Feb 29, 2008

In my never ending quest to humiliate myself

before total strangers, here's what I'm perusing this lovely Friday night.



The other day at the library, I picked up this little gem. It was in the "popular non-fiction" stacks. A hot commodity like this has to be protected. The check out time is shortened due to "high demand." Hey, there's a need.

Now, just imagine the courage one needs to check this baby out under a stack of W. magazines and the odd book on the Byzantine Empire. I keep the librarians on their toes.

I'm not proud of this, but, yes, I am a reader of these sorts of books. Admitting this is the first step, right? I'm sure a straight jacket is involved in step two, but whatever.

The book is utterly devoid of (on-purpose) humor, but it's pretty damned entertaining just the same.

Here are some random section headings:

"You are what you think about" (ummm...like porn?)
"Compelling women have spunk" (I just bet they do.)
"The art of silent communication" (it's called "the bird")
"A Sprinkle a day" (and a dump at night?)
"We are what we eat" (gross)

and my favorite:

"Get rid of pesky growths" (the best advice ever)

Feb 28, 2008

Craigslist wrongness

I don't think I can even enumerate all that is wrong with
this missed connection post.
But let's just start with "Harahan."
----------------------------------------------------

LOOKING FOR THE HARAHAN WIZARD OF OZ COLLECTOR - 38
----------------------------------------------------
Reply to: pers-579921682@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-19, 7:53PM CST

You and I hooked up a few times last year and seeing if your still around. Me, white, 38, brown hair, trimmed beard, tall, 7", thick, cut. Hit me back if your still in town.

Location: YOUR PLACE

a christmas memory


Just before Christmas, I volunteered my homeroom to "adopt" a homeless child.
The organizer of the program, a nun who's working with the homeless, gave me his name and a list of his sizes and age.

Of course, the jackpot of this situation would have been to get an adorable little three year old with a face framed in curls, like the another class picked. But you already know where this is going, I'm sure, don't you?

I opened up the paper with some trepidation. It was a boy, a thirteen year old boy, a thirteen year old boy named "Skippy." Skippy's size was listed as "extra large." Skippy was six foot two.

Now working with teenagers does nothing if not keep you keenly aware of what will elicit snickering (i.e. my writing the word "hoe" on the board today in a list of farm related terms. Like clockwork came the snickers. I knew they'd come. I didn't care. I'd budgeted in time for them).

But back to Skippy.

My common sense alerted me within seconds that I'd have to do some censoring of that name. I'm no dummy. I would have liked to have censored the age, and size, but that was impossible.

I did, however, make the mistake of reading the part about "and a small toy" to them, which, true to form, elicited snickering.
I slipped up there.

There was a good deal of snickering about a thirteen year old getting "a toy" which just set me off. I chewed them out good, not that it took.

Every day I encouraged them, reminded them, bribed them...wheadled...and begged.
By the deadline, on the day to bring the gifts to the boy, only three students had actually brought anything.

Thankfully, I had thought ahead. Again, I'm no dummy. I'd gone the week before and bought him some clothes myself and, yes, a toy (dammit): a small video game with batteries. I also wrapped the gifts the three other students had brought. I'd hoped the sight of a wrapped gift might encourage them to follow suit, the herd mentality.
Positive peer pressure. I got a lot of promises, but no more gifts.

At the end of the day, I chewed the class out. I reminded them about the food drive fiasco (same situation at thanksgiving).

They seemed (acted at least) ashamed, but by the time I let them go, they were back in as high spirits as ever. Their guilt lasted less time than their snickering.

After they had all left for the holiday, I looked down under my desk and saw the thirty cellophane bags of candy I'd spent two hours putting together the night before.

It was "traditional" typically for me to give away a little gift at the holiday. In my fit of being pissed off, however, I'd completely forgotten to give them out.
I didn't want to give them out anyway. I wish I had sent them all to Skippy (though with the extra large size, maybe not). I'm staring at them right now, sitting sullenly in the corner.

Next year it just might be a stale candy Christmas. That's all I'm saying.

Feb 24, 2008

silly quiz




Found this quiz at Pipedreams

I've never watched the show, so I don't know this character, but the description sounds kind of accurate actually.

