Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Enemy with the Book Deal at Home

A few days ago, Dinesh D’Souza wrote a piece in the Washington Post to answer the critics of his new book “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.”

What I admire most about Dinesh’s approach in this piece is how free of sniveling, broad, baseless statements, and cultural stereotyping it is. He also completely refrains from whining about how he can’t understand the ferocity of the response against him, and how the resulting publicity was so not a calculation on his part.

And so, as I am wont to do, I have taken DeeDee’s article, and I have imagined a little dialogue in my head with the definitely-not-a-royalites-whore D’Souza, and I share it with you now:


DD: Why the onslaught? Just this: In my book, published this month, I argue that the American left bears a measure of responsibility for the volcano of anger from the Muslim world that produced the 9/11 attacks.

V: Is that all? I don’t know why those liberals are so upset. Just because you wrote a book called “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” doesn’t mean you meant that liberals are the 9/11-causing enemies of America. Obviously your point is SO much subtler than that.

DD: President Jimmy Carter's withdrawal of support for the shah of Iran, for example, helped Ayatollah Khomeini's regime come to power in Iran, thus giving radical Islamists control of a major state;

V: That’s so clever, DeeDee. See, some people might have blamed any one of a number of presidents who supported the brutal Shah and his oppressive regime and its CIA-trained and -equipped secret police. Because some people might say, of course completely erroneously, that it was the Shah’s persecution of Muslim opposition that lead to his overthrow and the installation of Khomeini and the resulting fundamentalist regression of Iran. But those people don’t look at history with the same kind of persistent, um, agenda, that you do, obviously, because only you are smart enough to blame the president who STOPPED supporting the Shah.

DD: And President Bill Clinton's failure to respond to Islamic attacks confirmed bin Laden's perceptions of U.S. weakness and emboldened him to strike on 9/11.

V: I agree, it is regrettable that Clinton failed to capture or kill Bin Laden prior to Bush’s inaugural on January 20, 2001. If only we could think of someone to blame for the fact that he has remained a free man from that day to this!

DD: I also argue that the policies that U.S. "progressives" promote around the world -- including abortion rights, contraception for teenagers and gay rights -- are viewed as an assault on traditional values by many cultures, and have contributed to the blowback of Islamic rage.

V: I’ve heard you say this so many times, and I’m just breathless in anticipation of the day when you finally favor us with your data on this one. Not that you should have to back up any of your assertions, DeeDee. Really, just your word that it’s true is good enough for me.

DD: The reaction I'm eliciting is not entirely new to me. As a college student in the early 1980s, I edited the politically incorrect Dartmouth Review and was frequently accosted by left-wing students and faculty.

V: “Politically incorrect”? Oh, DeeDee, you are too modest by half. That magazine was truly in the vanguard of the “making fun of minorities” genre. Give yourself some credit.

DD: They called me names back then, too. And at the time I didn't care. I often informed them that taking on our iconoclastic paper was like wrestling a pig: Not only does it get everyone dirty but the pig likes it.

V: I love that you are not afraid to be the pig in that analogy!

DD: But the personal attacks have reached new heights with "The Enemy at Home." So much so, in fact, that I feel compelled to explain why I wrote this book, what it does and doesn't say and why I think it prompts people to threaten me with hospitalization.

V: It’s really outrageous that people would threaten you just because you accuse them of responsibility for the brutal public murder of 3000 innocent Americans, some of whom were probably their friends or family. Can’t they take a little constructive criticism?

DD: But five years later, that unity [following 9/11] has dissolved amid a furious national debate over the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. I thought it was time to go back and reconsider 9/11; in so doing, I concluded that the prevailing conservative and liberal theories explaining Muslim rage were wrong.

V: Besides, why should Ann Coulter get to corner the “blame the left for 9/11” dollar? That’s a good dollar.

DD: Contrary to the common liberal view, I don't believe that the 9/11 attacks were payback for U.S. foreign policy. Bin Laden isn't upset because there are U.S. troops in Mecca, as liberals are fond of saying. (There are no U.S. troops in Mecca.) He isn't upset because Washington is allied with despotic regimes in the region. Israel aside, what other regimes are there in the Middle East? It isn't all about Israel. (Why hasn't al-Qaeda launched a single attack against Israel?) The thrust of the radical Muslim critique of America is that Islam is under attack from the global forces of atheism and immorality -- and that the United States is leading that attack.

V: I’m so glad you told me that liberals are fond of saying that Bin Laden is upset that U.S. troops are in Mecca. I never knew that. I’m sure I don’t know why liberals would say that, because Mecca is a holy city that only Muslims are allowed to enter, and it just seems like a really unlikely thing that we would have troops in the city of Mecca. In fact, the only Google references I can find to “U.S. troops in Mecca” are from you, but I’m sure I don’t understand liberals the way you do. I do know that there are U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, which is the country Mecca is located in, and also the country Bin Laden is from, and I’m pretty sure that he’s made a few references over the years about how pissed he is about that.

Come to think of it, DeeDee, doesn’t it seem like Bin Laden might be pretty steamed about the royal Saudis being in bed with American oil interests, and how their obsession with wealth and power has taken them, and their country, away from the Muslim religious ideals that Bin Laden espouses, and made them seem like kind of these money-grubbing puppets of the west? Wow. I hope the liberals aren’t saying that, because that would be pretty hard to refute, huh? And then you would have to work like a motherfucker to whip up some unlikely premise that would seem to point blame in the opposite direction, and none of us would want that.

DD: Contrary to President Bush's view, they don't hate us for our freedom, either. Rather, they hate us for how we use our freedom. When Planned Parenthood International opens clinics in non-Western countries and dispenses contraceptives to unmarried girls, many see it as an assault on prevailing religious and traditional values. When human rights groups use their interpretation of international law to pressure non-Western countries to overturn laws against abortion or to liberalize laws regarding homosexuality, the traditional sensibilities of many of the world's people are violated.

V: Christ, why do we have to take the blame for those damn liberal ideas? I’m sure that England, and probably those Scandinavians, and for sure the goddamn Frenchies have people overseas too, promoting all sorts of liberal ideas about gays, and contraception, and equality, and vaccinations, and, um, food-eating, and clean water-drinking and the like. Why does the U.S. have to take the blame only? Why would we be the target, when we’re just one of hundreds of countries advancing liberal agendas throughout the world? What makes us stand out? Why did they choose us to pick on, anyway? Come on, DeeDee, I’m sure your keen mind can figure this one out.

