Monday, December 1, 2008

Is Borders Racist?

Yes it’s a big corporation, but I've always liked Borders, it started as a small bookshop in Ann Arbor, MI, they carry Paperchase products that I loved in London…and I get free gift cards to their stores from my credit card. But today when I went to spend said gift card at the Borders in Columbus Circle something happened that made me wonder…is Borders racist?

I was buying my Little Sister the book Caucasia by Danzy Senna, a book that yes, is about race issues (amongst other things), a book I read years ago and bought in the general fiction section of a book store. But alas when I went to the fiction section to find this bestselling, award winning book…it was nowhere to be found. So I asked an employee, who looked it up and told me it was in the “African American literature” section…now this wasn’t the African American Studies section, which is totally valid and for non-fiction books…this is a section of novels….for black people.

How is this OK? They don’t put the Joy Luck Club in “Chinese American literature” as far as I could tell fiction books for adults were divided into general fiction, western, romance, (maybe thriller or mystery or something like that), and African American. This is like calling the Rap and R&B CD section “African American Music.” Just seems kind of offensive in my humble opinion. This is the first time I’ve noticed this, maybe other bookstores do it too, maybe it doesn’t bother other people…just seemed a little Jim Crow-y to me…

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A short break for being earnest..

I am sometimes reluctant to be thankful, or to at least to say it out loud. When things are less than wonderful in my life, my pessimistic nature prevents me from realizing how good I really have it in the grand scheme of things. And when things are going well I don’t want to tempt fate, or look like at fool when it all goes south.

But this Thanksgiving, at this moment, I’m thankful.

Aside though from all the things that I have to be thankful for, I’m also thankful for the insight that I’ve started to gain this past year. The realization and acceptance that things don’t last, the good, the bad, the boring in-betweens— none of it will be here for very long.
While I’ve always been a master of change, I’ve also always craved permanence. But this year, for no one particular reason I’ve started to realize and become OK with the fact that life isn’t made of forevers, it’s made of “for a little whiles.” That can suck, sure, but it can also be pretty awesome and this year, in my small life, it hasn’t been ½ bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

I know America will come down from this high, I know in the next eight years (that’s right I’m going to just assume) there will be times when I disagree with and get annoyed with our president. But right now, and certainly last night, I am so happy and so proud of my country for the first time is such a long time.

My night last night was surreal, I traveled to different parts of Manhattan and the crowds and feelings in the streets and wide spread good will was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

Aside from the tears and dancing (there was A LOT of dancing) and shouts, here are a few things I am thinking about today:

• It is an amazing feeling that we got together and elected a black president, but I’m really wary of all this “there’s no racism in America anymore” thing. Yes there is, there’s a lot of it both blatant and institutionalized, and the implication that with a black president, we’ve “made up for it” and no one should be concerned anymore is very dangerous.

Which brings me to…

• I am so so scared about someone shooting this man; even last night as he was giving his acceptance speech, I kept thinking, “watch out!” I think they should get him a bulletproof bubble for public appearances.

• Did you all hear the pocket of McCain peeps booing when he mentioned Sarah Palin? I think he would have lost without her, but you know everyone on his side is just kicking themselves about the stupid lady-pandering choice.

• California voted to discriminate against gay people. I really don’t get it, I don’t see why anyone would care, how people in love could be a threat to anyone. And in CA of all places, it’s just sad.

Also a good day for newspapers finally!

• It must really suck to be a McCain supporter, especially in New York City, I guess they mostly stayed indoors. Still, I think there's one thing we can all agree on, thank God, this f-ing election is FINALLY over!

• I wish the new President started the day after he was elected and not in a couple of months...speaking of which, remember that fuckwit that's still in office? He called Obama last night, and called Michelle Obama a "good bride" WTF!?!

You got a lot of work ahead of you Mr. Obama, but you’ve given a lot of people a lot of hope, not an easy thing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baracking My Vote!

Of course I voted today, no points for guessing whom I voted for. I only waited in line for about a half hour (compared to the 2-3 hour waits some of my friends have reported). Now I’m only a mild conspiracy theorist, but I think it’s clear that I’m on some sort of government list. I’ve been registered at my current address for well over two years, but this is the second time that I’ve voted that my name is mysteriously not on the books (despite having a voter registration card with all the correct info). So again I had to vote on the paper write-in sheets that I’m pretty sure they don’t count, and didn’t get to use the fun machines from the 1950’s that I’m also dubious about… oh well at least I get free coffee and free ice cream…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Undecided “Real” Americans

Two things baffle me in these days so close to election.

1) The fact that McCain’s campaign seems to think it’s a good idea to insult and alienate possible voters by saying that they aren’t American or aren’t “real” if they live in an non-rural area (note to McCain: there’s lots of peeps in the rural areas think you are full of shit too, so your “real America” perspective has a few holes in it).

2) That anyone is actually authentically undecided, or can be swayed by anything that either one says or does at this point. I think that “undecided” people just don’t want to tell you that they are voting for McCain because they don’t want to have to defend a choice that makes such little sense. That or they really want the poo poo platter.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Career Moves

Perhaps I should chalk it up to the recession. The guy who cuts my hair must have been working extra hard for his tip last night. Whilst telling me he liked the cut I had chosen, he asked me (with a totally convincing straight face!) if I’d ever considered becoming a hair model.

