Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Secondly, I think that I may have underestimated the size of Blago's balls. They're huge. When Rachel Maddow asked him in an interview yesterday, RE his assertion that his taped remarks have been taken "out of context," how the following statement...
...could possibly be put in any context that would make it anything other than an admission that he's giving away a US Senate seat to whoever offers him the best SWAG bag, he said:
And, in addition to that, just playing devil’s advocate, I’m not acknowledging that’s what actually were on the tapes, ‘cause we haven’t had a chance to hear it. But playing the devil’s advocate in assuming it was. Why can’t the construction of that be I want them to help me pass a public works program, a jobs program, that the Democratic speaker, Mr. Madigan, has been blocking."
Ah, where do I start?
1. You haven't heard the tapes? Forgive me if I've gotten this wrong, but isn't that you SPEAKING ON THE TAPES?
2. If you really want to hear the tapes, you should've stopped by your impeachment trial that you decided not to show up to so you could go on your little jury-pool-tainting media blitz.
3. We can't infer innocence from your claim that you want the tapes heard by the public, when you already know that's what's going to happen. OJ pioneered this defense when he claimed that his DNA link to the murder scene could not mean he was guilty, because he wanted the results made public. It's a logical fallacy. Actually, that's a polite word for what it is.
4. When you said that it's possible that all you wanted in return for the seat was cooperation on a piece of legislation, you should've first checked to see if that was also unethical. Because it is.
What an interesting mix of cagey and hilariously fucking stupid the (for now) governor of Illinois is! He's so completely missing the "shame" gene, it's kind of fascinating. It makes me homesick for Chicago, where that kind of politician is as plentiful as the puddles of puke outside of Wrigley Field.
And speaking of no shame, how about that conference that Bank of America hosted for various CEOs so that they could strategize about how to defeat the EFCA?
The EFCA is a bill that would roll back certain provisions of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act, and enable employees to vote a union in at their workplace without allowing management to force a circumvention of the process. It's a good bill. The House has passed it already, and Obama's supporting it. And if passed, it could mean that the vast majority of retail employees, a sector that has replaced manufacturing in terms of its importance to our economy, could earn a wage upon which they could raise a family in something other than complete fucking poverty.
Naturally, big business does not want to see it pass. And in this conference call, which B of A hosted 3 days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, participants (including bailout recipient AIG) were urged to give money to Republican candidates opposed to the bill, as well as to The Center for Union Facts, an anti-EFCA lobbying group founded by Home Depot CEO Rick Berman.
So not only did B of A spend tax dollars to host this thing, but by doing so, they are using our money to enable our own economic oppression.
CEO Berman, whose employees would obviously benefit from increased wages and benefits, stressed the importance of the cause by stating that he could've been on "a 350-foot boat out in the Mediterranean," but instead was on the phone call, working to defeat the EFCA.
I'll just let that settle in for a minute.
I don't know why our government can't simply do what Jon Stewart has proposed, which is to give the bailout money to the people who can't pay their mortgages or their credit card bills, with the stipulation that it can only be used for consumer debt. Because if they did, people's mortgages and bills would be paid, and those same institutions that are now flailing would have their precious fucking money. Everyone wins.C'mon Republicans. You're always saying that we should keep more of our hard-earned tax dollars, that the government can't spend it as well as we can. Now's your chance to put our money where your mouth is.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
As of today, Spooney and I have been together five years. I KNOW. I can hardly believe it myself.
We were both about 6 months out of 10 year relationships when we met on the interwebs. I had been on numerous bad dates by then so I was a little weary of the whole dating thing, but I agreed to meet Spooney for a drink because he was funny, and he had a nice deep voice.
The bar he suggested as “between his place and mine” was actually much closer to my place, which was sweet. A lot of people in LA have bastard commutes, and so spend much of their personal lives trying never to leave their neighborhoods. People like that are always suggesting plays, restaurants, and clubs that just happen to be down the street from where they live. One guy I met online who wanted to meet for a movie would only suggest films playing at the
Anyhoo, I was on the 101N on the way to the bar to meet Spooney when I noticed that the 101S was jammed. Right as I got onto my exit ramp, I saw a huge accident with emergency vehicles and all lanes closed. Just then I realized that Spooney had to be traveling on the 101S to get from his place to the bar. He would be late. Very late, judging by the traffic. And seeing as how we’d just met, I hadn’t given him my cell phone number yet. Fucking great.
I settled into a booth at the bar and ordered a beer. After about 5 minutes, the bar phone rang. For some reason, I knew it was him. I was absolutely certain it was him. The waitress picked up the phone, listened, and then looked around the bar. She stopped when she got to me and said, “Are you Vikki?”
