maybe this explains it
Friday, February 29, 2008
And yes, I did suddenly leap from my desk, grab my camera and monkey mind myself right outside to take a photograph. (Albeit not a great one. Maybe I should go back outside and play with my camera a while...)
Somebody help me please. I don’t know what to do. I can’t focus. I can’t focus I can’t focus I can’t focus. I’m all over the place, writing a little of this, writing a little of that, editing photos, playing Scrabulous (god help me), starting and not finishing queries … And goddam Google Reader. Does Jezebel really need to update every 4.2 milliseconds?
Do you know how long I’ve been doing my laundry? I started on Tuesday. I don’t have that much laundry, I just keep forgetting about. My whites are currently wrinkling in the dryer, a cold water wash is mildewing in the washer.
A few minutes ago, I stepped out of the shower, thought of an e-mail I needed to send, and wrapped in towel and turban started to sit at my computer. I stopped myself, though.
For god’s sake, finish dressing first.
What’s wrong with me?
This happens to me from time to time and I’m not sure what to make of it. The more I do, the less I do. I walk around with a nimbus of half-finished projects and chores floating around my fevered brow, trying to focus …
…ok, here I am again. I scuttled off to look for a query I remembered that I wanted to try out on another editor…
I added to prices to a story and had much email discussion with the editor about it. I wrote and emailed a query. I tied up loose ends on, printed out and submitted a scholarship application, mixed up the dates on a trip to
I watched a couple of seconds of a Pink video. I chased Jack out of a flower bed multiple times, finally creating yard art with a patio chair and a flower pot to keep him out of it. (I need only one Jack-shaped hole in The Flower Bed of Death, thank you very much.) I cooked and ate a quesadilla. I made my move in each of four games of Scrabulous I ill-advisedly have underway. I showered.
Research shows that multitasking is a big waste of time. Our minds can’t switch as quickly as we think and we lose time every time we shift from one task to another. I suppose that’s why chaotic days seem to fly by. And why I’ve been working on this blog post since this morning and only have something even remotely publisher now, at .
Time to bring out the kitchen timer. It’s the only tactic that works for me. I set it for an hour and make myself concentrate on one task, and one task only, until it rings.
Or maybe I’ll call today a bust and start fresh Monday.
lazy gal's post
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I don't have anything fresh to say today so I'll say something stale. (For me, anyway.)
This column is a couple of years old but I never managed to sell it so I thought I'd give it away here, just because I've always liked it.
A long time ago I stumbled on a news release about research that said: "Couples who laugh together and intentionally reminisce about that shared experience are likely more satisfied with their relationship than couples who don’t have that reservoir of experience to draw on, according to research by an Appalachian State University psychology professor."
At first, the research seemed absurd. I planned to blog and mock it. I don't think I did and that's a good thing, because I remembered it when I wrote this essay.
Marriage of My Unnecessary Discontent
At a luncheon recently, I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in many years.
“Did you get married? I think the last time I saw you, you were about to get married,” she said.
I laughed. “Eleven years ago!” I replied. “The last time I saw you, I think you were pregnant.”
“My son is 11 years old,” she said. And so we agreed, it had been 11 years since we’d last seen each other.
That night, as my husband and I loaded our dinner dishes in the dishwasher, he mused, “We’ve been together 20 years. This year will be our 15th wedding anniversary.”
Well, I busted myself anyway, and confessed my mistake that afternoon. Tom looked annoyed and I don’t blame him – especially since this wasn’t the first time I’d forgotten how long we’d been married. I forget more often than I remember. Same with the date of our anniversary. I know it was July 4th weekend, since we married in
As for the year – I still can’t tell you without doing some math. Let’s see, it’s 2006, we’ll celebrate our 15th anniversary in July, so I was married on
Am I ambivalent about my marriage?
Actually, I’m ambivalent about marriage in general.
I never thought much about marriage as a girl growing up on the
Perhaps I would have given marriage more thought – one way or another -- had I been a product of a divorced home. But in defiance of national statistics, my parents and my husband’s parents are still married to each other – although both sets of parents had a midlife split for a time. (Two years, in my parents’ case, around the time I graduated high school.) In many ways, I took my parents’ marriage for granted.
