Thursday, April 28, 2005


Hey, I'm back in blogworld after a lengthy stay in "finishing my book world." I'm polishing my acknowledgements today, so if you feel like you would like to be acknowledged in a book about pet weight loss and exercise, send me an e-mail...and a hefty check.

And as I emerge from my fortress of book-itude, I find myself wanting to learn how to..salsa dance. I find myself listening to La Mega, thinking about Don Omar, who is singing my favorite song of the moment, "Pobre Diabla," a nifty "he done you wrong" song with a twist (Don Omar's even made it to, via a Latin hero video).

I find myself thinking about John Curtis, one of my classmates on our University of Pittsburgh trip to Colombia in 1977. John, who once gave me a ring with a picture of Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog on it, danced like a fiend, and loved to teach people how to do the same. But I defeated him. After one too many rum-soaked attempts to teach my Irish Catholic ass to cumbia--or maybe paso-doble-- John shouted out, "The good Lord gave you hips, why don't you use them?"

So in his honor (where are you, John? Did you settle in the Dominican Republic, or go back to Punxsutawney? Are you in New York and I will bump into you in a cafe, the way we used to in Manizales, Colombia?), I think I may finally honor his request.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Dogged Blog is written by a witty woman who loves dogs and politics with an equal passion. And she led me to this dogged Amazon. And I felt the groovy girl power that the Internet can provide.

One of these days, I'll have to write a piece about dogs and politics and women, because in many many ways, I actually think having a dog has made more more politically sensitive, particularly since our dog hails, in part, from a breed (not really a breed, to be accurate) that's become a kind of notorious shorthand, even when they do good. No one ever says, "My divorce lawyer is a real collie." No one ever says, "Mayor Giuliani went at the Brooklyn Museum like a dachschund." Faith's breed (well, at least one of them--her other breed is Snoopy's) can become a kind of litmus test for people's feelings on class, culture, aggression, drug dealing, bad parenting, you name it. It makes me, to paraphrase the poet Breyten Breytenbach, Think About the Other.

What the L Word

Good: Tony Goldwyn directs (yay, he knew how to use Viggo Mortensen before the hobbits got him) and acts (closeted lawsuit-happy possible stand-in for a few male actors of a certain age, double yay).

Not good: cheesy voyeuristic "I've bugged the lesbo house" plot is starting to feel more Lifetime than Showtime--i.e., cheesy and voyeuristic rather than post-modern. Even the actors seem tired of it.

Good: Laurel Holloman, as the way way pregnant and fairly spineless Tina gets some of the hottest hotness..

Bad: But spine vanishes as evil rich girlfriend seemingly decorates a room for her overnight (L.A-based heiresses can do these things). Makes it very difficult to convince my husband that Laurel H.'s performances used to be the epitome of "spunky."

Really bad: No literary references that I could hear, not even from the snooty writing teacher. No shout-outs to Maggie Gyllenhaal, which seemed to be becoming a weekly event. Very confusing after the recent reference orgy of Vasarely, Borges, Gaitskill, Moody, Miller.

Super special bad: Having the monumental Pam Grier return with an actual plot line, only for that plot line to turn out to be that old chestnut Married Men Let You Down, served with a topping of special sauce, Married Men Let You Down, Even When They're Transgender. Ilene Chaiken, I love you madly, but Give Pam A Plot!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Maybe the Canadians are just raising their kids smarter. CBC News: License owners as well as dogs, 8-year-old tells mayor.

My Latest Brain Crush
Rebecca Skloot moderated this fantastic panel at the ASJA annual conference yesterday which featured Katha Pollitt, Steve Rushin, and Penny Wolfson (links to be added later) and I jumped on her Web site today to realize that not only is she a charming moderator, but a kickass writer I've admired for a while. Check out, especially, her article on goldfish surgery, and her very reasonable discussion about why blogging might be good for your writing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Need a pet? Want to do your patriotic duty?

I saw this story: Pets abandoned by U.S. troops face death - Pet Health - a few days ago, but it keeps coming up on Google. No judgment--I don't know what I would do if I were single and suddenly uprooted. Fortunately, there are many good souls out there.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Isaac, you so rock:Isaac Mizrahi Unveils Fashion Forward Doggy Adoption Vest

Friday, April 08, 2005


TeeVeePad: Ask a Bald, Morally Ambiguous Cop: "Welcome to 'Ask A Bald, Morally Ambiguous Cop,' a weblog where bald, morally ambiguous cops will tell you how to cope with the troubles and stresses of everyday life. Why? Because we're cops, that's why. We've seen everything. And why bald cops? Because that's less time we have to spend on the hair. And why morally ambivalent bald cops? Because we're more likely to understand the subtle nuances of daily life."

