Thursday, June 29, 2006
Document The Atrocities

Don't look now, but the Texas assclown is coming to town. By my calculations, it'll be the closest he's gotten to the soggy ruins of New Orleans since the last of the corpses sunk to the bottom. (I wonder if it's too late to do some freeway blogging?)


Thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing a new nightmare - the risk of homelessness. The U.S. government estimates several hundred vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless on any given night across the country, although the exact number is unknown.

The reasons that contribute to the new wave of homelessness are many: some are unable to cope with life after daily encounters with insurgent attacks and roadside bombs; some can't navigate government red tape; others simply don't have enough money to afford a house or apartment.


He supports the troops like a deadbeat dad.
5:29 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Too Drained To Come Up With A Title

I went to the research hospital where my mom works today and had lunch with her in the cafeteria. The food's a little on the mediocre side (mushy noodles, yuck), but the atmosphere is nice. The hospital is probably one of the most diverse places in the city, and I can't get enough of that; I miss hearing people speaking languages I don't understand. Whenever I do, it always makes me a little happier.

Anyway, we were talking about the usual assortment of big and small subjects, and I mentioned that I was getting anxious over some things. Not just the obvious things, but the small things as well. She pointed out that it wasn't surprising that I might be feeling a little angsty -- I've got a lot in the air right now. And she's right. I have the anticipation that things are about to start happening, that things are on the verge of being resolved (or heading in the general direction of resolution), but none of it's actually happening yet. I continue to plug away at those things upon which I can have some effect, but a lot of what's going on can't or won't be rushed. All I can do in the meantime is scowl and fidget.

Having the chance to spend the week in a quiet space has been a lucky coincidence. While I can't necessarily say that it's made much practical difference (although I've used a fraction of the gasoline I normally use this week, which is a definite benefit), it's made it easier for me to focus on one thing at a time. I hesitate to go so far as to say it's helped me "relax." I've been napping a lot, not because I'm not sleeping well but because I suddenly feel exhausted -- but that's not quite the same thing. I'm pretty wound-up right now. There's a lot going on just below the surface. But I've been able to deal with it in a balanced way, so that's good. I've been getting a lot of reading done, which is much easier when you've got a comfortable place to sit, good light, and don't have to contend with the score to The Quiet Man screwing itself into your brain while you're trying to concentrate on some dense text.

Nope, I haven't missed John Wayne a bit.

It's weird, though, to look at the last week and see how many disparate things have cropped up simultaneously. The last six months have been quiet but dull and often frustrating; now there's a palpable sense of gathering momentum -- "hey, look, we're moving again." Admittedly, it would be nice to know to where. But regardless, I only hope that this movement is real and not my imagination; I'm sick of these false starts.
10:47 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Monday, June 26, 2006
Not Home

Sorry for the lull in posting -- I'm spending the week elsewhere, and using different computers when I'm online, so I don't have my ready file of blogfodder available to help fill in these gaps. And while I could always come up with something new and insightful, at the moment my brain's just about at its maximum. I'm editing this film, I promised myself I would get my backlog of reading done while I had some time to myself in a quiet place, and then there's... y'know, everything else.

One thing I do know from spending a few days in midtown, though, is that I have got to move up here soon. Life is so much simpler -- I can go work over a soy mocha at Otherlands without having to figure in $5-8 extra for fuel and a round-trip drive of more than an hour; I can go work at the Co-op at night without having to worry about drunk drivers on the way home; and I bet I'd save at least $20-30/week just on gas if I lived up here.

Yep. All I need now is a steady paycheck.
2:21 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Friday, June 23, 2006
One To Irritate My Mother

I'm still waiting for a library copy of Ann Coulter's lastest egregious, hateful screed to show up in the house. It's only a matter of time; there's not a single book of hers that my mother hasn't devoured. (Fortunately she hasn't yet taken Ann's advice to address me with a baseball bat, which I appreciate.)

Until then, though, she could always have a go at the Hitler v. Coulter Quiz. It's actually pretty easy to tell whose quotes are whose -- the Hitler quotes are a lot more literate.

Of course, it's also well-established now that Coulter is an incorrigible plaigarist -- maybe that explains it?

Whenever the nation is under attack, from within or without, liberals side with the enemy.

Whenever we read of attacks against America taking place in any part of the world the liberal is always the instigator.

I bet they sound even more alike in German.

(Yeah, yeah, I know. But I'm not saying she's the same as Hitler, just that she does write an awful lot like him.
12:32 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Well, now things have gotten a lot more complex. Last night's post was about me giving my gut response some room to work itself out; today's post was going to be about my intellectual, adult response. See, I have this all figured out.

But now I discover -- and I was really afraid that this might happen -- that my father is now reading this blog. Yesterday, as far as I could tell, it was limited to the other website; that one I don't care about so much, it's neutral space. This one is much, much more personal, in spite of being more public. I'm not angry about that as such -- it's not what I wanted, but it is public so I can't really do anything about it. But I feel compromised now. Control is an issue in all this and now I've lost some of it. That's bad.

But hey, what the fuck, why not? I'm not being anything but honest here, and I have no intention of doing anything differently because of it. This isn't how I was going to do things, but it's done now -- might as well run with it. Damn the torpedoes, etc. I'm just going to keep moving forward, and if it goes badly, then it goes badly. I've got nothing to lose. It'll just be a little weird to figure out how to navigate the "talking about" v. "talking to" thing. It was all going to be said sooner or later anyway. I'm just not sure how it's going to work under these circumstances. It's pretty fucked-up (my favorite phrase for describing anything having to do with my dad), and I'm not sure that's the best way to start, but I'm pretty tired of having to be the one who has to straighten out all the fucked-up things in this relationship. So there it is.

Anyway, where was I... ?

Oh, right. The grown-up part.

The thing is, I understand. I understand all of it. I know my father from the inside out (literally, I suppose); I know the root of all his issues because he played them all out again with me. I don't think there's anything in our relationship that doesn't correlate to his relationship with his dysfunctional, fucked-up parents, and I'd be willing to bet that there was nothing in his relationship to his mother that doesn't correlate to something in her relationship with her parents, and so on, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Round and round and round we all go, playing an endless game of more-wounded-than-thou. He attempted to deal with it by turning his back and walking away, not only from his parents but from his own parenthood. I've made plenty of attempts to do the same thing, with the big distinction that in my case it was usually more like saying, "yeah, well I didn't want to be your daughter anyway, so there." I don't know how he took it, but I think any reasonable person would have seen through it instantly.

