Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Feeding Tube is the New Black

Feeding tubes, feeding tubes, everywhere today.

Over here, the goofy, smiling face of Terri Schiavo looping ad nauseum on CNN, projecting her glassy-eyed beatific expression for all the world to see. Life-loving Christians revere the image like a religious icon. Terri, they say, needs her feeding tube back. "We believe in miracles," their signs announce.

Over there, the pope, leader of the Christian world, his howl of frustration twisting his face into a mask of pain, transforming him from superhuman to mortal and dying. Christians pilgrims at the vatican shed tears of distress. The pope has just been plugged into a feeding tube because of difficulty swallowing. I bet he believes in miracles, too.

So it's a Big News day for the Culture of Lifers, those Christian-right Bushies who've claimed life as their next big platform--leaving death for the rest of us, clever strategists!--and the feeding tube as their campaign accessory. Not quite as catchy as the flag lapel pin, but it does seem to say it loud and clear: Life For Everyone! Are you in a persistent vegetative state--and have been for fifteen unchanging years? A feeding tube! Or are you alive, lucid, and raging ferociously against death? A feeding tube! Or are you just obnoxious, skinny, and not much of a believer in this Culture of Life hoo-ha? A feeding tube!

Erase all moral and emotional distinctions between the elderly, the vegetative, the terminally ill, and the temporarily incapaciated--just stick'em all up with feeding tubes. Because even though the Culture of Lifers believe in miracles, and beleve that God is almighty and all-knowing--they clearly don't believe quite strong enough, or maybe they just think He needs a little noodge to do the right thing and support life, too. So until God catches up and gets with the program and actually performs a miracle, well, stick a feeding tube in it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Remote-Control Hunting

Well, Renee, looks like the legislators in West Virginia were reading your thoughts yesterday and are now trying to enact a bill to prevent thugs like you from busting any more caps in Bambi's ass. Apparently they want to put an end to your favorite new sport, remote-control hunting.

For those unfamiliar with remote-control hunting, allow me to explain. The phenomenon started in Texas (shocking, no?) and, with the help of a little software, anyone who fancies himself a modern-day Davy Crocket can now sit behind a computer, and control a camera and shotgun at a game farm to sight and shoot prey.

But the humanitarians in West Virginia have now put these joy stick jockeys in their sights, and are aiming to shut down the computer-operated gaming facilities. The legislation's sponsor, Joe DeLong, a hunter himself, says he finds remote-control hunting, "a disgrace to the sport."

That's right, Joe. It's totally unfair to shoot a deer with a mouse. Shooting a deer with an AK-47, that's much more sportsmanlike...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Here's to Thuggery

I know that I'm arriving very late to the national passion and preoccupation that is The Sopranos, but I'm binging on the DVD's now and--speaking of love--I'm digging it. The Sopranos is about a million things--the mob, therapy, the afflictions of family life, suburban ennui, one man and his penis, one man and his mother--but it's also a lot about power. The power of thuggery, the inexorable status of brute strength. Everything is acquired by shake-down, and pretty much everything can be shaken-down. I'm suddenly getting the appeal of mob stories, because they're stories about everyday people in everyday neighborhoods--but who run their worlds like Roman emperors, who are living out the ultimate fantasies of power. Grrrrrr.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Love Can Sneak Up On You...

...unless it's in the New York Times, in which case it will assault you in EVERY section of today's paper. Yeah, sure, I know love's the bread and butter of Styles, and I confess I read the Vows section religiously each Sunday. But still, this weekend edition seems to overflow with the love junk.

First of all, the Modern Love article? Bleck. Sorry, but I really don't want to hear about the "torrid" sex you're having, Mrs. Married Lady With Kids. Then, in the magazine's "Lives" dek, Alicia Erian tells us, "His love could make me forget other men. So why couldn't I forget him?" Today's City section chronicles a Lubavitcher matchmaker in "Love With the Proper Stranger."

What gives? Seems like our fair Grey Lady is one step away from purple prose...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Drink Up, Jews, It's Purim Time!

So if you don't already have long-standing plans for Purim tonight, come to the Purim Spiel at Congregation Shaare Zedek on the Upper West Side (where else?), and make your mother happy for once!

