Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Can I Change My Mind?

Boy do I sound like a half-empty glass girl! (Just like Jeneane said on her blog tonight.) Can I change my mind and give a different forecast for this new year? Can I tell you how great 2003 will be? I finally figured it out. We get to keep all the great people we've been hanging out with, and blogging with, and working with, and playing with, and learning with, and having adventures with, in 2002 and drag them along with us to 2003 -- so it should be one helluva year!

2003 -- Up For Grabs

Okay, I'll warn you up front. This is one of those "Halley" things -- where I think I have something very figured out and then I realize that my version of reality is completely insane. It's like that post I did about the alphabet where I was so annoyed that they had mistakenly put the two-hump "m" before the one-hump "n" when any idiot could see it should have been set up the other way around. Big organizational mix-up there.

Here's the thing about 2003. We really were never supposed to have a 2003 -- it's just not the right thing. We were supposed to have 2000 -- what with all the Y2K stuff, anybody with half a brain would notice, of course, you have to have 2000. Besides, what the hell else are you going to do after 1999 anyway. Having 2000 just made sense. It was a good idea at the time. (But talk about anti-climaxes!)

So then, since you were kind of stuck with 2000, and it finally rolled around to December of 2000 and you had to follow it with something, and you had that movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey, so why not, just go ahead -- call it 2001.

Well, we know how well that worked. Forget it. The whole year got jammed into one day of infamy and boy, were we glad to get rid of 2001 -- so now, you're beginning to understand my logic, right? With 2001 being such a lousy year and actually feeling like it was only one-day long, we needed 2002 big-time to be done with it. So there were a lot of people behind the idea of 2002 -- we were looking forward to it.

So we had this 2002 year and if you didn't notice -- especially since everyone you knew was either out of work, in massive credit card debt, or just basically grumpy all year, it kindof sucked. I know I'm biased because a lot of bad stuff went down for me personally, but it was kindof a stupid year. In fact, it sucked enough that by now I could really see a reason to give up on all the "Two Thousand" and anythings. I could make a case for going just about anywhere else -- maybe back to 1890 -- or maybe forward to the year 2525 -- but anyone could see this incremental stepping stone thing with 2000, 2001 and 2002 was not going well.

So then, they decide to go ahead and market the 2003 concept. Why did we agree to it? It has little brand appeal, I can tell you. Do we get to drag the best of 2002 into 2003 -- like a disasterous economy and more of the weird non-existent Dick Cheney (is he Bin Laden -- you can tell me, go ahead, fess up) or is he like the mother in the motel in Psycho? and other great highlights of 2002 like airport security stripteases I've had to do. (I can assure you they DO discriminate against blondes in high heeled sandals -- they are ALWAYS pulling me aside.) Honestly, I can't think of many things in 2002 I'd like to bring along to 2003 -- so I guess I have almost ZERO expectations of much of anything good happening in 2003. Wait, I can say with assurance my dad will not die AGAIN in 2003, ... I guess?! Maybe it will be so weird it could have some Ground Hog Day effect and things just keep happening like they already did in 2002. Talk about same old same old. Ugh.

So I want to start a movement about renaming 2003. It's clear the name "2003" has little to offer. I think we might want to consider some other years with really excellent brands. -- like the Summer of '42 turns me on. And there's 1066, people wove rugs about that year, it must have been good. And the year 1492, that was a nice year here in America. Maybe we could just call tomorrow 1493 -- it would be easy for school kids to remember. Please, send your suggestions, because honestly, 2003 is up for grabs.

Kiss Me You Fool

or ... Why Everybody Hates New Year's Eve. Okay, you're reading this. Honestly, if you had ANYTHING better to do, you'd be doing it. But most of us don't have anything to do. There's a very high likelihood you're either alone tonight (like me) or with the wrong person (yikes!) or the person you really want to kiss isn't with you :-( or if you're really lucky, you're with the right person, but you might have kissed them over a lifetime about 5,000 times already and it's not exactly turning you on -- no offense, but honestly, what the hell kind of holiday is this anyway?!

The calendar is changing from one year to another so you have to get drunk and kiss someone?! I'm missing the correlation. Worse, the calendar is changing from one year to another so you stand in a cold windy place, watch a ball drop and get drunk and kiss someone you don't know. Hmm.