Well, now I am!

This is perhaps the funniest thing someone’s said to me the past few months. Is hair model an actual career ambition that people have? Is there a special hair-modeling agency? I might be too short for Tyra Banks’ modeling show, but perhaps I’ve found a way to pick up some money on the side..

(for your consideration...)

If you can’t afford it…don’t buy it.

It’s hilarious how totally out of touch magazines can be. Like all of these articles about how to save money in the recession.

Step 1: Buy less stuff
Step 2: Still broke? Buy cheaper stuff
Step 3: Still broke? Stop buying stuff
Step 4: No really, when you don’t have money for things, you shouldn’t carry on buying them. And if going out is too expensive, you should stay in.

Sure there are some very stupid rich people, but are any this clueless? These articles condescend so much to assume that there are people in ‘merica unaware of the existence of Wal-mart and Goodwill… Still if you think that advice to buy both an old $9 Gap sweater from Salvation Army, and a $400 cashmere blanket keep you warm and cozy while watching your stocks fall, then, yeah…maybe you need to be condescended to...

Lady Issues

From, f-ing brilliant!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election..blah, blah, blah…

So I watched the last debate last night, and like the ones before it, it had a lot of not talking about the topics, saying wrong shit, and being petty. And really I feel like everyone is kind of just ready to get this over with. I mean, are people seriously still undecided? This effing thing has gone on for longer than most of my relationships. I’m ready to forget (affront to all women) Sara Pailn exists. I’m ready to stop hearing about Joe the Plumber. But just for the hell of it, here are a few notes to McCain or anyone misguided enough to think about voting for him:

1) $5,000 will buy no one health insurance any more than those $600 checks fixed the economy.

2) Not only does saying “drill, baby, drill make you sound like more of a douche than referring to yourself as a “maverick,” but offshore drilling will lower gas prices (at best) by a few cents a gallon for a very short time, and then we’ll be screwed again, not exactly a good solution.

3) As Hilary (Stratton not Clinton) pointed out, Autism does not equal Down Syndrome, and your pandering is so transparent that I can’t believe anyone would fall for it.

4) Nobody is pro abortion, people are pro choice. And for all the talk about the “rights of the unborn” maybe you should do a little more for them once they are born. Anyways, it (like most things in life) reminds me of the Simpsons…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Best Come Back Ever

John McCain's suggestion that tomorrow night's debates are postponed due to the financial crisis that he will barely acknowledge exists is kind of beyond senseless. Barack Obama’s response however is kind of the best thing I’ve heard out of all of the crazy talk of this election.

“The future President will need to be able to handle more than one thing at a time.”

Damn Straight!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why I don’t want to bail you out

Because I can think of a lot of other things to spend my $7,000 on…

MTV’s Exiled: Teaching Cultural Superiority to Spoiled Brats

Not that its surprising that a show on MTV totally misses the mark, but Exiled seemed kind of promising, or at least like a good opportunity for some schadenfreude (which is really the whole point in watching reality TV). The premise behind the show is that the parents of the insufferable brats featured My Super Sweet Sixteen ship them off to some far away land to live with another family for a few days and see how the other half (or really the other 80%) lives. But instead of cultural understanding, the teen’s observations are mostly about how gross and awful things are, and how strange and savage the people are (amplified by the horror movie-like music that plays over any scene involving poop- which most of them do). The “lessons learned” seem shoehorned in, mostly the kids act like they are in such a strange place with strange people that they are better than.

Learning about the billions of people the inhabit the rest of the planet is of course very valuable, but financing amazing trips abroad for spoiled rich kids seems like a backwards way to teach them a lesson. A much better idea, in my humble opinion, would be to send these rich kids a few miles away to live in the projects, work minimum wage jobs, attend under funded schools, and navigate the demoralizing bureaucracy of being poor in their own rich country. It might not sound like it would make for as interesting television, but Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days, usually manages to pull things like that off quite well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My New Favorite Blog

I'm not sure how he would feel about this, probably he would not approve, but seeing as I have had a growing Orwell obsession over the past few years, I'm still excited at the prospect of reading his previously unpublished writings, every day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

John Six Pack?

So it's about time Kwame is hauled off to jail. And good on the Judge for doing what everyone has been saying needs to be done for months now. But "John Six-Pack?" since when is this a term that people use? I'm not sure how to feel about it...

Friday, August 1, 2008

10 Things Everybody Needs to Do

Warning: this is a self-helpish type post based on Jezebel post from three months ago, that was based on an Esquire article. So basically it’s totally unoriginal, but really what isn’t anymore?

Anyway the Esquire article was all about “skills” that mens should master, so then Jezebel counters with 25 things ladies should learn to do, which was for the most part pretty right on. But really, for all of our differences, there’s a lot of things that both men and women do, if not for themselves, then for everyone. Because really, us humans are fucking up left and right (myself very much included) So here’s my list:

10 Things Everybody Needs to Do

1) Make Your Own Stuff.
Humans have become lazy, fat, stupid, and pretty useless in the past 50 or so years, and in the process most of us would be totally helpless if/when the whole giant machine o’ progress stopped. The Pioneers made their own homes, food, clothes, all of it. The least we can do is learn one practical skill. Plus I imagine you’d get a giant sense of satisfaction from creating something, and you’d save some money/not contribute to all the gross conspicuous consumption. If that's too much to ask, then maybe everyone should just learn how to do basic modern stuff, like un-clog a drain, or change a tire. Because no one should be that helpless.

