Went skiing for the first time and OH MY ACHING EVERYTHING. And I'm in pretty good shape, yikes, what's it like if you haven't been working out?! Wow! It was really fun, but it was definately one of those "I just found one more muscle I didn't know I had" experiences.

Make A Joyful Noise

Okay, this is really a commercial for our church's big CAROL SINGING EVENING next week, Sunday at 7:00pm on December 15th. I'll be there, I'm reading but I'll also be singing. And if that's not enough to get you out of the house on a cold night, there will also be a brass quintet and get this ... my favorite, timpani!

Still not excited? How about seeing me dressed up like an angel -- yes, I'll be part of the Angels and the Shepards crew at our Christmas Eve Candlelight Intergenerational Nativity Tableau. In rehearsal today, the angels were taken to task for sounding more like a herd of elephants than a diaphanous crew of spirits. We'll have to work on that. I was an angel last year too, and my biggest concern was not setting me, my wings, my robe, my halo, or my hair on fire since we carry lit candles.

At Church We Pray

We're doing a brisk holiday business at church -- lots of folks to pray for. Kids in hockey accidents with broken necks, seniors bouncing in and out of rehab facilities and hospitals, people out of work, people losing parents, people who were in the pews next to us last year but not with us now.

In this holiday season, you can really start worrying about stupid stuff like whether to get your sister-in-law the red or the aubergine leather clutch purse, and then at church you hear about families with really sick kids. They are blessings for the rest of us. The clutch purse is a joke.

My church has a great holiday service at this happy time of year about sadness, to acknowledge that many of us are NOT feeling happy during the holidays. It's called The Longest Night to celebrate the darkest night of the year and pray for those who are having a hard time during these holidays. It helped me last year, especially since my dad was in the hospital then. Once again, we were all praying for Dave Winer's dad today who's getting better and better by the day. We love praying for folks like that -- the comeback kids.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Spilled Coke All Over Your Blouse

Scraping ice off the windshield at 6am this morning after working out -- digging out from the snow. Fantasizing about California. Beach Boys on the turntable. Might just throw a bikini on and start some indoor surfing. Love this song.
Sittin' in my car outside your house
'Member when you spilled coke all over your blouse

T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs
We've been having fun all summer long

All summer long you've been with me
I can't see enough of you
All summer long we've both been free
Won't be long til summer time is through
Summer time is through
Not for us now

Miniature golf and Hondas in the hills
When we rode the horse we got some thrills
Every now and then we hear our song
We've been having fun all summer long

Won't be long til summer time is through
Not for us now
Every now and then we hear our song
(Every now and then we hear our song)
We've been having fun all summer long

Don't Worry Baby

I guess I'm thinking of California again, jeez. It's easy to do with these icy, snowy Boston days. This is one of my favorite songs. The natural state of California boys' lust for cars and girls, ah, it's too good. "She makes me come alive and makes me wanna DRIVE!" I never understood it until I moved there and then I realized, "Cars aren't cars here, they're more like SKIN here. Your car is YOU."

This song goes even further ... perhaps it was a precursor to California's fascination with therapy. This boy is experiencing a lot of angst about his car ... nothing a little Paxil won't fix.

Well its been building up inside of me
For oh I don't know how long
I don't know why
But I keep thinking
Something's bound to go wrong

But she looks in my eyes
And makes me realize
And she says "Don't worry baby"
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Everything will turn out alright
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby

I guess I should've kept my mouth shut
When I started to brag about my car
But I can't back down now
I pushed the other guys too far
She makes me come alive
And makes me wanna drive

When she says "Don't worry baby"
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Everything will turn out alright
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby

She told me "Baby, when you race today
Just take along my love with you
And if you know how much I loved you
Baby nothing could go wrong with you"
Oh what she does to me
When she makes love to me

And she says "Don't worry baby"
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Everything will turn out alright
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby

Little Blue Scoop

Listening to Beach Boys on this snowy Boston day. My kid asked me to play "Little Blue Scoop" once when he was around 4 years old and we'd been listening to a lot of Endless Summer. I had no idea what the heck he was talking about ... it took a little syllable mumbling to figure it out ... oh yeah, My Little Deuce Coup.

Not So Secret Santa

Here's something I want for Christmas. A teapot. After going online to look at some -- there are a lot of fancy ones (which I can't stand) and not many simple ones. This is nice, but what would be just right is something like this.

Cool Balls

Okay, more secret santa presents I could really groove on. I want my own bowling ball, but not just any bowling ball, I want a one of these cool balls. I think the Taz bowling ball would be great but it will be tough matching the shoes. Maybe the faux fur ball would be easier going when it came to matching purse and shoes.

Overdosing on Glee Gum

I'm kinda chewing a lot of Tangerine Glee Gum today that I got at Target yesterday. It's good. I don't recommend it for breakfast but then, there are a lot of things I eat for breakfast I wouldn't recommend others eat for breakfast.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

The Name Is Bond ... Jane Bond

Talk about a must see. The new Bond film Babyface is incredible. After all the close encounters between the hero and his antagonist where we still, after 45 minutes, do not know the identity of his foe and Pierce and his evil arch enemy are rappelling down the side of a mountain and he snatches off the hood of his rival saying "Who ARE you?" to find out she's a woman AND that she's a babe -- well, it's pretty hot. And then, of course, she cuts his rope and he barely escapes being crushed but swan dives into a nearby river.

