måndag, mars 17, 2008

Luftwaffe Pilots and USA Today TV Critics

Horst Rippert, an 88-year old former pilot of Germany's Luftwaffe, thinks he may have shot down French writer and war pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery in 1944, as Saint-Exupery flew near Marseilles. but the nerves of steel rat-a-tat-tat man isn't sure. So he's taking credit, backing away, apologizing, and saying what he big fan he has been all these years, while hoping he didn't kill him. That story is so odd, could I have been confusing the Times with the Onion?

The USA Today's television critic, Robert Bianco, also has me confused.
John Adams was short, unattractive, often confounded, and brilliant enough to be vexed at being confounded. And that's what I'm seeing on my television screen. Perhaps the real problem is that Robert Bianco has a low tolerance for people unpretty. Meanwhile, David Morse (Washington) could have done just as well holding up the famous First Man's portrait and cutting out the lips to talk. I've only seen one expression so far from Stephen Dillane (Jefferson) - spoiled malaise - and hasn't the same actor played Franklin in every Franklin role, ever? It's a can't go wrong part. In fact, these three men were physically imposing figures who because of our familiarity with them can be portrayed almost as thinly as charactertures and be accepted. Adams couldn't get away with that in real life, and on screen he shouldn't be presented other than as he was just for the sake of our viewing tolerance. Review the work, not the looks. If I had wanted America's Next Top Model - God Save These United States - I knew what channel to select.

Oh, and "facts are stubborn things," is one of my favorite quotes, and it's his. I had forgotten.

söndag, mars 16, 2008

Summer School

"Hey, Mom, I checked it out. NYU has a summer program I can get into, with the finance courses I want. I can stay at my FIT campus, or move over to the Village ... but anyway, if it is ok with you, I'd like to sign up for a class."

"Well, yeah, it's ok," I told her, "but just one class? You'll be down there the whole summer and just one five-week class that meets twice a week for two hours?"

Helicopter mom? Please. I never even liked pushing swings in the park. "Pump! Pump, damnit," I used to scream at them from just beyond kicking distance. But I guess already at 18 months they wanted to play mind games with me and wouldn't cooperate. It seems that no matter how old they get, the need for me to send the "Try Again" prompt is always surfacing.

"Well, um, each class I sign up for costs four thousand dollars and change. If I sign up for two, that would be almost ten thousand dollars and that's just the first session."

I paused long enough to see the figure "$10,000" hanging above me in the air, just beyond my reach. I had to wait longer than usual for "never say die" to surface.

"Look, we've got grad school covered with your eggs, right? You'll be 21 by then and the free market will kick in. Do you think you can find a summer gig outside of the glamorous world of minimum-wage retail, you know something that actually pays, something with "VIP" in the name? I've heard big numbers in the news lately. Two courses each session, and you'd be golden. C'mon, c'mon. Try again."

lördag, mars 15, 2008


I've got Post Traumatic Spitzer Disorder.

I think I'm coming out of it, but I'll never vote again. Ever. I've already informed the kids that it's now up to them to carry on with silly notions of a vote having a voice. The only thing that has sustained me over the past seven years is that there was a man in government who did what the entire SEC couldn't/didn't/wouldn't do, and his presence told me that even in the Land of Bush, all was not lost. The Ring had not fallen into the wrong hands yet.

And then, "Doh!" A really, really big I am such a naive stupid-head, "Doh!"

My football team is the Buffalo Bills and my governor is/was Eliot Spitzer. I should just go out somewhere and find the I'm a Loser Bridge to jump from. Oh, yeah, I can't because it hasn't been built yet. In this city we actually have bumper stickers that read, "Build the Damn Bridge" because for the past decade or so no one has been able to decide which design is prettiest, cheapest, least offensive, most full of graft and pork barrel, or easiest for hiding those pesky illegal Canadians. Meanwhile all the job-bringing commercial traffic is finding other, far away ways to enter the country.

It's amazing my heart continues to pump at all.

I spent Monday through Friday shuffling paper from desk to desk, unable to complete a thought, giggling like the man who sets up camp behind the concrete sidewalk barriers by the nearby movie theater. I've been coming to work in slippers. I eat food off of everyone else's plate. I am depressed, I think they call it.

Today's mental image is the result of my new Mommy 'n Me Pole Dance business concept, and the sister company, Pimps We B'. For women, run by women, like Avon only the customers are men, people with real money. I can see it now, Mom and the six year old daughter finishing up dinner, getting all tramped up and into the minivan. "Where you goin' hon? A Halloween party?" asks the husband.