2) Spend Some Time with a Kid.
Yeah sometimes they can be little jerks, but kids are so refreshingly un-adult. And face it, adults can be a real downer: jobs problems, relationship problems, drinking problems… Kids generally like fun stuff like playing and laughing. Plus it can suck being a kid, adults being un-jerk like to them every once in a while can help them too.

3) Live without Stuff.
Semi-related to knowing how to make your own stuff, knowing how to go without stuff is a infinitely valuable skill. How many times do all of us utter the words, “I need _____.” Unless the sentence ends with air, water, food, shelter, or health insurance, chances are no you don’t. It’s really remarkable how much people can live without, and more importantly how happy they can be without constantly wanting more stupid crap.

4) Take No For an Answer.
A lot can be said for not taking no for an answer, for pressing on in the face of rejection and adversity. And that’s just the problem; so much has been said that people are left thinking that the world owes them something, that they possess some sort of special talent or that they can wear people down if they are persistent enough. Perseverance isn’t always impressive, sometimes it just makes you look like a fool. You got to know when to fold ‘em….you got to know when to walk away.

5) Stop Thinking about Yourself.
It really doesn’t sound like much to ask, but think about how hard it is to spend an entire day not thinking about yourself. Nearly every big and small thing we do everyday is all kinds of me-focused. If everyone could spend one entire day thinking about how their loud talking at a concert, insistence on blocking subway doors, and unsolicited advice makes the rest of the people around them feel, it wouldn't fix the any global problems, but at least it might people more aware and day-to-day life less annoying.

6) Shut up.
Ah the sound of silence! Scary as hell. Rare too. There seems to be very little time during one's day where there isn't some noise, TV, music, talking. While you're at it, try cutting yourself off from the world for a day (no news, no cell phone, no TV, no Internet) What would occupy your mind if it wasn't constantly being distracted. Probably you would get very bored, which of course probably means you're boring, which we all are kind of. But it's good to come to that realization every once in a while.

7) Go Outside.
It's not everybody's thing, and that's fine. We don't all have to be "Into the Wild" types, and there tons of awesome stuff inside. But as cheesy as it sounds, being outside makes a person feel more alive. Nature can be pretty f-ing amazing, it can calm and excite a person more than anything on a screen. Also, while you're out there it wouldn't hurt to get a little exercise...

8) Read.
Yeah it's obvious to say, but if you pick the right books/magazines/papers, they really can change the way you look at life and the world. And even if you don't pick the right ones, it's probably still way better than what's on TV. Plus it gives you something to do on the train.

9) Quit Something.
I've quit lots of things in my life (meat, drinking, men, soda, TV, MySpace), some successfully and some less so. If nothing else it gives you a sense of power and control when you follow through, and a better understanding of willpower, desire, and yourself when you don't.

10) Love Someone.
I almost didn't want to write it for how trite it is, but really it's an essential part of being a human. Not just having affection for, or infatuation with, or desire for someone, but loving someone so much that it's scary and painful and the most wonderful thing ever.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits

George Carlin died.

"I love words. I thank you for hearing my words. I want to tell you something about words that I uh, I think is important. I I say, they're my work, they're my play, they're my passion. Words are all we have really."

He knew what he was talking about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It’s only a matter of time….

Desmond Tutu thinks I’m a shoo-in for a Nobel Prize

After all, I fit all three of his criteria:

1) “You must have an easy name”

Kathleen Davis: it couldn’t be simpler

2) “You must have a big nose. It is quite prominent, isn’t it?”

Yes, yes it is…

3) And step three? “Sexy legs!”

Done and done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I used to think there was nothing funnier than small children swearing. But this cracks me up:

The Muppets take Manhattan

and Ernie & Bert in Casino

God Bless the Internet

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The HIV Morning After Pill and Why No One’s Heard of it

It’s sticky to say that morality and medicine have no place together. Because clearly we want doctors to act in a moral way when dealing with life and death. But moral judgments of health problems that result in withholding information or lack of treatment just seems absurd.

Turns out there’s a drug that can prevent AIDS, basically a HIV morning after pill, much like (but more intense than) the pregnancy morning after pill. But it’s only available in a few states and no one knows about it.

The reason why of course is the childish belief that if you give people a way to potentially remedy risky behavior (abortion, condoms, the morning after pill), society will go buck wild. Of course, this logic over looks two giant facts: 1) People are never ever, ever going to stop having sex no matter what. 2) These drugs are extremely toxic and wholly unpleasant, not exactly something you are going to repeatedly sign yourself up for if you don’t really have to and last I heard abortions were no walk in the park.

As Antonio Urbina, a medical director at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center's HIV clinic said in the Mother Jones article:

“We don't deny care to smokers or people who didn't buckle their seat belts. It says a lot about the political climate around sexuality and homophobia."