Feb 23, 2008

book list

It being a beautiful sunny day here, and not having anything better to do,
I went out for a drive...and ended up (again) at the library.
Here's part of what I picked up:



A book of Muriel Spark's short stories, mainly because of Frontier Psychiatrist's recent recommendation of her work. I only knew of her from "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," but just by that, well, there's not much left needed to recommend her to me. I picked this of her books mainly based on the beautiful cover. I'm shallow like that. I admit it. The library had several older editions of her work work each with beautiful mid-century covers.
I opened each and read the first page. One (I'm not sure which) had on the first page a character exclaiming (I'm paraphrasing from memory here, so forgive me):
"I love white bread and I have no fads!"
Which made me laugh nearly out loud.
Genius.



Two heavy books of complete eye candy: Taschen's Fashion: A History, One from the 20th century and the other from the 18th and 19th centuries. All the clothes are from a museum in Kyoto and just gorgeous.





Yet more eye candy: a book on Samuel Marx, a Chicago architect and designer, who designed the New Orleans Museum of Art right near my house when he was a young architecture student (I was surprised to learn). His interiors and furniture from the 30s-50s are fabulous.

A book on letter writing, a dead hobby I once practiced but of which I'm still fond.


Glancing at the back I noticed a glamorous photo of the author. I admit I was a little bit smitten.

Besides, I liked her headings:
"How to Confess Your Undying Love while You're Dying"
"Describing 'Down There'"
"Man to Man"
and my favorite:
"How to Apologize to Your Husband for Being Short with Him as the Housework Continues to Mount."

Feb 22, 2008

scintillating Friday night.



In a pique of whimsy, (and because it was discounted to half price) I bought a bottle of grenadine a few nights ago. I have no idea why.
Ok, so I do. It's such a pretty color...that and the Victorianish looking label.
I had no idea what to do with it, of course.

I only know of one drink that uses it, namely a Tequila Sunrise.
On the back of the bottle I saw a recipe for a "grown up Shirley Temple" (shouldn't that be a Shirley Temple Black?) using grenadine and gingerale. Tonight I bought the gingerale. It's pretty good.

"karaoke" is a Japanese word



Too bizarre.

Feb 21, 2008

overheard (on the way out of class today)

"What happened to that boy you was datin'?"

"He in jail now. Tell me to write him some letters.
Like I'm gone sit around writin and readin some letter.

Fffttt.

Get me my umbrella."

Feb 20, 2008

"Tonight is (again) the Night "

(Rerun alert: I noticed the other night that some lost soul from Germany had found my post of Betty Wright, and I figure that's good enough reason to resurrect it.
I mean, German Betty Wright fans? The very idea is just too wonderful. Besides I'm coming off of an eleven hour work day, I'm tired, and, hey, a little Betty would do us all some good.)



This is one of the few songs I've practically memorized from childhood.
Betty Wright is the queen of the dirty song, but this is one of her most poetic.
I think it's beautiful, one of my favorites.

Funny to think that I was listening to this as a child, humming along as it burned itself into my cortex....sitting up in the front of the school bus, chatting with the bus driver.

Mr Savage and I had struck up an odd friendship, based upon our love of soul. We middle aged black folk recognize each other, regardless of the form we sometimes take....like, say, a 9 year old white boy or a grizzled 40 year old father of three with an eye for the ladies.

While the kids in the back screamed for him to "change the channel!" we chatted.
They sulked in the back, desperate to listen to
some god-awful "white music."

He wasn't having it. It stayed firmly on WYLD.

This was his god-damned bus.
Dammit.

The bus ride always seemed to take longer than it should. We always seemed to be stopping at houses all over the westbank for brief periods of time.
Every morning he'd get off the bus for a short while and rush back in and off we'd go, but I never minded.
More time for Betty Wright.

A few years later, of course, Mr Savage was arrested for dealing drugs (which he was doing with us on the bus every morning on our way to grammar school), but he'll always hold a special place in my heart.

This one is for him.

Feb 19, 2008

random inappropriateness





collected from here and there.

Feb 17, 2008

The Great Funk



The other day at the library I picked up The Great Funk by Thomas Hine
It's a book about the 70s. I'd read his earlier book, Populuxe, (about the post war period) long ago.

This one seems a bit more serious, but it still has its fun moments. There's an interesting, though very sketchy, line he draws between air conditioning and the rise of fundamentalism that I'd never considered before.

But his greatest talent is looking at interior design and what lay behind it. He goes on and on and on about the houseplant mania of the time, stressing the point that it was a reflection of the insecurity of the time. Maybe, but he seems to belabor that point.

It's an overview to be sure, and a fun read, and he does an admirable job keeping things both light and intriguing, and most of all connecting the threads (plus the photos are wonderful).