I've contributed a sketch to the show, and trust me, if you are as good and drunk as you're supposed to be to celebrate this holiday, you'll find the material hysterical!

Purim Invitation Posted by Hello

The Info You Need Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I know it's probably a bad idea to admit to a crush in a blog. It's juvenile. It can only lead to future embarrassment. It will undoubtedly be seen and mocked by the crush in question. That said. I have a HUGE crush on **NAME REDACTED**, host of **NAME REDACTED**. Okay, no, I'd never actually seen him when the crush took hold, but I'd always enjoyed **IDENTIFYING DETAIL REDACTED**, and when I got the chance to work with him--again, no face to face interaction, just on the phone--I began imagining our life together.

Well, last night I finally got the chance to meet Captain Dreamy live and in person when I attended a lecture he gave at **NAME REDACTED**. And I became even more deeply doe-eyed when I realized 1. He was even better looking than his press photos and 2. He was much taller than I'd been envisioning. Hot. Our children would be tall!

Needless to say, when the lecture ended I bolted to the stage to introduce myself--handicapped people in the front row that I knocked over be damned--because I was ready to let kismet take over and let him recognize our mutual destiny.

Oh, and he was kind! He even smiled at me and pretended like he remembered who I was and the story I did for him. And as I stood there, beaming at him, bobbing my head and waiting for kismet to take over and waiting for him recognize our mutual destiny, he just kind of started shifting his weight from foot to foot, looking at the line of thirty other well-wishers who were now lined up behind me.

And I waited. Waited. Waited. Until, with no small touch of horror I realized that kismet had forsaken me and that he was not going to realize we shared a mutual destiny and now there was no graceful way for me to leave. So I started babbling on again about how great it was to meet him, how much I loved working with him, how wonderful the lecture was blablabla... it was more painful than slamming a pinky in a car door. In fact, as I reflect on it now, I think I'd like to slam my pinky in car door so at least I'll get momentary relief from my mortification...

Friday, March 18, 2005

When BAD reviews happen to GOOD friends...

I admit it: I occasionally indulge in a little shadenfreude. I can't help myself. When bad reviews happen to bad people, I think, "see that, there is justice in the world!" I think, "See that, it's not always going to be like that night when you turned on the TV just in time to see the shit-eating grin of the former boss who sexually harassed you waltzing up on stage to collect an Emmy award for his new show." But when a bad review happens to someone I like, like today, when a friend's movie opened to painful notices, I'm not sure what to think, except, "maybe her New York Times delivery dude will get run over before he throws the paper at her doorstep."

So here's a question: what do you say to a friend who has gotten so publicly spanked? (And I ask this knowing people will be reading and reviewing our book shortly.) Do you go the "all publicity is good publicity" route? Do you act like you thought it was a good review, pretending like you don't know what the words, "lazy," and "underwhelming" really mean? Or do you not acknowledge it at all, and merely cheer for your friend for getting something out there despite the odds?

I think I like option #3 best, though in truth, I've been pretending like I don't know what the word "lazy" means for years...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Artistic Bragging Rights

One of the great things about having incredibly talented artistic friends is that occasionally their genius gets appreciated. Though this doesn't happen frequently enough to suit my taste, this week's New Yorker gets it right:

Derek Buckner
Precisely observed rooftop views of New York that bring to mind muddied, modern-day Canalettos. A series of smaller paintings of panel-sided truks make the planes and blocks of color even more defined. Through April 2. (Billis, 511 W. 25th St. 212-645-2621.)

Derek's work is amazing and should not be missed! (that's my editorial comment)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Some God with your chastity?

Jessica Simpson was very lucky to have her daddy looking out for her chastity. When she was just an adolescent, Jessica's father sat her down and made her a promise in exchange for one from her. He promised her that he would love her and cherish her and tell her she was beautiful, until she met someone she fell in love with, until she met The One who would then be the one to whisper all those wonderful things to her. And so they promised each other--Jessica would save herself, and daddy would be there for her--and they sealed this solemn, creepy vow with a creepy exchange of rings. Marriages come in much wackier forms--nuns all marry the same dead guy named Jesus--so I'll limit my comment about this particular vow to "creepy."