Exactly. People fuck up, mistakes happen. Either you treat it like the preventable medical problem that it is or as a country you deal with the impact of 40,000 people a year infected with HIV (not to mention what this drug could potentially mean in places like Africa).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Concert Review

Feist at Hammertown Ballroom April 30th: F-ing Amazing.

Also according to Feist and her opening act, it sounds like the crowd the night before was a bunch of douchebags who only liked her for the ipod song...LAME

Monday, April 28, 2008

Life Expectancy, Poverty, and the (not so) surprising results

Last Summer New York magazine ran a “look-how-great-we-are” story about how the average life expectancy of New Yorkers had for the first time in history surpassed that of the rest of the country. You see, as the article took exhaustive pains and several thousand words to point out, there used to be crime here but now it’s totally safe.

Plus we walk, unlike all those stupid fat lazy bastards in the rest of the country. And we walk fast, unlike all those stupid fat lazy bastards the come here on vacation (boy, they sure are annoying and we sure are cooler than them aren’t we?). Plus, we go to really fancy doctors that are totally the best in the world, and we shop at expensive organic food stores. All of us. Well…..expect the Bronx, which oddly enough seems to be the only exception to the rule.

After devoting 10,000 words to patting it’s target demographic on the back (and yes that includes me to some extent), they finally got to the point in the last few measly paragraphs. It turns out that there was one part of New York City that bucked the trend, and (shock, gasp!) it was the area with little to no gentrification. They could have saved a lot of space and printed only this part of the article:

“Of course, the built environment wouldn’t have done New Yorkers’ health any good if it hadn’t been catalyzed by the city’s economic bonanza. Gentrification cut both ways. A more cynical—and possibly clear-eyed—explanation for New York’s life-expectancy gains is that gentrification drove many of the city’s poorest people out of town.”

Exactly. The city got healthier because it became filled with rich people who can afford fancy doctors and organic food, the problem didn’t get fixed. It just got pushed out.

And the story of the Bronx, the one borough where the life expectancy actually declined in the last 20 years, is in fact the none-to-shocking story of all of poor America. When you’re poor, you often can’t eat well, even if you wanted to, all the cheap food is the worst for you.

This week the New York Times took notice too, recounting a recent study the revealed that from 1983-1999 life expectancy (for women) in the US did not improve, and in fact, declined in hundreds of places in the country (for men life expectancy rose, but with a difference of 5.4 years between poor and wealthy). The lines along which life expectancy declined or stagnated? One guess: poverty. The shaded areas on the map double as some of the poorest in the country.

The links between poverty, health, and life expectancy are so painfully obvious (from prevention and management of chronic and fatal disease, unhealthy diet, smoking, drugs, alcohol (which are far from problems of poor, but are treated and dealt with differently), and of course stress).

The fact that we need these studies to bring the gaping income inequality to a discussion, or the fact that the more “advanced” we get the worst the situation gets is disgraceful. It’s so terribly embarrassing as a country, to be so rich, to pose as some sort of world leader, and at the same time be so woefully, cluelessly indifferent.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For Your Listening Pleasure

I read a quote years ago that being a good writer is 3% talent and 98% not getting distracted by the internet. So in my quest to keep myself more focused (and because my MP3 player is dying a very slow death) I’m mildly obsessed with free music listening methods.

Pandora: It’s the old standby, and honestly the one I go back to the most because I have rated enough songs and given enough “seeds” that they get what I like generally. I can also listen to it the most passively. The problem? It’s kind of like my bed, still nice and all, but there’s a dent in the mattress in the shape of my body that I keep falling in even when I try to sleep in a different spot (i.e. it’s getting a bit old, and while sometimes they are right on with suggestions of new music I might like other times they are very hopelessly off, and won’t take the hint that I don’t like the red hot chili peppers)

Songza: I was obsessed with songza a few weeks ago, and it’s great for what it is (basically a music search engine). Finding and listening to bootlegs covers from concerts and half forgotten songs from your youth is pretty cool, and it’s handy for testing out a new band before investing in an actual CD. The drawback? It’s high maintenance, you can’t just sit and listen, you have to feed it all the time.

Muxtape : I just discovered this one today, so it’s my current obsession. It’s totally web 3.0 user generatedness, so it’s of course hit or miss, but the basic idea is that you can sign up and make your own “mixtape” of songs that other peeps can listen to (and of course buy the songs from Amazon). But without signing up you can just listen to random mixes, and once you find someone with decent taste you got an hour or so of good listening. The drawback seems to be the unsearchability of the site, either for artists or users, so the mix I’m currently listening to that’s pretty cool I may never be able to find again. (Correction: It looks like each has it’s own address, so I guess you can remember that to get back to it, still not that convenient)

ps. I officially enter my late 20s in one week, and my birthday always makes me get all retrospective about my life, which may explain why this song seemed to fit my mood so perfectly today

Friday, March 28, 2008

AwesomeK’s Big Adventure

I grew up in a very small town, a town that outsiders call “quaint,” and locals think would be great if only we could get a TGIF. Up to the age of 18 the most exotic location I ever traveled to was Niagara Falls. But in my post-adolescence, I made it a mission of sorts to do a lot of traveling: solo road trips and many other random U.S. destinations, not to mention a plethora of European locations during and since my time living abroad. Yet since I’ve been living in “The World’s Capital” all of my travels have been either to visit a friend or loved one, or an exploration of a new place with a friend or loved one.