It was him. He called information to get the number for the bar. Then he called the bar to tell me he was going to be late. And this was before iPhones, remember, so doing that entailed dialing, and talking to people, and dialing some more. It required effort. It’s not like now when your phone just does all that for you if you ask it to.
And this from someone living in LA, a city infamous for its lax manners. I was so impressed that I decided to wait for him. Luckily, he was close to his exit, and I only had to wait twenty minutes. And then we spent four hours talking. We almost closed the dang bar.
Here are some things I remember:
He totally had the
He laughed pretty hard when I imitated my mother. Listen gals, what better signal do you want that a guy gets you, than having him understand why your mother is unintentionally hilarious?
He told funny stories about growing up in a small town. I could so relate!
He complimented my shoes. I know. It’s like someone had given him a manual on how to get to me.
And then at the end of the evening, he walked me to my car. He didn’t try to kiss me goodnight, but he looked like he wanted to for a hard second or two before he turned away. Which was, at the time, pretty much exactly what I wanted.
And Spooney continues to provide me with mostly exactly what I want. If pressed, I will admit that once in while, the gear talk gets a little dull, but hey, we all have our obsessions. I understand that my obsession with efficiency and organization is way tedious sometimes. And we do everything together, which is great. He’s the best companion I’ve ever had, and you know, that’s a really underrated thing. I really can’t say enough about how wonderful that is.
Well, I’ve gotten mushy enough, and I promise I won’t be pulling out the sticky valentines for every anniversary. It’s just that 5 years is a long time in Vikkitikkitavi years. I’m not easy to please, frequently, and I…I can be a tough bitch, and judgmental - girl, you don’t even know. Judgmental is the bear with which I wrestle, for sure. But here’s one good thing about me: I will walk through fire for the man I love. And Spooney, that’s you, baby.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Obama appears to be doing well. He, like Clinton before him, took advantage of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in order to rescind the Global Gag Rule. I wonder if all the Hillary groupies will now stop writing letters to Ms. Magazine bitching about their Obama cover. Probably not.
He signed an order to close Gitmo as soon as we can figure out where to send all the scary dudes we've been keeping in there for all these years. I vote Texas. In fact, now that the cowboy charade is over, I hear the Bushes will be moving to the manse in Dallas and won't have much use for their Crawford brush-clearing photo op staging area and oppressively patriarchal wedding location. Maybe the former detainees could turn it into a going concern. I'm not sure they deserve such a fate, but I am sure that the Bushes sure as hell deserve to live in Dallas, and Dallas probably deserves them as well. Never in my life have I visited such a souless/lifeless/humorless berg. When the highlight of your city is a museum devoted to an assassination, you might want to have the chamber of commerce make a tiny bit more of an effort. Of course, Dallas was the site of my run-in with a rifle-wielding Guardsman at airport security. Dude actually pointed his M16 at me, I think because I had crossed over some invisible line on the agressively patterned airport carpeting in order to help my then-husband with the bags that they had just finished searching because we had flown in from Los Angeles and therefore = terrorists. My brother, who many years ago was in the National Guard, reassured me that a Guardsman in a civilian facility would never have been issued actual bullets, but I dunno. We are talking about Texas, after all, where they have ammo cozies for sale at the airport giftshop.
Obama also ordered federal employees to disclose more information to the public, and he shut down the Penn. Ave. to K Street superhighway and gift registry. Along the way, he also slyly confirmed, just in case we'd heard anything to the contrary, that the Vice President is indeed a member of the executive branch and as such, subject to its rules. Just, you know, FYI. Not like anyone's planning anything.
Plus, he reiterated that non-administration federal employees should be hired for their skills and experience, not for whether they dress left or right.
Yeah, so that's Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld AND Gonzalez, in case anyone's counting.
It's a nice start, except for the fuss accompanying the flubbing of the oath of office by CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Roberts. A friend of mine compared Roberts to those pretentious waiters who refuse to write your order down in order to impress you, and then get it wrong. It's 35 words, dude. Either memorize it for real, or fucking read it. Plus his "So help you god?", while no doubt intended to come off as "playful" and "not stodgy!" instead read as pretty solidly toolish. Roberts, it's not about you, dude. If anyone comes away from the ceremony remembering the Justice who administered the oath...UR DOIN IT WRONG.