DD: This argument has nothing to do with Falwell's suggestion that 9/11 was God's judgment on the ACLU and the feminists for their sins. I pose a simple question: Why did the terrorists do it? In a 2003 statement, bin Laden said that to him, the World Trade Center resembled the idols that the prophet Muhammad removed from Mecca. In other words, bin Laden believes that the United States represents the pagan depravity that Muslims have a duty to resist. The literature of radical Islam, such as the works of Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb, resonates with these themes. One radical sheik even told a European television station a few years ago that although Europe is more decadent than America, the United States is the more vital target because it is U.S. culture -- not Swedish culture or French culture -- that is spreading throughout the world.

V: Oh, okay. I understand now. I think. Except, don’t the radical Muslims mostly refer to us not as pagans, but as “crusaders”? And also, don’t they express a hatred for, how do they say, the “infidels”? So…isn’t it not so much that we are godless, but that we are Christian? Because we do go throwing our Christianity around rather a bit. Wait a minute. Shit. I don’t think you want to go blaming our Christian-ness for 9/11, dude. That would NOT go over well with the president’s base.

DD: What would motivate Muslims in faraway countries to volunteer for martyrdom? The fact that Palestinians don't have a state? I don't think so. It's more likely that they would do it if they feared their values and way of life were threatened. Even as the cultural left accuses Bush of imperialism in invading Iraq, it deflects attention from its own cultural imperialism aimed at secularizing Muslim society and undermining its patriarchal and traditional values. The liberal "solution" to Islamic fundamentalism is itself a source of Islamic hostility to America.

V: The liberals are invading Muslim countries with their secular values? Oh, you mean like with their degrading music videos and games and their slutty teen movies and their hoochie clothing and stuff? Well, why don’t we just forbid American companies from doing business in Muslim countries, then, if they’re going to get so upset about it? Why don’t we just tell the heads of Viacom and Sony and Disney and General Electric and all those corporations that own media that hey, free enterprise or no, they are going to have to stop making all those secular liberal dollars at our nation’s expense.

You can use that idea if you want to, DeeDee. I give it to you for free. For the good of my country.

DD: Contrary to the accusations of Alan Wolfe and others, I have no sympathy for bin Laden or the Islamic radicals. But I do respect the concerns of traditional Muslims, the majority in the Muslim world. In fact, the United States cannot defeat terrorism without driving a wedge between radical Islam and traditional Islam, because the latter has been the main recruiting pool for the former.

V: I’m not sure how the U.S. should go about driving this “wedge,” but I say yeah! the more our government involves itself in the affairs of Muslims, the better!

DD: All my arguments can be disputed, but they are neither extreme nor absurd. So why has "The Enemy at Home" been so intemperately excoriated? I can imagine only two reasons. The first is given by James Wolcott himself. I am not, as he says, an unqualified right-wing hack. Rather, I am a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, so Wolcott fears that I will be taken seriously.

V: As well he should. I mean, if Michele Malkin and Bill O’Reilly are taken seriously, just imagine what YOU could accomplish.

DD: The second reason can be gleaned from the common theme in the reviews: that mine is a dangerous book. But if a book says things that are obviously untrue and can be disproved, then it is not dangerous -- it is merely fiction and should be ignored. A book is dangerous only if it exposes something in the culture that some people are eager to keep hidden.

V: See, that is puzzling to me, because I think of a book like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, for instance, and I find it hard to reconcile that I was always lead to believe that that was a dangerous book. So, does what you’re saying mean that Mein Kampf told the truth, or that it wasn’t dangerous?

DD: And what is that? It is that the far left seems to hate Bush nearly as much as it hates bin Laden. Bin Laden may want sharia, or Islamic law, in Baghdad, they reason, but Bush wants sharia in Boston. Indeed, leftists routinely portray Bush's war on terrorism as a battle of competing fundamentalisms, Islamic vs. Christian. It is Bush, more than bin Laden, they say, who threatens abortion rights and same-sex marriage and the entire social liberal agenda in the United States. So leftist activists such as Michael Moore and Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan seem willing to let the enemy win in Iraq so they can use that defeat in 2008 to rout Bush -- their enemy at home.

V: You’re right, the left DOES hate Bush, and for what? I mean, unless you’re directly related to one of the 3000 Americans who’ve been killed in Iraq, I’d think hate was a pretty strong reaction. But DeeDee, I know you’re dumbing down your arguments so that us regular folk can understand your brilliance, but I think even liberals would find your Bush vs. Bin Laden enemy argument a tad simplistic. I think you can come out and admit that while it’s Bush who threatens that liberal “pursuit of happiness - no matter who gets offended” agenda, it’s Bin Laden who threatens their, well, their lives, kinda. I mean, I don’t think even liberals really believe that Bin Laden could come in and take over congress. Just a thought.

DD: When I began writing my new book, this concern was largely theoretical, because the left was outside the corridors of power. Now I fear that the extreme cultural left is whispering into the ears of the Democratic Congress. Cut off the funding. Block the increase in troops. Shut down Guantanamo Bay. Lose the war on terrorism -- and blame Bush.

V: Don’t worry DeeDee, when we give up on Iraq and start concentrating on Al-Qaeda’s activities in the U.S. and Afghanistan, and start taking those billions of dollars that we were spending in Iraq and spend them instead on flight and port and border security, we’ll know exactly who’s to blame for the results.

(In the above piece, I have edited D’Souza’s remarks for length, or because some parts were so boring that I couldn’t think of a way to make fun of them, but I have not changed any of the text. I swear. I couldn’t make that shit up, people.)

My hero


(via Scanner)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

God's law

So, according to a new survey by the British think tank Policy Exchange, 37% of British Muslims aged 16-24 want to live under Sharia law.

In case you’re not familiar with Sharia, it’s a system of laws that many people, myself included, feel are incompatible with democracy, because it does not allow for the equality of women, and non-Muslims.

It’s interesting is that while British Muslims are becoming more fundamentalist, they are also experiencing rising levels of hostility from non-Muslim Brits.

What occurred to me after hearing that was that you can’t subscribe to the most extreme and exclusive versions of your faith and not expect people to believe that you also seek to change the society you live in to conform to your own religious values, which they do not share.

And then I remembered that that exact same thought occurred to me a couple of nights ago, when the evangelical Christians in Andrea Pelosi’s documentary Friends of God were complaining that non-evangelical Americans are mistrustful of them.