The thing that always killed me is that as he sought sympathy, he never seemed to realize that I was the one person in the world who might really believe him and really understand. He said to me once on the phone, "every time I hear someone talk about how much their mother means to them, how loved they felt, I want to cry." And I thought, "yeah, I know what you mean." He confronted my grandmother and she refused to deal with it; I tried to confront him (in my stumbling teenage way) and he deflected and avoided, and then fled. It had the same effect on me as his mother's flat denials had on him, but he never seemed to see that. Or if he did, I couldn't imagine why he would choose to perpetuate what had so frustrated and pained him. If I could see the process at work when I was 15, why couldn't he see it at 37? And if he could see it, why didn't he stop it? Why would he choose to let that damage happen? I still can't make any sense of it.

The first time I learned that my father was unwell, I received a sort of invitation-by-proxy to come see him. It wasn't so much that it might be the last chance, but rather that time might be short and that if I wanted it, I should get started. My decision then was the same as it has been since I reached adulthood: I'm never going to be the one to reach out to him. I refuse to do it. It's not my job; it's something I would find humiliating; and like being told that you're loved, if you have to ask for it, it doesn't count. He'd have to come to me -- and maybe not then. It depends.

Now that condition has been met, and I've got to scramble to figure out what the next step is. And first, I think I'm allowed a few obvious questions.

My immediate question is, why? Why now? What's changed? Why, out of all the years that have elapsed, has he chosen this moment to re-materialize in my life? And what does he want from me? "Peace" isn't a very good answer, it doesn't tell me anything. Does he want a relationship? Or does he just want absolution? Is he doing this for my good, or for his own? The motives I associate most closely with him aren't ones that I'm interested in satisfying; the motives that I would accept as legitimate, I can't imagine him having. I could be wrong -- I'd like to be wrong -- but it's going to take a lot to convince me.

And what on earth could possibly have inspired this? There are a few obvious possibilities on the table, any or all of which could be true. Maybe he saw something of me -- my writing, or whatever -- and decided I finally passed muster. More likely, I think, he's lonely and afraid. I don't know what his situation is except in an abstract way, but I think it's reasonable to guess that time is growing short for him. He hasn't left much of a legacy behind -- his genius never produced much in the way of lasting work -- except for me. Maybe, having blown through all his other relationships and frightened away everyone else who might care about him in his last years, he's decided to come back to the one person who'll always be beholden to him and see if he can wring a little more out of me. Maybe he just wants to feel a little better about how he's lived his life, to be able to go through these last years propping himself up on the idea that hey, at least he tried, he did what he could. It's not his responsibility anymore.

Or maybe he's really changed. Maybe he's truly ready to come back and mend this ragged edge, maybe he's finally prepared to face me squarely and honestly and spend the last part of his life being my father. He'd never be able to change the past, obviously, and I wouldn't expect or want him to even under the best circumstances. I like who I am now (yesterday's post notwithstanding), and whatever got me here is fine by me -- even if sometimes I wish I didn't have some of my weird psychological quirks, particularly the ones that get in my way. (I could really do without the crippling self-doubt and deep-seated inhibitions.) But still, this is me, this is what I have, and I can deal with it. I don't want apologies. That's over, and apologies don't give me anything I don't already have. I don't want him to fix anything -- there's nothing here that's fixable.

What I want is for him to understand me the way I understand him. I want him to see the effect he had on me, and to acknowledge it for what it is. I want him to demonstrate his understanding by never again doing the fucked-up things he does. He doesn't get to be the father of an eight- or twelve- or sixteen- or twenty-two-year-old me anymore; he and I have both lost that chance. Too late.

If he's ready to be the strong, brave dad I needed, though, he could maybe be the father of the 30-year-old me he helped create by not raising me. There's a tiny, fragile chance that that could happen. But it's not something I think I'd want to do if I were him: the 30-year-old me is a lot harder to manage than the twelve-year-old me was. It would be much easier for him, much less taxing, to just let me continue on as I have, waiting for the relief of my father's passing and the day when he finally has a good excuse for not being around. I'm not even sure if I want to do the work myself -- it's easier to stay angry. I don't know how to not be angry at him.

I don't know... maybe it could happen. But my unmanageable 30-year-old self says, not bloody likely. I'll believe it when I see it.
4:15 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Run Screaming

I woke up this morning feeling a little uninpsired. "I really ought to post something on the blog today," I thought to myself, "but I have no idea what to write about." And lo, the blog god overheard my ambivalent plea and, proving himself to be as shifty as you'd expect the god of blogs to be, provided me with something to which I could easily devote a month's worth of blog posts -- and I may end up doing just that.

This post is coming late in the day because I needed a little time to go off somewhere and quietly lose my shit, and then I needed a little more time to gather my shit together again. But I think I can write about this with some amount of rationality now that I've had an hour or ten to get my id back under control. I'm kinda sorry to dump all this on y'all, but this is the closest thing I have to a journal, so whatever happens next, you're going to get to read all about it in grisly detail. Feel free to skip these posts if you prefer; I won't be offended.

I got an email from my dad today. The key word there being "from" -- not like all the previous ones that were merely "about": "your father's in the hospital, your father's had another heart attack, your father's going into surgery and it's unlikely he'll survive." Apart from one single exchange in the days following his own father's death, that's the full extent of my contact with my dad in nearly ten years. And then today, out of fucking nowhere, I get one of his patented disarming messages.

Son of a bitch.

He wants to "come to some peace together."

Yeah, don't we all. But where he's concerned, I don't believe it for a minute. I don't doubt that he thinks he wants that, but I have some very serious doubts about whether he's prepared to do the work necessary to accomplish it. He's always had the power to enter people's lives and tear them apart -- friendships severed, relationships devastated, people left crushed and wounded and feeling strangely compelled to blame themselves for it -- but he's never been brave or strong enough to face the emotional wreckage he leaves in his wake. He's brilliant and charming, but he's also deeply broken and cowardly. I have no reason to think that's changed.

That's not to say I don't want "some peace." I'm more than ready to deal with this once and for all, to let go of my anger, to have this be over and done. I've been ready for a long time, and made many attempts to do it on my own. I've long since forgiven him for the immense fucked-upness of his parenting -- and he did some incredibly fucked-up stuff; stuff that's made seasoned counsellors with whom I've worked in the past look at me and say, "he did what?" I haven't forgotten that, and lord knows it had an impact. But I just don't have the energy to talk about it anymore. I don't care, I'm bored to death with the whole thing. It is, as they say, ancient history.