Even better, is this conversation between Moneypenny and James:

Moneypenny: [Hands James surveillance photos of the babe.] Just be careful, you don't know what you might get yourself into. I worry, you're in over your head.

Bond: Don't be foolish. You can see for yourself, she's young enough to be my daughter.

Moneypenny: (turning away, biting her lip, but then reconsidering, takes his wrist) James, she IS your daughter.
And you thought all that he and Moneypenny were doing in the back room was hanging up his coat and checking to see if his revolver were loaded.

Out-of-Pocket

Sorry I dropped that "Girlism" bomb and then disappeared, but I was out-of-pocket and didn't get a chance to thank all the bloggers who posted energetic and thoughtful responses -- much more thoughtful than my original post -- like Shelley (aka BurningBird) Powers, Denise Howells, Donna Wentworth, Shiela Lennon, Liz (aka mamamusings) Lane Lawley, Elaine Kalilily, Jeneane Sessums, Jen Balderama, AKMA, David Weinberger, Doc Searls, Dave Winer, Gary Turner, Mike Golby, Jonathon Delacour, Tom Matrullo and Marek who adds fuel to the flame today. Thanks again. You've forced me to rethink the whole thing and more soon. But where was I ... ah, that's a mystery.

[I'll be updating and adding links to all the bloggers who were jumping on my Girlism post -- if I left you out, tell me, I'll be updating this post all day.]

Abducted By Aliens Again?

Yes, I've been away for a few days, but contrary to some blogger's suggestions -- I wasn't abducted by aliens. I mean I don't think so. Maybe I was. They sure made me drink a lot of green kool-aid in that larger-than-life flying Apple Airport WiFi Hub.

Chutes & Ladders

Where've I been? Not to London to visit the Queen. But in a really emotional, wrenching, restorative three-day seminar on Relational Recovery with Terrence Real. Here's his site. Get his books. They are quite something.

Ever play that game, Chutes & Ladders, as a kid? I did. I thought I was so good at it, always climbing up the ladders like a little smarty-pants. Well, this seminar made me look hard at some hard stuff and it was one extremely helpful but excruciatingly painful CHUTE. I land on my ass, questioning all sorts of stupid, selfish, egotistical, idiotic things I've done in my life. Thanks, Terry.

Boyism Rears It's Ugly Head

Don't miss Rageboy's exploration of Boyism. It think it's all about driving fancy cars through the snow. Ah, looks like fun. I think I have Porsche-envy.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Girlism Revisited

I wrote a blog post a week or so ago "What Ever Happened To Feminism?" about the end of Feminism and the beginning of Girlism. It created a bit of a stir, but that wasn't my intention. I'll be writing more about it over the next few days.

I also posted a comment by Cybill Shepard from More Magazine about how she screens new guys she wants to date. She used to ask how they felt about abortion (classic Feminist issue) and now she asks how often they mastrubate (classic Girlist issue). I posted it as an example of this new trend I'm seeing.

Girlism is about owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like -- sex. And it's something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms. Women don't need men to define female sexuality. We need to define it ourselves and we need to own it and then teach men how it is. It's beyond Feminism.

Feminism talked about women owning their sexuality in a lesbian context only which was cool, but created no context within which heterosexual women could own their sexuality and enjoy it with heterosexual men. That's what's changing. That's what Cybill's remark suggests. Will anyone really argue with me that the feminist version of female sexuality wasn't strident and unattractive? Girlism is about being sexy and attractive AND liberated. Some men have picked up on my Cybill Shepard post.

Jeneane and Elaine Rock

Sorry I missed some blogging time over the holidays, but I wanted to just say one more big "congratulations!" to Jeneane and Elaine for their piece in The New York Times featuring Blogsisters. Way cool.

Connecting Men and Women

I'll be in class for the next few days with Terry Real, the author of I Don't Want To Talk About It and How Can I Get Through To You?. Should be interesting. Check this out, a quotation from the latter book.
So go love's small murders, tiny everyday escalations of injury, reacted to by disconnection, causing more injury, until one fast-forwards to a couple whose initial passion has become so 'encrusted' with disappointment that they barely function as a couple anymore.

He believes there's a way to come back from this. I have to wonder why we treat each other so poorly in relationships. I'm glad he's optimistic that you can learn how to fix things. You can learn the tools that help you NOT commit "love's small murders" and create a way of being honest and whole and loving with another person.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

8 Mile -- Eminem in Angela's Ashes

I like Eminem. I like his music. I like the way he looks in this movie -- a lot like the Virgin Mary. There's something about his knit cap with the hood covering it that looks as holy as a wimple. His face is angelic in certain shots in this movie. But I didn't like the movie all that much. 8 Mile's plot which felt like a mixture of West Side Story and Angela's Ashes at times, has an around-and-around-and-around hopelessness to it I didn't like. It's an artistic question -- if you want to write a poem about boredom, do you write a boring poem. If you want to write about poverty, do you write a poor narrative structure?

And my biggest gripe ... hello!!!??!! ... was how little MUSIC OR RAP was in the thing. That surprised me and I can't figure how that happened, but even the title song was jammed in at the end of the movie, playing as the credits rolled.

One thing is for sure, Eminem the performer is ready for a much bigger movie. I think he's really good and he needs to be in something else -- a movie where he gets to do more than drive a broken-down car up and down the boulevard.