Yet I also am startled to find myself following in their connubial footsteps.
My husband and have no reason but love and compatibility to stay together. No melancholy experience of broken homes bind us to our vows. We are childless, so no dependents compel us to honor our troth. We both work, so neither of us is entirely financially dependent on the other (though, as a freelance writer, my quality of life would certainly take a hit if I should I be forced to live on only my own income, unless I managed to step things up considerably).
I’m not bragging. I’m puzzled. And, in a very strange way, a little ashamed.
When I read about yet another celebrity break-up, or about a woman with more than one husband in her history, or hear about a couple I know who is splitting, I’m supposed to be saddened, sympathetic, perhaps even a little bit smug. Oddly, I feel none of those things. Instead, I feel inadequate and threatened. Do these people know something I don’t know? Are multiple marriers more discerning than I? More adventuresome? More nuanced in their needs? More … interesting?
I recently read Gail Sheehy’s new book, Sex and the Seasoned Woman, which is full of women my age (47) and older who leave their leaden husbands to discover themselves, or who are abandoned by their husbands, leaving them free to discover themselves and their multi-orgasmic capabilities. Many of these women staunchly reported that weren’t interested in remarriage, that life was better, freer and more fulfilling on their own. And they were getting laid plenty, thank you very much. A few women in the book were married, but they were somewhat more opaque about their lives – protecting their husbands, I imagine.
Or perhaps, like me, they feel funny about staying unfashionable hitched.
Long-term relationships are only theoretically admired in our culture. Healthy ones appear only rarely in film and literature and almost never in pop music, except country (Kathy Mattea’s tearjerker Where Have You Been, Johnny Cash’s transcendent Memories Are Made of This). In popular culture past and present, new love is romantic, frustrated love is romantic, torch carrying is romantic. But long-term relationships are most often portrayed as stultifying, tainted by seething resentments and unspoken disappointments. Love is Jack and Ennis. Marriage is, well, their marriages. Harpies they can’t wait to escape. Disappointment and disillusionment. Ties that bind too tightly.
A couple of years ago, my marriage went through a painful stretch when my husband and I seemed to be careening towards the abyss of divorce in separate cars. To our credit we did (to torture the metaphor) both put the brakes on before it was too late and, with a lot of hard, self-revelatory work, eventually (to now beat it to a bloody pulp) traded our old jalopies for an improved, new-model marriagemobile.
As we worked our way back together, we found ourselves taking an informal and spontaneous months-long inventory of the running one-liners we had collected over the years – those little, inexplicable, you-had-to-be-there inside jokes we had accumulated with our memories and tossed out at appropriate moments.
“IT’S A MULE DEER!”
“That is not possible.”
“Did you WALK to
“Feels good, though.”
“Pickles and olives in the SAME
Nobody gets the jokes and we don’t try to explain them. It doesn’t matter. They belong to us. Each refers to a specific moment and, they are, in a way, the glue that held us together when in other ways, we were breaking apart. “That’s another one,” we’d say, each time one of us tossed one out and we would both smile. These little touchstones represent an important part of what brought us together – similar senses of humor and an ear for the absurd. And they represent history, our irreplaceable shared past.
One-liner by one-liner, Tom and I found our way back to each other. Oh, it took more than that, of course. Counseling. Difficult conversations. Time apart and time together. Determination. Courage. Blind faith. Fear of the unknown. Horror of dating again. (“If we were to break up, this would be our dating pool,” I said to Tom at a Neil Young concert. We looked around at a grizzled crowd of Hawaiian shirts and Mom-jeans and shuddered.)
Maybe I’m just afraid of intimacy. I suppose that’s the easiest explanation for the fight I have with myself not to flee from what most people spend their lives seeking. I’m sure that’s part of it but that’s not all of it. My fear of having a happy marriage is my own personal, inexplicable bugaboo. I push against it continually, even as I settle back into my revived marriage. Besides, don’t
And, the more I think about, the more marriage seems less a solid form, an impenetrable brick fortress than -- like the atoms that make up matter – a dense collection of tiny moments comprising the whole. Marriage is forever, but forever is this minute, and this minute, and this minute and so on and so on for as long as Tom and I still laugh together, still look after each other, still maintain the magnetic field that keeps the moments together. Is that really so scary?