Drudge's headline for the re-swearing that was done in the Oval Office yesterday out of "an abundance of caution" noted that Obama did not use a Bible. Which, constitutionally speaking, matters not a whit, although the freepers tried their best to whip up some outrage. I guess Rick Warren's invocation with helpful Son of God pronunciation guide wasn't enough for them.
That's French. I'm assuming Obama's made it okay again to be French, or at least snotty.
Of course ex-president W, who elevated churlishness to an art form, could not resist an attempt to rebutt Obama's inauguration speech. Before a friendly crowd in his boyhood home of Midland, Texas on inauguration day, he said:
No, we have not. At least, not on our own soil. That doesn't mean we haven't died. 4200 US soldiers have died in Iraq. 30,000 have been wounded. Iraqi civilian deaths are approaching 100,000.
Let us not forget that this war was not sold to us as a means by which to liberate Iraqis from an oppressive regime. Because we would not have bought it. It was marketed to us, carefully and deliberately, as a necessary measure to strike down a country intent on striking us, a charge we now know to have been not only false, but manufactured.
This is the truth. Whether Bush was your guy or not, this is the truth. Whether you voted for Obama or not, this is the truth. Whether you espouse "America - love it or leave it," or believe that BushCo brought down the twin towers with hidden explosives and had the passengers of those four flights shot by their own countrymen, this is the truth. We were lied to.
And they will never be punished for it -- not in their lifetimes, and unfortunately for me, not in mine.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Okay, folks, here's the thing about Rick Warren, and shit like that.
I've been mulling this over for a while, and here's my conclusion: it's brilliant.
I know, I've read all the hateful stuff, and believe me, I find him plenty abhorrent. On top of that, I think the whole fallacy behind his mega-seller "The Purpose-Driven Life" is just hooey. The first sentence of the book is, "It's not about you." Now, while I applaud any effort to push Americans into being less selfish, I think it's wrong to tell people that the way out of their self-centered hell is to live for God. I think everyone would be better off if they acknowledged that there is no God, and to learn that to think about others, and to put others before yourself sometimes, and to act charitably, and yes, even to work toward a government that "spreads the wealth around" are things you ultimately do for yourself. Undoubtably there is a moral imperative at work, in that society cannot advance if we don't all care about the collective good, but also, look, if doing all those things I just listed made me feel bad, or even indifferent, I'm not sure I'd bother either. But they don't. They make me feel great about myself, and I don't mean in an "I'm so fucking cool" way, I mean that when I do something good for someone other than myself, it makes me feel good to think about it. Like when you find the perfect present for someone, and you can't stop thinking about giving it to them. It's a great feeling. I mean, there's nothing better, right?
And goddammit man, but Spooney's smile is hard-wired into my pleasure center. Sometimes I manage to express to Spooney how I feel about him in a way that makes his whole face light up like he's a little kid. In that moment, he looks at me like he's never had a bad day, like he's never lost someone he loves, like he's never been betrayed or disappointed or made to feel small. I live for that. I wish I could do it every day. And holy fucking shit, readers, I want that for everybody.
The trouble with living to serve God, is that people tend to start to believe that they have a personal relationship with the Almighty, and in the absence of actual tangible input from Him, which is, let us just remind ourselves, impossible, they start to attribute their own motivations and prejudices to God, and believe that their own ignorant douchehat opinions are shared by a being capable of creating the entire universe from fuck all. The next thing you know, they're on television proclaiming that God wanted 1500 citizens to drown in their living rooms because of the way some people like to configure their sexual organs.
So why then is picking Warren brilliant?
Because, to denounce him is counter-productive. This guy is very very very fucking popular with a lot of genuinely decent people, no matter what I think of him. Why not let those people know that they have a voice? Why not let them know that they have a place at the table? If Obama comes into the White House liberal guns blazing and no room for compromise, he'll get one or two things done off the bat, but then he'll find himself cock-blocked and vilified until the end of his term, or terms, if he even gets another one. He's got to draw the other side toward the middle, and to do that he must step toward the middle himself, or he's got no chance to stay relevant. Is it what I would do? No. But then, I'm not president. I'm an asshole who presumes to tell people that god does not exist. I do not have my finger on the pulse of America.
And it's not like Obama didn't tell us that he was going to do this. I think he mentioned more than once that he was pretty interested in bringing the divergent sides of this country together. No red states or blue states but United States, remember? And what we're working toward is something better than what we have now, okay? Can we all just agree that to make things better must sometimes be enough?
