Friday, May 28, 2004

Sunday School

There is no new news on the housing front. The closing date, and the move-in date are being negotiated. What a hassle.

On the subject of moving into an apartment in which the foundation is being monitored because some of the fill on which it was built has washed away, I am reminded of the song about the bible that we sang at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Greensboro, North Carolina. Flash back to 1985 and imagine 13 or 14 little children singing along with the piano at the top of their lungs and batting at the air with their little hands.

Oh the wise man built his house upon the sand
Oh the wise man built his house upon the sand
Oh the wise man built his house upon the sand
And the rains came a tumbling down.

Oh the rains came down and the floods came up (hand motions pushing air up and then down as appropriate)
Oh the rains came down and the floods came up (hand motions pushing air up and then down as appropriate)
Oh the rains came down and the floods came up (hand motions pushing air up and then down as appropriate)
And the house on the rock stood firm.

Well some of you know what happened in the next verse...

Oh the silly man built his house upon the sand
Oh the silly man built his house upon the sand
Oh the silly man built his house upon the sand
And the rains came a tumbling down.

Oh the rains came down and the floods came up (hand motions pushing air up and then down as appropriate)


And the house on the rock went whshwhshwhs (hand motions making a complete mess of everything)

So is this going to be me? Am I the silly girl buying the co-op?

This is Matthew 7:24, in case anyone was wondering

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


So, I had the famed co-op board interview Monday night. It was just with two people and I had to smother a laugh because the chief interviewer reminded me so much of a John Goodman character. He sort of drew out his words and pontificated on the renovation guidelines and the restrictions on using the garden for parties. Also, there is an issue with the foundation. The building is built on a cliff and the end of the building that sits over the lower elevated land was built of fill. Like landfill, except not like trash, as he explained to me, but large rocks and boulders and sand. And perhaps some of the sand has been washed away. But they have been monitoring it. An engineer that will be working on one of the stadiums they are building down on the West Side has been looking into it and they feel confident that it hasn't moved any in the past year.
Other than the foundation, everything seemed like a go and they pretty much told me that they were going to approve me, so that was exciting. Now it's the nerve wracking business of waiting for a closing date.

Monday, May 24, 2004

A Bad Track Record

For those of you trying to figure out what the hell is going on with Chalabi, I direct you to Kevin Drum for a thorough overview of Chalabi's previous involvement. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I'll keeping posting any resources I can find that seem useful.

Biennial Madness

I did the morning commute by bicycle this morning. I need to do a loop around Central Park on the way home to make it worth my while. I have traded in the Huffy bike for something a little bit zippier. Being able to change gears without problems apparently makes your ride a bit easier.

I went and saw the Whitney Biennial yesterday. This was the second time I saw it and I got more out of it this time. This might have been for reasons that are pretty mundane like the fact that it was less crowded and I had better walking shoes on. I generally feel like I know pretty close to nothing about contemporary art. I would recognize the work of maybe eight contemporary artists, and might be able to identify thematic issues that I like, or that I think I understand, but I can't really speak with any understanding about technique or sensibility. (Sensibility. Is that the word I want to use there?) I still like going to art museums, but I generally feel like I get about 60% of what my friends who actually make or have studied art get.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Away with the Fairies

I don't have much to report this morning. My friend Jessica, who is travelling around the world, just announced that she will be staying for an extra month in South Africa and work in a bar. I'm jealous and admiring. My little two week stints that I can squeeze in on vacation to not-so-far corners of the world never do anywhere I visit justice.

She says of Hogsback, which is in the Transkei, I think:

"This is supposedly the place where Tolkien was inspired to write the Hobbit. I went to a backpackers called “away with the fairies”.... While much of the area has been logged and replaced with pine forest, there are still indigenous forests around the area that are stunning – tall green leafy and mossy canopies, white trunks and dark trunks – streams and rivers trickling through the undergrowth, meandering around rocks and suddenly fallin g over the edge of a cliff or rock face. There are so many waterfalls. The rocks that underlay the waterfalls look like a cubist’s rendition of a rock – very sharp and sheer edges stacked on top of each other. On a walk through the forest, I was swept away by the fairies and have decided to work there for the month of June. So I will not be home by june 1 as I told some of you."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Some Fine Earned Media for the Blogger Community

Also, I found a feature story on bloggers on the local Fox affiliate in Chicago. They interviewed Wendy McClure of Pound fame and she has posted an overview of the story. It's quite funny.

Salam Pax in View

Salam Pax, who was one of my inspirations to start writing newyorquina, has a movie deal has come out of the blogger "closet." Thanks to ogged for posting this. Via Unfogged.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

You Like Me!

I have discovered that I have readers, which inspires me to do a bit better with posting. How many readers do I have you might ask? Why I have a multitude of readers, two that I know of to be precise. One of them is someone with whom I am in a romantic relationship, the other is my friend, but they still count. They do!


