Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Like To Watch

Really, this is a post about what I don't like to watch. Or what I don't watch any more. I've been thinking about the shows that have started without me this news season, like Grey's Anatomy. Haven't seen it once. Don't intend to. Why, you might ask. Let me tell you (sit down, get a beer, draw nigh to the fire and stay a spell).

I seem to have a three season tolerance for TV dramas. The first season I'm in love, I palpitate to find out what's happening to my new friends. I groan and cheer right along with them because they are, absolutely, real to me. I mean, I know they're not really real; I know it's just acting. But I get so into the program that I might as well be part of the mise-en-scene. That's the first year. The second year, I'm still hot and heavy with my favorites. I still care, really, really care. But maybe a shade, a mere tinge of ennui has entered. By the third year--well, by the third year, I could probably be submitting spec scripts for the show, that's how well I know it. And, consequently, the fourth wall has been lowered and I'm not so much in the scene as hovering over it. When I start knowing who's going to do what when because that's what they did the last time or it's the opposite of what they did--then, the show is on life support for me.

Grey's Anatomy died a bit early for me. I suppose I could have taken another season of the pushme-pullme Meredith and Derek arc. I'm marginally curious about the Alex character, although I think they've dragged his mystery out far too long with far too few clues. I like Callie, although what she sees in that weenie George is beyond me. And I'm peeved that Addison has move to LA, but still I can watch her there if I want to. But Sandra Oh--please note that she's the only one whose name I actually remember--she I am missing, badly. But not badly enough to watch the show.

Basically I'm having a one-person boycott of Grey's Anatomy and ABC for firing Isaiah Washington. And I loathe, loathe, loathe Katherine Heigl, who I see as the major irritant urging his firing. I don't think Washington calling George a faggot was cool or right, but hey, in the scheme of things going wrong with our world at the time, was that the best people could focus on? How about Iraq? How about Darfur? How about Health Care and poverty and hungry kids here in the U.S.? Wasn't it interesting--or perhaps not uncoincidental--that Katherine Heigl's constant blathering on camera about how no one could get away with insulting her friend, etc. etc. came at the same time that she was getting a major PR push. Not a bad day when you can get a double whammy of free press coverage to go along with your paid press coverage.

Katherine Heigl is, as we used to say in high school, a bit too full of herself. She should look up the word hubris and write it out a thousand times in purple ink, dotting each i with a little heart, because her day, I'm sure, is coming. However, I won't be there to see it, because I'm not watching Grey's Anatomy this year. Not only because Washington isn't on it, but because Heigl is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Fire This Time

I've lived in Los Angeles during fire season. I've driven down the 405 when the hills were ablaze, and I've had friends in Malibu evacuated several times. I know exactly how those Santa Anas feel when they come whooshing down the canyons. They're drier than bone and they make your skin crack and itch. But even more, they carry with them the same evil promise of the Mistral. When the Santa Anas are blowing, you know something bad is going to happen. Murder, mayhem, fire.

They're saying that California firefighters are the best in the world. Is that because they're as used to fire as Vermont is to snow and Florida to hurricanes? They're also saying that California is prepared, as Louisiana was not. FEMA is out here, saying 'This time we've got it right.' Reporters at evacuation centers are noting the air of calm, of business-being-taken-care-of.

"It's different this time. This time we were ready."

No, this time your half million evacuees are not poor black people. The evacuation centers are not teeming with the unwashed masses because the unwashed masses don't live along the coast of Southern California. They may clean those houses that were incinerated in the fire, but only after taking several bus trips from their homes in the interior.

Reporters are searching for that human interest piece, the story that kind of socks you in your gut, that doesn't need a soundtrack to stir up pathos. The best they got this time was this: evacuees living in their cars and trucks at the local WalMart, "savoring the safety of acres of concrete--and the camaraderie of shared troubles."

The evacuees in New Orleans didn't have cars to live in. They didn't have cars to flee in. All the Reverse 911s in the world would not have gotten them safely out.

This fire in California is not the same as the hurricane in Louisiana. Not that it doesn't have its own horror and tragedy. But to make of the two similar situations is to enable that complacency that dogs our country at every mishap.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cleaning the Orifice...

Let's see if that gets me some Google traffic.

But first, an explanation: My mother had a way with words. Sometimes she mangled them, intentionally. To be funny, as it were. As sometimes it was. But at other times, like when you were trying to say something serious, it was fucking annoying. Which may be why she did it.


My mother liked to use the work orifice for office. As in, "I'm going to the orifice today." Or, to my father, "what happened at the orifice when you were late this morning?"

So, it is in honor of my mother that I tell you that today I am cleaning my orifice.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Think I'm Feeling Better...