But as often as I've tried to forgive him and forget about him, it just doesn't work. We are all inextricably tied to the people who made us, and for me that means I get to keep dragging him behind me until the day I die. As often as I've tried to somehow get over it all, it always comes back, because the pain continues on a daily basis; it's an ongoing offense. Every day that passes adds a drop to this bucket of anger I keep trying to empty. His not being there, in the paternal and every other sense, is a much bigger issue for me as an adult than any of the fucked-up things that happened during my childhood, and that has never ended. All I could do was get used to the idea, learn to accept that this is the way things are, that he's just not capable of giving me what I need from him.

And then today he shows up again, talking about the blues and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and "I've no defense of any sort" and how he wants to "come to some peace together."

Part of me, the part that's still five years old, thinks, "Daddy! Daddy loves me again!" and wants to run and throw my arms around him. The pissed-off, teenaged part of me wants to do or say anything that will make him hurt as much as I've been hurt, throw things, fling accusations. The grown-up part of me recoils at the thought of contact, reluctant to rip open all my vulnerabilities and old wounds, taking offense at his familiar tone. The hopeful part of me begs him please not to dangle in front of me the one thing I've spent half my life chasing, not if he doesn't really mean it. I can't bear going through this rejection again.

Because that's what it's always been about. The rest of it was ugly, and I'm not saying it didn't matter, but it's incidental at this point. The thing keeps me angry, which I finally defined for myself only a couple of years ago, is this conviction at the center of my identity that there was something so disappointing, so repulsive, so wrong with me as a girl that he decided he didn't even want to know me, didn't want to call me his daughter. He left me convinced that I was unlikeable, unlovable, critically flawed in some way that I couldn't perceive or understand, and that my efforts to prove myself worthy of his affection only demonstrated my essential failings.

I don't need anyone to tell me that's not true -- I know it's not. Sometimes I have to make a concerted effort to make that point to myself, but I do know that as human beings go, I have a lot to offer. The thing is, there's always going to be a part of my mind that can't and won't be convinced. It's not unique to me, but it's part of me, and the best I can do is try to learn to minimize its influence on my life. And as distorted as this thinking is, to that part of my mind every day that passes in his absence is further evidence that I wasn't good enough for him to love me. Every rejection and failure gets filtered through that lens; every victory and accomplishment retains a whiff of desolation over the one thing I still haven't won.

He left when I was thirteen. The years immediately after that were a constant storm of drugs, booze, abuse, violence, poverty, and eventually death, and he wasn't there for any of it. When I tried to flee to him, I was left alone every night, all night, locked in the house, forbidden to read his books or touch any of his stuff, stranded in a room in a frozen city a thousand miles from my closest relative or any trusted friend. When I was dying of depression, he was off with his new family, taking care of someone else's kids. When I had a film I'd helped make screen at a West End cinema in London -- still one of my proudest moments -- he wasn't even around, much less proud of me. When I got crunched by a car and spent three bedridden weeks waiting for bones to mend and wounds to heal, I received get-well wishes from everyone I knew except him. I haven't seen a birthday or Christmas card from him since I was 17; my 18th birthday present was divorce papers and an official end to his legal obligations to me as his only offspring. Since then, almost without exception, it's been nothing but numbing silence.

And now he wants to "come to some peace together"?

Yeah. But it's not that fucking easy, is it?
9:45 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Monday, June 19, 2006
Late Addition

Oh! I almost forgot: happy birthday to darling Morgypie!
8:15 PM ::
Amy :: permalink


Y'know, I don't care much when people turn games into art. I think it's kinda wanky. But turning art into a game? That I like.

Grotrian Pianola -- I think I love you.

Levers -- would've been cooler if they'd gone the Alexander Calder route, but still diverting.

Gratuitous link dump: the world's most serious three-year-old, and the parents who enable him
3:07 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Our Glorious Victory

I spent the whole weekend away from the Internets, though not away from computers. Still, sometimes it's healthy to withdraw from the real world and take a couple days' vacation in one of your own devising.

But then you come back, and you realize why you needed some time off in the first place:

As a former trauma specialist in a hospital casualty department, Dr Baker Siddique, 29, thought he was inured to scenes of carnage. But nothing he had witnessed prepared him for a visit to a pathologist friend working at the mortuary.

"I saw a street packed with people and coffins standing up vertically," he said. "There wasn't enough room to lie them horizontally."

His voice faltered and his eyes filled with tears as he recounted the agony of a woman in black who discovered the bodies of her four sons that day.

"I have never heard screams of pain like that," he said. The woman collapsed on the floor, throwing dirt over her head -- a gesture of grief and helplessness that has become tragically commonplace in Iraq.

As the doctor talked to his friend, a police pickup truck pulled up with a dozen or more bodies piled in the back. "I could not believe that the dead were brought in such a way," Siddique said. "They were one on top of the other like animal carcasses."

When the police found that no porters were available to help, they threw the bodies off the truck. It was then that Siddique noticed the corpses of two boys aged about 12 lying in the pile on the ground.

"Each had a piece of knotted green cloth tied around his neck and I could see they'd been strangled," the doctor said. He also noticed round holes that were slightly inflamed in several parts of their body, a sign that they had been tortured with electric drills before being killed. "Even their eyes had been drilled and only hollow sockets remained," he said.

When he pointed out the injuries to his friend, the pathologist shrugged and took another drag on his cigarette, saying this was now routine.

"We have turned into a zoo," Siddique told me. "What level have we sunk to, to kill people in such a manner and hardly to notice any more?"


So much for liberation. We got rid of one monster only to discover that he was the only monster keeping a thousand other monsters in check. (And don't you dare tell me that it's the "terrorists" doing this -- you put the average American city under the kind of stress, deprivation, and continual trauma under which Baghdad has existed for four years and I suspect you'd find we've got a few hundred latent drill-wielding terrorists in our midst, too.)