"No. It's career night. Michelle's gonna be a star and I'm going to be her manager! Or maybe a mother-daugher act. We're not sure yet, but we are sooo excited. Don't wait up."

Nope. I'm not coming out of it at all. Build the damn bridge.

måndag, mars 10, 2008

The Albany Curse

Aw, Eliot. You went and proved it. There really aren't any bigger than life heroes anymore. We believed in you because you had the stones to stand up to big time crooks in ridiculously overpriced white collars, but in the end you sweat over how to hide your call girl cash? I can't figure out what is worse, that the whole thing was exponentially hypocritical or stupid. Like it matters.

Nope. No big heroes. And nothing new under the sun, either. John Adams, the closest anyone else has come to a superhuman hero in my eyes, earned his cape by using his wit and tenacity, while risking his neck to fight for what he believed in. But then, having gained the prize, he allowed his own insecurities ("Why doesn't anybody like me, really like me?") to lead him to so greatly challenge the freedom of the American press with the Sedition Act of 1798. Exponentially hypocritical or stupid? It doesn't matter. We owe the existence of the Declaration of Independence more to him than Jefferson. But when Adams' term was up, he hit the road for home under the cloak of darkness.

Silda must still be smashing governor plates in the mansion, with the former Albany first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's ghost trying to calm her with, "There, there, old girl. At least he wasn't sleeping about for years and years under your nose with your own personal secretary - you don't have a secretary, do you? Anyway, wasn't that a funny discovery. Enough to drive one off to Appalachia. Now find your best press suit - no not the pleather - and stiffen that upper lip. Hmmm, maybe not so stiff. Have you heard about those new fangled injections?"

Worth Waiting For

Ahh, March. Finally the kind of morning worth getting out of a cozy Sunday bed for; the image is from a larger piece I have created. I have a whole memory stick full of Calvin and Hobbes shots. Not sure where the goofball dog (Hobbes) was when I took this one. But my daughter (Calvin) had trouble getting air. Some of the best hill bumps around, but the overnight snow made 'em all slow.

lördag, mars 08, 2008

What I Meant to Say

"Whether the end is nigh is rarely the point. What matters is that, when people fear shifts in the cultural tectonics, they tend to reach for myth and the verities. And, while it may seem like a stretch to extend this observation to a sphere as ostensibly superficial as fashion, it was hard to come away form the season just ended here without thinking that dressmakers are spooked by he cold breath of change....And there were good reasons for this. Faced with overwhelming shifts in the way clothes are manufactured; with the widespread dispersal and pirating of information on the Internet; with markets broadening to encompass not just familiar consumer elites, but entire swaths of the globe; and with the knowledge that their boldest efforts seem puny compared with the chess moves being enacted by the multinational titans who employ them, a lot of designers are befuddled."

Guy Trebay can get under my skin. But not so much when he writes like that. NY Times, March 6.

The Women on the Web. FMI (For My Information) Already doomed for failure?

Buying more to have less. Yes, Muji. I'm familiar with the look, and the hook. Being complicated to become simple. Eschewing isms in order to be the best ism. Can't we just have the clean lines and purposeful design without the pretentious doublespeak? I don't have the philosophy chops or time to do the verbal deconstruction. Mon dieu, has the Bush Administration made is so that marketers feel we won't notice if they treat every day as Opposite Day? Anyway, internationally, there is nothing novel about Muji, but the result is appreciated.

fredag, mars 07, 2008

Where's the Auto in Autopsy?

I wish I could take myself apart and figure out what's wrong and put me back together again before I toxicology myself to death. It's so hard to be sick when there is no one around with the authority level to send you to bed. I treated myself to enough anti-symptom cocktails that something should be working, or my heart should be stopping.

Enough about me. I'm going to focus on another for a while. Chic, according to Cathy Horyn: "a particular or informed point of view that makes the heart leap or the mind curious to know more." I didn't know. When there is no chic, she continues, it's like sitting down to an expensive meal and not tasting a single flavor. Prada is fashion in the abstract, Versace and Gucci are about luxury. but nothing was produced that would make someone want to change the way they dressed.

Ok, I'm starting to get it. I think. Is chic a movement, a collective? I don't know, but I'm so congested that I'm breathing through my mouth. Liquid will begin to drip from my nose any second. My dry lips will swell without the aid of any injectible or bee sting. Then she says it, that thing I have been yelling at myself about for the past two months: know the emerging markets.