“What is it about us? How is it we’re still married when so many people get divorced?” I mused to Tom as we drove home from dinner at a favorite restaurant, not long after that luncheon where I’d lopped years off our marriage.
“What people?” he said, annoyed again. (And, again, I can’t blame him.) “Most of our friends are married.”
“I know,” I stammered. “But, you know. Celebrities… the divorce rate... so many people …”
“True,” he conceded. “Maybe people aren’t meant to mate forever.”
“I know,” I said, “It makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with us. If we’re …”
“Lazy?” he interjected. I laughed.
We fell silent.
Later that night, as often happens, I fell asleep with the television on. I woke several hours later to the blare of some sort of X-games, the commentator shrieking into his mike. Tom awakened at the same moment, fumbled for the remote among the bedding and turned the television off.
“That was really loud,” I mumbled.
He chuckled. “Yeah, it was,” he said.
“Hey,” he muttered before dropping back to sleep. “I was watching that.”
That’s another one.
I smiled into my pillow as I drifted back off myself, feeling loving and loved.
And pleasantly married.
what is this i'm feeling?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Something particularly peculiar happened to me on this trip to
I got homesick.
Honestly, this never happens—not homesickness per se. I always miss Tom. I sometimes get exhausted and overwhelmed. I often long for my own bed. I sometimes have trouble with one or more of my travel companions. (Many years ago, on a grueling trip in
But this bout of homesickness was different for me. It wasn’t in reaction to much of anything and it was all-out I wanna go home and see Tom and Jack and write and eat dinner and go to sleep in my own bed and not have to worry about all this strangeness RIGHT NOW!
This wave of misery hit me a few days into the trip, during the long wedding ceremony. The wedding took place over four days at a resort outside
As a rule, I get lonelier in crowds than I ever do alone. And here I was in a crowd of strangers, far from home, feeling left out (this was partly self-inflicted, I’m at an awkward age). And I was jet lagged. And I didn’t have internet access to touch base with Tom, which always cheers me up on the road. (IM is a great invention for travelers.)
Thinking back, I can hardly believe what I did. I left the wedding ceremony early (it went on for hours, so I felt I’d seen a lot), went to the room, got in bed, and cried. I thought about Tom. I pictured Jack’s silly face. I imagined myself on the couch, drinking tea and watching Oprah while I write, as I do most weekday afternoons. I wanted to go home.
Oy vey, right? Here I was in the midst of a travelers’ wet dream—an Indian wedding—and I wanted to be at home, on my couch.
So, I’m of two minds about this.
The dark side implicates my increasing agoraphobia. When I’m not traveling, I spend a lot of time at home alone. I feel bad about that only because it’s the sort of thing society frowns on. Otherwise, I don’t care that much. Still, I am so reluctant to go out and interact with the world (ask Tom how hard it is to get me to go to the grocery store) that I have to worry about myself a little bit.
Will agoraphobia interfere with my desire to travel?
But there’s my other mind, too. And that mind was happy about this bout of run-of-the-mill homesickness.
After all, I started traveling 30 years ago because of certain feeling of rootlessness. “The outsider” has been my identity for most of my life, and I wrenched my roots from
While leaving home has always been stressful, I’ve never minded being away from it. In my first few years of travel writing, it never occurred to me to check in with Tom while I was on the road—he would put me on an airplane and hear nothing from me until he picked me up at the airport however long later, sometimes weeks. I know—weird right? Honestly, I wasn’t being mean. It just truly did not occur to me.
In fact, through most of my life, I’ve been bluer about returning home than being away, and have wrestled with a sort of homesickness for where I’d been.
But this longing for the profoundly banal details of home, this sense of belonging somewhere (even if it is the couch) and with someone, this sense of being far away from my place in the big world…it was bittersweet. Boo hoo hoooooooooooo.