I don't know why, but I am. Last night I had a major dream in which many of the greatest disappointments in my life were revisited and revised. My ex-husband Hamish did not marry a woman named Megan, which was the name we were going to give to our first born. My mentor in the PhD program revealed that the reason I wasn't too popular among certain faculty was not that I was mouthy, but that my ideas were so incredibly advanced, they were in awe. I really did dream both these things.

I did not dream, but did realize in my early morning meditation (would Buddha say it counted if said meditation took place lying flat in bed and sometimes resulted in returning to sleep?) that my clothespin magnets, albeit "colorful" as my cousin said, are also emblematic of what ails me. Which is: the urge to keep the products of my creativity neat and controlled. Small. Within the lines. Showing no signs of the fucking chaos that reigns within.

I must somehow break out of myself. I'm just not sure how to effect it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Day -- By Jane

Here's what I've done today:

1. Got up early (for me) to drive to Sac's version of the 'hood to open up a community center and sit in an office waiting for my 9 a.m. client to arrive. And my 10 a.m. And my 11 a.m. A hat-trick of no-shows.

2. Read through almost my entire Google list on my Treo. No small feat with a screen that size. Got caught up with lots of people's blogs.

3. Drove back home, listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. A very good thing since laughter is the best medicine, etc. etc. etc. Stephen Colbert was on. He's funnier, I think, when he's not doing a character. Wondered whether he has ever discussed why his ears don't match. For the longest time, I thought it was a costume thing. But I think not. I think his ears don't match. And I'm curious as to why.

4. Didn't need to check my email since I had checked and rechecked it while waiting for the hat-trick of no-shows.

5. Packed up for mailing a blouse I bought at a Tupperware party. Well, not really. But like a Tupperware party, except for clothes. CAbi--heard of it? Neither had I. The blouse was too small and too large. That is, too small in the boobs and too large in the shoulders. This is my fate these days since I've grown these headlights. I don't know what to do with them. I have no experience at dressing them. I wish they would go away.

6. Went to Kinko's to mail the blouse. Got the new boy on the job. The one who didn't know what he was doing wrong so he just kept doing the same thing over and over again. Isn't that the definition of insanity? Or maybe just stupidity. I was a model of patience, I must say. He would never know that I'm usually a fire-breathing dragon in such circumstances.

7. Went to Target to see what new tops they have in. For my headlights. I need something that is not T-shirty, clingy, 1% spandex. If you have wandered through Target recently, you'll know how impossible that is. Tried on one top which fit everywhere except--my boobs. Tried on another which was on a rack labeled Voluminous. I believe this was the name of the garment. Or maybe it referred to the size. Either way, it fit everywhere including my boobs, except--it made me look pregnant. This is, I realize, the current fashion. I believe it has everything to do with the latest fashion accessory: the baby bump. That is, pregnant or not, if you wanna be in, you need to wear maternity clothes.

8. Came home. Decided to bake. Was chagrined to realize that I didn't have a stick of butter and thus, was thwarted in my urge to create.

9. Wrote this post. Lucky you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yeah, I think I've got it. I know I've got it. And I know why I've got it. All the stuff that's going on in my mind and heart--just can't put it out there. So I'm reduced to photos, and crafts and stuff-- I feel marginally guilty. Okay, more than marginally. But it seems to be a bug that's going around: more than one of my daily reads has bowed out for a period of time or two. I'll just keep on pottering around, and when I really have something to say, I'll say it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Remember those clothespins I told you about? They're now magnets. To hold stuff. The top and bottom cleverly say MAIL. The middle one is pure design.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

As Promised: The Green

I am a person of my word. When I say I'll do something, I do it. Sometimes. And sometimes not. But in this case, I'm making good on my promise to give you Post, The Second. Subtitled The Green.

No, I'm not going to go off on the greening of American mass culture. Although I certainly could. As you well know. Rather, what I'm referring to are my evolving plans for this business I've been dreaming up, on which I've been spending much mental time doing research and development.

Here, and as they say on Dancing With The Stars, "in no particular order" are my ideas: I'm referring to what I want to sell as Eco Arts & Crafts. That is, all manner of hand-made objects that have as a significant part of their materials stuff that has been around the block before. Repurposed, recycled, found objects. Clothing, jewelry, gifts, and objets d'art. Bags made from old sweaters, necklaces strung of antique findings and watchmakers tools. Collages and collections that use the old and the new to create meaning out of discarded whatevers.

Yes, this is maddenly vague, and sure, I know that whatevers is not a proper noun. When I can articulate what is swirling around in my mind, then I'll be ready to begin. You'll just have to bear with me until then. Or not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thinking Pink and Thinking Green...

Here's a new why-I-haven't-blogged-recently excuse: the dog ate my, the dog ate my, I can't decide which and what to write about so I just won't write anything. But this could go on for a very long time, so I'm grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns (as if) and writing Two Blog Posts In One....!