As for this kissing thing, there is always the feeling that everyone ELSE is having a blast and you're the only idiot without a date, without a cool outfit, without a place to go and definitely without someone to kiss.

Happy Old Year

There are two babies in diapers running around in my living room, breaking things, making noise and roughhousing with one another -- don't know what to do with them, they're making an awful racket! They are practically stark naked, like little sumo wrestlers.

One's got on a sash from shoulder to hip that reads "2002" and the other one's got on the same sash reading "2003." The baby called 2002 has got to go, she just put her finger in the eye of 2003, she's a devil, but I've got to calm them both down before I can send one packing

Ut-oh! Now 2002's coming straight at me -- better dodge her, but wait, the little tease -- she's giving me a big smooch and a hug. She's nearly knocked me over, we're rolling across the rug. She's been one kicky kid full of energy and moxie. Taught me a lot.

Crash! There goes the lamp and -- oh no -- the goldfish bowl. 2003 thought it would be fun to do a flying squirrel leap on top of the two of us. .

Friday, December 27, 2002


I'm not going to give you all the lnks to this poem's many critics and analysts, check them out on Google. I just like it as a rather mysterious text.

Design by Robert Frost

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Frigging Adjectives

Ce n'est pas facile pour nous. It took me three posts to get the frigging adjective "marvelous" in the post below right -- and I'm still not sure it's right. (Jean-Yves, clue me in man!) Start with the French word "chose" for "thing" -- if I'm right, it's feminine and therefore the adjective has to be the feminine (not "merveilleux" but "merveilleuse") and then to add one more annoying point, it's plural, since "choses" is plural, so you have to use "merveilleuses" not "merveilleuse" -- right? What the hell kind of language is that anyway?. I know, I know, all the romance languages have the same deal. Helluva way to start a romance. So damned complicated.


J'ai entendu des choses merveilleuses apropos de Tremblant, mais je ne suis jamais y aller. J'ai tellement envie d'y aller. Ce n'est pas tres loin de Boston a Quebec.

Three Feet!

Good Golly -- check out Albany, if you can find it!

Wicked Game

Got some of the earlier Chris Isaaks disks for Xmas -- I like some of the old songs just as much as his newer ones. I think I like him because he reminds me of Elvis in some way. And I love the dark, wavering guitar -- is it steel guitar ? -- better go ask George.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
Its strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I´d meet somebody like you
I never dreamed that I´d lose somebody like you

I don't wanna fall in love no (This world is only gonna break your heart)
I don't wanna fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
with you...with you (This world is only gonna break your heart)

What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you

I don't wanna fall in love no (This world is only gonna break your heart)
I don't wanna fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
with you

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
Its strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I´d love somebody like you
I never dreamed that I´d lose somebody like you

No I don't wanna fall in love
No I don't wanna fall in love
With you...with you
Nobody else loves no one

Brilliant Day

The snow, stacks and piles and scads and mountains of it, white and sparkling, lines the roads making friends with a bright sun. A veritable resurrection as new life stirs and snowplows dig in. Shoveling seems to be a divine and heavenly activity. The trees are all decorated with white fur coats, as pretty as a bunch of curvy blond chorus girls in white minks rushing down a winter street to rehearsal. The air is electric, charged with a new day, new beginning, new icy brilliance, new possibilities.

Snowy Morning

Wow, serious Winter Wonderland stuff going down here. But yikes! I have to get to work and swap a rental car for my car in the shop even before that. Ugh.

I love the noise in this poem, especially the harness bells on the horse, when he says, "Hey, what's up?"

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Shake That Snowglobe

When we lived in California, we used to take holiday pictures at the Manhattan Beach pier in our Santa hats, sweating it out at 80 degrees. Then we'd put them in snowglobes and send them out to our friends. But my son NEVER saw real snow until he visited Boston when he was 3 and experienced a pre-Xmas blizzard. He was over the moon. He ran out my sister's door, flopped in the snow and just started wolfing it down

He's 7 now and still crazy for snow. And it's snowing like heck here -- looks like they took that snowglobe down from a high shelf and gave it a big shake!


You've got the cutest little babyface! Congratulations on this lovely kid!