Going out to JackJo

"Only someone who has known an animal for a long time and under many circumstances can recognize the moment when he looks at you says 'It's time to let me go.'"

Shelly Fraser Mickle, speaking on Morning Edition, on the death of Barbaro.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Chapter 46: In which the blogger considers herself lucky

Aw, Christ, I’ve been dreading this post more than I’ve dreaded this, my 46th birthday.

People have told me that I don’t look my age, which, if they are to be believed, is fucking great, because I don’t feel 46 either, mostly because I’m still so completely clueless so much of the time. When I was younger, I would have thought that someone aged 46 would be much more pulled together than I am. I would have thought that they wouldn’t talk out of their fucking ass as much as I do. I also would have thought they would have gained a bit more discretion about when to offer their opinion and when to keep their fucking mouth shut. Most of all, I would’ve thought that, even with an inclination not to suffer fools gladly, that I would have, over my many many many years on this mortal coil,* acquired a bit more patience.

I am thankful that I have not gotten any more conservative as I’ve gotten older. Nothing’s worse than a person who becomes a Republican because now that they have a little bit of moolah, they’ve decided that joining the party of selfish bastards is the best way to protect what they got. Way to have values, dude.

My apologies to my Republican friends out there who truly feel their party.

I am also thankful that I am as sensible now about religion as I was when I declared myself an atheist at eleven years old. I got into trouble then, in sixth grade, got targeted by a vengeful, religious nut of a teacher, stayed out of school in protest, was pressured by my beloved Granny to quit my protest before I ruined my life, was threatened by the principal, and when I did return after being assured that the harassment would stop, I was ostracized by many of the Christian kids, who decided to make that nutcase their martyr.

Some of you no doubt will react to the above information by thinking “Ah, that’s where the bitch got that huge fucking chip on her shoulder.” And I’ll cop to that. But also this: it taught me that religion is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the small-minded and the fearful, because it enforces the belief that questioning authority can imperil your immortal soul. Your immortal soul. Doomed to struggle forever in the lake of fire. Because you dared to think that your science teacher seemed a lot more informed about dinosaurs than your creepy little piggy-eyed preacher and his scary Sunday school-teaching wife who probably doesn’t realize that she purses her lips whenever she looks at a black person.

My apologies to my religious friends out there. Especially the ones who, if I asked for their coat, would offer me their cloak as well.

One thing I’ll say about getting older, is that I have moments of extreme clarity that I don’t think were possible for me when I was younger. The longer I live, the more I am learning that my ideas about who I am, and what I need, are mostly what stand in my way, and that there are so many impasses that I have gone around simply by stepping back and seeing a way through that I can only imagine I was incapable of seeing in years before. That’s not just wisdom, that’s experience. And it’s experience, not courage, that allows me to feel safe when I do something new and previously unconsidered.

Also, there are so many things I thought I needed in my life, things I needed so as not to be thought frivolous, things I needed to keep me believing that I was loved, and I have dragged them around with me for years - and let me tell you those motherfuckers are heavy - and now, as I regard them one by one I realize that, very simply, wow, I just don’t need them anymore, and I probably never really did. And sweet holy shit it feels so good to let them go. So even though I have a mortgage and bills and motherfucking earthquake insurance payments, I feel so much freer now than I did when I was in my twenties. I wish I looked as good, but that’s okay. There’s got to be some redeeming aspect to each stage of our lives, and I get that. So, while my ass may be a lot, well, assier than it was when I was a skinny young shithead, I’m a helluva lot more fun to be around.

And I can live with that.

*allusions to Hamlet, and the crippling self-centeredness that their use implies, are also counted among my faults.

Black enough

Roland Martin, GM and Exec. Editor of the Chicago Defender, weighs in on the issue of Obama's blackitude.

One of the insidious rituals any high-profile African American must endure in order to establish his or her credibility with some other African Americans is show that are “down with the brothers and the sisters.”

See, you can’t just be a Fortune 500 CEO, politician, civil rights activist or journalist who happens to be African American. In order to be fully accepted and embraced, you are required to show your “ghetto card” at the entrance of the black gates of Black America. Otherwise, you are forced to stand outside, proving your worthiness to the masses as if you are a sinner trying to convince Saint Peter that you are good enough to get to heaven.

This may be surprising to many of my white readers, and my black readers may get offended and accuse me of airing our dirty laundry, but this type of silliness has been seen time and time again. And as it relates to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s decision to run for president, some are already demanding that he prove himself to the peeps. While preparing for a segment on his presidential chances on CNN’s Paula Zahn NOW, I read the transcript from a San Francisco radio show where a co-host said that Obama has to work overtime to get blacks to trust him because he doesn’t have a “hood” experience. The other co-host went on to say that because Obama didn’t grow up impoverished on the streets of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas or in the northern slums of Chicago, New York City and Boston, then he can’t truly identify with the black experience in America...

...Every black person in America doesn’t have a “hood” experience. They all don’t have the same story of their father leaving them as a child, having to grow up in a single parent home in a public housing complex, their brother on welfare and sister twice pregnant by the age of 18. We all didn’t belong to the Crips and Bloods and had to fight our way out of the gang in order to go to college. No, we all didn’t grow up in the black church, singing “Precious Lord” and memorizing the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We shouldn’t assume that every black person had to work three jobs to pay their way through college. Segregation no longer limits where we live, work and play. So if Jim Crow is dead, then why do we allow the system to continue to pervade our minds?

The day has come when we judge a black man or woman for who they are, where they stand on issues and what they believe in. If Obama offers a political agenda that speaks to the needs of African Americans, good. If he choose to offer one that is broad and more universal, that doesn’t make him any less of an African American.

(Thanks to JackJo for the link. I love you, sweetie.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jesus likes it balmy

So there's this suburban parent who got all riled up when he found out his daughter's 7th grade science class was going to screen "In Inconvenient Truth," and he pressured the school board into declaring a moratorium, and now the principal has to give special permission to any teacher who wants to show the movie, because it's been deemed controversial, and if you do show it, you have to also show materials that scientifically rebut the point of view of the movie, and the teacher in question remarked that THAT'S going to be hard to do, etc. etc.

So business as usual for the hysterical ostriches of the right, right?

Except listen to what this parent wrote in his email to the school, via WaPo:
"No you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation -- the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet -- for global warming," [Frosty E.] Hardiman wrote in an e-mail to the Federal Way School Board. The 43-year-old computer consultant is an evangelical Christian who says he believes that a warming planet is "one of the signs" of Jesus Christ's imminent return for Judgment Day.
Oh my god. So he's just fucking crazy, and he doesn't care who knows it!

