Archive for September, 2006

Shoot Sweaters, Not Iraqis!

Friday, September 29th, 2006

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Here is a nice sweater by London designer Robert Cary Williams. Here is how it’s described:

100% merino wool fine black knit with classic v neck and real shotgun holes.   Available in sizes small and medium.   69 GBP   ($129)

Yes, you heard me, “real shotgun holes.”

I want one, godammit! Thank god I don’t wear a large. You can check it out here.

Tears of Rage

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

So I’m surfing around the internet, and I click on a link about some billionaire who married his daughter, but it’s not really sordid enough to capture my interest. From there, I click on a news story about an 81 year old white woman who hit a black man in her car and is happy to have killed a nigger.

Well, Jesus Christ. What can you do? I read the whole story, and now that it’s in my poor brain, I’m stuck with it. It should be simple but it’s not. It’s certainly more than I bargained for. I never learn.

In May, Betty Bowen of Pompano Beach, FL,  made an illegal left turn and smashed into a motorcycle driven by Reginald Ervin, 41. Ervin was thrown from the bike and declared dead 2 hours later. Betty Bowen didn’t get a scratch, and won’t be charged with any crime. She didn’t even get a ticket for the illegal turn. She did lose her drivers license, and she’s glad to have helped “get rid of the niggers.” “One more off this earth,” she says.

Before you wish Betty into Old Sparky, though, here’s a closer look at her.
  
In addition to breast cancer, Bowen says she has “a fever in her feet,” which may or may not be nerve damage related to diabetes. She believes she recently suffered a mild stroke but was able to recover. Her arms are covered in red spots she calls “nerves,” and her blood pressure hovers around 200, she says. But Bowen has no doctor and takes no medication, save the blood pressure pills she once received as a sample.

“Fraud and lip service,” she says of all her experiences with doctors.

Her pills sit neatly on her coffee table among nail clippers, a pair of glasses from the drugstore, tweezers, a razor, a mirror, a toothbrush, a file, baby powder, Tums, candles, cologne, and 11 pens. Having the items close at hand is necessary, as Bowen does not leave the couch very often. But she was delighted when she learned that a reporter was coming over. Bowen is fired up to talk about “that Negro son of a gun” and his “whaddaya call it? Road raging.”

Reginald’s 12 year old daughter, who lives with her great-grandparents, is stoic about his death.  Ervin spent six years earlier in prison, where she visited him every weekend. Everyone who knew him says he had really turned his life around. The girl sometimes forgets that her dad won’t be coming home, and she wishes Bowen would be punished for the accident.

Meanwhile, Betty Bowen feels no remorse. She hates niggers and she’s sick of the foreigners, too.

She complains of having no friends – they’ve all died in the past seven years. She has no communication with her son or her daughter, whom she believes is trying to steal her money. She has no doctor. She has no means of transportation to her favorite store, Save-a-Lot, down the block, where she gets her candles. She has no social worker. Most days, she has no energy to get off the couch.

Well, that’s the story. You can read it here. All I can take away from this is an image of a horrible lonely sick old woman. I know it’s going to haunt me. I’m not forgiving her or anything. But if you know of anyone like this, give them a visit. Try to show them some compassion. Get them some social services. And of course, try to prevent them from driving a car.
  

Fall Fashion

Monday, September 25th, 2006

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The magazines and designers have issued their collective Fashion Dictates for the Fall season. You still have time to climb aboard the Fashion Victim wagon if you haven’t done your shopping yet. Here are the top ten trends.

1. Leggings:   The horror of leggings never ends. Unflattering and uncomfortable, they permit you to wear a tunic or some other garment you shouldn’t even think of wearing, and help to recapture that dated Flashdance look.
2. Layers:   Layers and layers of clothing demand that you spend more money on clothing, more time doing laundry, and they help to achieve that bedraggled third world look you admire so much.
3. Animal Prints:   Just as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, every year you will be told to wear leopard and zebra prints, as if you’d never seen it before in your whole life. Just dig out that shit from last year.
4. High boots:   High boots are good over those leggings, and since the newest look in boots is the flat heel, all the better to look like Robin Hood in a school play!
5. Tartan:   Again, pretend you’ve never seen tartan before in your whole life. Tartan! Who would have thought “tartan for fall”, except for every catholic school and wool manufacturer?
6. Enormous Handbag: Bigger than last season, if you can find one that big. Preferably with some awful flourish that indicates whichever designer your bag is a knock-off of.
7. Shorts: Wool shorts over leggings: Silly, uncomfortable, and inappropriate for nearly every occasion. What more could you ask for?
8. Tweed: Tweed, for autumn? A brilliant idea, as fresh and edgy as animal prints.
9. The Bubble: The shape for skirts and dresses. It makes you look like a round blob and highlights your knobbly or pudgy knees (depending on whether you’re a model or civilian)
10. The Cape: Either short for a weird retarded look, or long, for a sort of Militant Little Red Riding Hood effect. The cape is here in a big way. Try one in fur, to show PETA who’s boss.

  

Peel Here: If Only I Could.