Other highlights from the new, liberated Iraq: women, liberated from their rights; incipient ethnic cleansing; and civil war, already in progress. (pdf)

Why are we in Iraq, again?
2:07 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Friday, June 16, 2006
Friday Bloomsday Blogging

Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices filled with crustcrumbs, fried hencod's roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

~ Ulysses by James Joyce, Ch. 4 "Calypso"

(It's like St. Patrick's Day for the over-educated.)
2:29 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Thursday, June 15, 2006
My Sick Friends Network

My old college buddy Shaw is sittin' in the hospital tonight -- he's a good guy with a big heart that doesn't always work the way it should. I myself will be making an attempt at telephonic and electronic get-well wishes, but if anyone else feels like giving him a "chin up, little fella," you can do it here. Don't be put off just 'cause you don't know him -- he loves strangers. And he needs all the good vibes he can get.
8:34 PM ::
Amy :: permalink


As I was falling asleep last night, in that pleasantly surreal quasi-dreamstate that produces some of my best ideas, a random thought occurred to me:

You know what you never see anymore? Monocles.

Why doesn't anyone wear monocles anymore? If there was ever a good reason to wear one in the first place, surely that reason still exists today. If the cover of New Yorker Magazine, the Monopoly box, and Mr. Peanut are any indication, there was a time when all the most fabulous people wore monocles. But never in my life have I seen a real person seriously wearing a real monocle; every other fashion affectation has come around again since the 30s except raccoon fur coats and the stately monocle. Has human physiology and need really changed that much? Is there nobody alive today with lens-correctable vision problems in only one eye? Does EyeMasters have a secret monocle department (ready in about half an hour?)

Seriously, this is bugging me. Monocles inhabit a strange space in the culture -- unlike, say, an Elizabethan neck ruffle, they're too practical to be strictly about fashion; but they're too absurd to be strictly utilitarian. You can still go out and buy a velvet top hat or a waistcoat or a tux with tails, but god help the man searching for a quality monocle.

I'm away for the rest of the afternoon, and whenever I do get back, this most recent Firefox update is crashing its ass off (I'm writing this on Explorer, which I loathe) so that'll keep me busy. Y'all just talk amongst yourselves -- whoever posts the most unexpected comment gets a cookie.
10:21 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Wanted: Advice

So, I've been going over and over a situation in my mind for the last two days, and I just can't come to a decision. I keep thinking I've made up my mind, but then I start doubting my decision, and end up going in circles. So I'm opening it up for advice. Be warned: this is a stupid problem. But sometimes the stupid problems, by their very stupidity, are the hardest to solve.

The background: there's a guy here in town, known for the purposes of this post as B., whom I've known for a good long while -- probably four years or so. B. and I are friendly acquaintances -- not close, but sociable on the occasions when we run into each other. I genuinely like B. and harbor no ill will towards him. However, at one point in the past, harsh words were exchanged between us. There's no point in going into it now; I've never thought it did any long-term damage to our relationship. There are times when I wonder whether B. still holds some small grudge over that incident, based on weird little things that have happened since. But that could just as easily be some delusion on my part, so I let it go. I can't really be bothered with it either way.

Anyway, B. has made a film, a big one, his formal directorial debut. It premiered almost a year ago, but he's screening it a couple of times this weekend, and I've been invited (several times, by several different people, none of whom are B.) to attend. The problem: they're asking $15 at the door to get in. That's roughly three times the going rate for a locally-produced independent film in this town, and it's $15 that I really don't have to spare.

So here's my dilemma: on the one hand, I feel I should go. B. isn't a close friend, but he's still a friend, and I've known him for a relatively long time. I want to support his efforts, and I do want to see his film. There are other people involved whom I also support. I believe that creative work deserves fair payment, so I'm perfectly willing to pay admission; I don't feel comfortable asking for a discount or to be put on some kind of guest list for the destitute. On some level I feel socially obligated to go.

On the other hand, I was never on the list of people B. called upon for help or support earlier in the process -- there was even one event from which I felt rather pointedly excluded (though not in a malicious way.) There's nothing particularly special about this screening that I can tell, apart from the fact that lots of the cast will be there -- but I already know a lot of those people anyway. And to be perfectly blunt, $15 admission feels vaguely extortionate. If I had it, I'd give it, but right now $15 is a significant amount of money to me, and I'm not sure what I'm actually paying for. I'm cool with not having been involved, but I think it's reasonable to say that there's some part of me that resents being asked to pay a high price for the privilege of seeing his film when I was left out of everything else.

It's worth pointing out, though, that I can be a little irrationally sensitive about being left out or ignored. So take my resentment with a grain of salt as applicable.

So what should I do? Should I go see the film, or should I just stay home?
2:02 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
A Biography In Music (Now With Added Chess Club)

Somebody sent me this stupid twenty-questions thing, and I need something to fill some space today, so here it is.

What was your first album?

That's a hard question... I had a lot of "first" albums. I think my very, very first was Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. I loved that damn thing. Or maybe it was Harry Nilsson's The Point. I had them at about the same time, so I don't know which came first.

My first non-kiddie album was probably one of the ones my dad foisted on me in an attempt to mold my developing musical taste during my pre-teen years: Elton John or Billy Joel or something like that. There was a lot of Beatles around, and a lot more interesting stuff playing in the background of my childhood, but I was never formally introduced to any of that.

The first album I ever bought myself without direct influence from anyone else was Talking Heads' Little Creatures. I think I was about 14 at the time, which meant I came to it about four years after it was released.

What band were you obsessed with as a teenager?

Oingo Boingo. I still know every lyric to every song they ever recorded. I also had an extensive Talking Heads collection, and an impressive selection of old Dead Kennedys albums. Basically, I was into anything that was big ten years earlier.

What band are you obessesed with now?

Errrr... I've been listening to a lot of the Modest Mouse back catalog. And my 30-year-old self is digging the Shins. But I wouldn't call either of them an obsession. I've maintained an ongoing obsession with the Pixies, but it's hard to stay obsessed about a band that's only produced one new song in ten years.

What's in your music collection that you're proud of?

All of my John Zorn.

What's in your music collection that you're embarrassed by?

Boney M -- Greatest Hits. And my Robbie Williams CDs. The latter more than the former, really.

Did you grow up in a musical home?

Theoretically. It was a lot more talk than action.

Do you play an instrument?


I did play the flute in high school marching band, but I don't think that counts -- I never wanted to play the flute, and I always hated the damn thing. I wanted to play the cello. But my dad already had a flute, so that's what I got. Anyway, I couldn't march and play at the same time to save my life.

Have you ever been in a rock band?

Playing what, the flute? Do I look like Ian Anderson to you?

What are your ten favorite songs?