I'm not ethnic enough. I'm not worldly enough. I have no sense of Indian designs beyond a $10 wrap skirt I and every other girl bought in 1979, Or Chinese or Japanese. or the difference between the two.

torsdag, mars 06, 2008

Leonard Sax and Sex

Leonard Sax is a dangerous man. Anyone who draws a bright line distinction between men and women and calls it science is a dangerous person. Sax fails to address the nuances created by variations in hormonal make up, the impact of socialization, and the backwards future that all this separation will ultimately create. What he does appreciate is a meal ticket at a time when the ills of no money for schools only war has finally visibly metastasized. Just because we don't spend the time or money on kids as individuals, doesn't mean we should be setting up a blue camp for boys and a yellow camp for girls. Pigeonholing is what gets us into trouble in the first place.

I know because I wasn't, and there were far too few of us girls allowed to roam at large with the boys as kids. I believe that that freedom to, as a child between the ages of 5 and 10, explore the world without a strict gender code has probably made the most wonderful difference in my life compared to the lives of so many other women I have met along the way.

To the extent that there are blocks of differences among different groups of children, we have to learn to take all that information and make those distinctions work towards a positive within a group, not to separate and isolate. To use xx and xy as a basis for a wholesale segregation, let me ask this. Would we be doing this with any other form of physical or mental distinction without more sophisticated medical science, social science, and long term peer review of both?

Hell, people are still debating margarine versus butter and its impact on veins. Don't talk to me in absolute terms about what a brain scan is telling you.

onsdag, mars 05, 2008

The UO Catalog and other Notes

UO Through the Mail Slot. When it comes, the Urban Outfitters catalog, the world stops. I go through the pages trying to break the code. What is this company's message? Why am I always reluctant to embrace it? Why sometimes does everybody looks sexy; in other catalogs everyone looks like dressed by monkeys? The current catalog works, and its a 70's (again), boho, 20's approach. It's the heavy reliance on the 70's, again, that gets me, I suspect. The catalog starts to feel like a yearbook. Half of me can't breathe and the other half of me is pissed off that we didn't have better styling back then. As for why it doesn't always work for each season? Staying fresh and cutting edge is difficult when each piece has such a retro feel, so the attitude has to come in the combos - which is not really what mass market retail and catalog is all about.

Drunkorexia. "These are women who are afraid to put a grape in their mouth but have no problem drinking a beer." Douglas Bunnell, quoted in the NY Times, March 2, 2008. I had a nightmare last night. I had edged too far into an intersection waiting for the light to turn green. So I put the car in reverse to get back behind the stop line. Only it was as if I had gunned it, and the car went screaming in reverse. Trying to get the car back into place, I put it in drive, but then again, it was as if the gas pedal was glued to the ground and I could not stop. Suddenly, I was going so fast that as I was wiping out sides of cars all I could see were sparks and then I realized that those hazy dark figures that looked like silhouette cut outs from a 50's educational poster were people I was knocking off. The dream shifted over into a DWI and, before I awoke, I accepted in utter despondency (while the vehicle was still wildly out of control) that I was going to spend the rest of my life behind bars.

I'm going with grapes.

Benefit Cosmetics. Jane Ford: "A lot of women think if they're wearing a geranium pink trench, they have to match their lipstick with it. No, it's the reverse."

The reverse of what? What is the complimentary color of geranium pink, celery? Do I not wear a trench? Do a lot of women have geranium pink trench coats? Did I miss the big sale?

Actually the entire Pulse section of the Times failed to produce anything new - the new colors? yellow with gray, sea-blue with lime, coral and yellow, pink and black, sky blue and brown - all these have been alive and kicking for the past few years, past few millennium. The good news? This summer wear your favorite bright colors, give them Urban Outfitter names, and use the word "inspired" a lot, as in "I was inspired by the wondrous colorings of the underwater sea creatures we saw this June while on holiday," or "I was inspired by my love affair with the laundry basket and color of my favorite bottle of detergent." You can do it.


My big white dog ran ahead of me about 30 yards, up to an older man who was walking alone through the park. It was just about 7 a.m., and exactly 15 degrees. Everything that morning seemed white, even the air. Still, I could tell that the man who had been kind enough to hold out his hand to my excitable puppy held her attention for only a second before she bounded off towards another moving figure further off.

When with quick paces and bent heads our paths came as close as they would to crossing, I said apologetically, "She's disappointed that you aren't a dog."

"Well, maybe in a little while ... ," he said in a deep voice, not breaking stride.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about him since.

lördag, mars 01, 2008

Love My Look

Researching whether there had been any new press on Nia24, a skin cream I had found a year ago, I came across a link for the Personal Body Model. Now I can see what I would look like with a boob job, except for the whole body thing. It's hard to tell what I would really look like, what without a hair color option and that model's crossed eyes and everything. Is that what my nipples would look like post-op? Hmmm. I just don't know. I hate it when she wears my - well, not my hair - that way.