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

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Why does it get harder and harder to open things? Is this considered Improved Technology? I am happy to report that it’s not just me getting feebler. Having struggled in the past to open a stupid bag of Dole salad greens, I knew it beyond my abilities. So this time, I handed the bag to my friend Renee, a strapping girl in her 20s.

“It says Peel Here, but you won’t be able to” I informed her bitterly. Indeed, there is nothing to peel, or at least no free end of anything. To make matters worse, right above the Peel Here area is a little graphic of a scissors with an international NO sign around it. It is very bossy of Dole to not only tell you what to do, but to forbid you from doing it another way.

Renee agreed that there was no way to Peel Here. “Is there a toll-free phone number on this thing?” she asked.   Naturally, there isn’t, because Dole would then be flooded with calls from annoyed consumers who just wanted to eat some goddamned salad. There was only a P.O. Box address.

After a brief and angry struggle, Renee announced: “I’m going in.” It was a thrilling moment. She was like a Green Beret! I believe she used a knife but I’m not sure. I backed away from the operation, still mindful of the time I stabbed myself in the bellybutton while trying to open my new electric toothbrush. Once it was open using an alternative method, the package could not be closed via the handy zip-lock feature, since that could only be activated by the Peel Here. As if.

Perhaps someone at Dole is a Dada-ist?   Who knows. That salad package is bullshit, I can tell you that much. Is it god’s way of saying “Prepare Your Own Salad, Mrs. Lazy?” I doubt it. He’s been too busy poisoning spinach.

I’m only sorry I don’t have a photo of Renee in her glorious victory, but here’s her website.
  

Dead at 27

Monday, September 18th, 2006

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I’ve been planning to write about the “Dead at 27″ phenomenon among rock-stars, hoping to come up with some insight into the significance of age 27. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Robert Johnson all died at 27. Junkie-of-the-moment Pete Doherty’s mom says she is worried that her son may share this numerical jinx, and I don’t blame her. But I just came across a weird Christian website devoted to dead rockers, and I see that there is actually a wide range of check-out age. Twenty-seven is a cool myth, sort of, but now it’s debunked, for me anyway.

My half-assed stab at research did lead me to an online music journal called Blender, which names Dead at 27 as #8 in a list of the 50 Worst Things Ever to Happen  to Music.

I love lists, and this is a good one. I would have put rap music at #1, and I would have put Madonna higher up on the list. But I like that they bothered to itemize the various scourges, and I know that lists of this kind are meant to stir up dissent. Blender is also nice enough to give us a list of the 50 Worst Artists in Music History. Here, they are pretty hit-and-miss, but I was so charmed by their selection of Insane Clown Posse as #1 that I was ready to forgive them for all their mistakes.

Until I realized that for some reason, I have confused Insane Clown Posse with a horrible “rapcore” band called Crazy Town. Crazy Town had a hit single that used to trigger a seizure of hatred throughout my entire nervous system whenever it came on my car radio. God, it was awful, I can’t even think about it. In my personal pantheon of the 50 Worst Artists in Music History, I will reserve the #1 spot for Crazy Town.   Nearby will be Whitney Houston, thanks to her rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” I would also like to give Hoobastank a place in there simply because of their name.

Meanwhile, Pete Doherty has until March 12, 2007 if he wants to join the Dead at 27 club. Godspeed, Pete.

Blue Thriftshop Lady

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

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I went to a thriftshop on Saturday and the first thing I saw was a wacky looking   lady wearing an amazing get-up, looking through a rack of shirts. My heart skipped a beat! I have a new cell phone, with a camera that I haven’t learned how to use. I thrust my cell phone at a Homeboy type who works at the thriftshop and said “Quick, take a picture of that lady for me!”

He was so inept that I decided to just ask the lady if she’d mind having her picture taken. She was a little surprised but obviously pleased. I told her that I thought her outfit was fabulous. I was mocking her but as I looked at her face, I realized what a terrible mistake I had made. She was a sweet, lovely old woman who had the nerve and creativity to dress up for a day out shopping. She was just trying to look beautiful. And she succeeded, far more than I ever could.   See that lamb or doggie thing? That is her handbag! Too bad my phone camera didn’t catch her big green rhinestone brooches.

I promised to bring a copy of the photo to the thriftshop and leave it with the Homeboy. I love this Blue Thriftshop Lady and I hope I can be a better person because of her.

Bush and Torture

Friday, September 15th, 2006

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Listening to the news today about Bush’s attempt to bully the congress into accepting his pro-torture policy, I realized something: Bush is torturing me, and I want him to stop. Can we file a class-action suit against him for torturing American citizens? He is now torturing me night and day, and I don’t know how much more I can take.

Bush now claims that the only thing he cares about is resolving ambiguities in the Geneva Conventions. “It’s like – it’s very vague,” Bush complained. “What does that mean, outrages upon human dignity?” Well, I’m here to explain it for him. It means forcing people to listen to idiotic lies that even a halfwit would question the veracity of. It means insisting that young people go off to die in a pointless combat of his construction, while his own two draft-age daughters drive around drinking and shopping.

It is an outrage upon my human dignity to hear any more bullshit out of that moron’s mouth! Every time he makes that little inappropriate laugh, I feel defiled. Every time he says the word “freedom” I feel as though he’s shoving bamboo sticks under my fingernails.