That's like asking what my ten favorite movies are -- it's a constantly changing list. But I can give you ten (or perhaps slightly fewer) songs that I have resolutely persisted in loving over the course of my life, no matter what anybody says about them or does to them:

U2 - With or Without You

Harry Nilsson - The Coconut Song

Nirvana - Drain You

P. Williams/K. Frog/MF&tGGs - Rainbow Connection

Primus - Tommy the Cat

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart (so there)

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

And I can't think of any more off-hand.

What songs do you absolutely hate?

That's easy: Girl From Ipanema. Unless it's played by Chess Club.

I'm not going to tag anybody, but feel free to pick it up if it makes you happy.

PS: Actually, I was saving this for when they finally put out that album they've been sitting on for like two f'n months, but it's true, I was neglectful in leaving out my absolute favorite local band: Chess Club. Chess Club rawks so hard they need SIX bass players*. Chess Club is like Lucero without the booze, backstage sex and tour dates. Chess Club is a band you can take home to your mother, and to the S&M bar. They weren't my first, and they won't be my last, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for Chess Club.

Now don't blame me if I come up short in the bon mots department when it's time to plug the album.

* Not all at once, obviously.
1:54 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Monday, June 12, 2006
Teenage Oblivion

Some of you will have heard this introduction before -- forgive me.

I went to nine high schools. Yes, nine. That's an average of more than two per year, but that's a little misleading since I spent all of the ninth grade in one school, so really the average is closer to three per year. In some respects it was a difficult way to get through school -- I was the new kid over, and over, and over -- but it had its benefits, too. Nobody ever paid much attention to me, so I got through high school relatively unscathed. I found a careful balance, just dorky enough to be exempt from social machinations, but not so dorky that I stood out compared to the home-grown dorks. I was, by and large, a non-entity where my fellow students were concerned.

I was also mostly oblivious to what was going on around me. The only way you get through nine high schools is to keep your head down, do your work, and read books in the back of class or the far corner of the cafetorium. I sat and watched people from a distance, an endless parade of inscrutable adolescence, but I never got to know any of them so well that I knew what they were like outside of class. I never understood much of anything about teenagers, except that they were vaguely dangerous and best avoided. So I admit, I wasn't entirely up to speed on what was going down in the bathrooms between classes.

But I'm pretty sure cocaine wasn't generally involved.

Charlotte High is a typical middle-class school in a typical suburban town in Florida.

Graduating student Kyle Stublen had seen it all: the illiterate football players praised and promoted at every turn, the methodical crimes of stealing college-prep test answers, the bored "guidance counselors" who told kids not to bother with college, even the lines of students snorting coke and smoking dope in the bathrooms at lunchtime.

Annoyed by the faculty's blind eye to what was really going on at Charlotte High School, he decided to address these issues in a venue where people might actually pay attention. Stublen, a member of the debate team and would-be trial lawyer, stunned his fellow students, their parents and the school's staff by reading a scathing, bitter speech at his graduation ceremony.

Oh puh-leeze, what a drama queen. Look, I don't doubt that all of these things have happened, and probably do happen somewhere. But in your suburban high school? Not fucking likely, buddy. Yeah, the jocks are universally praised everywhere, that's true. And yeah, every school has its cheaters. I'd be pretty impressed with someone nefarious enough to procure the answers to a standardized test, but whatever. The rest of this, though, is pure bullshit.

"It isn't the felons walking across the stage bearing stoles or the cheaters receiving college credit; it isn't the drugs being done in the bathrooms during lunch and it most certainly isn't the exclusive cliques. Tarpon Tradition is the unity that triumphs over all barriers, bringing us closer together as a family."

The bad kids at the worst high school I ever attended smoked cigarettes and pot, and bragged to each other about dropping (as often as not, probably fictitious) acid. The kids who were actually doing hard drugs were long gone, bored stupid with their little nose-pickin' peers. The kids they left behind loved nothing better than to fabricate tales about the evil doings in which they were all allegedly enmeshed, though only the Christian kids' parents ever believed them. And exclusive cliques? This kid only ever had to try to fuck the cheerleaders, but he never had to cope with the psychological torture they meted out to lower-ranking girls. Those bitches were the bane of my adolescent existence, so don't moan to me about cliques. And on the off-chance that there's a convicted felon graduating from his white-bread high school this year, did he ever consider that maybe that person has overcome considerable odds to be where they are, and doesn't need his petty scorn on top of the jailtime?

Everybody dreams about shooting up the high school -- everybody. In the days before Columbine, it was the stuff of rock videos. But even the most downtrodden among us took the suck-it-up approach and waited for the day when we could enter adult society, where the assholes still rule the halls but nobody threatens to kick your ass in the parking lot after work. Those who act out, far from garnering the gratitude of the other losers, only demonstrate that they weren't strong enough to take it quietly like the rest of us. Kyle Stublen has proven himself a king among pathetic whiners, finally reaching down to his wrinkled, hairless pink sack and finding the balls to snark at the popular kids on the very first day when they can't punch him in the head for it. He's obviously a trial lawyer in the making. Happy graduation day, scumbag.

PS: And the only thing more irritating than this kid's speech is the class president/varsity volleyball player/golden girl's response. Sweet jeebus am I glad I don't have to listen to this shit anymore.
12:52 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I walk a pretty straight line in life. I've never smoked, I'm not a big drinker, and I rarely take any drug harder than extra-strength tylenol. I don't have any problem with smoking, drinking, or recreational drug use; I just don't generally indulge in any of them myself. But nobody gets through modern American life without getting hooked on something. and my fix is soda pop.

God, I love soda. I love the way it burns going down. I love the way it makes my world a happy place. But I hate what it does to me. Soda is the key to everything else in my life: when I'm hooked on it, I'm hooked on everything. And when I get off it, everything else improves. My mood is better, I have more energy, I sleep better, my skin clears up, my mind is sharper. I cease to crave anything at all. It's a much better way to live. Then, eventually, I start thinking that I can probably handle a little bit -- a couple of cans a week wouldn't hurt anything, right? -- and before I realize what's happened, I'm drinking three or four cans a day and everything else has gone to hell.

So, for about the tenth time, I'm quitting soda. And I'm super-especially quitting the mass-market kind. In fact, I'm going to try and cut as much high-fructose corn syrup out of my life as possible. 'Cause that shit is the work of Satan.