Global warming is Jesus's own little alarm clock, y'all.

And Hummers are blessed by the lord, because they just hurry Jesus along.

What's really depressing about this story is that Crazy McJesuspants got a whole fucking school district to succumb to his twisted fucking fairy tale.

Also, I would like to let Frosty E. Hardiman (no, I am not making that name up) know, in case the little maniac is out there googling his name (and you know he is), that even our #1 go-to-guy for wrongitude, and I'm sure a personal crazy-ass hero of his, President Bush, admitted in Tuesday's State of the Union that we need to "confront the serious challenge of global climate change."

So there, Mr. Batshit McCrazybrain. Either you're wrong about global warming being Jesus's personal red carpet, or your very favorite president has just betrayed you by finally, FINALLY admitting that we need to do something about it.

Which is it?

And don't forget about Fergie singing that London Bridge song

Researchers in Britain have tested human subjects, and have determined that the most disgusting sound in the world is the sound of someone vomiting. Then microphone feedback, babies crying, and a scraping metal sound.

I find their results hard to believe, because I wonder if they considered this sound, which is surely the worst of all.

(Thanks to Scanner for the link)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Largely united my ass

W, last night, on Iraq: "We went into this largely united in our assumptions and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field and those on their way. "

Once again, BushCo tests the premise that if you repeat a lie often enough, people forget it's not true.

Good for what ails ya

So, it's winter, and the weather sucks, and soldiers are still dying in Iraq, and insurance companies are still screwing Katrina victims, and Pelosi's title of "Speaker" seems to be increasingly ironic...

Cheer up. Scooter's saying "fuck it" and saving his own ass. And it will be a joy to watch, my friends.

Kerry's not running

Thank you sweet holy Jesus.

Besides, I read all your iPod list thingies

Spooney made me some awesome mix CDs for our anniversary full of songs I like. Yay!

Disc One: Vikki Likes!

  1. Won’t Be Home – The Old 97s (A great shit-kickin’ opening song featuring the great line “You're a bottle cap away from pushing me too far. Well the problem's getting big, and it's a compact car.”)
  2. Rockin’ the Suburbs – Ben Folds (Ben’s send-up of bad white rappers everywhere is hilarious, and it also just happens to rock.)
  3. Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand (Ah, Franz. Wha hoppen? Oh, well, enjoy it when it was good.)
  4. Common People – William Shatner with Joe Jackson (Ben Folds produced a music and spoken word album with William Shatner called “Has Been,” and it’s one of the best things, ever, and I am not fucking kidding. And this song fucking kicks ass.)
  5. Hey Ya! – OutKast/Andre 3000 (Contrary to popular belief, the Polaroid Corporation does NOT recommend that you shake a Polaroid picture.)
  6. Would I Lie to You? – The Eurythmics (Motorcycles revving. Annie Lennox singing. ‘Nuf said.)
  7. Carparts – The Long Winters (The first song I ever heard from the best band you’ve never heard of.)
  8. Help Me Mary – Liz Phair (I saw Liz perform in Chicago before she released Exile In Guyville. No one knew who she was, she was just this tiny girl with a guitar and an amp. Most of the audience left because she was too loud. I was transfixed. Exile in Guyville was fucking brilliant. Everything that followed fell very, very short. Oh well.)
  9. Public Pervert – Interpol (I. Love. Interpol.)
  10. China Grove – The Doobie Brothers (The quintessential pre-McDonald, pre-suck, pre-soft rock Doobies.)
  11. Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen (The most infectious song ever written.)
  12. White City Fighting – Pete Townsend (Most people, if they’re gonna love a Townsend solo album, love All the Best Cowboys. I love White City. The bass line on this song makes me shiver.)
  13. Rise Up with Fists!! Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins (The twins’ intense harmonies are the perfect and essential counterpart to Lewis’s anti-melody vocals.)
  14. Positively Fourth Street – Bob Dylan (Bob’s fuck you to Joan Baez, or not. “I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes - you'd know what a drag it is to see you.”)
  15. Fuck and Run – Liz Phair (Again, from Exile in Guyville)
  16. PDA – Interpol (Lovity-love-love me some Interpol.)
  17. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (Come on people, I am not made of stone.)
  18. Cinnamon – The Long Winters (These guys are also amazing live.)
  19. Soul Meets Body – Death Cab for Cutie (I know. Overexposed. But still good.)

Disc Two: Vikki Likes! The Mellow Collection

  1. Seven – The Long Winters (Can you tell yet that they are my current musical obsession?)
  2. Little Sparrow – Dolly Parton (Dolly’s voice, a banjo, and a fiddle. What else do you need? That’s right, nothing.)
  3. Tiny Dancer – Elton John (Still holds up. Cheers, you crazy old queen.)
  4. To Sir with Love – Lulu (I saw the movie at the drive-in when I was seven years old, and I still have a soft spot for this song about a mile wide.)
  5. The Flowers of Guatemala – R.E.M. (Do you remember the guitar solo in this song? Simple, but oh, so good.)
  6. Do You Realize?? – The Flaming Lips (The pub song meets the bunny-suit-wearing ethereum of the Lips.)
  7. That’s Me Trying – William Shatner with Ben Folds and Aimee Man (Again, from Has Been, a song about familial reconciliation that is wry and sad and funny, brilliantly produced by Folds.)
  8. Shoot the Lights Out – The Watson Twins (One of the top ten ballads ever.)
  9. Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? – Nick Cave (The Australian Leonard Cohen, from The Boatman’s Call. It’s awesome.)
  10. Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes – Beck (From the soundtrack to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Oh, the futility. Ah, the beauty.)
  11. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (Their tribute to a former band member who lost his mind, and the apex of their own brand of cynical wistfulness.)
  12. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles (I love the George songs, and this is the best one.)
  13. Don’t You Love a Singer – The Long Winters (Okay, okay. You get it.)
  14. Thousands Are Sailing – The Pogues (Sometimes, the Pogues just break your heart, know what I mean?)
  15. The Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen (Or, Nebraska, part 2. Mean harmonica.)
  16. Mad World – Michael Andrews and Gary Jules (Honestly, I’m not sure why this song gets to me. Just does.)
  17. Wise Up – Aimee Mann (The sequence in the movie Magnolia where all the characters take turns singing this song is one of the best things ever done in a movie, really.)
  18. America – Simon & Garfunkel (My fav S&G song, and a wonderfully sly political statement to boot, this song seldom fails to make me cry.)
  19. Bring Me the Disco King - David Bowie (Spooney said he lost this song due to space constraints, but I have added it to this list because it's seldom you encounter a song as evocative of a place and time as this ode to the 70s. It's haunting and beautiful and spare, with only piano, brush percussion, and Bowie's amazing voice.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Okay? Now seriously, shave the beard.