First Christmas Not Quite Alone

I heard from so many great people today, I can't really say I WAS alone, so thanks everyone. Actually the first Christmas I ever spent alone was in France when I lived there for Junior Year Abroad and I went cross-country skiiing for two weeks in the Massif Central near Mt. Lozere. Since The Universite de Paris Sorbonne (and Jussieu) closed for the holidays, I had to either go back to the US, go to Greece -- like so many of my fellow Americans did for Xmas that year, or come up with something else.

At the Universite on a bulletin board I saw a flyer for a "Communist Ski Vacation" which looked interesting. The "Communist" part only meant that in order to make the price low, you did group work in the lodge -- worked in the kitchen, served meals, helped out -- more like a co-op than a Marxist-Leninist political get-away.

I sent my money in October and heard NOTHING until about 3 days before Christmas -- I was in a bit of a sweat, not having a Plan B and all my friends joking that my Communist Ski Vacation was just a rip-off to get people to send money. But finally, in the mail, I got a train ticket to the south of France and a big poster of calesthenics and other weight-lifting exercises to put on my wall. This was now 2 days before leaving and the top of the poster read in big French Caps "BEGIN THESE EXERCISES 2 MONTHS PRIOR TO SKI VACATION." So much for that. I was beginning to wonderif my super-cheap great Communist Ski Vacation was such a deal after all. There was also a detailed list of cross-country ski eqiupment, clothes, shoes and something strange called "stop-touts" (roughly translated, "stop everythings" ) -- I never did figure out exactly what those were -- and I was supposed to procure every item on the list before leaving. Needless to say, I didn't get a chance to buy anything at all.

One thing that happens with most kids on Junior Year Abroad is that you realize it's really easy to cheat and speak English and learn no French, and really hard to find a way of getting into French culture and language the way natives do. . Well, that was not to be the case with my Communist Ski Vacation -- it ended up when I finally boarded the train at Gare St.Lazare (don't recall if this was the right station), that of about 80 skiers, I was the ONLY American. This meant I had to speak a lot of French that two weeks, which was terrific.

The lodge was comfortable, the kids were funny, the food was good and the instructors were task-masters. Strangely, the verb in French to "wax" your cross-country skis is "farder" which sure sounds like "fart" so I spent the whole time, half grinning when the instructors continuously yelled at us to hurry up and FART!

The ski instructor or "moniteur" for my group -- surely appropriate for the week of Christmas -- was named Jesus. So I actually spent Christmas with Jesus and the other instructors as we were the only ones left at the lodge when the pre-Christmas week skiers left on Christmas Eve and the post-Christmas skiers arrived on the 26th of December.

It was a very snowy day. I felt very far from home in this ski lodge in the middle of nowhere (imagine the equivalent of the Appalachians in the US -- since the Massif Central is a very underdeveloped mountainous area) and someone had given me a copy of Walden by Thoreau in English on the recto page and French on the verso page. I spent the day in bed reading Walden in both languages. It sounded rough and individualistic in American English and completely nutty in French. I was a long, long, way from Walden Pond that day, but in spirit rather proximate, finding myself out in the middle of nature. And now today, I spend another Christmas on my own -- about 5 miles from Walden Pond in fact -- but glued to that modern and unnatural home away from home -- the laptop.

First Christmas With A Pre-vacation Vacation

My college friend Ruth and her husband Chris, together with their 12 year-old daughter, 8-year-old son and 5-year-old son invited us to share a condo in Vermont and go skiing with them the 4 days prior to Christmas and it was really FUN. Also, it was really a wonderful break from the usual last minute rushing around and feeling so stressed out. Since we left on Saturday and didn't come back til Chrismas Eve, we had to get it done early or not do it.

Ruth and I were standing on our skis, half way down the mountain on Monday both admitting it had been a genius stroke, since it kept the kids busy and happy -- my 7-year-old boy fit right in with the 5 and 8 year-olds -- and kept us far away from malls, shopping, bills, everything. We highly recommend it. Try it next year -- a little pre-holiday disappearing act.

First Christmas Without My Dad

About a year ago, when my dad was in the hospital for a broken hip and often complained that he was simply FREEZING, I bought him two Polartec fleece blankets -- one maroon, one navy -- and spent a lot of time tucking him in, helping him stay warm, helping him stay alive and making what was a miserable last few months a little more comfortable.