I felt better in the morning. And I sat on the couch and drank tea and watched Oprah while I wrote this.
i hate talking politics
But here’s my incendiary question du jour:
If Barak Obama were a woman (young, attractive, inexperienced, touchy-feely message) and Hillary Clinton were a man (wrinkling, graying, seasoned, dry presentation)—all other things being just as they are—do you think Obama would have a chance?
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
i might be going about this all wrong
I’m going to be unoriginal today and turn you on to one of The New York Times’ most emailed articles of the day. The article discusses research at M.I.T. into our reluctance to let any of our options go. We are simply unwilling to close any doors to ourselves, even though leaving options open isn’t always to our benefit.
It is an interesting concept and one I need to chew on a while, since one of my mantras, when it comes to making decisions, is that except for suicide, murder and having a baby, there are no choices we can make that can’t be un-made, one way or another. I find that comforting. However looked at it through the lens of this research, I realize it might also be self-defeating in some way. By leaving too many options open, are we entering each new endeavor with less than the commitment necessary to succeed?
I remember when Tom and I finally decided to get married after living together for five years, a friend who had also lived with her husband before marrying told me she found marriage a relief because it signaled, “the end of ambivalence.”
Yes, there was relief to making our default setting “together.” In a way, the commitment was freeing. In a way, before you firmly close doors, you force yourself to make the same decisions daily. How exhausting.
Perhaps this is a new way to visualize the tired concept of “closure.” The moment we close a door and stop giving ourselves the option to waffle and reconsider (be it a concrete decision or in a response to pain) we allow ourselves to move freely forward.The article is pegged to a book called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.
And here's a link to the original research (in PDF form).
Monday, February 25, 2008
i wish i could be surprised
I fly a lot of airlines and find my hometown flight attendants least warm and helpful.
And another thing--why don't they offer juice and water periodically during long international flights, as most airlines do? Dehydration is a major reason one feels crappy after flying.
Give me British Airlines any day.
I apologize that I cannot dish about last night's Oscars. I watched about 30 minutes and fell asleep. Very, very asleep.
I love reading newspapers when I travel and the Indian newspapers were particularly entertaining.
I had a hard time connecting the gracious, friendly, gentle and soft-spoken people I encountered on the trip with the frequent news stories I read of politicians trading insults, angry protests, strikes, raids, violence…Still waters, I guess.
I also enjoyed the coverage of Bollywood, even though I know none of the stars. It’s always refreshing to visit a country that doesn’t rely on
Anyway, I clipped a few of my favorite things from newspapers to share with you. (And since I did see news stories about
I caught only the tail end of stories about dancing bans in
Anyone need a uterus wall hanging?
And finally, the Times of India (which I preferred to The Hindu) includes an essay of guru-es que wisdom in every issue. I liked this one. (I think if you click on it, it will be large enough to read.)
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Everywhere I saw Americans, I saw at least one American woman clutching the book Eat, Pray, Love. Catherine brought a copy that a friend had pressed on her and we both dutifully read it. (I tried not to let anyone see me.)
Neither of us were knocked out by the book although Catherine said she wouldn’t mind having a cup of coffee with Elizabeth Gilbert. Not me. I found her irritating. A good writer and thinker, but really annoying. As Rolf Potts says in this right-on, right-on rebuttal to the book on Worldhum: You’ve come to admire this woman—and you wish the best for her—but you wish she’d stop yapping about emotional minutiae so you could both look out and enjoy the scenery from time to time.)
plus I read three New Yorkers, a Popular Psychology , a book called Love Sick and a little bit of Freakonomics
Friday, February 22, 2008
Over the course of four international flights, I watched Brokeback Mountain again. I enjoyed it more than the first time but it still didn't make me cry. The Chronicles of Narnia, did, though. I always did cried when they killed Aslan in the book and I cried again seeing it in the movie. I thought the movie did a perfectly fine job with the story, and I was fearful about that, having loved the books as a girl. The special effects were lovely. I also cried at a clumsy little tearjerker called Evening, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Claire Danes. It kind of sucked, but a dying mother and all...
