Thursday, April 26, 2007


I recently stumbled across a blog which has held my attention for more than 5 minutes. I find myself mostly so bored by what people write on their blogs. There are exceptions - UndercoverBlackman, ClizBiz, ShyOneLung, but these are people I know and I am endlessly interested in what they have to say on or off the net. The other people though? The one's that everyone else loves to read? I don't love so much.

There is SalamiTsunami who makes me laugh, but after reading him for the last couple years I don't feel that I know him much better now than when I started and I like for my relationships to go somewhere, even the one sided, voyeuristic ones that I have with complete strangers on the internet. Like Plain Layne - God I loved her. A lesbian living in Minnesota, working for some big corporation doing some kind of programming work. Turns out she was a figment of some guys imagination. He had a heart problem and couldn't get out much so he made up this person and gave her a blog and shared all of her drama and problems with the whole wide web and I was fascinated.

It actually figures that Plain Layne was not real because real people are for the most part kind of boring. I guess this makes sense because the people I find the most interesting are out in the world living their interestingness and do not have time to write about it everyday on the internet.

Except for the "MommyBloggers" a group of women that seem to have come under fire lately. I was reading Dooce back when she was pregnant and I really like the way she writes and her stories about growing up Mormon. The Mormons have always been a mystifying group of people to me. Kind of scary in that hillbilly way with all their strange beliefs and multi-wife households. Donny Osmond was a Mormon and so was Elliot this kid in my elementary school and from that limited exposure I gathered that along with having mysterious swimming pools in their church the Mormons also bred people with thick heads of hair and toothsome grins.

Anyway, back to the MommyBloggers. It was while reading a some article online, I think about Kathy somebody who didn't go to a speaking engagement because of threats that she'd received from other bloggers and they intereviewed Dooce, one of the most famous mommybloggers and she mentioned that someone was doing a parody of her website and how it upset her but she decided not to put energy into it and if I could fucking remember how to link stuff on here I would do so now.... but suffice to say that her mention of such a site piqued my interest and I did a search for Dooce parody and found....

Written by an anonymous young woman in her early 30s who was pretty pointedly pissing on the monthly newsletter that La dooce writes to her daughter Leta I was intrigued to the point where I spent probably an hour reading the site from the beginning. I get why people would be affronted by what V as she refers to herself (I pondered whether her name might be Veronica or Vanessa and then realized that it probably referenced V in Violent) writes. She doesn't hold back and she doesn't worry about being PC or whether or not people get their feelings hurt.

She is often hysterically funny as she wields her caustic keyboard. And she is often raising points that are true even if it makes me uncomfortable to read them. Her most salient point about the mommy bloggers, the idea that putting photos of your small child, and chronicles of their activities, out into the wild world of whackjobs known as the internet is pretty much abuse, strikes a chord with me because I am naturally paranoid and will not go into chat rooms because my assumption is that the person I am chatting with is not really Lance71, but actually some fat hairy naked guy named Bruce living in his mother's basement along with the bodies of hapless internet friends. It's not a far leap for me to imagine Bruce developing big, insane love for one of these juicy, adorable children and/or their mommies and come out of his cave to get them.... okay, end of tangent. What V objects to most, or at least this is what I get from her rants is that it's not fair to objectify your child for financial gain when they have no control over how this content will affect their lives in the future. I had never actually thought about that before - I mean it's one thing to post pictures on a photosharing site that's private so only people who know you can see - sort of a high tech photo album that Bubby Rina can look at across the country. It's another thing completely to throw your life open to just anyone who's cruising by.

The internet makes me nervous and I have never wanted to get feedback from this site for that reason. I don't write here so that people will read it and like me and give me positive affirmation that my life has meaning. I write here because I'm fucking lazy and I can type faster than I write with a pen on the page and this is basically a place to journal. I don't check stats because I don't know how and I think that's a good thing. I have no idea what Technorati is. My friends come here to find out what I'm doing because I've become so ADD or maybe it's just lazy, that talking on the phone and staying focused on a conversation is just too much effort.

The more I read V the more insight I got into why she has such strong feelings that she was motivated to write scathingly - I am talking major flames - about the mommies. She's had an interesting life with more than her share of the shit end of the stick. I think the reason I like her and continue to read her is that she doesn't define her present by her past experiences where one could say that she was a victim. Because any abused, neglected child is indeed a victim, and so many of these children continue to be victims throughout their lives. I know a lot of these people because my dad worked in social services and I saw the adult lives wrought from that kind of trauma and the cycle of abuse.