I also bought him a grey fleece mackinaw -- an oversized shirt in the same cozy fleece fabric as the blankets. It buttoned up the front, which people who've been caring for patients or have been in the hospital know matters -- since you often can't get something over a patient's head without hurting them.

On the morning he died in the hospital at about 6:00am, it occurred to me that the two blankets and some of his clothing were still at the nursing home where he had been a week before. I had a need to go fetch his last belongings and bring them home to my house to wash them. One sister suggested they just be thrown out, but I had one of those peculiar sentimental reactions to just tossing his clothes --didn't seem right.

On a day you spend the morning helping your father die, you would think it might make sense to take it easy, not put yourself through the unpleasantness of fetching his clothes in a dingy, depressing, nursing home that same day, but I figured "this day couldn't be much worse, why not?"

Well, here's why it wasn't much fun, but still I'm glad I did it. When I got there the only nurse who seemed to know anything wasn't there. I asked for my dad's belongings and they took me down the hall to a room with shelves and handed me a clear plastic bag of his stuff. As we walked back to the reception area, I decided to open it. It contained a pair of heavy old shoes, the leather worn. Also some clothes. They had never belonged to my dad. This was someone else's clothing. I told the nurse and she made a lackluster trot back down to the room with me and handed me a paper shopping bag. No surprise -- these were also some other dead person's clothes, not my dad's. It doesn't take you long to make one painful perusal of the shelves to realize this is how it all ends up. On a dark day, the day grew darker with this realization.

After three attempts I finally got my dad's stuff. I took it home and washed it with lots of detergent and lots of hot water. I gave the blankets away to Goodwill, along with all the other clothes, save the grey fuzzy mackinaw.

This morning my son came tearing into my room at 5:26 am, announcing, "We have to get up, it's almost Christmas," I looked at the clock. "Okay, okay, when's Christmas begin?" I asked. "It starts at 5:27!" he chirped. Boy, I should have seen that one coming. I jumped out of bed to follow him to the living room, but the house was cold, so I went back to the closet to find my dad's mackinaw. I wrapped myself in it -- it was just like his arms were wrapping me in a hug -- and I followed his beloved grandson off to the Christmas tree. Thanks Dad for keeping me warm.

First Christmas With The Blog Crew

Not a few -- okay, let's say EVERY -- blogger buddy of mine has commented on how amazing it is that we've all become fast friends and didn't know one another AT ALL a year ago. (Or two, depending on how long you've been blogging.) There is a sense that the blog crew is my REAL family now and why the hell are they scattered across the country (and world, Hi Gary, Fiona, Mike Golby, Dervala) and not sitting here at my Christmas table (I'd jump to and make a fine dinner for you all) listening to Chris Locke tell some frightening version of the birth of Jesus while swigging Violet Gatorade violently and Dave Winer explaining one more time for the East and West coasts how his totally cool outliner works, and listening to Jeneane tell the truth about taking care of kids and cats, all with great cunning and courage and David Weinberger saying funny stuff and arguing heurmanetics with AKMA and me tugging on the good parson's sleeve to induce him to SAY GRACE, because the table of bloggers -- 75 or so of my favorites -- have all finally sat down to dinner.

Lighter Note

Jesus Christ and Christmas, Chris. You are writing some insanely funny shit over there at Rageboy's Discount All-Sweets Motel. I guess I can't leave town for a minute.

First Christmas

This is the first Christmas without my Dad. The first Christmas without my wedding ring on my left hand (in 13 years). The first Christmas where we shared my son between two households. The first Christmas with my blog. The first Christmas in this apartment. The first Christmas in a long time where I wasn't cooking a Christmas dinner. The first Christmas it's snowed in quite a while. The first Christmas where I went away for a block of time right up to Christmas Eve. The first Christmas I've spent alone in a long time.

I'll try to write about these "firsts" today.

Baby Boom Men Boom, Oh Baby!

I had read that Men's Health was doing very well -- big upward trend in ad pages -- and I finally took a look at it last week. It's really something.

Now they've started a new magazine for "older" men -- whatever that means. I think they're aiming for over 40. It's called Best Life.