I watched Dan in Real Life, which made no impression and most of Elizabeth: Into the Golden Age, a reasonably satisfying costume drama with good spooky acting by Cate Blanchett. Oh yes, and Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon, which went down real easy. I watched Into the Wild, which was more absorbing than I expected. Hal Holbrook made me cry.
Finally I watched a Britcom with Alan Partridge. I'd read a profile about the comic in the New Yorker not long ago (that might have run years ago--New Yorkers tend to stack up in this house) but had never seen him. The show was hilarious. I started watching an episode of different show of his, but we started our approach and I had to turn off and stow all electronic devices and return seat back to full and upright position.
math is hard!
It struck us as kind of funny that while saris reveal an expanse of skin from just under the bust to the waist , modesty requires shoulders be covered. The bride whose wedding we attended wore a sleeveless top one day, inspiring comment from one of her aunties, who said, “My, aren’t you modern.”
My theory is that while women’s stomachs range widely in attractiveness, especially as years and gravity take hold, shoulders usually manage to remain alluring.
Catherine and I took a walk around the lake in
Don’t you love saris? They’re so beautiful—all those mouth-watering jewel tones, the drapes, the trim. The bride bought saris for all the women in her wedding party and so our first day in
We also all shopped at a department store as well as at a chaotic market for the more casual uniform of the Indian woman: the salwar kameeze, which is long full pants worn under a tunic and accessorized with a long scarf.
This outfit fascinates me not only because it’s incredibly comfortable and appropriate for the climate but because I love the simplicity of having a uniform. Women all wear the same thing in different colors and patterns with slight variations in the cut of the pants, the length of the tunic (I’m told shorter tunics are more modern), the way they drape their scarves. And everyone looks beautiful in it. I purchased three of these outfits and I’m trying to decide if I would look foolish wearing them in
Shopping in the market was fun. You slip off your shoes and sit on the padded floor of a stall while the owner whips out outfit after outfit for you to admire. It’s like prestidigitation—magical piles of colors and patterns, sparkle and silk until you finally walk away or succumb to one, two or as many outfits as they can persuade you to buy. Bargaining wasn’t difficult, although who knows if I got the best price. I got prices good enough for me—a full outfit of salwar, kameez and orhna could be had for about $10-$20.
This also was my first experience of seeing many women in burqas. While I wouldn’t want to be required to wear a burqa, I confess to finding the sight of dark almond-shaped eyes looking out from the heavy black drapes strangely alluring. And, having blossomed to bodaciousness at an early age in
I did note, however, that lots of women wore sassy shoes with their burkas, and the clothing didn’t prevent them from being among the many courting couples we saw in city parks.
Today I am a hoochie mama in sweatpants and a 20-year-old sweatshirt. I miss dressing as an Indian.
hi honey, i'm home!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I am far too jet-lagged and addled to sort through my impressions of India yet except to say it was absolutely wonderful and thrilling but may also be the Most Confusing Country Ever. No matter what we thought we knew each day, we quickly realized that we didn’t. I did get comfortable with the whole concept of the bucket shower after it was explained to me by a smarter traveler, and I even got to like it. So there is that.
Let’s do the math, shall we? Two weeks, 11 airplanes and seven hotel rooms, including a houseboat and two rooms in one hotel because our India-based travel agent confirmed our reservation with us without actually confirming that the room was available at the hotel. The hotel management was nice enough to move us to another room that came available instead of kicking us out. The trip was kind of like that all the way through. Count on nothing, you know? We learned that, too.
I want a do-over on this trip because two weeks was hardly enough to get our bearings. There was so much we didn’t see or do … Granted, it’s a whole sub-continent and two weeks is barely a blip of time and included travel days and three days of wedding festivities, at the wedding of a friend of Catherine’s. (It was a small wedding by Indian standards, just a few hundred people. I’ll tell you about it someday.) But still, I feel like I did a bad job of the trip because the learning curve was so steep. So much I would do differently…
Next time. And there will be a next time, somehow.
It is now tomorrow in India and jet lag is starting to make me queasy and cross-eyed so I will end with a small moment of homecoming culture shock before I collapse back into deep, painful, drooling jet lag sleep.