Post, The First: a disclaimer is required. I am very pro women, breasts, healthy women, healthy women with breasts and all that is required to keep them that way. I also, as you may recall, lost my best friend to breast cancer. Just saying that makes it sound like she went out in the cancer woods one day and never came home. Which isn't the case at all. She died, people, she died. Ten years after they cut off both her breasts. Okay, have I disclaimed enough to not infuriate all tender souls when I say:
I hate this bullshitty Pink for Breast Cancer month.
It has become a huge marketing ploy. Every company out there has done a pink something or other, which is now being advertised as the Must Have and by-the-way, we are giving .001 percent of our profit on each item to breast cancer research. And the magazines have jumped on the bandwagon. Pages and pages of glossy pink this and pink that. If we can make it in pink, hey, do it and jam it on the suckers in October, which is National Breast Cancer month. Just in time for the lead up to orange and black for National Halloween Month. And green and brown and orange for National Thanksgiving Month. And the all-time favorite, red and green for National Christmas Month. With a soupcon of blue and white for Chanukah and red, green andyellow for Kwanza Months.

Part of my anger is that I hate pink. I hate that pink is supposed to be so girly. I hate that I'm supposed to want everything in pink. I hate that young girls in my family are brainwashed into loveloveloving pink. Even Kayla, whose favorite color has always been black, lives in a Pepto Bismal colored room. Pink is insipid. Pink is but a pale washed out form of red. I hate that when men want to humiliate other men, they put them in pink. Pink is--hey, did you know that in former times pink was the boy's color; it was considered, as a derivative of red, too 'Hot' a color for girls. But I digress...

I am all in favor of corporations major and minor giving large chunks of change to breast cancer research. And I can understand their desire to have people know and appreciate their good works. But wouldn't a simple line of print on the label do? I can't stand they they're making money not only from our pain, but from our good nature and need to fit in (see me! I'm wearing a pink whatever. I'm in favor of women keeping their breasts!)

Pink camo T-shirts? I ask you--what jungle war would they be worn in? Or should they be given to our female soldiers, just to kinda mark 'em in the field? And pink soup cans--I see all those rows of washed out Campbell's soup and all I can think is, "blech! how long have they been sitting in the barn?"

I have quite worn myself out with that rant. I shall save Post, the Second for lucky people.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book Review

I've tried and erased a number of snazzy titles for this post. Is it me; am I just not feeling creative? Or is it this book?


I Never Saw Paris, by Harry Freund.

First, a disclaimer of sorts. This book was sent to me by the publisher Carroll & Graf. Well, first they asked if I wanted to read it. I, who have never turned down a free book, said Sure. Therefore, I feel morally bound to not trash Harry's second novel.

I never read Harry's first novel, Love With Noodles. It was praised by none other than Francine Klagsbrun and Gloria Goldreich, two of the matriarchs of Jewish letters. I know some authors get paid for their pull quotes, but I suspect this was more a case of Francine, Gloria, and Harry all being on the board of the same New York shul.

Second, this book does not stink. Despite the fact that I upended a full glass of milk on it, and then just left the milk-soaked pages to swell and ripple on this own. There is no scent of sour about it now, which speaks well for the paper Carroll & Graf used.

Third, I never read Mitch Albom's Five People You Meet in Heaven. Maybe if I had I would recognize that Harry's I Never Saw Paris resonates with lively echoes of Mitch's work. Tell me if this sounds familiar: a group of people, strangers all, die in a freak car accident and have to insure their place in Heaven hanging all their dirty laundry out to dry in front of several smart alecky angels. With wings, no less. Obviously stolen from the Angels in America set.

This is the frame, then. Each person has a different schtick, and I used that word advisedly since the Narrator sounds like everybody's Uncle Abe. One is a Holocaust survivor, another a gay prostitute. There's a black Christian lady whose only sin was stealing a diamond from her mean white boss. And a white woman who assuaged her loveless marriages by honing her shopping talents. And the Narrator, who made a lot of money and schtupped a lot of women, even though he was married. Okay, next point.

Fourth, Harry's strong suit is not titles. Nor is it, I regret to say, characterization. I would go into a whole lecture about Forster and Flat Characters, but that would be for Harry's sake, and I hope he doesn't read my blog.

Because, Fifth, I can't not trash this novel. Or--I can't praise it. It's cute, in an annoying way. The way Uncle Abe is at a bar mitzvah when he's had too much schnapps and starts falling into Cousin Ann's bosom. Drooling on it. And spraying whoever he's got in his grip with half-masticated bits of white fish, bagel, and rugelach.

Sixth, I cry for the trees that died for this book.

Seventh, if you like to read anything Jewish, go right out and buy I Never Saw Paris, by Harry I. Freund.