The food industry says that HFCS is completely normal sugar with no unusual properties. Others say that HFCS is a sugary aberration that metabolizes differently than regular sucrose, bringing various negative consquences. My only evidence is anecdotal, but I'm solidly on the side of the anti-HFCS lobby. I know my soda, goddammit, and I can only stomach a small amount of sugar-based soda at a time. The corn syrup stuff, though -- I can drink that all day without even thinking about it. Personally, I think it's not coincidental that the rise of HFCS directly coincides with the invention of the 42-ounce paper cup.

The first day is marked by an immense desire to run out and buy a six-pack of something, anything. There's also usually a lot of headaches involved. Sometime during the evening I break down and have "just one," which turns into three. The next day I do it again, and the day after that. On the fourth "first day," I actually make it through. The second full day is about searching for substitutes -- this is the day when I discover how utterly awash the world is in HFCS. It's in juice, it's in every juice-like substance, it's in ginger ale, it's even in some seltzer water. It's in some soy milk, it's in chocolate milk (which is just as well since milk and I don't always get along), it's in tea and coffee drinks. If it's anything other than water and you can drink it, it's probably got HFCS in it. Diet sodas are right out -- they're arguably even worse for you than sugary sodas, and taste like ass to boot. And heavy childhood consumption of diet soda, I'm convinced, is how I got here in the first place.

By day three I've resigned myself to plain tap water. For the rest of the week, my life is joyless. I eat a lot of pasta and chocolate. If I can get through that first week, I can get through a month. And if I can get through a month, I'm in the clear. Eventually I can get to the point where I drink soda like other people drink beer -- on the occasional outing, in company, at a restaurant, at a club, etc. But it takes a while to get there, and even then it's a calculated risk. I know it sounds awfully dramatic for such an innocuous substance -- nobody ever lost their wife/kids/house/car over soda. But for me, it's the key to the rest of my life. With it, I'm a mess; without it, I'm healthy and in control.

What I'd really like is to learn not to enjoy soda at all. And I'm sure drunks would like to learn not to enjoy vodka. So maybe it's probably best to stick to the feasible and just try to close my ears to PepsiCo's siren song. Damn you, demon soda... in between making sweet, fizzy love to you, I'll curse you till the day I die.
12:31 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Friday, June 09, 2006
Tomorrow's Friday Blogging Today

I'm out all day today, so I'm taking care of this on Thursday night.

1) When science fiction comes true: as per Douglas Adams, the first known North American descendant of Ghengis Khan is indeed a mild-mannered administrator. I believe this is further evidence in support of my theory that Adams was a modern prophet. (It also turns out that "42" might indeed be a big part of the answer to life, the universe, and everything.)

Bonus: Bachelor Chow v. 0.1 (beta)

2) Pretend to be a famous modern artist, like Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock. Good for at least ten minutes of modest entertainment. If a web-based art toy doesn't capture the mood for you, you could always try getting really, really drunk and being a vicious bastard to a few random women. Worked for them.

3) This is fucking brilliant. If you don't "get it," you probably don't want to. If you still think you do, don't say I didn't warn you (soooooo NSFW), and here's your obligatory kitten chaser. (Mom -- don't click any of that. Seriously.)
12:22 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I don't normally give a rat's about optical illusions, but this one is genuinely cool.
12:27 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Deadbeat Club

Tonight's our now-monthly workshop at the Co-op. I'm debating whether or not I should go. Actually, I tell a lie -- I'll go either way. I suppose what I'm really debating is my reason for going. Back when the workshop was a weekly event, it was reasonable to decide not to go if the subject was something I wasn't that interested in (as it is tonight), but now that it happens only once a month, I feel obligated to attend without fail, regardless of whether there's anything in it for me. Mostly because it's the only time I get to see a significant number of my friends.

Scaling the workshop back to a monthly thing was the only way to go, of course -- it just wasn't sustainable on a weekly schedule anymore. And now that it happens less often, attendance is much better -- presumably for the same reason I mentioned above. The downside is that nobody takes it very seriously anymore, and often the subject matter seems like an afterthought. The topics that used to be reserved for throwaway workshops are now the most frequent topics. Tonight, a group of local filmmakers will be talking about their film -- blah, blah, blah, as if I care. And I know that's horribly unsupportive of me. I know that if I ever want people to take an interest in my work, I should take an interest in other people's work. And socially, I wouldn't be averse to a friendly conversation, a casual exchange of ideas and experiences.

But a workshop? Ugh.

The thing is, I'm past this now -- I already know most of what another struggling local auteur could feasibly teach me. What I really need is exposure to the practices of someone who knows a hell of a lot more than I do, but there are few of those people around. This is one of those bizarre artforms where people are largely expected to acquire knowledge without the help of teachers or mentors. There are film schools, but I've taken about as much from that approach as I can already. And to some extent you can independently learn by doing, but as with any other skill set, in doing so you risk adopting as many bad habits as acquiring good ones. The Co-op was devised as an idealistic effort to provide a kind of mutual mentorship for everyone working in film in Memphis, but it predictably turned into a tiny group of people who knew a little about filmmaking mentoring many people who knew nothing at all. The downward pressure meant that most of those moderately-skilled filmmakers were spending all their energy without getting much in return. It couldn't last.

So now the Co-op exists primarily as an equipment house and meeting space, and the relationships between filmmakers has become much more distant. It's still the one place, though, where I know I can expect to see many of them, so I go for that reason alone. It's a social club now, and not much more.

Sometimes I want to start a support group for artists. Rather than start another filmmaking group, though, I think I'd try to arrange things so that every member was primarily engaged in a different artform -- one filmmaker, one writer, one musician, one visual artist, one actor, one photographer, one CG artist, etc. I think that would be a much more productive arrangement. We could meet twice a month in some comfortable bar on neutral territory and proceed without an agenda, away from our usual artistic associates, and just talk. We'd (hopefully) lose some of the ego factor -- since nobody's playing with anybody else's toys, none of us would need to feel threatened by anyone else's success, and we'd all get the benefit of exposure to other ways of creating. And it might go some way to break up some of these medium-specific enclaves that form in every local arts community. I need a lot more non-filmmaker friends, and I don't understand why I have so few of them. Every great art movement was centered on people who sat in bars and talked, and the fact that I find myself doing that so rarely makes me worry that I'm never going to be part of any great art movement.

So, anybody want to join my little fantasy club?

Update: I just had a terrible realization.

I went to the workshop tonight, and it was okay, I guess -- the people who were talking were respectable, and I expect their film will be pretty good. But about twenty minutes in it just dawned on me that I was wasting my time by being there. I saw a lot of people I knew, but almost none of the people I was looking for; and on top of that, I wasn't particularly receptive to what was being said. I'm just in a different headspace right now.