So it’s long over due then, that I, AwesomeK, step out into the world on my own again. For the next nine days I will be rainforest-exploring, hot spring lounging, volcano-hiking, and otherwise adventuring in Costa Rica. I hope to come back without too many mosquito and monkey bites, having mastered how to say, “I’m a vegetarian” in Spanish, and who knows, maybe a little changed, or at least tan.

Until then, AwesomeK has left the building…

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In which I’d prefer that my unborn children not be stereotypes who only read books with sexy covers.

Some would argue that Moby’s entire existence has been a simultaneous cry for both help and attention. But, despite (and maybe at times because of) his antics I always found him kind of endearing. Until know.

Now, he just seems really f-ing clueless. It’s like his heart is in the right place but he doesn’t realize what he’s saying. Which is basically, “I like gay people so much that I hate straight people, because my stereotypes of straight people aren’t as hip and fun as my stereotypes of gay people.”

(Actual Moby quote: “If and when I ever have children, I want gay children…(the gays) have started fewer wars, and they tend to be well educated, fun to hang out with, and they have nice homes, bars, and restaurants.”)

Also annoying is how Moby’s stereotypical unborn gay children are marketed to. You see, kids are totally image conscience, even kids who read, and they can’t go around reading a book from the 1970’s with a cover that reflects at all the decade in which it takes place/was written. "It's a style—it's saying, 'We are exactly who you are. This is the world you'll feel comfortable with. Nothing about this book is going to make you feel awkward to carry it and wear it. It's as sleek and cool and as with-it as you are.'"

No it’s not as cool as you are, and it’s not a pair of jeans or issue of Seventeen, it’s a book for Christ sakes and even kids are that image conciseness. Sure update the cover of a book when new additions are printed, but personally I hate reading books with “Now a Major Motion Picture” and lame movie poster printed on the cover.

Besides, teenage girls will read Forever even without the stupid chick-lit looking cover. That book is H-O-T!

Friday, March 14, 2008

What's Wrong this Week

There’s a lot wrong with the world. A LOT. Here are just two things this week that are particularly f-ed up:

America’s Next Top Model
Okay, so it’s been common knowledge for a while now that Trya Banks is bat shit crazy. Which is probably a large part of ANTM’s success (that and equally bat shit crazy half naked anorexic 20-year-olds). And I am a religious guilty pleasure watcher of the show. But lately I have started to feel like I must be watching the show for masochistic reasons because every episode just leaves me slightly confused/annoyed. Like this week, where they wore necklaces and underwear made out of meat and then posed next to buckets of innards and 100s of pounds beef. Because…models sometimes have to do gross stuff?? Aside from the fact that the factory farmed meat industrial complex is totally whack, wasting 100s of pounds of perfectly good food on meat panties is a more than a little pointless. I mean there are starving people that could have used those panties…

Crazy-ass women blaming Elliot Spitzer’s wife for him spending $80,000 on a hooker.

So first I was annoyed by Silda for doing the Hilary Clinton move of standing by her slezzeball husband. But why do people have to give these backwards crazy women like Laura Schlessinger and Cindy Adams a mouthpiece to set back women’s progress a couple hundred years. (Their respective views: A) He wouldn’t have done it if she would have treated him better and B) Sleeping with a hooker is really doing her a favor, it’s like getting takeout so you don’t have to cook dinner..) You have to be fucking kidding me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Things I’ve thought about this Week

I’ve thought about writing about several things this week, but didn’t have enough to say about any of them to warrant their own post. So here they are in a convenient “listicle”:

• As if people needed more forums on the internets to whine, there is a site called Sometimes though, they make a point…the best I saw: “If you got a journalism degree, you probably don’t even know how to spell obituary nevermind write one.”

• Speaking of spelling, to know me is to know my spelling anxieties, and my creative methods of getting around my dyslexic shortcomings (i.e. looking up synonyms of words I want to use in order to find how to spell them because even spell-check doesn’t know what I’m trying to say.) Truly, my poor spelling is one of the things I am most self-conscious about. Imagine then my horror last Saturday night when I was forced on stage during 30 plays in 60 minutes to participate in a Spelling Bee! I lost of course. And was told “ You have to decide if losing this means that you are a loser for this moment, or if you will be a loser for life.” How about a little from A and a little from B?

• I have found pretty much everyone to be mildly to highly annoying in recent weeks. Top honors to these “anti-sprawl arsonists/activists” though, way take a worthy cause (anti-sprawl and environmentalism) and get it completely f-ing wrong. Burning “green” houses to make a point about conservation? Well done.

• I am completely over Obama-fever. In fact, I am over the presidential primaries all together, they reached the oversaturation point a month or two ago, yet still managed to hold my attention. Until now. Seriously, I don’t care if Bill and Hillary took a walk in the park or if Obama is now using the word “transformative” instead of “change”. I’m just over it. For now. At this point, I’m voting for Nader. Also, The first video was cheesy, but sure, inspiring. The second video? the chanting is kind of creepy, and um, really why don’t you just sleep with him and get it over with already, he’s going to need a restraining order if you keep up this kind of fawning.