And if you think back to when Bush first ran, what was one of the reasons why so many centrists felt comfortable voting for him? Because he promised to govern from the center, and to draw both sides toward that point. Did he do that? No. Did he ever have any intention of doing that, 9/11 or no? No. You don't pick Dick Cheney as your veep if you have any intention of doing that, obviously. So he lied to us. Deliberately. And it's one of the things I hate most about him. Do you want people on the right to feel about Obama the way we all feel about Bush? Do you want Obama's climate change initiative to stall in Congress? Do you want his health care plan to die in committee? Do you want him be blamed for this economic mess the way Carter was blamed for Nixon's?
Or do you want to get shit done?
I'll admit that I've been feeling pretty hopeless recently. My own economic troubles have seemed to mirror the nation's, and I feel like the time I have left on this earth to do what needs to be done is slipping away, fast. Even the thought of an Obama presidency hasn't buoyed my spirits much.
But then, I was watching the concert on the mall in D.C. yesterday, and you know that I am a stone cold sucker for elevated rhetoric. And when Bruce Springsteen sang "The Rising," and the choir behind him was singing the words "a dream of life," and the camera zoomed in over their heads to the stone visage of my beloved martyr Lincoln, who believed more than anyone ever has, or could ever hope to, that our dreams for this nation shall not perish from the earth...well dear readers, I am only slightly ashamed to admit that tears streamed down my face and that everything changed in an instant.
I've still lost much, I've still been betrayed and disrespected and made to feel as if I were the one in the wrong. But maybe I'm starting now to get the hope thing. Just a little bit.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Too long ago for me to only be acknowledging it just now, my blogger friend Dave from Bad Art Global sent me two paintings from his yellow tulip series. The one on the right also features a robot, which is a common theme of Dave's. I believe they are watercolor on heavy paper. I love these pieces and so I used them to frame two pieces I acquired on the Venice boardwalk. "Karoake Brian" is pastel crayon on cardboard, and "Todd Fish" is acrylic on 2x4. Don't they make a great grouping? And I think I paid twenty dollars total.
This is a print from Mary Catherine over at little red fox. It's called "Little Ghost Girl," and you can buy one in her Etsy shop for only $18! I love her stuff.
I bought two paintings of cows at a yard sale for about ten bucks, and my ex made frames for them out of scrap wood.
This one is supposed to look like you're looking through a fence. Cool, huh?
This is a photo I bought from a photographer at the NoHo Arts Festival. At $35 it's one of my more expensive pieces, but I really like it.
I also got this at the (sadly, now defunct) NoHo Arts Festival. It's part collage and part original painting, on cardboard. I paid $25, I think. It's interesting, isn't it?
This one I also bought on the Venice Boardwalk and I paid 100 clams for it. Pricey, I know, but it is an original acrylic on canvas, and it's over two feet wide. The bridge pictured, called the Hyperion Aqueduct, runs over the LA River between Silver Lake and Atwater Village. One of the tags the painter included on the underside of the bridge is a from a tagger who works in my neighborhood as well. Small world.
Spooney painted this one. The photo doesn't do it justice; the brush strokes are nice and the colors are sort of softly unique. As far as I know it was free, but Spooney will probably reposess it if we ever break up.
My sister painted this for my Grandmother, and she was gracious enough to let me have it when Gran died because she thinks its corny, and I love it. My sister has such a talent for watercolors, which I could never do at all because watercolors are HARD.
And this thing I did. I drew it for Gran about 15 years ago, and I ended up with it again after she died. It's from a photograph of her holding my sister as a baby. The mat and frame are hideous, I know, but I think I was trying to match Gran's sofa, or something. Anyway, it's ebony pencil on paper, and the cost was only a tiny bit of heartbreak.
Monday, January 12, 2009
HOWEVER, a few thoughts:
1. Slumdog Millionaire is the best movie I have seen in a long time, and any award that the foreign press and/or the toadies at the Academy seek to bestow upon it is well-deserved. What I'm wondering is, will the Academy of MPA&S throw it into the "foreign film" category just because there is some subtitle-age, thereby leaving the best picture category open for more conventional Hollywood tripe like "Benjamin Button" aka "Brad Pitt Really Wants That Oscar It Has Been a Long Time Since Twelve Monkeys, Yo." So if you haven't seen Slumdog - go. The premise/framing device is really great, and just about the time you're getting kinda tired of the device, they drop it and just set the story loose. And I love how they heightened the realism without turning the movie into an exercise in magical brown people. Plus, the acting is great, and geez, I even like the soundtrack, and I normally HATE Indian music (and world music in general) with the burning heat of thousand white-hot suns. So, all that, plus the Indian Regis Philbin. Awesome.