Happy anniversary to my man Spooney, who reminds me that there is more to life than being efficient.

Oh, I almost forgot

Suck it, Beyonce.

Yeah, baby!

Nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature: An Inconvenient Truth

One Day After Blog for Choice Day

Um, I guess I didn't get the memo, because yesterday, being the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, was also "Blog for Choice" day.

My readers, all twelve of you, know how I feel about this issue. But no one can sum the argument better than Megan over at By and By.

Of course, Bush used the anniversary as an excuse to wax idiotic on abortion and stem-cell research, which he still opposes in the most hypocritical of ways, ever.

Tell me, if Bush's side of the argument is about "right to life" and not "political expediency," then why doesn't he propose that we outlaw the disposal of the fertilized eggs that are produced, but not utilized by, couples attempting in-vitro fertilization? Because that's where stem cells come from.

Why doesn't anyone ever ask him that?

Monday, January 22, 2007

But hey, go Bears. And Colts. Go Colts, too.

Between the Colts and the Bears, just about all my friends who give a shit about football are pretty happy right now. And I'm happy for them.

I grew up in a house where a LOT of tv football was happening. On Saturday, it was the college football, on Sunday, it was the pro. As it kid I thought it all sucked, as it kept adults from doing fun things, like pushing me on the swing, and uh, playing horsie and stuff. I dunno, there was just something about the whine and hum of that omnipresent game on tv that always bugged me. That and the amount of attention it was given compared to the amount that, in my estimation, it seemed to deserve.

My second husband was crazy about the football, which I must admit gave me pause. Not enough pause, but pause. Here’s the first conversation I had with him about football on our second date.

Me: Hi! Hey, what’s the matter? You look really upset.

Him: The Dolphins lost.

Me: Ha. Ha. Seriously. Are you okay? What’s going on?

Him: (taken aback) I’m not kidding.

Me: What? Oh, really? Shit, I’m sorry. Wait, wasn’t that game, like, yesterday?

At first I was pretty cheerful about driving 20 miles to the giant sports bar that was actually showing the game with the team from the city far, far, away, but after a while I got tired of bad Bloody Marys and pretzels for brunch. Plus, I’ll admit that I resented having to schedule my wedding around the possibility of a Dolphins playoff appearance. And after the wedding, my banishment of the life-sized Dan Marino cut-out to the garage did cause a bit of friction, but all in all, I really tried hard to adapt to being a sport spouse. I cooked chili. I made beer runs. I took his side when the refs made one of their frequent bad calls.

But then came fantasy football. Fantasy football, the bane of all NFL widows everywhere. Because, instead of my husband living or dying around the events of one 3-hour game a week, he had to watch ALL THE GAMES, because he had players from his fantasy team in ALL THE GAMES. And it wasn’t enough for him to pound his fists and yell and curse on Monday, when the statistics were compiled, he had to oversee their pass-dropping and interception-throwing LIVE, in real time. And when they didn’t perform well, which was pretty much always, it really affected his mood. And no matter how hard I tried, (and I tried hard) I could never get over my feelings that it was all just a huge, silly, ridiculous waste of time. And when you want to look your husband in the eyes and tell him that you love him, but you can’t because he’s still red-faced from his 15-minute rant about how they never call holding, well, wait, do I hear a funeral dirge for my marriage playing?

Don’t get me wrong. I have been known to follow a team or two in my day. It makes for good conversation in the break room, I’ll give you that. And it’s fun to root for your team, and think up really nasty and juvenile taunts for the supporters of the other team, which is usually the Yankees, so that’s easy. But I know I can’t live with a football fan anymore. I can’t do it. I just can’t.

And now, I don’t have to. I do know a bit more about guitar amps than I'd really like to, but that's a small price to pay, a small price, for the love of my Spooney.

Bells On Loves

The King and the President - TCB

Bubba Ho-Tep

If you haven't yet discovered this 2003 cult hit, rent it immediately.

The incomparable Ozzie Davis and the inimitable Bruce Campbell star as nursing home residents who believe that they are JFK and Elvis Presley. Together they battle a soul-sucking ancient Egyptian mummy who is preying on the other residents of the nursing home.

Even the director's commentary, which features Campbell ad-libbing in character, is funny.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Black like who, exactly?

A story is emerging about Barack Obama’s popularity with white voters vs. black voters that I predict is going to get a whole lot more play in the upcoming year.

The press is loving the angle that black voters have their doubts about Obama. And their doubts, if the data is to be believed, are based on their apparently collective opinion that although Obama is without a doubt an African-American, he’s just not “black” enough for some blacks.

Or as Stanley Crouch of the NY Daily News puts it:

Why then do we still have such a simple-minded conception of black and white - and how does it color the way we see Obama? The naive ideas coming out of Pan-Africanism are at the root of the confusion. When Pan-African ideas began to take shape in the 19th century, all black people, regardless of where in the world they lived, suffered and shared a common body of injustices. Europe, after all, had colonized much of the black world, and the United States had enslaved people of African descent for nearly 250 years.

Suffice it to say: This is no longer the case.

So when black Americans refer to Obama as "one of us," I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own - nor has he lived the life of a black American.

Excuse me Stanley, but HUH?

I’m willing to believe that a black man can live in America but not “live the life of a black American.” I mean, well, OJ springs to mind, of course. But I’m really not sure on what basis Crouch is saying Obama has not lived like a black American, or that he’s experienced only “stereotyping lite.” But then, I haven’t read Obama’s book. Perhaps if some of my readers have, they could pipe up about how they feel about that assertion.

He goes on to say "If we then end up with him as our first black President, he will have come into the White House through a side door - which might, at this point, be the only one that's open.”

So Obama’s blackness constitutes a “side door?”

Once again: HUH?