Our last pee in India was in the Bangalore airport bathroom, which had four stalls with both Western style toilets and squatters, typical nefarious puddles of water on the floor, typical Indian lack of toilet paper (fortunately Catherine had supplied us with 12 years' worth of little Kleenex packets) and a woman sleeping soundly on the floor. She was the restroom attendant, who had spread newspaper on the floor to sleep on but was nonetheless sleeping on an airport restroom floor. Catherine gave her our last 50 rupees. That's just a few dollars but it could at least buy her a few months' worth of clean newspapers. (Actually, the floor couldn't have been much harder than the beds in our first hotel, into which we flopped with exhaustion, nearly giving ourselves concussions.)
Our first pee in America was at O’Hare in Chicago, in a huge, hushed, gleaming rest room with at least a half dozen stalls with automated toilet seat covers, automated toilet paper rolls, automated flushers and automated faucets. And nobody sleeping on the floor.
It was kinda different.
my peculiar valentine
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
As has happened many, many times before, I will be away for Valentine’s Day. (Every day is Valentine’s Day, right Tommy?) So as a Valentine to all of you, I will post this tribute to young love today. I was a big fan of The King and I and evidently decided to illustrate the song Hello Young Lovers. I guess I slumped into deep despair before finishing.
I was strange little bunny, wasn’t I? Yes, that’s a waterfall. It's hard to see, but the woman is hurtling over it, the man is on a branch trying to rescue her. These young lovers? They got trouble.
My first appearance in the fine website, Worldhum. So … the days before a big trip are kind of an odd combination of perpetual motion and suspended animation. I have a strange otherworldly feeling as I go about my business, a sort of “last time, last time” feeling. (Neurotic? Me?) I’m nearly packed and organized, the trip is almost completely nailed down. It’s been a wee bit of a struggle, because I am a terrible travel agent and kept screwing up dates, because the Indian way of doing business seems to be a lot less Type A than my way of doing business, and because the Internet went down in
So … the days before a big trip are kind of an odd combination of perpetual motion and suspended animation. I have a strange otherworldly feeling as I go about my business, a sort of “last time, last time” feeling. (Neurotic? Me?) I’m nearly packed and organized, the trip is almost completely nailed down. It’s been a wee bit of a struggle, because I am a terrible travel agent and kept screwing up dates, because the Indian way of doing business seems to be a lot less Type A than my way of doing business, and because the Internet went down in
But, we’re almost there and I am now in the phase of trip prep that involves a lot of walking in circles around the house. This is a good thing, because that means when it’s time to go, Tom is good and sick of all my nervous energy and is ready to get rid of me.
I like today’s Libby Gill column in the Dallas Morning News about what she calls INR—the immediate negative response to fear. One might argue that fear is a negative response, but I think she means the kind of negativity that causes us to believe we cannot transcend our fear. Anyway, I know exactly what she means—sometimes you have an opportunity to do something new and your knee-jerk response is No F***ing Way! even though if you take a deep breath and think about it, there really is a f***ing way. (You know I don’t usually shy from profanity but for some reason, it looks better to me here with asterisks. So whatever.)On a somewhat related topic, the
I’ll have more for you later but now I must rush off and do things…
Monday, February 4, 2008
My blog reading hygiene has greatly improved since I downloaded and started using Google Reader. I highly recommend it.
how cool is this?
Really, watch it. It's brilliant.
Thanks to Worldhum for bringing it to my attention.
a new era in schlepping
A moment of respectful silence, please, for a retiring workhorse.
It’s been a fine old daypack and has covered a lot of ground with me. It attaches to a convertible pack that I bought in 1994 (I think it was) for a trip through five Alpine nations. Alone. By train. In 10 days. Oy, what a stupid trip I planned. The resulting article was titled “The Fabulous Alpine Adventure and Its Evil Twin.” Every two days, I was in a different country, trying to find my hotel, trying to figure out what to eat, trying to wrap my mind around the money, since this was pre-euro. I get a headache just thinking about it. I saw some lovely places thought. Ever been to Slovenia?