Feb 16, 2008

still life



No reason for this post, just a photo of my makeshift "bar." I'm playing around with a borrowed camera. You'll notice more knicknacks than liquor here.

There's my Empire State building (very dully from Target) nestled appropriately next to the Statue of Liberty tourist lighter bought in NYC, (now empty). When she worked, it was pretty cool. Press her book, and flames shot out of her torch.

In the background is the Virgen of Guadalupe votive candle for the local hispanic grocery (1 dollar). Nestled next to it are bottles of wine given as gifts, but never drunk.

In the foreground is my (Target bought) Eiffel Tower next to a little souvenir Arc de Triomphe bought years ago in a thrift store. These two were bought to keep in my mind the delusional hope of someday visiting Paris.

The little Arc de Triomphe is my favorite. It's from the 1950's, I believe. I've always liked to imagine about its origin, something vague about a couple who bought it on their honeymoon in 1959. What can I say, I have a lot of time on my hands.

Feb 11, 2008

just another diamond day



I first heard Vashti Bunyan from Michael's ipod when we were in NYC

I'd never heard of her before, but she completely entranced me. It was so beautiful to wake up to her voice. He'd set her song as an alarm.

Of course, I'm hardly alone here. She's quite the sensation among the cool kids...forty years after her introduction, of course. Someone's even put together this cute little video.

I don't know how, but her music sends me back in time to my earliest memories I think. Lord knows my parents didn't listen to folk music.

In fact, I can't think of a more ridiculous idea, knowing my parents, but it must have been in the very atmosphere back then, because listening to her is like almost being back in the womb.

look at this tangle of thorns

In honor of V day, I've put up a new header. This one based on another of my very favorite things.
Can you guess what? (It's too easy...and that's a hint)

Feb 10, 2008

Dinner with Tina

A little while ago, having enchiladas with my friend Geronimo, a life sized Tina Turner is stomping about in high heels four feet from my face. (Unfortunately, she's on a 8 foot by 6 foot projection television screen in front of us and not on the table top itself.)

Actually, it takes me a while to figure out who she is, because of the closeness...and well, because of how she looks. Her face is oddly taut. Her hair looks different...but it has a vaguely familiar cut. I keep thinking and thinking, and then it suddenly comes to me:
Martha Stewart.

For a minute I think I'm watching a Martha Stewart musical number. Unfortunately again, I'm wrong.

No, it's just Tina and her wig. She's dressed in silver spandex capri pants. A very tall looking Beyonce, in silver sequins, joins her on stage.

Thankfully, the volume is on mute, so they seem to be frantically gyrating to the raucous music of the mariachi band in the courtyard. It's actually quite nicely synchronized.

"Look at that, she looks like a midget next to her!" Geronimo laughs. "But then she's very tall, Beyonce is. She's like over six feet with the hair. I've seen her."

Over dinner he and I discuss his plans for moving. He's moving back to L.A. at the end of the month. He's planning to visit a few cities on the way back. He's trying to find some gay friendly town that his mother might also find amenable. NO is not it, he's afraid. It's a shame, but I can completely understand.

Feb 9, 2008

"Somebody shrunk the men"



Behold the ideal of masculine beauty...so says Hedi Slimane (formerly of Dior Homme)...oh, and the rest of the world too.

My friend Mark sent me this article from the New York Times today.

He didn't comment on it, just sent it. (I'm not sure how to interpret that.
But let me not dwell on veiled or unveiled insults....or try not to. Ironically enough, he actually fits this "ideal.")

Here are some choice quotes from the article:


Wasn’t it just a short time ago that the industry was up in arms about skinny models?

The models in question were women, and it’s safe to say that they remain as waiflike as ever. But something occurred while no one was looking. Somebody shrunk the men.

"At that point you might as well save money and just go over to the boy’s department,” Mr. Nguyen said from his seat in the front row of the Benjamin Cho show, which was jammed as usual with a selection of reedy boys in Buffalo plaid jackets and stovepipe jeans, the same types that fill Brooklyn clubs like Sugarland.


George Brown, a booking agent at Red Model Management, said: “When I get that random phone call from a boy who says, ‘I’m 6-foot-1 and I’m calling from Kansas,’ I immediately ask, ‘What do you weigh?’ If they say 188 or 190, I know we can’t use him. Our guys are 155 pounds at that height.”