Featuring the advice stylings of Andy Sipowicz and...sigh...Frank Pembleton. Come back, Frank. The Catholic Church really needs your mental anguish.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


So I came out of that quirky period in American education where I really could, if I wanted to, read NOTHING but contemporary writers and still graduate with an English degree. Other than a tremendous survey history of English literature course in the very first semester, I stayed modern as modern could be. I didn't read any Jane Austen until I was in my mid20s, along with as much Dickens as I could. Now, I'm lurching through Shakespeare. I should add, however, that in my childhood, I was a Greek mythology freak, and in high school, I played Tiresias in "Oedipus Rex." And now I'm trying to write some pretty complex things, and I turn, again and again, to the masters to steal, steal, steal. Even those rat bastard sexist masters.

So now...I find myself drawn to Camille Paglia. I have, on occasion, talked to her students, and she really is a house afire in the classroom...when it comes to the classics. I think some of her social theories are just damned loopy--but she's too unpredictable for the conservatives to welcome her into the fold, and I like that about her.

And here, Camille Paglia is on fire with poetry: "Artists have got to get back to studying art history and doing emotionally engaged art. Get over that tired postmodern cynical irony and hip posing, which is such an affliction in the downtown urban elite. We need an artistic and cultural revival. Back to basics!"

I'm sure she's going to get flak about this, most especially because painters such as Lisa Yuskavage actually DO know their art history. The really good ones always do: Miles Davis, for instance, knew exactly what he was rejecting. The crisis is actually among those students, who, I think, see little to no point to any information--cultural or historical--that was born before today. And I think that's a political problem as much as it is an aesthetic one. It's much easier to manipulate people who can't see the big picture, which is exactly what having a sense of the past is all about.

Ahistoricity also allows us to believe that life was "simpler" back then, and that it's something we might want to get back to, at least because the clothes look neat. To which I say: go watch yourself some F**king "Deadwood."


1. Camryn Manheim playing a bipolar movie mogul, who manages to be both a horrorshow--and a passionate beacon of good taste. She's the woman you don't want to work for, but can't help yourself if you want to make good movies. Resemblances to Scott Rudin I am sure not intended at all.

2. Melissa Leo, who played the fantastic Kay on "Homicide" (where have you gone, Andre Braugher), now back back back as Winnie, the down-to-earth ex-partner of the rapacious but mind bogglingly wealthy Helena Peabody, who doesn't want to share her kids with Winnie because when they're with Winnie, "They sleep on a mattress on the floor, and eat food out of...CANS."

3. In a writing class too perfect for words, one female student smacks down a male student's prose by describing it as "Henry Miller lite."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


She looks like a Target girl.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Good news--Isaac Mizrahi is designing dog clothes!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Today I Am A Cupcake

Three foxy ladies run the best cupcake blog in the world, to paraphrase Donald Trump : All Cupcakes, All The Time...and I got interviewed. There really is nothing more fun than viewing your life through the cupcake lens. Try it today!

Sunday, April 03, 2005


And new words, barely born, wet behind the textual ears, are even sexier. Check out this definition of "fist-pumpy":

Fist-pumpy: adj. This describes a situation or person who--in addition to fist-related-activity--is likely to yell "woohoo" and frighten small animals.
Get hot here: Wordlustitude

Friday, April 01, 2005


Well, we certainly seem to be steeped in it this week. First that case down in Florida, which breaks my heart for all kinds of personal reasons, and now the Pope. I'm a devout non-believer, a collapsed Catholic, but I was in Rome a number of years ago, and saw the man address an adoring crowd in four languages, and them. He was an Elvis kind of Pope--and I mean, Elvis in his prime.

Is it a bad thing, all this grief, all this discussion about how the body and mind eventually fail us, despite all the makeover shows we have at our disposal? I don't think so. The media voyeurism is icky, and, of course, I can't help but note that these kind of stories ("Sparky the puppy...still in the hospital") are discount journalism: plop your newsmeister in front of the building, and let him talk. And talk. And talk. But these kind of stories, by their nature, are quite explicit about what happens to a body when it begins to die. And I can think of few subjects so taboo in our culture. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We all get there someday.