Volare umm umm ... Solaris ho hum


And Death Shall Have No Dominion.

Well, if you ever wondered what that ominous phrase meant and you thought it meant even when you lose a loved one, they can jump the barrier from death back into your world, and maybe even grab your ass, then Solaris may be the movie for you.

Something very strange is going down on the space station orbiting Solaris and when psychiatrist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) gets a call from his friend to get up there and save the day, it's pretty eerie. Especially the comment that no one can understand what's going on better than George. Later we find out the unhappy back story of our shrink turned hero.

That he is the perfect man for the job in fact, may have something to do with George Clooney's good-looking ass, which seemed to be the lynch pin of the marketing campaign for this movie. Apparently, if you have a good ass, you can unravel the riddles of outer space.

Despite his cute ass (and it's only cuter because it's a vintage over-40-year-old ass -- hurray, a movie with grown-ups having sex -- I didn't know they were allowed to do that! -- I thought sex was something only for 17-year-olds), we realize George is in way deeper than he expected -- hell, he's up to his ass in intergalactic alligators, so to speak.

What he finds on the Solaris space station is a bunch of dead crew members and two very wigged out survivors who are being visited by their dearly departed -- in their own minds -- but have life-like replicas of healthy-looking, but truly dead friends, hanging out with them like annoying party guests you can't make go home. Unnerving to say the least. You could say this movie is about a problem in inner space, not outer space. Our hero, Dr. Kelvin, does his boy scout's best to help save the day. He IS the hero. That's what a hero is supposed to do in a story, right?

He can't figure out why the two remaining crew members are so flipped out until his dead wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone), a true mega-babe, visits him in his silvery mylar space station bed late one night. Our hero semi-freaks but quickly pulls himself together and puts her in a pod and launches her into space. (Peter peter pumpkin eater/ had a wife and couldn't keep her ...) We're glad to see he's got his wits about him.

Just when you thought it was safe, this mega-babe, actually another replica of the dead one and the podded one, is back. And this is where the movie falls apart for me. Replica-babe Numero Uno didn't take him down, but Number Two does. And to lose your hero so early on in a movie really derailed the plot for me. George! George! Pull up your pants. Cover your ass! Get with the program! Maybe they didn't need another hero in Thunderdome, but this movie needs one.

All honest men will swear to you that the hottest babes are those they can't have, so what could be a bigger turn-on than a babe who's really in the "can't have" department -- I mean the departed department.

George: Are we alive or dead?
Wife: We don't have to talk like that anymore.


Talk about flirting ... watch out George, sex with a person who might be dead or alive sounds like very UNSAFE sex. So now his dear departed babe wife, who ends up having been a lot more than a little crazy on Earth and actually committed suicide, drags him though a hellish inner space odyssey, reliving their not-so-happy conjugal life together.

The movie veered off course for me here and made me long for a little extraterrestrial marriage counselling. I prayed Dr. Phil might appear and take George for a short walk on a long silver space ramp and clue him in, "this dead suicidal wife thing, how's it working for you, man?"

Finally, the only person on board who knows her ass from nine dollars, the level-headed African American Doctor Gordon (Viola Davis) who is annoying referred to in the movie as "Gordon" which can get a little confusing when all these male replica deadheads are wandering around the space station, zaps George's "ex" with a zombie zapper and destroys her, thereby saving the day.

But there's the problem. All the women have taken over. What happened to our hero George? You just don't want the hero changing horses or bodies or sexes midstream in any story. The rest of the movie unravels from there, when you can't even tell if George (that is, the REAL George) gets back to Earth and resumes a "normal" life. It
looks as if that's happened, but it's not clear.

That people like Stephen Soderbergh want to make movies about death is reasonable in our time, especially with baby boomers facing their parents' and their own deaths and it is certainly a worthy theme. But it's like handling dynamite -- you better be a trained professional if you're going to mess with such a big subject. Shelacking it with a coating of silver outer space paint, just doesn't do it for me. This movie actually could have been called "Paramus" and taken place on earth or at the mall. Imagine shopping and having your dead wife telling you which store to go into and then she beams up to Macy's men's store even before you arrive. It didn't seem to matter than the movie took place in outer space as it tried to ponder the big questions -- where DO we go when we die, what IS it like, can we still have sex there? And truth be told, Dr. Chris Kelvin, yes, George Cluney, comes off as a bit of an ass, being led around by his dead wife.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Movies

Off to the Bijou. Can't resist. Big popcorn with lots of greasy butter please, big Coke, maybe go all the way and get some Raisinets. It's good movie weather, with a freezing cold night, always good to be inside. Just like those way-too-hot August afternoons -- off to the movies we go.

One Thanksgiving

One Thanksgiving I got sent away from the table for being a “smartmouth” as my dad said. My brother was doing grace and I was just in a giggly mood. It was one of those, “Thank you Father for all your gifts seen and unseen, heard and unheard, spoken and unspoken, …” on and on and on. I don’t remember what I said, but next thing I knew I was spending the meal in the TV room, with no dinner. Whoops.

Another Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving I made the idiotic mistake of buying a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise in a grungy little deli in Grand Central Station on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was starving and we were going to take the train from Grand Central to Greenwich, Connecticut (we often got out at the seedy Port Chester station which was closer to our side of Greenwich) and I figured I just had to eat or I would be too ravenous by the time I got up to my parent’s house.