• Despite myself, I don’t hate Ellen Page as much anymore. I watched Hard Candy last weekend and was quite impressed with her performance. I think that maybe all the hype about her in Juno was because people wished they made bigger deal out of her in Hard Candy, but torturing a pedophile isn’t as mass market friendly as an emotionally unconvincing poorly written pregnant high schooler. Plus she made fun of the lame Juno dialog during her SNL monologue, and for that I am grateful.

• And finally, this week I’ve been mildly obsessed with Songza

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Poison of Poverty

Paul Krugman’s editorial does a lot of stating the glaringly obvious. And while it could serve as a primer for “Social Inequality 101,” it perhaps simplifies things a bit too dangerously.

I mean revelations like this “in modern America parental status trumps ability: students who did very well on a standardized test but came from low-status families were slightly less likely to get through college than students who tested poorly but had well-off parents.”

Uh, duh. You needed a study to realize this? Poor people can’t pay for college like rich people can regardless of how smart you are, the whole “free ride” thing doesn’t really happen, and dumb rich people end up going to Yale and becoming President, not exactly a news flash.

Most of the article is like that, totally true, but painfully obvious.

Here however, are my two problems with it:

1) “Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are proposing new initiatives against poverty. But their proposals are modest in scope and far from central to their campaigns. I’m not blaming them for that; if a progressive wins this election, it will be by promising to ease the anxiety of the middle class rather than aiding the poor.”

Why? Aren’t there poor democrats and republicans, and don’t they vote? And if poor people don’t vote, wouldn’t a candidate who doesn’t deny their existence stir them to vote? Am I being naive to assume that a “progressive” candidate who actually acts progressive and don’t play to the middle of the road would win more admiration than a panderer? And that this kind of settling, excusing, and letting off the hook-ness is what has got us in such a mess? Krugman says that health care not poverty should be the #1 priority, but aren’t the two hugely linked?

2)The ills and burdens of poverty, in childhood, in rich countries, in the world in general can’t be emphasized enough, but lines like “Poverty in early childhood poisons the brain.” Make me a little itchy, it seems like a statement that could be misused to say things like “Poor people aren’t as bright as rich people, because they are poor and because they aren’t so smart, that’s why they stay poor.” Which I realize is not at all what they are saying, but sound-byte able quotes like that often get co-opted by the enemy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Things I learned from Reading

Whilst reading the paper this weekend I learned two things:

1) Polaroid is going to stop making film, which just seems wrong, after all “Shake it like a picture using the technology licensed by Polaroid.” Just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

2) What a Super Delegate is (hint: they will decide who the Democratic nominee is and they are comprised of a lot congress members, former presidents, and the like, so it’s pretty obvious who will win)

Which got me thinking about how totally f-ed up our electoral process is. The Onion breaks it down

Here are a few of my favorites:

Election 08 Glossary

Caucus: The process by which Americans are quadrennially reminded of Iowa's existence.

Democracy: A moderately representative plutocracy.

Electoral college: A process by which the number of states in the Union is narrowed down to the most important seven or eight.

Hope: An intangible object within every American that is destroyed every four years in November.

Likability : The degree to which each candidate is able to hide the extent to which he or she is full of shit.

Rock The Vote: Something that is, apparently, still happening.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Time for Change is Now

I read this joke earlier this week (I don’t remember who wrote it), but it seems appropriate in light of the super close results of Super Tuesday:

It gave a lot of black people hope when a black man beat a white women in Iowa, but you might get in trouble if you carry that over into your life. You can’t just go around pushing white women over and saying “Our Time for Change is Now!”

But what about gently nudging them and whispering it in their ear?

And is it socially acceptable to push John McCain over?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Key to Not Feeling Poor: Find New Friends

It’s a cute idea to try to put a happy face on the effects of the impending recession . But it’s horribly misguided. The author of the article laments how his hood (my own South Park Slope, although it sounds like he lives in the fancier more actually Park Slope part) has changed since he moved there, all the authentic shops getting pushed out for the yuppiefied ones. But, ahem, didn’t you start/continue the gentrification by moving there? I know I did, I know my block has changed a lot in the 2 ½ years I’ve lived there. And it’s not like I’m pro gentrification by any means, but you can’t really criticize your neighbors for doing the same thing you are.

And as he seems to be struggling with, you can’t call Wall Street types dicks if you secretly (or publicly) envy their fancy shit. So, yeah the guy on the subway was totally right about both of you. It doesn’t make you a better person just because you feel guilty about your materialism, nor does dissing your “poor” roots while waxing nostalgic about a time and place where everyone went without.

So my solution to save money on therapy trying to reconcile your wealth-lust/liberal guilt is this: Stop hanging out with such douchebags. Seriously, all of the friends mentioned in this article sound insufferable: $300 bottles of wine? Paying someone to decorate your apartment? Flying your friends to Mexico for your birthday? Here’s some insight, maybe the suffocating feeling of the “commodification” of New York has something do with the company you keep. These aren’t a good representation of your average New Yorker.

Oh and the joy of a cheap, uncomplicated life? Yeah unemployment and food stamps are super charming…

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh Johnny, How You'll Be Missed...