On the way home, I was ruminating on the absence of any of my old Co-op friends, and that's when I realized: my old gang has broken up, and as always I'm the last to figure it out. I always realize about a year too late. So at exactly the point when I should really be going out, looking for a new gang, I'm still trying to hold some semblance of the old one together. And obviously that never works.

So now I'm sitting here thinking, where the hell am I going to find a new gang?
1:34 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Monday, June 05, 2006
Pro-Gay Marriage Amendment

Y'know what I think? I think for a pre-determined period of time -- say, ten years -- only gay couples should be able to get married.

Now, I admit that I'm not a traditionalist where marriage is concerned -- in as much as, I'm basically against marriage as a concept. If you'd grown up around some of the marriages I did, you'd be wedding-shy, too. I'm one of the vast army of Gen-Xers who can attest to first-hand knowledge of how destructive hetersexual marriage can be; I'm one of those peculiar people who'd have been considerably better off (and certainly no worse off) without a father in the home, or at least without my specific father. I'm one of those who believes that homosexuals can't possibly do harm to "the sanctity of marriage" because the straights have done an impressively thorough job of fucking it up already. No queer meddling necessary.

So I'm sayin', maybe we should give the fags and dykes a chance to get right what we have continually gotten wrong. I'd genuinely like to see what they do with it: strip it down, start from scratch, a complete overhaul from top to bottom. I'd like to see what happens when people live in a marriage without ingrained gender roles, without pre-determined social roles, and without having to carry centuries worth of accumulated legal baggage. I think the best gift our GLBT brothers and sisters could give the straight population would be a complete marriage makeover -- please, queer guys, come re-do my tired social institutions. Throw out my 18th century mental wardrobe and dress me in marital haute couteur. Show me how this whole marriage-and-family thing should really be done -- not in drab puritan greys and browns, but vibrant, joyful humanist rainbow colors.

Think of the benefits: a ten-year moratorium on straight marriage might slow down our national birthrate a little (and without the need for abortion!), or at least slow down the birthrate among fundamentalists and other "traditional marriage" types. That alone would be enough to sell me on the idea. And while we heterosexuals take a breather from the busy-bee work of gettin' hitched and grunting out biblically-sanctioned offspring, we could get some counselling, do a little personal work. Ten years would be enough time for a generation of young women to pursue their educations or fulfilling careers without the pressures of motherhood. Ten years would be enough time to maybe figure out how to deal with the food/air/water/energy/global warming issues that threaten the wellbeing of all our future offspring. Ten years would be long enough for people to get used to the idea that love in any form is a better option than fear and hate.

And when those ten years were up, we could glut ourselves on well-planned, well-designed weddings where all the bridesmaids wore fabulous gowns and all the groomsmen knew how to tie their own ties. Tell me that wouldn't be an improvement.

PS: Anyone else catch the irony of the Bush administration saying that gay sex is bad and a threat to western civilization, unless it takes place in involuntary, militarily-mandated, simulated form between imprisoned brown people -- in which case it's totally cool, and probably necessary to national security?



Hmmmm... must just be me.
4:38 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

I, Too, Want To Have Stephen Colbert's Babies

From his Knox College commencement address:

I wanted to say something about the Umberto Eco quote that was used earlier from The Name of the Rose. That book fascinated me because in it these people are killed for trying to get out of this library a book about comedy, Aristotle's Commentary on Comedy. And what's interesting to me is one of the arguments they have in the book is that comedy is bad because nowhere in the New Testament does it say that Jesus laughed. It says Jesus wept, but never did he laugh.

But, I don't think you actually have to say it for us to imagine Jesus laughing. In the famous episode where there's a storm on the lake, and the fishermen are out there. And they see Jesus on the shore, and Jesus walks across the stormy waters to the boat. And St. Peter thinks, "I can do this. I can do this. He keeps telling us to have faith and we can do anything. I can do this." So he steps out of the boat and he walks for --I don't know, it doesn't say -- a few feet, without sinking into the waves. But then he looks down, and he sees how stormy the seas are. He loses his faith and he begins to sink. And Jesus hot-foots it over and pulls him from the waves and says, "Oh you of little faith." I can't imagine Jesus wasn't suppressing a laugh. How hilarious must it have been to watch Peter -- like Wile E. Coyote -- take three steps on the water and then sink into the waves.

Oh Stephen... you had me at "Umberto Eco." Read the whole thing; it's fucking hilarious, and resolutely puts the lie to one more vile Republican assertion.

(Blogger's being difficult today, so I'm just going to hold my breath and hit "publish post" and hope this makes it out alive.)

PS: More, because you can never have too much Colbert:

But thankfully Congress is acting and soon English will be the official language of America. Because if we surrender the national anthem to Spansih, the next thing you know, they'll be translating the Bible. God wrote it in English for a reason! So it could be taught in our public schools.

So we must build walls. A wall obviously across the entire southern border. That's the answer. That may not be enough -- maybe a moat in front of it, or a fire-pit. Maybe a flaming moat, filled with fire-proof crocodiles. And we should probably wall off the northern border as well. Keep those Canadians with their socialized medicine and their skunky beer out. And because immigrants can swim, we'll probably want to wall off the coasts as well. And while we're at it, we need to put up a dome, in case they have catapults. And we'll punch some holes in it so we can breathe. Breathe free. It's time for illegal immigrants to go -- right after they finish building those walls. Yes, yes, I agree with me.
2:12 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Sunday, June 04, 2006
The Urban Myth Of Brain Drain

It's just gone graduation season, and that means the phrase "brain drain" has been tossed around by every newspaper and public source of conventional wisdom in the country over the past few weeks. When I was at commencement in Vermont, the author of the article covering my graduation ceremony made sure to include it. When I came back, there was a long piece on it in the Sunday paper. Down here, they complain about the "best and brightest" (another stomach-churning cliche) heading north; up north, they just complain that they're going somewhere vaguely else.

I'm not buying it, for a number of reasons. The biggest one of which is this: I know too many smart, talented, ambitious people in this city who are going without work worthy of their talents, to believe that there's any huge demand for the "best and brightest" in this city. This is a blue-collar city. It runs on a workforce of the moderately-well-educated-and-of-average-intelligence; being genuinely "best" and "brightest" only gets you in trouble with the Head White Guy. The examples given in the local papers are of vaguely disappointing valedictorians, kids who will now go to Vanderbilt or Duke and come back (or move somewhere distressingly similar) and become fairly boring, upper-middle-class executive employees. If these are the people my city laments losing, that would explain a hell of a lot. Any asshole can fill up a suit; it takes somewhat more depth to have an impact on society.