Can you spell s-a-l-m-o-n-e-l-l-a? The mayonnaise was bad on the sandwich is all I could figure. I was so sick, my mom said I looked green. I spent most of the Thanksgiving holiday vomiting and taking a medicine they gave me to stop me from vomiting, which, of course, I instantly vomited up. That was the big slimfast Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving That Never Was

Have you noticed that this late-in-the-month Thanksgiving has been pretty much squeezed off the calendar and the store shelves by Christmas and Hanukah? I’ve seen Christmas gifts and Christmas cards and Christmas decorations being pushed in the malls for the last two weeks. And what the heck’s with Hanukah, starting one day after Thanksgiving!? Yikes! Like what’s the rush? And then, don’t look now but Christmas is already over. I heard “Aude Lang Syne” on the PA system in a drug store the other day and thought, “Holy Ramadan, Batman, is this a new terrorist plot? Are the evil doers speeding up time and trying to confuse the heck out of all of us?” We’ll be saying “Erin Go Braless” and wearing of the green by next week if this keeps up.

River Horse

Last night, on the spur of the moment, I took my 7-year-old and his friend swimming at the health club pool and we were literally horsing around having so much fun. I was a river horse and they jumped on my back and I would gallop and sway and splash from side to side and they would yell, “Giddy up” and snap my bathing suit straps like a whip and I would snort, stop short and they’d go ass over tincup into the water on their heads. We also played surfer dude, where I’d descend to the floor of the pool, stretch out like a surf board, let them stand on me like they were surfing, until I can barely breathe and I’m almost drowning, then slowing, the board (that’s me) comes alive and I get up and toss them off again – on their heads.

I have been criticized by real grown-ups for having too much fun. Some see me as hedonistic, self-indulgent, immature, puerile and even irresponsible. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

M is for More

There’s a new magazine called “More”. You may be thinking of Dicken’s Oliver, holding up his begging bowl, “Please sir, may I have some more?” No, that’s not the idea. It’s for women age 40 and over. More. Maybe they have more to offer? Maybe they expect more? You figure it out.

They ran a interview with Cybill Shepard that was really something. She’s 53 and looks pretty terrific. They asked her how she screens the new men she meets. “People introduce me. It’s interesting trying to screen your dates over the phone. The first thing I said used to be, “Are you pro-choice?” If they said, “What do you mean by that?” I would say, “You know, I think this is not going to work.”

Then they asked her what she asks men now? “I ask if they’ve ever masturbated in front of someone. Not in the first conversation, though! If they say no, I ask how often they masturbate. If that say, “I’d rather have somebody else do it,” that’s a bad sign … Next!”

Pieman


Yesterday at work, we were given pies. Not my favorites like Boston Cream Pie or Strawberry Rhubarb or Coconut Custard. No, these were the seasonal pies – Pumpkin, Pecan and the pie of all seasons, Apple. And it was a nice thing to have a big white pie box to carry out instead of the usual stack of books, papers, manuscripts we drag home most evenings.

We had to wait in line to get these pies. In the queue which was fairly long, I was lucky to be instructed my someone wise in the ways of pies, who pointed out that all pies have a certain appropriate season. One must not be caught dead eating Cherry Pie at a random time, but it is best digested around President’s Day, when that president cut down the cherry tree and all. And of course, a peach pie just shouts late August. I could feel my skin slightly sunburned as he mentioned that obvious fact. I had to agree.

Driving home, with my pecan pie keeping me company in the passenger seat, I was thinking of a pie recipe I read once that seemed so totally depressing, I hope I never get to taste one. It was an Amish Funeral Pie, made of raisins and some spices. They had even bothered to print a photograph of it. It looked dreadful. A dark grey pie. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

I'll Stand By You.

[This was originally posted on 4.19.02. This is about my dad's death on April 9, 2002. It's for Dave. So glad he isn't facing this and his father is recovering. We'll all keep praying.]

Can I talk about this? It's a little grizzly, a little scary. Turn back now if you like. It's about what happened when my dad died last Tuesday morning (4.9.02).

Over the weekend, he had been very ill in the ICU with an infection — sepsis — which is a poisoning of the blood. It's rough. Very hard to come back from. Dire.

It makes your body shake and shiver. So my very tall, once very athletic, handsome dad, looked like a very skinny shivering rabbit, his frail paws clutching the sheets, tubes and needles and IV's and lines jammed into him everywhere. The nurses and the doctors were doing everything they could, but my dad looked more like their science experiment than a person. It was a heartbreaker.

We were there many hours, as time would melt and pool, sometimes flying by, sometimes leaden, always sad and surreal. By early Monday morning, we'd summoned all the siblings who lived out of town to make sure they could get there if they wanted to see him one last time. The doctors were still trying to keep him going, but he wasn't responding to 4 days worth of their efforts with antibiotics and everything else they could come up with. His blood pressure was something dreadful like 60/40, a number I'd never seen.

My dad, now 83, had never wanted to be on life support and we had it in writing from a time in his 70's when he was sharp as a tack. He had a "Do Not Resuscitate" order on his chart. Still, we thought we would have to tell the doctors to just give it up and let him go.