It takes a certain kind of strength and a dark sense of humor to survive and go on to thrive and create good things for yourself. Her post today addresses the mind of the abused child and boy did she hit that nail on the head. It is mind boggling how a horribly abused child will still go back to the their abuser and beg him or her to love them. I had no idea until I started working with the kids in the LA foster system as a volunteer. No one has any idea until they're looking at a kid covered in cigarette burns who runs into the arms of the mother that burned her when has come for a visit - a big fat woman in polyester stretch pants covered in food stains with a cigarette dangling from her lips.

So, although V makes me cringe with some of the things she writes, for example this sample from her entry titled Retard Genocide:

A group of friends and I were at a baseball game one afternoon. A Mother and her retarded kid squeezed into the bleacher we were sitting on and parked next to my friend. The retarded kid starting going through my friend’s purse and opening all her little make-up compacts while my friend hysterically tried to snatch them back. The Mother of the tard just blithely watched the game…apparently unaware of the havoc that was taking place.
“Oh my God, my lipstick!” she pleaded.
“She’s going to get boogers in your blush,” I warned.
“Oh God, that foundation cost me $140,” She cried.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed into the crisp, cold afternoon air, “LADY! CONTROL YOUR TARD!”

I will continue to look forward to what she's got to say because agree with it or not she certainly expresses her opinion with flair and flames. I just really hope that she's not someone's fictional conceit, or some fat naked hairy guy named Bruce living in his mother's basement.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This weekend I finally watched Half Nelson a movie that I have wanted to see since it was in theaters. It probably would never have made it on my radar except that I happened to catch Ebert and Roeper one night when Kevin Smith was sitting in for Roger Ebert. Both Smith and Roeper raved about this film and I believe that it was Kevin Smith who stated that "this was what movie making was all about."

The fact that they both spoke, nay raved so rapturously about it that I wrote it down on my must see list. Of course I don't actually go to the movies that often because the whole sitting with the public in a dark room thing usually annoys me. When it came out on DVD I rented it THREE times and started watching it twice before I finally made it through.

What those guys didn't mention is that this movie is really hard to watch. Not because it's bad but because it's painful. Ryan Gosling richly deserved the Academy Award nomination - his performance was nothing short of amazing. It was like being that proverbial fly on the wall watching someone implode.

I've had friends who picked up the pipe and honestly, I haven't felt much compassion for them. They turned into drug addicts and stopped being the people that I loved. With this performance Ryan Gosling's Dan Dunne continued to be someone I cared about who didn't seem to care much about himself or his good heart or his fine mind and it broke my heart.

He has a connection with his student Drey, a smart 13 year old who's living largely on her own because her mom works all the time and her dad is MIA and after she catches him hitting the pipe in the girls bathroom (he's the basketball coach) the crack crutch starts to slip a bit. Everytime he looks at her he sees what she saw and it bums him out. This is compounded by the fact that her brother is doing time for selling rock and the neighborhood crack dealer, his dealer, is taking a personal interest in Drey.

He really likes this kid and wants her to be okay despite the fact that the odds are against her and he's not really one to talk. I really liked her too - Shareeka Epps is a revelation. I hope to see her working a lot more. She's got this face that is young and old at the same time and it says so much without her saying one word.

After I watched it I had that feeling in my chest that I get when I really want to cry - a tightness around the heart and pain behind my eyes. I had no idea how it was going to turn out for Dan and Drey but I very much wanted them to be okay. And I didn't believe that was really going to happen.

If you haven't seen Half Nelson you should see it. It's a fantastic film. But it's not a feel good experience. It will sit on you long after it's over.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


You know those cans of compressed air that kids have been huffing? And then dying? Well, I have 4 of these cans, bought on special on Staples, and they are my new favorite thing.

Not for huffing.

For dusting! And not just for dusting off my keyboard which is what it's designed for I suppose. I have discovered that this stuff will dust EVERYTHING!

I discovered this because they're doing work in the space over my office and every day I come in to find every surface covered with dust and wood chips. Rather than stress about it I just use my Dust-Off with the super spray action.

The floor is a fucking mess now, but tomorrow I may try dusting off the floor and shooting it all out the door. You know like when you use the hose to clean the sidewalk.


(Clearly it's been a slow day)

Monday, April 16, 2007


I have nothing to write about that's all that meaningful so I'll just do a rundown of the past weekend.

Friday night: Shabbat dinner at Mimi's. We had really good conversation about Don Imus and racism in the good ole U.S. of A. I found myself explaining to four Israelis what Jigaboo means and there was a lot of stumbling on the exact pronounciation of the word. Coon was easier. Apparently they don't have these kinds of denigrating words in Hebrew. And Mimi, who is a rabbi told me that Judaism teaches that you're not supposed to utter ugly words about another out loud, well maybe to your spouse, late at night when no one can hear you, but really not ever. To do so is to wound that person at the level of their soul. I ended up staying and talking so late that I missed going to see Marcia at the Acme Theater where her new show is up. I've got 4 more weeks of opportunity so I'm sure I'll be writing about it in the near future.