Their waists, like that of Mr. Svetlichnyy, measure 28 or 30 inches. They have, ideally, long necks, pencil thighs, narrow shoulders and chests no more than 35.5 inches in circumference, Mr. Brown said

In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved. “People are afraid to look over 21 or make any statement of what it means to be adult,” Ms. Cutrone said.

Feb 7, 2008

"losing my edge"



"I hear....You want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record."

I just love LCD Soundsystem.

a visit from the toilet fairy

I've done a fair amount of bitching about work in the past, I know, but thank the Lord, we returned from the holiday to find that we finally have at least four bathrooms (with running water...well, most of the time)!

Those disgusting port-o-lets are gone (along with at least one of my students who left a few months ago after being hospitalized for a week because of their "uncleanliness" and her "compromised immune system," according the note left by her mother).

Of course, there's still no sight of a cafeteria, library, gym, parking...half the structure is still unroofed....and...well, let's not think about that now.

No, let's focus of the positive. We do finally have boards and doors and desks and chairs.
It's like Christmas came early...or is that late?

Feb 6, 2008

The sad transformation of MJ (no, the other one)

Way back in the halcyon days of the 90s, I had something of a crush on Marc Jacobs. What was not to love?

He was adorable. I loved his neo-long hair. I loved his neurotic New Yorkishness. I didn't even mind his adoration of Winona Ryder. It was the 90s, the W(y)inonas were big back then.

In the past few years, however, as his star seems to be continuing to rise, his looks have taken a nose dive. It's really very sad. I understand that he's had some self image problems and some substance abuse problems. But it's the tanning that he needs rehab for.

That younger "former escort" boyfriend doesn't much help either. Frankly, of the two, the old Marc was much more attractive than that piece of trade.

Here he is even as recently as 2001:
(adorable.)



And behold the transforation to gay parody:





Sad.

Feb 5, 2008

because....ok, so I don't have a reason.



or need one.

naked birthday


Today is the birthday of William S. Burroughs

I'm reminded of this fact, by the always fascinating site Band of Thebes, who give an overview of his queer-ness (is that a word?)

I've only read one of his books, I'm ashamed to say, the late The Western Lands, and didn't much take to it, and try as I might, I've never been able to get through Naked Lunch. Maybe one day.

Anyway,he's a fellow westbanker.
Well, for a while at least.
Back in the late 40's he and his wife and young son moved to Algiers Point...sometime before he shot her. Just a bit of time on the Westbank can do that to a person. Neal Cassady and Kerouac visited him here, so it seems.

One day, when I get a camera, I intend to get a photo of that house. Actually, I'm getting together a tour of sorts....well, in my mind at least.

super Tuesday



I found this at Apartment Therapy (a really great site). It's a picture of some of the presidental hopefuls' homes.
As a voter, it's important to inform yourself about the real issues, like home decor. I could never vote for a McMansion.
Coincidentally, I ended up voting for the same candidate I'm supporting.

You can vote here yourself

Feb 4, 2008

Saturday night snapshot

Just a few blocks from my house, eating a full course formal Japanese meal on a table set out in the parking lot, watching Kevin Costner tossing beads to a Katrina ravaged, abandoned strip mall. The GoGo's trail behind.

Feb 2, 2008

four highly random, slightly obscure 80s crushes

It's the weekend before Mardi Gras, and I've been a bit preoccupied.
Sorry...but it's back to a re-run for the time being:




Back in the day, I never did care much for Curiosity Killed the Cat's music, but how could one not swoon over pretty boys dancing about in berets?

And a name like (lead singer's) "Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot" ? I mean really now.

I recently found out that I shared a crush with none other than Andy Warhol. He was an admirer too (and I'm sure for exactly the same reasons).

It was white boy "soul" as performed by British male models, I believe....and not really all that bad actually.




In the mid eighties, I was enthralled, I'm embarrassed to admit, with Spandau Ballet.
Yes.
Now to my credit I always hated the lead singer Tony Hadley and his...umm...vaguely Vegas-style stylings, if you know what I mean.

But the Kemp brothers, well...they were what a teen aged me dreamed of being: suave... British....nattily dressed.
It didn't happen, alas.



What can one say, Adam Ant was one of the prettiest men around, wasn't he?



I had a crush on Sade's band members....but most especially Stuart Matthewman (on the far right). He's still pretty cute, but back then, all pork pie hats askew...
Swoon.
He was Jewish...cute....and talented.
(Miss Adu herself was another crush, but we'll save that for another day)