It was wrenching. It was like being forced to kill someone. My sister and I were prepared to tell the doctors Monday morning, but in fact, the doctors told us they thought there really was no hope and had we considered "comfort care" — which means letting him die naturally. They did us a favor by suggesting it and supporting our decision to do that. They let us off the hook. You can't make a decision like that without thinking, did I let him go or did I kill him?

By noon, all my family had decided together in a dingy little waiting room, decorated with someone else's lung xrays, that we should let him go. They remove all the tubes, IV's, catheters, everything. At last, he was free of all the apparatus. They gave him more than enough morphine to be very comfortable.

It was a little like inducing labor for a pregnant woman. You know what will happen, you just don't know WHEN. But as joyous as the birth of a baby can be, this waiting turned us all to stone, but we knew we had to stick by him.

We all stayed until late, but finally I was just too exhausted, so I went home around 6:00pm to take care of my son and husband. I felt like a rat doing it, but I knew I had to.

I actually slept that night — not well, but better than I expected to. I woke like a shot at 4:45am Tuesday morning. I got dressed, out the door and to the hospital by 5:45am. Per usual procedure, I had to call into the ICU to get permission to see him, but ask first if he'd made it through the night. The nurse said he'd made it through the night comfortably, whatever the hell that meant.

I went in. I was the only one there with him. He was breathing with difficulty, sucking each breathe, as if his last — which of course they were. I talked to him, held his hand, prayed. The nurse saw him stir and told me he knew I was there. At about 6:30am, his breathing slowed, and since I'd been with my mom when she died, I knew what was coming. I was just quiet with him. I told him mom really missed him, it was all right to go.

Do you wonder if there is a soul? I don't. You can feel it fly out of the room. I did with my mom. And I did with my dad. It's beyond religious. It's primal and basic. It's a lively vital force of nature that has gone out of the body it once animated. I knew when he went. I was happy for him.

The young nurse came in in a bit of a fluster. She seemed to require scientific proof. I said, "It's okay, I know he's gone." She rushed out and got a stethoscope to check his heart. I thought she was so stupid, anyone could see he was gone. It's as if we are hardwired to see death, know it and then turn away from it — tend to the babies and children with their great silly liveliness.

She nodded yes and said, "I'll get the doctor." I sat down in a chair like a lump. I was alone with him. Why me, Dad? Why was I the only one there? I suppose it was an honor, perhaps I could handle it best? I don't know. I sat quietly until the doctor came. He was kind. I was crying. He asked me to step out in the waiting room while they tended to my dad — "tended to the body", no, they didn't say that, thank goodness. A nurse let me use the phone to call my husband who was getting my son ready for school and then, I called my sisters.

In the waiting room, there was a funeral on CNN, by satellite from London, the Queen Mother had died. It was great to hear them talk about how much fun she'd had, how she loved to dance — very similar to my Dad. It was a wonderful thing to watch. I watched it for an hour, glued to it, me and Christiane Amanpour, watching the lovely hearse. I was waiting for my other sisters and their husbands to come over to the hospital. They arrived and I was glad not be alone anymore.

Thankfully

Feel so thankful for so much today. I'm especially thankful to all my friends, especially bloggers, many of whom I barely knew a year ago -- that alone seems impossible.

In church this Sunday we sang this hymn which I love:

We plow the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,
But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.

I like to know God has a hand in what happens in our lives. I like to yield to God. I like to let God be in control, acknowledge that I am not.

I hope to drive down to Plymouth Rock on Friday with my son. It's not far from where I live. I can't imagine being a Pilgrim mom with her child, arriving on terra firma after a voyage like that, to a BRAND NEW WORLD and all the guts that took.

Speaking of Pilgrims, I'm very thankful my church, Pilgrim UCC Church, passed a resolution this weekend that we are an "Open and Affirming" church. Some of the congregation found this hard to understand -- why we need to let gay and lesbian Christians know they are safe and welcome with us -- in writing. It brought on quite a big debate. I'm so thankful for everyone feeling free to voice their opinions. Amazing to think the original Pilgrims left England because their religious freedom was threatened. They risked life and limb for that.

RSS Help

Can anyone help me out with an RSS error ? A reader named Siegfried has just emailed me about it.
Just tried to look at your rss-file and I got the error: Line 33, Column 947 with IE6 sp1
Drop me an email if you can give me a clue.

Monday, November 25, 2002

What's A Weblog?

Every few months it seems like all bloggers are called upon to answer the big existential question, "What's A Weblog?" Whether it's over a light dinner of Beef Wellington for 24 in the formal dining room after riding to hounds in my friend's weekend house two hours out of London, at 14th and 2nd waiting for the bus by the New York Eye and Ear Institute, at The Body Shop at the Denver International Airport in front of the Oceanus shower gel or simply on Sand Hill Road driving too fast in a Lexus SUV sucking down Jack-In-The-Box Cappacino shakes and tacos, or eating a pita at a lunch joint in Georgetown, the question keeps coming up. What's A Weblog? I'll try to answer it. Here goes:

1. A weblog (or blog) is a daily online diary on the Net where you write and publish at the near-same moment to a few million of your closest friends, except only about 20 people actually read what you write. Each entry is called a "post" and the person writing a weblog (or "blog") is called a "weblogger" or "blogger."

2. A blog is a love letter, scribbled on three-hole paper and scrunched up all sweaty in your hand that you try to pass to the cutest looking guy in class and he drops it and walks on it and then your friend goes to retrieve it and bring it back to you, unread while you die a thousand deaths.