But okay, I get it. He’s not black, he’s “multicultural.” His mom was white. His dad was African, not African-American. But it really makes me uncomfortable when things like Obama’s middle-class upbringing and his Harvard education are discussed as factors that lessen his blackness. I mean, I didn’t grow up with anyone who went to Harvard either. I grew up with a bunch of rednecks who now mostly work retail and factory jobs. And so I understand why those rednecks might have a sort of knee-jerk hostility toward a John Kerry type, but 1) one cannot excuse voters who are unable to see through appearances and recognize their own best interests, and 2) no one ever says that one’s level of education in any way diminishes their whiteness.

And then there’s comments like these, which just make me feel sort of sick inside:

"There's a feeling that if white folks like him so much he must not be good for us. For some blacks it's a turn-off," said [radio show host George] Wilson.

Look, I’m not going to speak for white people. But certainly there are white voters who would never vote for a black man for the office of president of the United States. We don’t know how many. Certainly there are also white voters who WOULD vote for a black man for president, as long as he isn’t



or fuckin' crazy.

Bells On Loves

No, not Kate Hudson. And certainly not Uggs.

What I love is Trendzilla, a regular feature in the OC Weekly.

Those of you out there who bought Uggs - I forgive you, by the way - you need to read this week's Trendzilla.

Those of you still wearing them - you need to stop. I don't care if it's winter. Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD read this week's Trendzilla.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I could rule the world if it weren't for those damn bunnies

Stolen from Megan, who stole it from someone else...

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Also this one: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home"

It seems like every time I tire of Stephen Colbert's faux-right-wing schtick, he pulls one out of his ass and blows me away.

Last year, it was his amazing bit at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which bombed in the room (sometimes, the satire, she cuts a leeeetle too close to home) but was a huge hit on the internets. (On a side note, it was announced that this year's comedy guest at the WHCD is Rich Little. I'm not kidding. Apparently he's the only comedian in the "still alive" category who can squeeze under that very low "things that insult the president" bar.) Last night, Colbert sliced far-right uber-idiot Dinish D'Souza into teeny tiny little bite-size pieces, and then pushed the plate away and said “I’m done, thanks,”and all the while agreeing with everything he said. It was a thing of beauty, I tell you. It's not on YouTube yet, but you can see it on the official show site.

D'Souza was hawking his new book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. His arguments were pretty much what you expect from someone whose most brilliant idea ever was to become a brown-skinned pet for the war-mongering elite in the Republican party. Seriously, you'd think that someone from an Indian background would understand that when Bin Laden refers to "infidels," he's not referring to the Hollywood/homosexual/atheist/ liberals that D'Souza is attempting to scapegoat for his own personal profit, but to anyone who doesn't subscribe to Bin Laden's own brand of radical Islam, the end. I mean, how fucking hard is that?

Never mind the irony of us poor liberals being blamed for 9/11 and the downfall of our great nation by exercising those same personal freedoms that supposedly define our worthiness in the annals of nationhood.

What's a poor homosexual liberal Hollywood atheist to do? Perhaps the right could come up with a list of behaviors that they find acceptable, and us liberals could conform to them voluntarily, so as not to upset that whole delicate "freedom" idea that we're so found of espousing.

I just hope, when they come up with that list, that they remember that old "do as I say, and not as I do” axiom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Faster than Nembutal, and non-habit forming

No, there’s no full-blown coverage of the Golden Globes on Bells On this year, basically because they were really fucking boring. But let’s run down the least slumber-inducing moments, shall we?

Jennifer Hudson to Beyonce: How you like me now?

Yeah, when your co-star calls you fat, and hints that you really aren’t the same caliber of singer that she is, a little gold-plated statue really is the ultimate “Suck it, bitch.” right, Jennifer?

When the dazzling but diminutive Prince, who missed picking up his Best Song award for a really awful song in an awful animated movie about penguins featuring the voice of the awful Robin Williams, (Prince, baby, what the fuck happened to you? I always knew you were crazy, but you were cool-crazy, not Elton John-crazy.) failed to show up at the mic, presenter Justin Timberlake squatted down to simulate being short, and accepted the award on his behalf. Ha ha ha. Don’t taunt Tiny P, Justin, or you just may wake up naked in Lake Minnetonka with a tambourine in one hand and a short-lived career as a Penthouse centerfold in the other.

Presenter Hugh Grant later explained that Prince WAS at the awards, but had missed the beginning of the show because of traffic. He then quipped “It’s easy to get caught in your car in LA,” which went over the head of everyone except Eddie Murphy for about 10 minutes until we were done speculating about the true cause of Prince’s lateness. With that kind of crazy at work, it could be anything, really. A sequin could’ve been looking at him the wrong way. His hair could’ve been insufficiently turtle-waxed. The heels on his boots might have been mocking him. Who knows?

Is Hugh Laurie that brilliant off the cuff, or was it a rehearsed speech designed to sound brilliantly off the cuff? I don’t know, but I want to bear his children, suddenly. Witness this remark after thanking his “wonderful” crew: "I know that everyone says they have a wonderful crew but logically that can't be the case, they can't all be wonderful. Somebody somewhere is working with a crew of drunken thieves, but it's not me. They are truly a wonderful collection of people, and I am privileged to spend my days in their company, and they smell of newly mown grass." Is that dreamy or what?

Eddie Murphy won for supporting in a comedy or musical, and I yelled “Fuck yeah!” out loud because I am SO down with an Eddie Murphy comeback. You know, a comeback where he plays the seriously half-dead and fucked-up side of all those stupid wise-cracking cop-adjacent roles he played in all those mindless synthesizer-set movies in the 80s. How awesome would that be? But he had to go and fuck it up by perpetrating the most boring acceptance speech ever in the history of the GGs. Eddie, baby, this was the GLOBES. The CRAZY awards. You should have cried, or sung “My Girl Wants to Party All the Time” or said something inexplicable that we suspected was, deep down, really meaningful or something. Anything. Fuck, even Forest Whitaker evoked “meaningful comeback” better than you. Shit.

Bill Nye: “I used to think that prizes were sort of damaging and divisive, until I got one. Now I think they’re meaningful and real.” No wonder the mere mention of this guy’s name caused every Brit in the room to stand up and cheer. What a mensch.

Oh, Tom Hanks. You said “balls.” You were given a dignified task, that of introducing DeMille Award winner Warren Beatty, and you peppered your remarks with references to his “balls.” You are just as kooky as you were when you were on Bosom Buddies, you know that? You’ll never change, Tom, no matter how rich and powerful you become, and you’ve just proven that to every single champagne- and Grey Goose-swilling one of us, without a shadow of a doubt.