When he spoke to us, he wore a hard hat, just like we do, so we wouldn't be afraid of him....AND he walked amongst us and let us touch his skin and clothes....

Mysterious Traveler Entrances Town With Utopian Vision Of The Future

All I need to know about life, I didn’t learn in J-school

My journalism professors in college liked to keep it real, sometimes painfully so. The following is just some of the advice I was given during my time in J-school:

1) Journalists are poor. In fact, if you want to make money, pretty much any degree-based career choice is more lucrative.
2) Speaking of college degrees, you don’t need one. Yeah, that’s right the people getting paid to teach me were telling me that I didn’t need the education I was getting.
3) If you get good grades, no one will want to hire you. The logic here being that if you had time to pull all A’s then you weren’t doing enough actual journalism (interning, writing for the college paper, etc)
4) Whatever you do, don’t go to grad school. This came from my favorite professor, she held a PHD in Journalism and said that going to grad school for journalism was a waste of time.
5) Newsrooms are pretty laid back places, and journalists are notorious for their lack of fashion sense.

Were they right? Well kind of. If you believe the New York Times Style section (and you also believe the definition of journalist is white middle aged man who works at Vogue) then my professors were waaaaay off. These dudes are balling! ($5,000 outfit? Well that dispels #5!)
(one such journalist is pictured above- hey buddy, nice shoes..)

If however, you are more a fan of reality, then my professors were right on the (lack of) money. Even is thinks we make more than we do

As for the degree and grades, again kind of. I doubt my A’s ever got me a job, but I’m sure they didn’t hurt, and as for the journalism degree, it’s true that a lot of the journalists and editors I’ve meant didn’t major in journalism, but I’ve never regretted learning about AP style or practicing reporting by being forced to go to court.

Finally, are newsrooms laid back? In my experience, no more than anywhere else. True, I can wear jeans to work at the magazine now, but I could wear jeans when I worked at a mortgage company and those people aren’t really known to be cool. In fact the EIC of one of the newspapers I briefly worked at in Michigan forced the men to wear ties and the women to wear pantyhose. So it really depends. Although, this piece about newsroom swearing is amusing.

Oh and grad school? I’ve been thinking about it for a few years now.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What’s a Canadian to do?

So, this post on Gawker points to an article that claims racist white people in the south use the code word “Canadian” to refer to black people when they want to say something racist but don’t want to overly offend (the logic I guess being that no one would be offended by dissing Canadians).

The article was based mostly on a memo from a Texas attorney, but seems to being used here as a way of saying, (to quote Gawker) “Dumbass American rednecks have finally caught on that racism and the use of ugly racist terms to call black people might no longer be palatable to the American ear.” But really, categorizing the whole of the south based on one memo and a few anecdotal examples might be a bit illogical. And making sweeping comments categorizing all white southerners as racists-mullet having “white trash” might in itself be just as racist.

Yes there are a lot of racist jerks in the south, and yes their brand of overt racism is disgusting. But what about the subtle covert racism of liberal white northerners? Isn’t that just as disgusting? For example, isn’t the abundant and widely accepted use of the term white trash offensive to people of all races?

New Yorkers should take a break from patting themselves on the back for their progressiveness to listen to the things they accept hearing. I could provide a few anecdotal examples of both subtle and overt racism that I’ve witnessed in my few years in the alleged capital of progressive thinking, but I wouldn’t want to categorize millions of people based on a few examples.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Thing Wrong with Health Care in 'merica

A side effect of not having health insurance is that you can go decades without visiting the dentist. Probably people with insurance still do that, it’s not a very pleasant place. Not me, I’ve been taking full advantage of the costly privilege of not letting my teeth rot out of my head. So imagine my surprise today, when I went to the dentist after only six short months to discover that since my last visit they had installed flat screen TVs with cable at all of the patient chairs. Fancy. But mostly disturbing and wrong.

For the following three reasons:

1) How much money does my dentist have? The answer is of course a lot more than me, but probably still less than my insurance company. None of which is surprising, yet still, you can’t sit in a chair outfitted with a spittoon and a flat screen TV and not feel like those extra charges for your fillings didn’t help pay for it.

2) Are we this desperate? No one will argue the point that TV is getting worse and worse, even the people on TV seem to be shrugging and saying “well, what do you expect?” Is there some sort of mathematical formula that says that the worse TV gets the more inescapable it should become? If I wanted to I could watch TV at home, at the gym, at work (online), on the subway and walking (on an MP3 player), in a taxi (one of those new fancy ones), on a plane (Jet Blue), and now while having dental work done. What next? Bathroom stalls? Probably…

3) You can’t actually watch TV while having dental work done. Because you have hands and arms in your mouth and in front of your face, not to mention loud sucking, drilling, picking, sanding equipment. Looks like doctor money bags didn’t think that one through…

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Young at Heart....

Family is by nature troubling. You love them, and they love you, if you're lucky, but a whole different set of rules apply as far as conversation goes. Like for instance, what do you say to your grandmother, whom has always voted democratic, when she tells you that she is favoring Mitt robotic muppet Romney? It's a delicate balance. She's the sweetest old woman in the world. You tell her calmly why you are not so fond of him. Other times though you just bite your tongue.