Saturday: Got up and cleaned the house for the housekeeper. She's not a lifter or a move so if I want her to clean under stuff I have to move it. Other than that she's really really good and this also prevents stuff from getting broken so it's all good. I LOVE my house right after she's gone. While she was cleaning I went on down to the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. It was all very spur of the moment so we bought the GA tickets - a first for me - and milled about. We went down on the motorcycle so as to get good parking and not have to deal with traffic. Even so we were still late and only got to watch the last 10 minutes of qualifying. Probably a good thing since the cars are really loud and I didn't have any earplugs. We did get to see the Le Mans race which was pretty cool. My favorite car was the Audi - very quiet, very sexy and very fast. The Penske Porsches won though, going 1 and 2. By 5pm it was freezing and windy and overcast so we went over to Matt and Leisa's to hang out before going to a party to benefit a nursery school for homeless kids called the Big Blue Ball. Matt and Leisa bundled their kids out the door to drop them off with a babysitter and accidentally ran over Adi's motorcycle. So much for resting. Other than scratches and a broken piece on the plastic thing on the front of the bike it's okay, but it's not perfect anymore and that's kind of sad. Oddly Matt was more upset than Adi but then I guess if I ran over the $20,000 bike I'd be pretty bummed too. We had to leave the party before it got really good because we were on the bike, and since I can't party when we're on the bike that was okay with me.

Sunday: Watched sports until Adi made me go for a walk in the afternoon. As we headed down to the beach we passed a bunch of girls with hula hoops. I have only limited skills with my hoop so we joined them on the bluff where they were retreating from the wind. I have to say hooping in gale force wind is much harder than hooping in the living room. It was fun though to do it with a whole bunch of people. People walking by would pick up the hoop and start hooping. And then put it down and run off laughing. There's something about a hula hoop. Early evening we headed over to a friend's artist reception for her show at the Pico Gallery. Met a guy who is working with the Hungarian government to bring Hungarian wines back to prominence. I had no idea that Hungary was where all the fine wines came from prior to the 20s. Apparently all the Louis were swilling the Hungarian vino. There's a tasting on the 28th and I'm invited so more to come on that for sure.

And that was pretty much that. Got my taxes back today and am off to file them. I have no idea why I wait until the last minute every year, but it seems to be my way.

Hope you're all filed and either getting some back of zeroing out (my personal goal).

Friday, April 13, 2007


Writing yesterday about adventures in English as a second language and the ensuing multicultural experiences put me in mind of my first night in Jerusalem. It was about this time last year that I went to Israel with Adi. His mother had been been visiting for six weeks so we had gotten to know each other fairly well. She speaks five languages including English although it's not exactly fluent.

The first night we arrived Adi took off to his brother's house to make a surprise video for her 70th birthday party leaving me with his parents. He went under the guise of going to visit his brother in the hospital after his motorcycle accident which had occurred that afternoon so what could I say without coming off like a clingy needy whinger?

His father who will not fly due due to claustrophobia, I think, was quite upset that his wife had stayed away for so long. She had arranged for people to take care him but the original visit went from 4 weeks to six weeks due to complications with Adi's back surgery. At week 5 his father went into the hospital with pneumonia. I'm making this sound like Pops is an invalid, but he's not. He's a completely self sufficient man who's been infantalized by his wife and who missed her terribly while she was gone.

Have you noticed that there is a theme here? And that the theme is DRAMA!!!!

So Adi abandons me within 30 minutes of landing in the Holy homeland and his parents immediately begin screaming at each other. I laid there on the bed listening to his father ranting away in Hebrew over the sound of the call to prayer from the mosque down in the valley off the backyard and curled into a little ball. I got that he was screaming "I love you and I missed you terribly." Her responses to him sounded like a mommy calming down a truculent two year old. It's amazing how much you can pick up without knowing a word of the language. It's all subtext and so much became clear to me about the family dynamics and why Adi has chosen to live half way around the world from his whole entire family.

I was exhausted and it wasn't just the jet lag.

They're not my parents so I could find humor in the exchange because it was kind of like the Hebrew version of Archie and Edith, but it got really weird when we were in the car heading over to one of the brother's house for dinner. I was forced to sit in the front in the passenger seat, or death seat as it seemed to me with all the late braking, bringing us to a pause centimeters off the bumper of the car in front at every light and stop sign. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the possibility that my life might end in Israel, not by a suicide bombing, but in a burning car crash. Adi's mom sat in the backseat and the loud conversation continued and under all the vitriole I could hear the joyous notes of banter.

Then his mom said, "Tell her about the girls you raped after the war!"

