Monday, September 26, 2005

Dear Misanthropic Bitch:

I generally rely on you to be an equal-opportunity blamer, so what gives with planting the responsibilty for ineptitude in disaster response solely on the doorstep of the White House? I expected that you--like myself--would observe that the mayors and governors of Louisiana have known for decades that the levees around New Orleans were a major vulnerability and should have acted accordingly. Did it occur to you that perhaps the Democrats who have always been in office in Louisiana may have been aware that the decrepit slum of the 9th ward would be the first community demolished and this was therefore a great opportunity to get rid of a big chunk of perennial welfare recipients as well as a large portion of their criminal element by shipping them off to Houston, Dallas, Little Rock and Memphis? Why didn't they spend the money they spent on the Superdome for their shitty sports teams instead on reinforcing the levee? I'll see your tenner and raise you a fin that now that the lowest-income housing in New Orleans has been decimated, the 9th ward will be rebuilt not as a slum or even low-income housing, but as a tony enclave with (eureka--what a great idea!) sufficient shoring up of the surrouding levee. You still give good read, but a more equitable slathering of responsibility on all involved parties is appreciated.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


My dog is eating breath mints.
In defense of Kate Moss...

What follows is not a defence of drug use, but a serious question about whether the fashion industry in general should be vilified for cavalier attitudes about drug abuse.

The comely Kate Moss is under fire for admitted cocaine abuse, and she is being dropped (or at the very least not renewed) from her contracts for print-modeling couture-level fashion. Mind you, she's been compelled to admit drug abuse because she had the poor judgment to be photographed with a line of blow, and only admitted then to point out that it was the class-A white powder and not class-Z, earwaxy rocks of crack. Burberry's of London, the venerable house of Chanel, et al, did not wait for the ether-ink to dry on this confession before scrambling press-releases announcing their dissociation with their former "face." For shame.

The hypocrisy of the fashion industry and its willingness to eat its own is positively chilling. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be runway models. I recall the staggering irony of Clinique's launch of the fragrance "Happy" several years ago whose commercials featured stick-insect-thin super models (a notoriously strung-out lot) jumping and vamping to the dulcet tune of the tragic heroine Judy Garland's "c'mon, get happy." "Heroin-chic" was an expression en vogue not so long ago and the fashion industry is positively dripping with references to and the appearance of substance abuse. They all do it. There may be a runway show in fashion week whose backstage is not awash in cocaine, but I seriously doubt it. The fact that the fashion industry is freaked out by this very public admission is indicative of a tremendous disconnect between the people they want to be influenced to pay the astronomical fees for their product and they way they conduct their own lives. If the substance abuse is not industry-wide but is simply used by the bony troops who pedal their wares on the catwalk, then how does this differ with the exploitative atmosphere of a strip club? Sure, there are a lot more zeroes on the paycheck, but I see no fundamental difference, particularly if the performer is so easily cast aside.

Her heart must be wounded with the knowledge that she did something she's likely seen thousands of other people do, and yet she is to be pilloried. Kate's Icarian fall to earth could be an ultimate un-doing, but the Western world loves a comeback story, so I hope she will weather this one and take heart in that fact.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I really wanted to laze about today and do nothing, but the sky is that wonderful pre-fall color it always seemed to be on old-fashioned calendars, and it beckoned me out to find what was at the local garden center. I planted some obscenely vivid scarlet dianthus and a gorgeous azure-blossomed variety of sage I'd never seen before. Then I got in the pool to paddle about and cool off my aching bruised leg. I did something really goofy, which was to water the plants circling the yard from the pool. I dragged the hose into it, and sprayed landward with abandon. Everything got watered thoroughly, me included, and I didn't get over-heated or put new stress on my leg. I saw the most enormous, magnificent true-yellow-and black butterfly - the largest butterfly I've ever seen, descend and have its way with my butterfly bush(black knight variety, with dusty purple-black blooms). It worked its way around spikes of the flowers, the proboscis unfurling and tucking into nectar with remarkable speed and efficiency. Next to it, a smaller butterfly worked away, an amber velvet wedge circumnavigating the tiny flowers in a gracious little waltz. I saved a honey bee that was foundering in the water. I cupped my hands together and scooped it up in the water and it found my finger and climbed up and flew away. Crisis averted. I decided to come in for a bit and go back out to the pool later with a book and a glass of wine, but I sat in a chair and dripped a little more dry before coming in, and lo and behold, I saw my very first and only hummingbird in my flowers since I moved in 14 months ago. All the toil and sweat and thought I've put into my garden has been engineered precisely for the purpose of luring butterflies and hummingbirds. Today I declare it a success, and so very worthwhile.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Today was another nicely cloudy, darkish sort of Monday, which I always love, as you may have noticed. I went to my favorite Indian restaurant in town with a book, Herself, which is an autobiography of the brilliant and fascinating English actress Elsa Lanchester, who married Charles Laughton and is probably most recognizable as the Bride of Frankenstein. I picked and chose from the buffet a lovely curry chicken, vegetable pakoras(which would no doubt send my orthodontist shrieking from the room) and upma with tamarind and mint chutneys and raita, and finished up with a bit of kheer (lovely rice pudding with almond slivers, cardamom and flavored with rose water) and a single gulab jamun. With this dessert, I had a nice steaming cup of that wonderfully fragrant hot tea called chai. Chai is a strong tea filled with finely ground spices and sweetened with a generous dose of milk. It's not overtly sweet, just wonderful in the same way Earl Grey tea is enhanced by milk or cream. My practice with Indian dessert and tea is somewhat ritualized and I always carefully skim the creamy scum of spices from the surface of my tea and lick the back of the spoon--that's the best part. Funny how something I describe as scum is my favorite bit? How very me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The clangor of bashing president Bush at every opportunity has reached such a pitch that it now sounds a one-note symphony which makes listening unendurable. We get it—you hate George W. Bush, and you will find a way to criticize anything he does or does not do. All negative aspects of environmental, social and political issues must necessarily be his fault. Spend your energy doing something positive. You’re boring everyone around you. Can we talk about something else? Even though you don’t believe in the Antichrist, we know you think he is it. Gotcha. Now talk about something else or shut up.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans in the wake of Katrina is in a dire state.