Warren Beatty circled for about 10 minutes, looking borderline senile, before finally landing on a usable comedic premise for his acceptance speech, which seemed to be all he was looking for. Oh, and he lamented his inability to make Hollywood bend to his will, even though he successfully “asked Arnold to become a Democrat and he did.”

Me-ow. Sounds like some-one’s jeal-ous. Warren, it’s not Arnold’s fault he had the balls to run for governor and you didn’t. (Ha ha. See, Tom Hanks? I can do it, too!)

Before too long it will be deeply unfashionable to like Sacha Baron Cohen, so ponder his genius while you can, for soon he will be Robin Williams: "This movie was a life-changing experience. I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America but I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America, a side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my costar, Ken Davitian (cut to Ken Davitian in the audience, who shrugs). When I was in that scene and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, 'I'd better win a bloody award for this.’"

That’s all everyone. Becky and Timmy, if you’re watching this, go to bed.

(thanks to Spooney for the Prince nickname)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Crocodile tears

Bush cried this morning while presenting a posthumous Medal of Honor to the family of a Marine killed in Iraq.

I'm a little sad, too, because from what I know of the president, I just can't bring myself to believe that he isn't crying mostly for himself, for his low ratings, and for his future as the Worst President Ever, Amen, and not even one little drink to help ease the sting of it all.

You should cry, motherfucker. And then you should watch The Ground Truth, an incredibly insightful documentary about Iraqi war vets and how they feel about their oath to support and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. You should watch it, because our soldiers don't know what the fuck is going on over there. They don't know what they're doing there, and neither do I, and I suspect that deep down you know in your heart that the whole thing is just a lie.

(via War Room)

The sad thing is, I don't think this embarrasses Fox

Whilest out pimping W's latest catastrophe, Condi proved that she is not actually a remote-controlled marionette by expressing an unscripted opinion about the media on an open microphone:

"My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."

And they love you right back, sweetheart.

(Thanks to JackJo for the link.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surge Overkill

As I was listening to 43’s speech last night, I found myself returning to the same conclusion over and over – that our president pretends that to support the Iraqi government under PM Nouri Al-Maliki, is to support a neutral, or uniting party in their civil war, when really we are signaling our support for one side over the other, and that cannot help but escalate the conflict.

Or, as the indispensable Sidney Blumenthal puts it:

Maliki's management and subsequent defense of the gruesome circus surrounding Saddam's execution disabused any illusion that he could act in the larger Iraqi national interest rather than as a political representative of Shiite sectarianism. He is to his marrow a creature of the Dawa Party, founded by Muqtada al-Sadr's father, and his alliance with al-Sadr. While the intent of the surge is to revitalize the Maliki government, that government cannot and does not wish to be reformed. The problem is not merely that Maliki is a weak political leader, or that his political coalition wouldn't permit it, or that his Iranian sponsors wouldn't allow repudiation -- all of which are indisputably true. The irreducible reason is that Maliki exists only to achieve Shiite control, and if he did not he would not exist. There is no other Maliki. Nor can Bush invent one.

We had a chance, when Bush’s father attempted to save his son’s presidency and his own legacy with the Iraq Study Group, to get out in the least damaging way possible. But 43, who called the ISG report a “flaming turd,” was not about to be shown up by his father’s men, and Condi, who had already seen her predecessor, Colin Powell, become persona non grata by fucking with Cheney and the neocons, promised her former mentor Scowcroft as well as Baker and the other men of the 41 camp that she would try to persuade 43 to follow the ISG, but in the end she screwed the pooch. Again.

Then Cheney goes to his friends, the geniuses over in the American Enterprise Institute, and tells them to publish a plan for the president to follow instead. And they do. It calls for “a surge,” and surprise, surprise, that’s what 43 decides to do – the one thing NOT called for in any of the ISG’s 79 recommendations. The one thing his father’s men did NOT want.

The only event that could make this whole conflict more Oedipal is if 43 actually climbed into bed with his vicious, drunk old bitch of a mother. Oh, but Thebes had it easy. The citizens of that ancient city-state only had a pile of crazy royals to clean up at the end of that conflict. We have the bodies of untold thousands to bury and account for, and the families of 3000 troops to look in the eye and tell them, sincerely and with feeling, that it was worth it.

Bush seems to be betting on the horse of the future, that some distant historian will finally allow him the wisdom and foresight that we did not.

I say that history will find that the first 3000 died for our ignorance, and the second 3000 died for our neglect.

Those darn Sopranos

Thanks to Video Dog for unearthing this Mad TV sketch that approximates what "The Sopranos" would be reduced to if aired on basic cable.

People, don't watch The Sopranos on A&E. Don't watch Sex and the City on TBS. It's like fucking after an epidural - you're missing the best part.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

At least he didn't say we have "the box office of Troy"

In his “state of the state” speech last night, the Governator said that California is “the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta.”

If by the “ideas of Athens,” he means that our culture is homoerotic and based on the worship of young men, and that women are prisoners to misogynistic ideas of beauty and hedonism, and if by the “power of Sparta,” he means that we are ruled by two omnipotent kings, and that our standards are so merciless that sickly babies are left on the hillsides to die, then well, yeah, I got no argument with that.

My prediction for Bush's speech tonight... that our president will declare "I am the escalator."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

5 things you'd rather not know about me

#1 - I was voted Miss Big Hair of 1986

#2 - I like to dress up as 70s TV icons in my spare time.

#3 - My friends once set me up on a blind date with a Gorn.

#4 - For a while there, I thought I was Carrie Bradshaw.

#5 - My career as a paleontologist never really took off.

(you can blame Grant Miller for this one)

The Troubles

I’ve been thinking a lot about Northern Ireland lately. About how Britain got caught trying to establish peace between the Catholics and the Protestants there, while also trying to protect its own interests in the area. About the over 3000 people who died in the troubles, about how just the most violent part of the conflict lasted 30 years, and about how two different religious groups, whose differences might appear so slight as to seem humorous to someone like me, have an almost unlimited capacity for hatred and fear of one another.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Harriet Miers resigns in order to spend more time with her lapel pins

Gee, do you think that getting rid of Miers is some kind of signal that the White House thinks they might need an attorney with a bit more going on upstairs in the next couple of months?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Game, set, and match

So you’ve probably heard about the first Muslim elected to congress in November (Keith Ellison, D-MN).