3. A blog is a new medium as new and weird as the novel was a few hundred years ago. It's a medium that has embedded news, non-fiction narrative, fiction, poetry, graphics, music and most importantly hyperlinks to all other media which gives it its quintessential differentiating characteristic -- it can NOT exist outside of the web. It's a purely networked form. Writers love it because (oh shit, shall I spill the beans, it's EXACTLY how they think and experience the world. Scary, eh?) Talk about baggy monsters.

4. It's telepathic training wheels -- that is, it's a very early stage on the way to the REALLY big next big thing -- brain-to-brain telepathic transfer. Bye bye telephone, bye bye writing, bye bye fortune cookies, bye bye every other way you used to communicate. Blogs open up people's minds, you travel the road with them, see it all through their eyes. It's all we've got now, but soon enough we'll all be in bed with each other, embeded with each other I mean.

5. Blogs are embarrassingly textual and visual now, but will soon be audio/video. Don't hold it against them. They're trying to get there asap. You will hear them talking soon. Yes, that A/V guy who was a putz in 8th grade will be king. Just get used to it.

6. Blogs are one of the last places where you can still tell the truth.

7. Blogs are one the first places where women are finally telling the truth.

8. A weblog is good way to make friends, visit friends, love people and not leave your house.

9. A weblog is my head, open to you, day and night, at your convenience. Come on in. Please take your shoes off at the door, I hate having to vacuum after you leave.

10. A weblog is watching brains at work, especially watching brains with the ultimate prosthetic device -- everyone else's brain and the whole net connected. Weblogs let you watch people learning at lightning speed. Awesome to witness.

[Bloggers I forgot to link -- forgive me! I could link about 50 more brilliant folks but running out of room and time. You KNOW who you are.]

Come, Come, Come

I'm listening to Donna Summer singing a pretty racy disco classic and thinking, where have I heard this before and it escapes me. She is saying that "come" word a lot, and saying it in a pretty explicit sexy way. And I'm thinking, hell, isn't this a cover of someone else's song? Man, who the hell wrote this? (It's almost as overt as "Love To Love You Baby," where this good girl gospel god-loving gorgeous woman gave us the closest thing to an actual audio orgasm recorded to date. Hell, you can practically hear the pillow-jamming, toe-curling, head and hair-tossing, mascara-smearing moment of truth.

But that song ... I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but then it comes to me in a flash ... It's called "Could It Be Magic" Yikes, it's Barry Oh-So-Unsexy-To-Me Manilow!! But he sure can write a song, I'll say that much. Now I know what those matrons on tour buses to Vegas were getting so excited about. Oh, Barry, "Lady, take me high upon a hillside. High up where the stallion meets the sun." Oh, yeah.

"Spirit move me every time I'm near you
Whirling like a cyclone in my mind
Sweet Melissa, angel of my lifetime
Answer to all answers I can find

Baby, I love you, come, come, come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, now, and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?

Lady, take me high upon a hillside
High up where the stallion meets the sun
I could love you, build my world around you
Never leave you till my life is done

Baby, I love you, come, come, come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
And baby, I want you now, now, oh, now, oh now and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?

Could it be magic?
Come, c'mon, c'mon, come oh-oh come into my arms
Oh, let me know the wonder of all of you, all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, oh now, oh now and hold on fast
Oh, could this be the magic at last?
Could it be magic?

Come, c'mon, c'mon, come oh-oh come into my arms
Oh, let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, oh now, oh now and hold on fast
Oh, could this be the magic at last?
Could it be magic?

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Something going on over at Rageboy. He's behind the wheel. That alone is terrifying. Okay, where will we go? And love? A girl uses her imagination. You know what they say, "A woman out walking is a woman walking easy."

Friday, November 22, 2002

What Ever Happened To Feminism?

I'm having lunch with four really bright guys at work and one says, apropos of the Victoria's Secret Lingerie Show on CBS the night before, "What Ever Happened To Feminism?" And I say, "It's over," and then I say, "and you guys are in big big trouble."

This brings the appetizer munching to a slow halt. I start to explain. We entered the work force in the 70's in those ridiculous women's suits with bowties. We wanted a level playing field. We wanted to play fair. We wanted the same opportunities and privileges men got. We won a few of those, but mostly we lost and we weren't taken seriously. We cried "foul" with sexual harrassment in the 80's and 90's and then the game changed completely. We went back to basics. We found our old power -- girl power -- and we added that to what we'd learned from men. So now we knew how to be professional but we also remembered how to be subversive, subversively female, subversively feminine.

"There is no more feminism," I explain. Game Over. But it took me a day or two to name the new game. It's "girlism" -- women want to be sexy girls and use all the tricks girls use. Crying, flirting, begging, winking, stomping their feet when they don't get their way, general trotting around showing off their long legs and whatever else they decide to show off thereby distracting and derailing men.

It's about power -- girl power we've always had but forgot about combined with all the stuff we've learned in the workplace. Needless to say, if you're a man and you call us on it, we deny it. The new double double standard. We learned how to stop playing fair.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Hospital Visit

Thinking of my dad again -- the holidays must be bringing it on, Thanksgiving's a week away and this is the first without my dad -- this is from last March, he passed away in early April. It's about how hard it was to visit him some days.