I haven't used the main pack much, since I discovered the beauty of rolling bags, but it's going to India with me because I suspect surfaces I'll encounter won't be rolling bag-friendly. And I'm packing light so carrying should be OK.
Anyway, it will be a while before I can bear to actually throw this old pack out—it’s served me so well. Well traveled, Hale Fellow.
I just realized that one of my professional organizations gives me a whopping 50 percent discount on Eagle Creek’s quality travel accessories. I first ordered the
This is an intimidating trip to pack for because we have three days of wedding festivities, a conservative culture and malaria-carrying mosquitoes. (Note to self: Start taking malaria pills today.) Lonely Planet and our contacts in India urge conservative dress for women. Loose t-shirts, long skirts (also for sun and mosquitoes) and shoulders covered. And flip-flops.
I don’t have a lot of appropriate skirts so I took a quick romp though the
The big purchase is my new camera, a Canon Rebel XP. I’ve been using a little point ‘n’ shoot for the past few years. I’m taking it back up a couple of notches.
I’ve got my packing organized, now I must run off for a pedicure. Much barefoot will occur on this trip. Gnarly winter feet will not do.
times square, 1979
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The Laughing Dogs played all the usual places—CBGB, Max’s
I may have been in the crowd somewhere wearing a Joehead mask (you'll know what I mean when you see it). I can’t recall, but these guys were friends with Nick and I was a peripheral friend so it's possible/likely. (If you were a girl back then you had to be dating someone in order to be anything more than peripheral to the scene.) I'm still in touch with Carter Cathcart--the piano player--now and then. I had a big crush on the bass player, Ronny Carle (nee Altaville), the one doing most of the singing. He looks like Trouble, right? Yeah. I had great taste in men. My first big romance was a hard-drinkin’ gun lover. Yikes.
But enough about me. Ladies and gentlemen, The Laughing Dogs:
P.S. serious earworm potential here
i beg to differ
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Dallas Morning News music critic Thor Christensen is my target today, even though I generally like his stuff. (Don’t know the guy personally; he arrived after I’d left the paper.)
Anyway, in today’s story about Super Bowl halftime shows, he leads with: Super Bowl halftime shows have come a long way since the days when Hello, Dolly! star Carol Channing passed for boffo entertainment.Excuse me. Some of us still consider Carol Channing boffo entertainment. A different sort of boffo from U2, which gets a big “right on” from Thor, but boffo nonetheless.
My definition of cool includes having a wide-open mind that acknowledges the value in artforms we might choose not to consume but in which we can recognize value.
I’m not a consumer of most hip-hop and rap, but I bow to its power and acknowledge its importance to the trajectory of pop music. I even recognize what is appealing about it without actually liking it. Like punk, it comes from that "LISTEN TO ME!" place in our hearts. But it's one-off for me. (I once had to interview a DJ of a local hip-hop station about his charity work, so I decided to listen to his station for a while, hoping to hear him at work. I never did hear him but after about an hour, I cried uncle and changed the station. For me, the pounding beats and bellowing had the effect of being hit on the head continually with a hard rubber mallet.)
Just because you might not throw on a Carol Channing album to get your party groove going doesn't means she isn't boffo. Carol Channing is a larger than life, fully committed entertainer who deserves respect.
Tell me this wouldn’t be a rockin’ halftime number.
And a deep cut for them who has time and inclination, this from a 1985 TV version of
Thor goes on to further offend me with this sentence: Back before he sank to self-parody, Prince was one of rock's most provocative artists.
I don’t buy the “self-parody” thing either. Prince has remained consistent through his career. He’s always been odd, he continues to be odd, he continues to be compelling. To my mind, that’s an awful lot of talent to dismiss so flippantly.
Of course, Thor is a critic, criticism is opinion and we just differ. (As my friend Russell Smith used to say to angry readers, “That’s my opinion. Are you saying I should have your opinion?”) Still, it seems to speak to the love-hate, push-pull many people have with creative talent. Sometimes we seem so angry at our stars, even those who earn their fame with authentic originality.
Friday, February 1, 2008
I know who said that! Dr. Phil said that. It's one of his Life Laws. bet she knows who said that, too. She just didn't want to say his name.
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