After all your views about almost everything are slightly to drastically different than the rest of your family. And your brother has been calling you a hippie ever since you stopped eating meat and started wearing combat boots with dresses in 1994 (even if you have long since developed a much better fashion sense).

It's not just politics and world views that my family and I disagree on, it's mostly, their image of me. You see, I am currently 26-years-old, yet to some members of my family, my age and perceived social development never made it past 1994. Like today when in the same conversation with my grandmother, I told her about how I am mentoring a 13-year-old, and how at first I was worried that I might be too young to mentor a teenager, until I realized that I am twice her age, and having a mentor in her 20s, would probably be beneficial to her. My grandma said, "well, you aren't the far apart in age from a teenager mentally."

I told my mom about it later. She brushed it off, "she probably meant young at heart."

Young at heart.........mentally.
(above Angela Chase circa 1994, whom I used to dress like)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Politicking (Part 2-some ranting)

The government likes to make it difficult for me to vote. They made me jump through more hoops than most to vote by absentee from London during the last presidential election, and now they are trying to keep me from voting in the New York primary next month. (You see, I switched my voter registration from Michigan to New York a year and a half ago when I switched my drivers license, but yet they claimed I wasn’t registered, so on Friday I had to re-register.)

At any rate, my beef at the moment isn’t as much with the government as it is with the Democratic Party (with whom as of Friday I officially registered with). I’ve always looked at them as the lesser of two evils, and only ever took their side because it was slightly less crazy. But they really seem intent on being complete dumbasses. Case in point: the Michigan Primary. The Democratic Party is “reprimanding” the state for moving its primary up to this month, and as a result most of the candidates aren’t campaigning there (only Clinton is, and she’s the only "major" Democrat on the ballot there). It’s really about the stupidest thing the party (and Obama and especially Edwards) can do. The state’s economy is horrible and the candidate whose platform is most in line with both what the state needs and what it values is Edwards, who is spending no time there and won’t be on the ballot.

Instead, the state will likely go Republican, and likely go for Romney, whose father was (from what I gather) a mediocre governor for Michigan 40 years ago. Happier times, indeed, nostalgia is a funny thing like that. Voting for someone because their father was once governor is almost as stupid as voting for someone because their husband was once president.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Victorian Freak Show Never Went Away

Now it’s just called Big Brother, I Love New York 2, or A Shot at Love with Telia Tequila, or the Biggest Loser…

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The only presidential candidate I’ve ever been excited about voting for is Ralph Nader. He was never going to win, but he had some good ideas and he stood by them.Unlike seemingly every other non-republican in the world I was (and still not) all that impressed with Al Gore. Or Bill Clinton for that matter. And you know what? I don’t think that many people were really that impressed at the end of Clinton’s terms either. The clusterf*ck of the last eight years has given the country (and the world?) a case selective memory. These were okay guys, but really still a far cry from the kind of leadership the country actually needs. And John Kerry? Did anything about him really matter? We just wanted to get anyone else in.

But now it’s actually an election again, kind of. And don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a woman or any minority in office as much as anyone. I have just been feeling more and more that Clinton is REALLY not that woman and Obama is probably not that minority. They are both so gotdamn eager to impress, to the point where they sellout in a big way, the exact thing republicans are always making fun of democrats for.

Clinton is all about Universal Health Care until she meets opposition and then she sells out and gets bought by pharmaceutical companies like everyone else, and she voted for a bunch of Bush’s crappy ideas: No Child Left Behind? Sounds Great. The War? Sure thing, want some more money? For a long time I was on the fence about her because I felt like her personality was the only thing that was criticized, never her politics, and so I though, well maybe she has her sh*t together and people are just afraid of her. But the more I read, the more it does seem like electing her might be like a slightly worse version of the 90s, which, weren’t THAT bad in comparison, but we can do far better.

Obama I can’t completely decide about, but what worries me is I don’t think he can completely decide about himself either. It must be incredibility difficult to toe the racial line your whole life. If you’re a woman, you’re a woman period. But being both white and black, you can never be seen as one completely. And yeah, he’s getting a lot of flack for playing too much on the white side and ignoring the problems of black people in America, but that’s unfair, when Clinton caters to the interests of (mostly men) in corporate ownership no one says she’s ignoring the problems of women, by virtue of being a woman she must be lady-sympathic right? Racial identification aside, what does Obama stand for? He was against the war, but other than that it seems like a lot of vague lip service, just like Clinton he seems pretty interested in keeping the wealthy and upper middle class happy. From everything I’ve read, he’s not a bad guy at all, but I do get the sense that he needs a kick in the pants because he doesn’t seem to stand firm enough and seems, like Clinton, too eager to keep the rich white guys happy.

So that oddly leaves me liking the rich white guy, Edwards, the best. I didn’t even think about him until the last month or so, because I wrote him off as more of the same Kerry, Gore blahness. And yes he’s far from an ideal choice, but he’s the much better not-ideal choice. He’s the only candidate that’s really noticed that working class people exist and that they are the voters and citizens a candidate should be most concerned about. And he’s passionate, and has ideas that differ from the rest (slightly) but still says them. But everyone knows that ideas and conviction often has little place in the election process, so his chances are slim. But maybe Obama will pick him as a running mate, and Edwards can serve as Obama’s conscience