Monday, December 27, 2004

Things I Like Vol. 6

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) cool quiet and time to think
2) homemade mashed potatoes & gravy
3) Peter Pan bus lines
4) Van Morrison
5) Animal Planet Network
6) Stoli & cranberry juice
7) the First Amendment-freedom of speech, baby
8) Jane Alexander - the actress & the person
9) Miracle on 34th Street
10) Altoids (peppermint flavor)

Hero of the Week:

Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins, tellin' it like it is

Villain of the Week:

Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, whose shamelessness knows no bounds

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I See Through You Like Cellophane

I see through you like cellophane.
I see your sadness and your pain.
I see your self-loathing and your fear.

You are truly a legend in your own mind, you worship yourself.
You need to feel important because you feel like nothing, so you
treat others like nothing in turn.
You want this behavior to make you feel better but it doesn't,
it makes you feel worse.
You want to be more important than you are, so you act that
way hoping people will notice you, not realizing that their
attention comes in the form of pity and disgust.
You disgust yourself.

I am more like you than you know.
I see how lonely and misunderstood you truly are.
I see how little people really know about you, how little you
allow them to see.

How you don’t tell people your innermost thoughts, how you let them
stew and churn and roil inside you until they boil over and spill
out upon others like molten lava.

Lava burns, it melts, it disfigures.

I am one of the disfigured ones.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Adieu, Adieu for Now

Once there was a girl who was lonely and sad. Her only real friends were the bands who played on her favorite records. All through high school and college, though she was always told she was beautiful, she never believed it because she was always alone.

Except when the music played, she wasn't alone or afraid anymore. The music made her strong, and brought her out of herself and made her believe in something. And so, despite her loneliness, despite many disappointments and heartbreaks, she was always able to keep on going because the music saved her.

Because the music was the only thing keeping her alive, she was drawn to its healing power, and so she followed wherever it led, making a few friends along the way but always going home alone. Until one day, one of these friends took her aside and told her she was special...and she married him.

They were happy for a while, but things change, and she found herself lonely again. And she didn't know how she would go on, struggled to get through each day, feeling worthless and sad. Until she found music again--found an amazing person who wrote music that spoke to this loneliness and despair, music that reached into the darkest corners of her mind, to the places where she had hidden her self-loathing and torment and pullled it out and laid it bare. And because of this, though she was often lonely and sad as she had been before, she never truly felt alone because she had found someone who understood.

She wanted to tell this person how she felt in person, and so she met him, and he was kinder to her than she could have imagined. He made her feel special once again. But one day, she found she had unwittingly caused him harm, and it tore her apart because she had hurt someone who had made her feel like her life meant something, and it was more than she could bear.

And so she begged forgiveness, hoping with all her heart that it was not too late. And then she stepped aside...Adieu, adieu for now.

Things I Like Vol. 5

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) "Law & Order" - still the best crime drama on
2) Diner"- film by Barry Levinson
3) Bowlmor Lanes, NYC - rock and bowl, baby
4) Marah - the coolest band in the universe
5) TVLand network - '50s and '60s TV rules
6) hot coffee on a cold winter day
7) last minute shopping in Toys R Us - and playing
with the toys
8) real friends - the kind that stick around when
you're in trouble
9) Saturn SC2 Coupe - the only road trip vehicle
10) Tompkins Square Park, NYC

Hero of the Week:
Bob Herbert of the New York Times, who continues to speak
candidly and fearlessly about the misadventures of the
Bush Administration

Villain of the Week:
Bob Novak, whose actions with regard to the Valerie Plame
affair alone are enough reason for him to resign as a journalist

Monday, December 13, 2004

Things I Like Vol. 4

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) Arlene’s Grocery, NYC
2) Brooklyn, NY – where the cool kids live
3) The Clash – London Calling reissue
4) A Jolly Christmas with Frank Sinatra
5) candy canes and Santa hats – the only holiday accessories
6) Irving Plaza – the club and the person
7) single malt scotch
8) A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector
9) Arsenic and Old Lace – film by Frank Capra
10) Nick Hornby

Hero of the Week:

-Paul Krugman, one of the few journalists at the NY Times
(or anywhere else for that matter) to tell the unvarnished truth
about the Bush agenda in language people can understand.

Villain of the Week:

- Donald Rumsfeld, whose unspeakable arrogance and imperious
attitude toward the brave young Americans serving in Iraq should
earn him a special place in hell.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Things I Like Vol. 3

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) "American Routes" with Nick Spitzer-syndicated radio show on NPR
2) the DePatie/Freling Christmas TV specials: "Santa Claus is
Comin' to Town" and "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer"
3) It's a Wonderful Life - film by Frank Capra, song by John Eddie
4) the Pageant of Peace on the National Mall in Washington DC
5) the Beatles--now and forever
6) A Christmas Carol - novella by Charles Dickens,
dramatization by Patrick Stewart
7) Fat Fish Blue-restaurant/blues club, Cleveland OH
8) Squad Five-O - the best American band
that (almost) no one has heard of
9) - making cheap travel possible for music fans nationwide
10) Southwest airlines - ditto

Hero of the Week:

-John Lennon - if you don't know why this man is
my hero, why are you reading this?

Villain of the Week:

-former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and former
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge -- for waiting
until after they had officially resigned from office
to tell us the ugly truth about our woeful national
(in)security situation

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Christmas In New York, 2004

I am in New York City for an appointment. It is early December, and the weather has just turned. I park my car near Tompkins Square and walk toward the cross town bus stop. I pass advertising for the neighborhood’s upcoming tree lighting ceremony, continuing down the square past a newly set up Christmas tree stand. The smell of the firs hits me, and I think to myself for the umpteenth time how special New York is--where else can you see a ritual as old as America itself, encounter the bracing smell of pine as you walk, and then order Indian food at four o’clock in the morning?

I am running late, so I hop a cab across town. I get in, and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” is playing on the radio, and my reverie is shattered as that festering wound from another December in New York reopens with a vengeance. I was in New York the day after John Lennon was shot, changing buses at Port Authority to go to Philadelphia to see Bruce Springsteen play the Spectrum. The city was in a collective state of shock. It was a cold, gray day, and no one seemed to know what to do—we were all numb. How could this happen in the city that had welcomed John as one of its own, the place where he finally felt at home after years of exile from his mother country?

In Philadelphia that night, Springsteen and his band are also stunned by the loss. There has been some debate amongst them as to whether they should even be playing a show that night, but fortunately for us, they do. “It’s a hard world that asks you to live with the unlivable,” says Bruce after taking the stage to a vociferous yet somber reception at the Spectrum. “And it’s hard to come out and play for you tonight, but there’s nothing else to do.” That show, my first ever Springsteen concert, was truly otherworldly, one of the most intense experiences of my entire life. It was as if he was not just healing himself and his fans from tremendous sorrow that night--it was as if he were rescuing the soul of rock'n'roll, itself, like he was taking the mantle from John and carrying it forward.

And here it is, 24 years later, and this tremendous loss still feels like a knife twisting in my stomach. How could this have happened? And what are we doing in another needless war? Why are our sons and daughters dying again? And what would John have to say about it?

The cab continues across town, past Christmas lights and holiday window displays. “War is over/if you want it” sing John and Yoko. I wonder if we really do want it, or are we too self-absorbed to pay attention? My heart breaks all over again for the mothers and fathers, for the city of New York, for this country that has lost its way, and I wonder where we will be this time next year.

"And so this is Christmas/and what have you done?”