March 13, 2002 -- I go to see my 83-year-old dad in the nursing home. You never know what to expect. Your heart falls when you look in his room and see an empty bed, you figure the worst has happened, but he's down the hall in a wheelchair, with a nurse fussing over him. Visit for a half hour, neither of us can take too much more. Say hi/bye to many seniors I know by name now, as I make my way towards the exit door. I type in the code -- the door is locked because the Alzheimers patients are a tricky crew. Later I write to a friend about it.


Also, just back from visiting my dad and I need to think/reflect on it. The most frightening moment is entering the room, not sure what you'll find. It's an emotional bungy jump, and always semi-terrifies me
> --
> but of course, it's always okay, once I see him and start to comfort him.
> Today, my dad was tightly grasping the corner of his blankie, sucking on it like an infant. With dementia and slurred speech (dentures out) and fatigue, it's hard to get any coherent words from him. I think he was scared, sad, cold. I wrapped him in two fuzzy polartec blankets, one grey, one burgundy, I bought him at Target and hugged him. He was beaming when I left.

I feel sad when I come home. Pick up a magazine, new Fast Company, see David Weinberger's office — if it is his actual office — think, "David, your office is a mess." Look at my home office. Start laughing — it's ten times worse. Decide to clean up my office. Change out of "tough mom" blue jeans and black cashmere sweater into exercise clothes. Make a cup of Twinings Earl Grey tea.

Really clean my office. Stem to stern. Vacuum. Feeling much better. Find my dictionary — wondered where it went. Check email to see if I've gotten a YES from a company I've pitched a project to — nothing. Worry about getting some real live paying work soon. Decide to stop worrying. Thank God my husband's working. Read, write, blog, read other's blogs, read web news, do email. Think about exercising. Go out to see if the mail's come. It hasn't.

Read, write, blog, do email. Make Progresso Chickarina soup for lunch. Eat Manischewitz Savory Garlic Matzos and drink more Twinings Earl Grey tea, read The New York Times. Cheering up considerably with a clean office and good lunch. Pay some bills, mail them.

Read, write, blog, get an email from a friend I haven't seen since junior high school! What a treat! Do laundry. Answer more email. Don't exercise. Feel happy to be home. Feel like I have a perfectly wonderful life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Really Big Show -- Victoria's Secret on CBS Tonight

So we've come to the point where this is considered editorial content. Serves us right for using the degrading and perverse term "content" anyway. Still, don't miss it. And of course, it's best watched sans vetements.

Die Another Day Coolerific Effects by Framestore

Framestore in the UK is the group behind all the cool effects in the new Bond film. Check it out.

Doc Suffering From Eating Disorder Known As Blogeremia

Holy Heck! You're wasting away Doc! Blogeremia has now been identified as a serious eating disorder where one vomits so many words on their blog, that they can lose as much as 25 pounds within a very short time. .

2nd Avenue Deli Menu Online

I'll take the Matzoh Ball Soup and I'm crazy for Kasha Varnishkas. Or as the lady in When Harry Met Sally said, "I'll have what SHE's having."

Just In The Nick Of Time


I see my folks, they're getting old, I watch their bodies change...
I know they see the same in me, And it makes us both feel strange...
No matter how you tell yourself, It's what we all go through...
Those eyes are pretty hard to take when they're staring' back at you.
Scared you'll run out of time.

When did the choices get so hard?
With so much more at stake.
Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
Hummmm...Scared you'll run out of time.

-- Bonnie Raitt


Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Halley's Comet Is A Big Black Opal

Boy, I could use one of those around here as a blog mascot. And cheap at twice the price, eh?! I'll buy two.

The Elite Meet Greet Eat

Michael Wolff of New York Magazine gives us the skinny on an elite conference for media moguls in NYC. "There were seven or eight tables, each with six men and one woman, with everyone served a very big piece of meat."

Going Steady For 40 Years?

I'm awfully worried about Ken. He's been going steady with Barbie for 40 years and I'm not at all sure he's getting it. Can't he close the deal after 40 years? Don't miss his Timeline.

With some of these outfits I can see why Barbie wasn't coming around. I mean check out his totally pathetic look from 1962 on the Ken Timeline. He's "Ken With Painted Hair." Not too sexy. And then there's Ken with Bendable Legs in 1965, I guess that's an improvement. But Ken A Go-Go with the Beatles wig in 1966 is pretty pathetic. I won't even talk about "Now Look Ken" in the 1976 -- watchout Rageboy!

Home Sweet Home

I mean, work sweet work. I was trying to give someone directions to where I work and it's not so easy. Here's a link and a map. During the Civil War these buildings were the arsenal for the army.

Having recently moved from California to the Northeast, I can never get over how much brick construction there is here. I still look at buildings with a earthquaker's eye -- brick would be rubble in about 5 seconds in California -- you just don't see a lot of it out there, it's a joke when it comes to the Richter scale.

Dutch Help Please

A client just wrote this to me "mar als je Nederlands praten wordt het niet so netjes" and I have no clue what it means. It sounds like something good to eat. Please send words to me (halleys@yahoo.com). Je parle francais mais je pige que dalle quand il s'agit de ... Dutch.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Choco Choco Chocolate

Oh boy oh boy. Can I live here in Cadbury's Chocolate Kingdom?. Check out the Chocolate Delights recipes.

Something Sad

I was thinking of my dad today. I wrote this in April about a week before he passed away. It feels more like 1000 years ago now and about 5 seconds ago. Go figure.