For instance, they have not yet (as far as I know) implemented an ACT test for creativity, and there isn't a "vision" section in the SAT. The skills necessary to be valedictorian are not the same ones necessary to create something new in the world -- they can co-exist, certainly, but they can also be mutually suffocating. For most people, graduating from high school or college is better than not graduating. But I've been stunned by how often the smartest, most creative, most interesting people I know didn't graduate, or graduated in an unconventional way. There's no way to reliably express that experience on a resume or on a job application, though, and so these people either luck their way into good jobs or spend their most productive years struggling forward and doing their own thing as best they can without support or recognition. Many of them do what they can to stay in their native city or region, but unless they were fortunate enough to be born in Seattle or Austin, their homes seem determined to drive them away. But when they finally leave, never are they lamented with the words "brain drain."

I ask you, is that any way to treat the people who would elsewhere become the engines of the local economy? They put their worry into people who have proven themselves able to work the system, but not able to imagine an entirely new system; they invest their time and effort in people who are good at maintaining the status quo and thus have no desire to see it change; and then they wonder why the city's situation never improves, why it remains stuck on a low economic tier. Meanwhile, the people who struggle to get by in demeaning, low-paying jobs while spending every free moment working to create something new and interesting, eventually get tired of being left out in the cold and move on to more welcoming places. Of the smartest and most creative people I know in Memphis, almost all of them expect to leave sooner or later. And that goes for me, too. I feel connected to this city now, and I expect on some level I always will. And I'm willing to spend a few years making the effort in the hopes that I might be able to carve out a creative's life in Memphis. But I fully expect that eventually, one day, I'll be leaving along with the rest of them, because our love for this city remains on some level unrequited. It tells us it wants us to stay, but it never really loves us back.
2:03 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Friday, June 02, 2006
Friday Pot-Stirring

The Republicans are all a bunch of dirty, stinking liars, fundamentalist Christians can barely contain their bloodlust, and George W. Bush cheated his way into the oval office. Discuss.

I can never get enough of these.

And if you don't feel like doing that, you could always get together with all your nerd/dork/geek friends and play Rock Paper Scissors Dragon Devil Alien Wolf Lightning Nuke. I'm amazed they didn't manage to find a way to work in a liger. This looks like the quickest path to carpal tunnel syndrome ever.
1:35 PM ::
Amy :: permalink

Not Good Enough

I've had it up to fucking here with Leon Gray.

Now, in spite of my blog-origins, I'm not actually much of a connaisseur of talk radio, including the liberal variety. Oh, sure, I listen to Air America now and then, mostly when something specific is going on. (And whenever I drive my mother's car, I'm always careful to leave it selected on her radio -- my way of saying "good morning, mother dear!") I like Rachel Maddow although I'm rarely up early enough to listen to her (and my tolerance for politics is at its lowest in the morning.) I like Randi Rhodes; I like Sam Seder (and I want badly to like Janeane G. as a radio person, but find it tricky to do so.) I listen to Mike Malloy when I'm in that pit bull frame of mind. Al Franken is fine, I guess, though I won't cry when he moves on. Jerry Springer is an embarrassment.

But Leon Gray is just a disgrace.

Gray is our local AAR afternoon drive-time guy, squatting on top of one hour of Randi Rhodes and two hours of Majority Report. I wanted to like him; I tried hard to like him. He covers the black demographic that AAR has left largely uncovered and which is so important in Memphis. Even though his show always comes on just when Randi's getting to something really interesting, I acknowledge the necessity of some sort of local presence.

And I just want to say, before I get into this, that I really don't care to play the "more liberal than thou" game. I prefer to give people credit for doing what they can at any given time; in spite of what some would say (hi Mom, hi Koba) I'm not particularly radical. But Leon Gray isn't remotely liberal enough to have earned his spot on the radio, ostensibly speaking for me.

For example, he's hopeless on gay issues, falling into that mildly revolting "gays stole the civil rights movement from the blacks" camp (as if only one group can be fighting for civil rights in the United States at any given time.) He tends to talk a lot about stuff of which he has no meaningful knowledge. He puts forth some of the most uninformed opinions I've ever heard emanate from a leftish mouth. He's often dismissive not only of gay rights, but of immigrants' rights, reproductive rights and women's rights. But the thing that always makes my gag reflex kick in is his woeful, embarrassing lack of scientific knowledge.

Listening him talk about evolution v. creationism always makes me vomit in my mouth a little bit. When Tiktaalik made its first public appearance, he talked nonsense about it for several minutes before admitting it might be evidence in favor of evolution -- clearly oblivious to the fact that evolution is already well-established with or without fossil evidence. (The fossils only illustrate what DNA has long since confirmed.) I was waiting for someone to call in and point him in the right direction, but nobody ever did.

The worst thing ever -- the incident that first put a bad taste in my mouth -- was his devotion of a good hour of his show to some local quack. This guy came on the air and started talking about his "treatment facility." I never quite caught what the nature of his treatment was, but it started out being good for allergies, and as the show wore on and Gray's credulity showed no signs of faltering, it expanded until it was also a cure for nicotine addiction, dandruff, dry skin, hyperactivity in children, diabetes, arthritis, and every kind of cancer. In other words, it was 100% pure snake oil. And Leon never so much as questioned the line of bullshit he was feeding to his audience.

My request is a fairly simple one: I want a local liberal spokesman who's actually well-versed and well-informed on the major cultural and political issues of the day. I want him to have his own opinions, but I also want him to embrace the widest possible range of ideas and perspectives. I want him to loathe Bush and oppose the administration and its evil little minions vigorously, but if he's going to do that job well, he's going to need a much better grasp of history, science, and logic. Being black and disagreeing with Mike Fleming is a good place to start, but surely there's a well-spoken black liberal in this town somewhere who actually knows what the fuck he's talking about.

I don't think it's too much to ask. You can't be anti-gay and pro-ID and speak for me.
12:27 AM ::
Amy :: permalink

Thursday, June 01, 2006
Arthur "Two Blogs" Jackson

Okay, so maybe I still need to work on this whole keeping-two-blogs-at-once thing.

Look, there's a giant bird attacking the city!

1:51 AM ::
Amy :: permalink