2. 30 Rock brings teh funny, but the ratings are not so good. And I have noticed that every smart friend of mine who "meh"s the show is a dude. What's up wit that? Are they not down with the non-glam female lead, or are they perhaps just disciples of The Hitch and his theory that possession of ovaries = not funny? Whatever. Big ups to the show for all the wins and to my friend Jack McBrayer who should be nominated next time, huh?
3. Ricky Gervais is the new Sasha Baron Cohen. Unfortunately, Sasha demonstrated last night that we have no need for the old one. All I got to say is, Bruno better be funny.
4. In the categories where actors who play real people were nominated for Golden Globes, they won 5-2. Well, actually, 5-1, because I don't think you can really count Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII.
Here's Meyers as Henry VII:
Hey, Jonathan, a dancer on a float in the 1998 West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade called. He wants his pants back.
And here's King Henry VIII
Yeah, I think Meyers might have gone a little overboard with the ab definition. Also, his sword is bigger.
Yeah, that's what she said. And by "she," I mean his fourth wife, the German-born Anne of Cleves, whose strategic marriage to Henry secured an alliance against Charles V.
Anyway...I seem to have strayed a bit from my original point, which is, that outside of a Holocaust movie, playing a real person, especially if that person is mentally retarded, physically disabled, or just not feeling very well, is really the best way to win an award. And if you play a real person in the Holocaust, then you can only be beat by someone who...well... died tragically just before the voting began, I guess.
5. Mickey Rourke. Do not care. Didn't care about his first train wreck, and do not care about the second one that's clearly headed his way. The guy's a drug-addled peacock with SAG card, and his skillz are not all that. Seriously, name me one movie since "Pope of Greenwich Village" in which Rourke was impressive. And if Eric Roberts doesn't get to skate for a quarter of a century on an Eric Roberts vehicle, then neither does he.
And don't say "Barfly," either, because first of all, anyone looks cool portraying Bukowski, and secondly, see that actress over in the corner there, the one who can play something besides drunken bemusement? That's Faye Dunaway, and she just stole the movie from him.
And also, Mickey, I don't care if you are buddies with Bruce Springsteen and you love your dogs, man, don't trash talk your competition. Sean Penn doesn't hate homos, okay? Shut up and keep your head down and you may get another chance to have a career in film. Lord knows there are tons of mediocre actors with bad face lifts who are pretty sure they can stay off the stuff who are dying to take your place.
6. Colin Farrell won best actor in a film musical or comedy for In Bruges?? Really?? Colin, see my comments for Mickey Rourke above, and for chrissake, stay away from the collagen.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The Gitmo taint is some powerful stanky taint, readers, more powerful even than the Blagojevich taint, from what I hear.
And speaking of the Blagojevich taint...
Boo. Bad. Very very very very bad for
And no, I also don’t care that the formerly cool formerly Black Panther Congressman Bobby Rush likened the Senate to a “plantation,” and Burris to some kind of latter-day Mandingo. Um, just kidding about the Mandingo part.
But only just.
So, in case the press hasn't made it clear yet, Roland Burris is a joke, and I’ll give you 3 reasons why:
- His 2 kids are named Roland Burris and Rolanda Burris. Rolanda. C'mon, even George Foreman would blush at Rolanda.
- He seems to have trouble distinguishing tombstones from resumes.
Wait, I just remembered another one. Make that 4 reasons:
- He thinks that his appointment was ordained by God. Haven’t we learned by now that remarks like that are never a good sign?
Sorry, 5. I got 5. Wait, 6.
- He believes that
deity Abraham Lincoln is not only aware of the job he’s doing, but gave him an excellent performance review. Illinois
- He cried racism where none existed, and by doing so has cheapened a claim that should never, ever, be invoked in bad faith.
Okay, 7. But that’s it.
- When asked whether he would run for re-election when his appointee term was up, he said “Let me get my Senate legs under me and get in and raise some money to pay for all this stuff.” Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed a preview of the Roland Burris legislative agenda.
- He weighed another man’s life against a negligible risk to his political ambitions and chose…his political ambitions.
Are we seeing the common thread yet?
You know, the late, great Mayor Harold Washington once famously explained to the city of
Well, that didn't take long. Burris, who was called in today to testify in front of the Illinois House impeachment committee, has admitted that he spoke to a representative of Blago's regarding the empty Senate seat.
What so bad about that? Only that he swore an affidavit stating that he had no such contact.
The Best Part: Burris defended himself by saying that he had originally contacted Blago's rep (actually a former chief of staff and close friend of the governor) not to lobby for the Senate seat, but to try to drum up state business for his consulting firm.
Because that's so much better.