DNR -- It means "Do Not Resuscitate". They have it on my dad's hospital chart — in big letters. It was something he requested years ago, long before he was so ill. They ambulanced him fast yesterday out of the nursing home, with a serious infection, high fever and 70/40 blood pressure into the hospital's intensive care unit.

My sisters and I noticed the waiting area on the ICU floor is not very welcoming. People don't stay there for long, we figure. The other waiting rooms we'd been in over the past few months were bigger, more comfortable, decorated for extended stays, adorned with thicker magazines, a box of toys for toddlers in the corner of the room.

His heart went into arrhythmia, they gave him a drug to stablize him, almost needed to try the paddles. His head looked dead, with no blood pressure to bring oxygen up there, he had the pallor of the pages of a brand new coloring book.

We stand by his bedside, but you can't connect with him — he's got an oxygen mask on, other tubes going here and there. DNR means no ventilator to breathe if he might need that. It means let him go.

Outside the ICU in the un-waiting room, I pray and I ask God if it's allright to want him to find a way OUT of here. Surely, it's time. He is wasting away and at 83 is so tired. Is it a bad thing to pray for — someone's death?

I think of all the people who have sat in this chair, in this place and all the prayers spilled all over the waiting area, I'm knee deep in them. A ticker tape parade of prayers — most begging their loved ones will recover. I can pick them up and read them, love letters all — mothers praying for young children to bring them back to life, back to their arms to cradle, lovers praying for their fiances to come back to them, to make it through surgery so they can marry and grow old, siblings praying for younger siblings to make it through a frightening illness. And I pray too. God, take my dad gently, show him the way.


Barbie's A Bond Girl

What is she moonlighting as a Bond Girl, getting gigs on the side? Hmm. She hardly compares to the lovely Pussy Galore or the more intellectual Dr. Holly Goodhead?

Gone Fishing

Boy, I'd love to go off to Halley's Camps up in Halley Country for some fishing. Check this out. Yes, nothing beats Halley's One Man Lake Lodge.

Gary Turner About That Hat

Hey, Gary, listen man -- that picture of that scary guy in that hat on your site is too spooky, get rid of it. And BTW, I see you had the nerve to climb up Rageboy's blogroll and usurp my exclusive top of the heap position. What gives man? You pushy agressive Brits are all alike, always cutting in front of shy, retiring American girls like me. I mean cutting "the queue" or whatever the heck you call it. You better make restitution. That means giving me top slot on your blogroll, or talking 3 other guys into giving it to me.

Harvard's Digital ID Conference Coverage

Donna Wentworth over at Corante did great coverage of the conference and also don't miss this. My coverage below is at best spotty and selective and full of Halley's Comment editorial bias, needless to say.

I Am A Pirate King

When I'm not listening to Eminem and Hailie's Song (not Halley's Song as many people keep calling it) I'm grooving on Pirates of Penzance lately. It's really fine. I have a tape of the Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Klein Broadway version.
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I'll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Caribbean Blue Waters

I'm headed for the blue pool to swim, won't let that grey weather get me down. No way. Did you know what it looks like here? Well, keep reading. I'm resisting the slide into a big late autumn funk. Snap the strap on my Speedo and dive, dive, dive.

Dreary, Drizzly, Dreadful Day

But the perfect day for staying inside, getting cozy, reading or watching dumb old movies, drinking tea or coffee ... hell, I might go really crazy and actually pull out the Hoover and do some vacuuming. Wow-di-wow.

No question we have some seriously Novemberish weather happening here -- even snow last night. Colors featured include grey, gray, greyish gray, grayish grey, slate, ardoise, gunmetal, birchbark, charcoal and black.

Harvard Wrap-up

Still ruminating on the full day of Harvard's Digital ID conference yesterday. I'll fill in more soon, but here a few subjects I want to write about. Also, there's killer detailed blog coverage elsewhere. I'll find the links and add them.

Brand Panel The branding guys were good. Jeffrey Rayport calling Harvard a big amusement park for smart people (this is a dreadful misquote, but he was going so fast, it's hard to catch the exact words.) was incredibly spot on. The issues of prestige and excellence and reputation continued to rear their not-so-ugly heads. Without trying to be too snobby, there is something extremely precious about having some of the world's best teachers and students all in the same place. We all tried to pin down that ineffable quality of inspired classroom activity that can't be made digital and stuffed down an ethernet cable. Something happens in the room that distance learning just can't do.

Underground World of HLS Big thanks to John Palfrey who showed me a way to follow the mysterious underground snaking hallways lined with fiesta-ware colored lockers UNDER the Harvard Law School buildings, saving me from freezing as we went to another building for lunch. That was very cool.

Esther Dyson Unannounced, unscheduled Esther appeared and had some choice comments, per usual. I liked her suggestion when a student mentioned that although the classrooms are WiFi enabled, the professors turn it OFF so they keep the attenion of the students. Esther says, "Tell the professors to try being more interesting."

How much fun can four deans be? Actually a lot. The Deans of the law school, business school, school of ed and extention schools were a interesting bunch.

Lunch: You study WHAT?! and you're at the Graduate School of WHERE?! [The most terrific thing was meeting people who were at Harvard studying the most unusual and fascinating things and I met a bunch at lunch and then a ton the rest of the day too.]

Back later to fill in all the details.