And I still think Jessica was lucky. Because as the abstinence and chastity-vow movement creeps into sex education programs in schools all over America, driven by an empowered religious right and a Born Again president, other girls don't get such a pleasant promise in exchange for their chastity. Instead of love and a shower of approval, they got God--and it's a very scary and disapproving God.

The February, 2004, issue of Sierra magazine has a feature article on abstinence-only education in the public schools that shows how federally funded programs are frequently based on fear and end up proselytizing. In fact, a Louisiana state judge recently ruled that the proselytizing must stop or the programs risk defunding.

"For Louisiana seventh graders, abstinence-only education appears first and foremost to be about terrifying diseases: suppurating boils, endless rashes, sterility, cancers, and the physical and psychic morbidity with which they are to be punished for having sex before marriage."
"Hundreds of federally funded abstinence-only programs are run by faith-based groups. The Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union found that ... thousands of dollars went to programs that included prayers as well as continuous referrences to God, Jesus Christ, and the spiritual repercussions of sex before marriage."

And as everyone knows about teenagers, nothing works better to encourage good behavior than threats, fear, and intimidation. So you better not have sex before marriage--or else.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Dubious Headline

"DeLay Is Treated By Cardiologist" (New York Times, 3/11/05)

This would imply the man has a heart, no?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Penis Proves Problematic In Maintaining Ethics

Harry Stonecipher, Flyboy-in-Chief of Boeing, was forced to resign after admitting to an affair with a female executive at the company. According to the NYTimes, the "Cipher" had been brought out of retirement specifically "to clean up the company's tarnished image."


There are so many troubling aspects to this front page story, where does one begin? Does one go first to the disbelief that a Viagra-adled senior citizen was so much the pussy hound that he couldn't keep it in his pants despite risks to his marriage, professional reputation and the credibility of Boeing, the world's second largest aerospace company? Does one marvel that in a country full of glass home-owning executives that they still dare to throw stones for the sexual activities of others? Or are we just more shocked that in light of all corporate malfeasance these days, that this, this is what will cause you to lose your job?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Bitter Pill

Favorite new oxymoron: "Jagged Little Pill, acoustic remix." That's right, apparently Alanis Morissette is coming out with a 10th anniversary re-recording of her paean to the crazy single girl.

But one would think the formerly honest songstress Morissette would at least have the decency to rename this warmer and fuzzier version of "Jagged" something more appropriate like, "Married, Edgeless and Ready to Pop Out Puppies."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

How to Throw a Potluck

The old girls at the Big House in Alderson are bumming big time that their Martha's leaving, and not just because they'll miss her guidance in weaving class and yoga. Mostly because prison life is going to go back to being the mind-numbing and borderline abusive humdrum that it was for them until America's most famous lady liar turned up. In the WSJ today, one inmate said that since Martha's arrival, the corrections officers "almost treat us like we're human now." It's kinda gonna suck when she's gone tomorrow, huh? But they have big hearts, lotsa courage, and lotsa time, so last Tuesday they hosted a little potluck dinner to celebrate Martha's release. And what could be more a more prison-glam idea for a dinner party than a Release Potluck?!! So here are a few suggestions for hosting your very own Release Potluck. But remember that, like Martha's friends in The Cottages--that was the name for her wing of the prison--you and your guests can only cook using the microwave and the fridge.

Invite only friends who've committed non-violent crimes.
Don't invite anyone from The Range--that's the nasty side of the prison where they resented Martha.
Familiarize yourself with the issues surrounding sentencing guidelines, and manifest strong opposition to long sentences.
Start with some dry cereal purchased from the prison commissary. Since the food cutbacks at Alderson due to budget cuts, they only serve cereal once a week--so it'll be a nice change from the usual waffles and processed breakfast meat.
Follow with some baked apples--cooked in the microwave, just like the ones Martha made for her friend Susan Spry (12 years for meth posession) for Valentine's day.
Have a guest bring some wedges of iceberg lettuce--that's all any one inmate gets at lunch and dinner, since they eliminated the salad bar.
Finally, pineapple cheesecake for dessert! Add milk to the Jell-O mix, stir and refrigerate.

Bon Appetit!

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