I opened my eyes. Um, wha.....?

And he launches into this story about how after he was injured in the war of Independence (1948) he was sent to Austria for surgery on his hand. Afterwards he was stationed there during his recovery and he and his fellow soldiers met some girls who were daughters of SS officers, now war criminals. Since he and his friends were young and good looking these girls flocked to them and from what I gathered were easily had in a sexual way.

They would teach these girls how to say things in Hebrew, telling them that the words for "I'm a dirty whore" meant "Hi, how are you?" He talked about how one night, at a big party filled with soldiers and politicians, one of the girls showed up and yelled this greeting across the room. Adi's mom laughed merrily about this from the back seat. He looked at me and said, "I'm not proud about what we did but you must understand, many of us had lost our whole families to the Nazi's. We were angry."

I could not think of anything to say. We did not share a language to discuss it and quite frankly I was amazed that to her this casual disregard for these women equated to the word rape. I cannot quite wrap my head around the intentional cruelty of a schoolyard prank as a response to genocide, but then knowing the basic goodness of this man, and the sweetness of his soul under all that ranting and yelling, I guess I can.

When I think about it, anytime that someone hurts another person with the intention of devaluing and disrespecting their humanity it is an expression of the same energy that fuels hatred.

And Adi's dad gets this, which is why to him perhaps, the way he treated those women was like rape.

It all comes down to your intention and then you have to hope you can live with what you said or did to another human being.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I just read that they fired Don Imus. Please God don't let him come to the West Coast because we've got enough mean talk from Tom Leykus (I have no idea how to spell his name but it's quite clear that he doesn't really like anyone). I'm wondering if they also fired the Executive Producer on Don's show because after all, he started it, and quite frankly his comments about the Jigaboos vs. the Wannabees were just as, if not more offensive, even if he did try to temper it by foisting it off as a Spike Lee reference.

But this is not really what I want to write about. It just put me in mind of something that's related - an experience that has stayed with me over the last few weeks which is absolutely related to the subject of bitches and hos.

Adi's younger brother (39 but still younger) was here visiting from Israel a few weeks back and we went up to Lake Tahoe. To get there we flew into Reno and then rented a car and drove up the mountain. At the airport we were standing in line for the rental car behind a guy who's buddy worked for Enterprise and was supposed to hook him up with a truck. He was there with his friend and two girls who wandered off while we waited on line.

He was a sweet man, late 20s early 30s wearing huge rings that led me to ask if he played football and indeed he had although some of them were bowl rings and some were from bowling championships. The bowling rings were as big as the football rings - bowl and bowling no size difference - who knew? So he gets up to the counter and his buddy basically threw him under the bus. Not only was there no truck waiting for him but there wasn't even a reservation. The car rental guy was able to wrangle him a full size car...

... which ended up being parked next to our car out in the airport rental car parking lot.

We had a ton of luggage and it took a while to get it all in, but not as long as it was going to take this guy and his friends who had so much luggage it was overflowing the trunk of that car. I climbed into the back seat with Adi's brother and sister-in-law while Adi finished packing our car and then tried to help our new friend with his packing puzzle.

At this point little bro spies the girls that are standing by that car, large curvaceous black women with elaborate hairdos and looooong curved fingernails, zipped into shiny tight lycra track suits and he got so excited you'd of thought it was Ofra Haza returned from the dead, but no, he starts pointing and YELLING, "The Beeetches! The Beetches!"

Frantically checking to make sure the windows were all the way up I tried to get him to stop by asking questions, like "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Stop yelling, PLEASE." He explained to me that these were the bitches and hos like on the videos and I explained in a high pitched emphatic whisper that they were not and that it wasn't at all cool to be screaming that word over and over. I pointed out that their friend who happened to be a defensive back might very well pull him out of our car, without opening the door, and make him apologize.

He was shocked that they might consider this hurtful because to him it was like he was seeing famous people, you know da bitches and hos featured in those videos on MTV. It did not occur to him that their feelings might be hurt because his cultural references about the United States are pretty much just what he sees on the media that's streamed around the world after being created here.

It was my own little Borat moment.

It's not that Israel is backward, it's just that you would never see these women in Jerusalem. Or even in Tel Aviv. Because of the language thing I didn't even want to try to explain it to him. Even if we spoke the same language I don't know if I could.

All week long I've been listening to people talk about this, some saying it's okay to talk about women, in particular black women, this way because it's the popular cultural parlance or because they have a first amendment right to do so, and others saying it's not okay ever and is indicative of an underlying racial hatred in our society.

Bottom line for me is this: It's mean and it's hurtful and it's not okay - even if you have no idea what you're saying. If you say it because you think you're being cool you should be prepared to suffer the consequences, there ain't nothin' cool about being mean.