Let it be said there is plenty of blame to be shared for the human tragedy that has occurred, but let us admit that the worst aspects of our nature are what have wrought the man-made disaster there. 300+ years of industrialization and settlement have dried out the wetlands that would have protected the mouth of the Mississippi and Atchafalya rivers from the devastating after-effects of storm surge--a fact which cannot be blamed on any state, local or national office holder or political party--human nature is to bend our environment to our will and damn the consequences, and here we reap the rewards of that short-sightedness. Hundreds of New Orleans school buses sat idle when they may have been ferrying the poor and indigent from the city. Likewise, many thousands without vehicles could have walked a safe distance away if they had started out the morning before the storm, when mandatory evacuation of the city had already been announced. I understand there is a tendency to want to hold on to our material possessions--that is natural--but faced with cholera conditions and desperate drunks and drug addicts cut off from their suppliers, I'd grab my doggie, my plastic bag of family photos and high-tail it for high ground with my loved ones in tow. No possession I own is worth my life or those of my dear ones. I believe a mean view on life--of holding on to material goods with a desperation borne of a life of poverty--compelled many to linger in the city despite warnings from every quarter. Measured by that yardstick--many valued their possessions more than their lives. This, while natural, is a product of defective culture: the one who dies with the most toys wins. Even if the toys are water-logged and ruined? We need to change the way we view things.

On a brighter note, cities through out the south have welcomed many thousands to shelters, sporting and convention arenas. There are 10000+ evacuees in the Dallas area alone, and thousands more in Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio and doubtless many more outlying smaller communities. I hope that we will be up to the challenge of making a true demonstration that we are capable of being kinder than mother nature, and--more importantly--capable of overcoming our baser nature to do what it takes to help neighbors in a moment of dire need.

Friday, September 02, 2005

[Happy 100th post to me]

Pity party:

Table for one.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Kind of weird.

Sometimes, if you really pay attention, you can see in someone's eyes they've gone in a completely different direction and find your pithy observations to be only so much useless palaver. Was that the instant the string broke--that snapping sound?-- that I crossed over and became
not desirable
company? I am as I ever was, except in the ways I've been externally damaged.

Insert textural shrug here
This Big Hush

Is there a fire in the sky?
Is there a moon up there?
Is anything alive now?
This darkness is what I hear
This is a breathless silence
a moment out of time
I see your face in the shadows
The tell-tale signs are in your eyes

More than I can hold in my hand
running through the gaps like water
Aching with a passion inside
deep as the river

All desire
the ashes and the fire
turning this night inside
and the light from you

Is there a flame in the dark?
is there a bright heart star?
These creatures look the same now
We freeze wherever we are
We wake alone in the blackness
We sleep whenever we fall
One dream all around us
This big hush infects us all

Holding up an animal fear
Soaking up the waves underwater
Tuned to music no-one can hear
forever in this half-light

All desire
the ashes and the fire
turning this night inside
and the light from you

Shriekback Oil and Gold