Today, Bush threatened that if congress doesn’t yield to him on his exact terms, then “the program won’t go forward and the American people will be in danger.” Nah Nah, he’s saying; he’ll just have to take his ball and go home!

There is no end to the lengths George Bush will go to in order to bring on the apocalypse. Now it’s not a fight between civilizations, he announced on Monday. It’s a fight FOR civilization. It’s not even “Our way or the highway.” It’s our way or the end of civilization.

I insist on my civil right not to be tortured. I am not even an evildoer! Maybe the ACLU can help me. I know I have a good case.

What’s Up With Japan?

Monday, September 11th, 2006

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Without wishing to endorse racism, I have to admit that the Japanese psyche appears to be a little demented when it comes to sex. If bukake wasn’t enough, now I’ve learned about another popular Japanese practice called “chikan“. Chikan is the groping of women in public places, especially on packed trains, where women tend to be too embarrassed to either cry out or report such assaults. Japan has responded to the practice by making some trains “Women Only” and posting signs that warn “Beware of Perverts.”

How do you avoid perverts in Japan?? If they’re not busy with bukake (which now includes at least six sub-varieties, not including the new “Lesbian Bukake”) and the purchase of schoolgirl underpants (burusera,) they’re looking at anime porn (hentai.) And if they’re looking at anime porn, they might even be getting turned on by Tentacle Porn, in which women are raped by giant octopus creatures….a subject dating back to at least the 19th century in Japanese erotica.

What is the deal? I guess it starts with repression, but even the British haven’t cultivated a sexual culture so rich with messed up shit. Is it something to do with the issue of shame, which we know is a big deal in Japan? Is it something to do with crowding? I am really interested in the roots of such widespread fetishism. Somehow, it all fits in with the wacky Japanese game shows that traffic in humiliation and debasement. Then there is the Japanese fixation with cute little toys…..

I will always remember my sister’s reaction to the Japanese art film “In the Realm of the Senses,” based on a real incident in the 1930s. There was a lot of graphic sex, and it ends in castration. “I can never look at a kimono again,” she said bitterly. I’m glad I didn’t see the movie, but I have read my share of Japanese fiction( e.g., Endo Shusaku, Abe Kobo, etc) and my feeling about many of these writers has been: What the hell is wrong with you guys?!? Not that I can’t understand Mishima‘s arousal at the sight of Saint Sebastian impaled by bloody swords.

Does anybody else wonder about this? I hope so. I am eager to hear any thoughts or opinions. I also wonder why Japanese girls are so attracted to those awful little Prada backpacks, another Mystery of the Far East.

  

Miracle of the Cream Stacking

Monday, September 11th, 2006


Last year, on Martin Luther King Day, I took my younger son out to brunch. While waiting for our food, I was seized with an urge to stack the little paper cream containers that came with my coffee. It was more than an urge. It was……a Dream! Like Dr. King, I has a Dream that I could stack all of the creams into a tower and balance the ceramic dish on top. It was quite a moment, but back then we didn’t have cellphones with cameras.

Whenever I’m presented with a dish full of cream containers, I attempt the miracle, but it only works when I genuinely feel possessed of the Dream.  Behold my miracle performed on Saturday, in a Long Beach diner.

Meat Love

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

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Jan Svankmajer is an artist and/or nutcase whose films include an obvious masterpiece called “Meat Love.â€? It is the story of two chunks of meat, who fall in love and come to a bad end. It was made in 1989, and is described as having immense charm, wit and intensity….a parable on the tragic nature of love and existence, all in less than one minute.

Now this is what I want in a movie! The other day, I stupidly went to see the new movie by Mike Judge, creator of “Office Spaceâ€? and “King of the Hill,â€? both of which I really admire. “Idiocracyâ€? is a low-budget comedy about a future that has been dumbed-down to an extreme (i.e., only a little dumber than the present.) The US is overrun by morons who laugh at farts and can barely put two words together. Kind of just like it is already, only with costumes.

It was a terrible movie, no offense to Mike Judge. I also saw “Inside Man,â€? another terrible movie, this time by poor Spike Lee, who must have needed the money. I watched a new episode of “Weeds,â€? a pseudo-sophisticated Showtime series about a mom who sells pot, since her husband died and everyone knows that means you have to either become a stripper or a drug dealer. The plot involved preteen masturbation, and it was so crass and awful that I longed for Sex and the City, which I could never  watch without running out of the living room, screaming.

I know I should’ve seen Little Miss Sunshine! I know I would have felt encouraged by its intelligence level, even if everything else was wrong with it. I really fucked up. Now that Deadwood is over, there’s just nothing to live for, entertainment-wise. Everything is as bad as it could be….so bad, that Mike Judge can’t even satirize it. I might have to forgive all the artists out there, making the arty crap that always struck me as so monumentally pretentious.

I apologize, Jan Svankmajer! Whoever you are, keep up the good work. Stick to your guns, don’t sell out, aim high, right over my head if you feel like it. Just don’t leave me alone in the wilderness with mainstream pop culture.