Last night I dreamed that I there was some dire conflict with the property management company in the apartment I am trying to purchase, and I ended up saying well I don't want to apartment anyway. To which the girl in the property management office, (which did not look anything like the property management office does in really life) said fine give us back the keys, and I stormed out. And then I realized, not only had a just lost an extraordinary amount of money, but I had to start all over with looking for an apartment, which was a horrible, horrible position to be in. I love that feeling you get when you wake up and realize that you didn't actually make the dire error that you dreamed you did.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I got a little choked up watching gay people get married on Dan Rather last night. I'm down with the marriage is a mechanism of social control and we shouldn't be allocating all these resources to it. But god, can something that makes people so happy really be that bad for the gay movement?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

OK, so perhaps it's time for a change in the topic. For today, I would like to share with you my latest musical obsession. U2. I've had Achtung Baby in my work computer for about a week non-stop, except for a short, guilty Ryan Adams-Rock and Roll break. All these songs I heard on the radio for years and years, with out really developing any attachment to, except out of a mild nostalgia for being in high school and college. And now, it's like I am hearing for the first time. I was arguably a lame-o musically in 1991 when Achtung Baby came out. I was obsessed with Bob Dylan and the Indigo Girls, which you know, each have their place in the American folk music cannon, but Jesus, why didn't I branch out a little then? I do have a vague memory of sitting in the dorm room with a boy that I dated my freshman year, while the wierd guy from across the hall, played the intro to Zoo Station over and over again and expounded on how it was lifted from a KMFDM song, but it was all lost on me, both Achtung Baby, and, clearly, the KMFDM references.

I had a brief brush with becoming a serious fan in 1997, when someone offered me a free ticket to the Popmart tour. You remember, the one with the big stage and screen display, that briefly garnered them all this attention. The Raleigh, NC show was canceled because the screen malfunctioned which soured me on them a little bit. (I didn't care much about the screen or the special effects, but I thought it would be cool to see them.) Then in the spring of 2002, when I was living in New York, still feeling the effect of 9-11, dealing with a death in my family, feeling a bit buffeted by inter-office politics, I took a personal day and happened to pick "All That You Can't Leave Behind" up from my roommate's stereo. That was it, I was devout.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Washington Post's lead editorial today lays out the third and fourh Geneva convention and shows how we have clearly been in violation of them. It also gives an analysis of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Stephen A. Cambone's testimony yesterday, stating:

if President Bush and his senior officials would acknowledge their complicity in playing fast and loose with international law and would pledge to change course, they might begin to find a way out of the mess. Instead, they hope to escape from this scandal without altering or even admitting the improper and illegal policies that lie at its core. It is a vain hope, and Congress should insist on a different response.
I got some comments on my last post, suggesting that maybe I was making a stretch between American homophobia and what happened in Iraq. It may be true that it is not possible at this time for us to figure out what were the sociological underpinnings of such abhorent behavior. Also, there is still a lot to be sorted out in public view as to whether this was bad behavior of a few low ranking soldiers, or whether there was some systematic request for the guards to engage in these practices. The reason, however, that I attribute this to homophobia, that is to say a derision and hatred of gay sexuality, is that, in my mind, employing techniques to humiliate that include making a man masturbate in front of other men, making someone pretend to engage in sexual practices with and in front of other men, purposely capitalizing on Iraqi cultural norms relating to homosexuality as a way of making torture MORE humiliating and MORE brutal, to me seems to be the most extreme manifestation of fear and hatred of homosexuality. Potentially, these activities point to a side of these young people, be it their American culture or their human nature that is particuarly ugly. There are lots of ways to intimidate or brutalize people, and these young people chose these methods. Clearly these ideas came from somewhere, and I can't help but identify them with other instances brutality in the United States in which sexuality was an issue.

Monday, May 10, 2004

A heartening editorial in the Army Times.

Wait. So I want to amend my earlier post. The abuse at Abu Ghraib isn't homoerotic. It's not erotic. It's abuse and not erotic and therefore can't be homoerotic. What is so damaging about sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, all things that American soldiers did at the prison in Iraq, is that it uses sex as a means of violating and as a means of control. In addition to completing destroying the United States's credibility as a champion of human rights, it exports a particularly American brand of disregard for same-sex sexuality and violence where gay sexuality is concerned. You all know what falls into this category: frat-boys drunken gay bashing and the Matthew Shephard and Boys Don't Cry-scale atrocities that are part of the fabric of living in the United States. I can't help wondering whether the outcome would have been different if Clinton had forced the Pentagon to really deal with the presence of gays in the military. If the armed forces had done training to encourage service men and women to deal with the legitimate presence of gay and lesbian service people, would we be seeing this kind of sexual intimidation and abuse?

Josh Marshall says what I have been thinking, how the homoerotic nature of the torture at Abu Ghraib is a manifestation of the deep rooted fear and disgust at homosexuality that's part of American culture.