But honestly, new baby boomer men are so HOT lately. They seem to be single-handedly, man-by-man, mano-a-mano getting rid of the sagging term "middle-aged" -- it just doesn't do them justice. They are so sexy, so smart, so interesting and so terrifically emotional too -- c'mon girls, isn't that what we've been begging for.?! Well, go check these boys out -- WHOA!

Whoever Called Me -- Thanks

The phone just rang in the other room -- sorry not to grab it but I'm keen on blogging right now. Okay, I admit, I'm addicted. I'll call back soon. Or try me on email -- not that I've check it this morning. I want to write about the magazine Men's Health and their new one Best Life. It's cool.

The Big Lie

Big thanks to Adam Curry for reminding us of his KILLER blog essay called The Big Lie which Wired also linked to. This is the heart of the innovation known as blogging -- networked transparency -- when real people write real words in their real blogs we can begin to create a network of truth that will blow conventional media out of the water. A lattice work of truth-telling. It's the same thing Dave Winer blogged about here. We love these guys.

Whistle Blowers = Persons of the Year

I can't help noticing this intriguing Time Magazine cover and I actually blogged about the notion of women telling the truth and Sherron Watkins almost a year ago.

Funny how women are telling the truth. Not to say that there's anything inherently female about the truth, but maybe it's a truth that hasn't been heard and is suddenly becoming more audible.

It's one of the things I like most about blogging. Because there's no filters -- "Please Mr. White Guy Editor, publish my stuff" -- anymore and women go right to print, they are telling THEIR truth in blogs all over the place and if you read this article, their also telling their truth in organizations that have tried to silence them.

Let Me Blog, Let Me Blog, Let Me Blog

It's all I want to do today. Let the snow fall. Let the words tumble. Let the wind blow. Let the verbs fly. Let the truth be told. Keep reading kids.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

So where is the stuff? The Weather Channel is beginning to feel like CNN -- reporting disasters that seem to be in their minds only.

Whatever ... I've gotten everything nailed down (got food at the convenience store, my son's with his dad, car finally totally unloaded from the ski trip to Vermont, bought the NYTimes, Boston Globe, Time and Men's Health Best Life) and I can blog away all day if I want as the washer chugs along.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like

Christmas ... Back from Vermont with piles of dirty ski clothes, lots of tired muscles and great worn-out sleep-like-a-log yawns ready for a long winter's nap.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Blogger Heads North

Off to ski in Vermont until Christmas Eve. It's so warm here in Boston, hope there's some cold air and snow up that way. See you later.

Friday, December 20, 2002

We'll Be Seeing A Lot Less Of Lott

Now that's a nice holiday gift to find under the tree.

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Stressville

Admit it, this is a tough time. This happy holiday season thing goes just so far. Chances are it's not so happy. Chances are you're having some pretty stressed-out moments. Guess what -- me too. So take it easy today and celebrare how human you are and how you do things wrong or forget things or act like an idiot. It's okay. And if you get a minute -- try exercising -- I just did and it makes you feel almost human.

Happy Holidays

Have a great day in your Santa Hat! Have fun standing in line for 25 minutes in your hot coat in a hot store! Have fun watching your credit card get declined! Have fun listening to relatives you really can't stand tell you how fucked up your life is and giving you helpful recommendations on how to fix it! Have fun if you're not married having meddlesome friends and family ask you why you haven't tied the knot! Have fun if you're married watching your spouse get three sheets to the wind and mouth off like some idiot to the neighbors about their fucking dog that's been destroying your yard. Yes, it's that lovely time of year! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

So What?!

You'll love this. Check out this cool explanation of what Creative Commons is all about. Fun to talk to Donna Wentworth last night about it too. Not sure which presentation was more entertaining.

New Age of Reading?

Just checked out some stuff on the Victorians and their insatiable need to read. Maybe blogging is helping us revisit that. Read this:
The serialization of novels had a significant impact on literary form. Most of the major novelists, including Dickens, Thackeray, Collins, Gaskell, Trollope, and Eliot, had to organize their work into enticing, coherent morsels that kept characters and story lines clear from month to month, and left readers eager to buy the next installment. Authors felt pressure to keep ahead of deadlines, often not knowing which turn a story might take. But they also enjoyed the opportunity to stay in the public eye, to weave in references to current events, or to make adjustments based on sales and reviews. For their part, readers experienced literature as an ongoing part of their lives. They had time to absorb and interpret their reading, and even to influence the outcome of literary events: throughout his career, Dickens was badgered by readers who wanted to see more of one character, less of another, or prevent the demise of a third.