And you probably also heard that some yahoo with the unbelievably yahoo-appropriate name of Virgil Goode (R-VA), kicked up a fuss because Ellison wanted, in his personal and unofficial swearing-in ceremony, to be sworn in on the Quran.

Goode said in a letter to constituents that “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office.”

Ellison is a native of Detroit. Detroit, Michigan. And despite its kind of Frenchy-sounding name, Detroit is pretty solidly American. I mean, they are big fans of both guns AND cars in Detroit. Plus, they really like to riot when their teams win things. You can’t get more American than that.

Ellison’s also a pretty classy guy. Here’s his reaction to Goode’s comments: “I’m looking forward to making friends with Representative Goode, or at least getting to know him. I want to let him know that there’s nothing to fear. The fact that there are many different faiths, many different colors and many different cultures in America is a great strength.”

Oh, but he wasn’t so busy being classy that he wasn’t also planning some pretty sweet poetic justice. Tomorrow, he is for sure going to be sworn in on the Quran.

But not just any Quran.

It’s a copy of the Quran that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.


Frackin' awesome

If you aren’t yet watching Battlestar Galactica, you are missing the best show on television, and in just in case you think I am damning with faint praise, let me also say that I think it is one of the 10 best dramas on TV ever, right up there with The Rockford Files, Hill Street Blues, Six Feet Under, and The X-files.

I started watching the show because all the geeks at work talked about it during lunch, and it sounded really good. Turns out, it is really good, and after watching just a couple of episodes I found myself at Wikipedia, trying to catch up on all the history I'd missed. And then, I simply had to watch all the past episodes on DVD. I mean, there was no free will involved. I simply had to. BSG is like crack. I mean it. Try just a bit of the series premiere, and you'll see what I mean. Oh, there'll be no going back from there.

Kurt Vonnegut once said that he hated having his work put in the file drawer labeled “science fiction,” because critics keep mistaking the drawer for a urinal. Similarly, I think a lot of people don’t even consider watching the series because they think all sci-fi is stupid. And I agree, all sci-fi IS stupid. Except when it’s not. And this is not.

And no, it’s not your father’s Battlestar Galactica. There are no guys in metal suits, no cute mascots, no Lorne Greene, and best of all, Starbuck’s a babe. So is the president, and she is my official girl crush of 2007.

hot executive branch action!

I’ve loved Mary McDonnell ever since she salvaged Dances with Wolves and made all that noble-savage-teepee-talk actually kinda believable. To say nothing of how fucking awesome she was in Matewan, one of the most underrated movies of all time. Oh, and of course she totally ruled in Passion Fish as well, but then she played a woman in love with David Strathairn, and how easy is that? Ummmm…..David Strathairn. He is like the American Alan Rickman.

Ummmm….Alan Rickman.

Oh. Alright, I’ve stayed a bit from my point, which is that if you hurry, you can Netflix the past two and a half seasons of BSG and be ready to pick up the show when the third season resumes January 21.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good riddance

Okay, so there’s a lot of blog introspection going on right now. New year = fresh start and all that.

I’ve never been one for the New Year’s resolutions. I figure what’s the point of self-improvement when your house still only has one bathroom?

I’ll tell you a couple of things I figured out, though. Not like things I figured out this past year - what have I been yammering about for all of 2006 if not that? I mean things I figured out at this year’s bad* New Year’s Eve party:

  1. Don’t go to New Year’s Eve parties. Just stay home and avoid the let-down. For instance, the hosts always tell you that it’s “dressy,” and then you show up looking fabulous, while everyone else seems to be having a ratty t-shirt contest.
  2. When a fellow guest is telling a long-winded story about how terrible the food is at the Grand Canyon, asking if “The Grand Canyon” is that new Mexican fusion restaurant in Mid-Wilshire is not a very clever way to change the subject, no matter how much you think it is.
  3. When your dyed black goth mullet-sporting host wishes you happy new year, “Happy 1988 to you, too!” is NOT the kind of response that a polite guest comes up with, really.
  4. When someone starts raving about how great Dreamgirls is, keep your mouth shut about how much you hate Beyonce. No one, for instance, wants to hear you go off in any way remotely resembling the following: I really hate Beyonce. I hated those tired old Kelly-LeBrock-esque slow-mo Pepsi commercials she used to do. I hate her appalling taste in clothes. I hate her blond tranny wig and her creepy little baby teeth. I hate that she murdered those Prince songs on the Grammys, songs that are so brilliant that they are practically murder-proof, but everyone still pretended that she was fabulous. And I really really hate the egocentric dribble that has been issuing from her stupid, vapid little mouth since the whole Dreamgirls PR machine has gotten underway. I’m tired of hearing about how “soft” she had to sing, and how she had to “hold back” in the movie, and how that was such hard acting. Because to me, “holding back” means that you sang the actual notes of the song, and not ten notes around every note of the song. Because I am so so so so tired of that whole “see how many fucking notes I can jam in per second” school of diva bullshit crap singing crap. But the worst, the very worst, thing about Beyonce is that she clearly can not stand that Jennifer Hudson has stolen the movie out from under her, which, first of all, is so unbelievably “duh!” that it’s actually kind of funny. I mean, bitch, did you not ever see the show? Did you skip the part where the fat girl sings circles around the Diana Ross girl? And did you not understand that you were going to be the Diana Ross girl, and that the chick who was too fat for American Idol but can sing circles around you was going to be playing the fat girl part? Hello! And what could have been going through Beyonce’s teeny, tiny little mind when she said that "I'm already a star. I already have nine Grammys. Everyone knows I can sing. I did this because I wanted people to know that I can act and I can play someone so different from myself. I mean, I wish I could've gained 20 pounds and played Effie." Do you see what I mean? Is that not the biggest, most obvious me-ow in the history of catty show biz digs ever???? Bitch should call Jay-Z to take her and her gigantic booty-sized ego away to some island somewhere and leave us the fuck alone for awhile.
  1. Uh, the other thing that I learned is that while riding home in the cab of a tow truck is not the ideal way to spend New Year’s Eve, but it does tend to confirm any notions you might have about the new year being an improvement over the shitty old one.

So, here’s to a better year, everyone. Now if you’ll excuse me, Hertz has a Chevy Malibu with my name on it.

*And when I say “bad,” of course I mean that there never is any other kind. It’s not the host’s fault. They’re intelligent and engaging people. They put out impressive amounts of booze and some great food. The invite other charming and accomplished guests. But they and their party are just doomed. They just are. You know what I’m saying. Don’t pretend you don’t.