One Pot Meal Lunch

Great to catch up with Steve Himmer for lunch today. We ate at the Yenching Chinese restaurant in Harvard Square. I don't know what yenching is, but I'm happy to report it is NOT wrenching, but rather relaxing and pretty good. I asked for steamed vegetables and actually GOT steamed vegetables, not some sticky mess of corn starchy sauce and a few over cooked pea pods.

We're cobbling together some strategies for publishing fiction in blogs and called on our mutual friend, Charles Dickens, for inspiration. If he could publish novels in weekly installments, why can't we do it in bloggy installments. Oh, yeah -- he could really write.

We're not bad either -- Steve's getting his MFA in Fiction as we speak and I've got one too -- so maybe we can figure a way to do it. The plot must have chills and spills and should sit on top of a well-planned outlined infrastructure. We think we may have to write the whole thing before publishing -- but blogging is about the OPPOSITE intention. Then we talked about how readers would react if we wrote fresh chapters every few days but then went back and edited them over time. Hmm, better check on how Dickens did it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Okay, I'm Cool and You are So Not

I'm at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and they are having the coolest party and I'm right here stealing Catherine's terminal -- thanks girl. And the food is terrific and the wine is terrific and wow, I finally met Jonathan Zittrain and also here are Donna Wentworth and John Palfrey and Robin Mintz and Tom Stewart and Miguel Danielson and boy is this the greatest coolest place to be here at Baker House at Harvard Law School.

This of course is a pathetic attempt to compete with John Perry Barlow (a Berkman fellow) who's throwing a mega-cool party tomorrow night in NYC. What the hell -- no one is ever as cool as Barlow. I give up

Entrepreneurs At Work

I'm still ruminating on this great post from Dan Pink about how successful entrepreneurs think. They differ from regular business people in two key respects -- they are "worse at coming up with reasons they might fail." And they "don't care what other people think about them."

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Halley Gets Sex Change Operation To Rate Mention in Globe's Next Boston Bloggers Article

I checked everything. Yes, I'm in Boston. Yes, I'm a Blogger. Whoops, one little missing detail. Surely I can get one of those somewhere ... can't I just strap it on for the interview, Scott?

A Tenuous Link But It's All We've Got

Can't sleep and it reminds me of the night I had my son and also, couldn't sleep. Just reading about Gary and Fiona Turner's new baby and remembering that gigantic step over the threshold from non-parent to parent. I remember looking at my tiny baby, it's tiny finger wrapped around my massive pinky, noticing how completely vulnerable it was and that this link between us -- this strange new presence of life and spirit in this tiny baby package -- and my care and consideration for it -- this was the link that all of humanity, every generation, human life itself and all history was resting on. And I was stunned and shocked that this was possible. It seemed so tenuous.

Rank amateurs in the sweat of passion in the backs of cars or quickly rented hotel rooms were in charge of making the world as we know it. It was more than tenuous -- it was frightening. And more miraculous still that these same girls in ponytails and boys in leather jackets were entrusted to become moms up late in cold kitchens testing too hot baby formula on their wrists and dads shaving 365 days times 50 years and going to work every god damned day to keep their families afloat. It was all built on this. Surely there had to be some more solid underpinning to this world of rocks, dirt, oceans, stars than this tiny hand in my big hand.

I shuddered as my baby nuzzled me in his first moments on Earth, in the firm belief that he could find succor there, at my breast, and he could thrive in this world and all would be well. And looking down at him, I finally had to yield to the notion that maybe he knew better than I, knew better how to simply live. He really believed this could all work. He looked up at me and his dad and trusted that we knew what the hell we were doing. We weren't at all convinced at that point. But soon enough, he had somehow talked us both into it. And here we are, still making the world, reaching out, offering an open hand and kindness to anyone who wants to grab hold.

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.


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.


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.


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.