Thursday, January 20, 2005

Welcome to Junior High School

I'm watching Welcome to the Dollhouse on Sundance. It is so much like junior high school. I can't tell you. It's the best movie.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Everyone is sick in New York. Everyone. You either have it, or you are about to get it, or you are getting over it. It's just everywhere.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Medical Center Redux

I haven't been writing because I started a new job this week. Well, it's the same job, but in new office, in a new institutional home. Ironically, the transition represents a bit of an unwelcome full circle for me. I now work in a building that is across the street from the building where I first lived when I moved to New York. I am next door to the building where I had my first real job in New York. Both of them were somewhat depressing episodes in an otherwise relative low stress and progressively more successful professional life. Plus it is winter in New York. So it's a bit strange.

Since I've been much to busy to think of anything to say, check out this post on the social security plan push at Talking Points Memo.
"According to the Trustees, using very pessimistic estimates of future economic growth, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2042. After that, incoming revenue, they say, will be able to pay for at least 70% of my benefits. In other words, I'm good until I'm 73, after which my benefits could drop by as much as 30% if the US economy does really poorly over the next 35 years and no one does anything whatsoever with Social Security until then.

On the other hand, the Congressional Budget Office, under the leadership of former Bush White House senior economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says I'll have no problem until 2052, when I'll be 83. After that, they say, there will be a reduction, but again not an overwhelming one.

...We can only conclude that as he has done repeatedly before, this president is deceiving the people he has sworn to serve and defend in order to achieve a policy goal he cannot manage by honest means....So, just as he and his associates did during the build up to the Iraq war, he uses paraphrases, work-arounds and slippery repetitons to communicate the intended falsehood while still providing himself with sufficient wiggle room to evade being tagged as a liar."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Recycled Stories in the Naugahyde Booths

Driving down the freeway yesterday, I am reminded that Los Angeles is the city of Tom Waits during the Nighthawks at the Diner years. (During most years I guess, but that one is a particularly Los Angeleno album.) For me, its been the city of sleeping late and long breakdasts with friends. It's been quite lovely. I've seen quite of bit of Western Los Angeles. Yesterday, Culver City, today Echo Park, and tonight Venice, and then home again.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sunny Californ-I-A

It's really shameful how long it took me to find time to sit down to sit down and post something. I am afraid to look. I'm not going to look, oh hell... December 21. Well that wasn't so long ago. I can safely say I survived Christmas with a minimum of holiday strife. The post holiday depression succumbed to post holiday busy-ness in my office, and New Year's Eve anxiety was drowned in a raft of cooking from my new cookbook.

I don't know if depression is quite the right word, maybe Christmas melancholy is more what has afflicted me in past years. There is a wistfulness and tenderness associated with everyone going home to see their family, and gathering with friends. At the same time everything is laced with a slightly elevated sense of anxiety and dislocation. Your schedule is disrupted, productivity stops, sometimes for a couple of weeks. There is a falseness about the presents and the wrapping and the commercialness of it all. People who voted for George Bush send cards saying Peace on Earth. I buy a book for my mother on the chance that she might like it. I give last years gift from a friend to a teenage friend of the family and allow her to believe that I picked it out in a store. And so on.

But we have another year behind us. We have dispensed with the holiday season and it is back to the grind. By virtue of the job transition I strangely have a week to spend on vacation and I find myself in sunny Los Angeles. I have spent the last two days in Venice Beach, California, which really is very charming, there is a little section with canals and lots of little arts and craft bungalows. Plus the beach of course, which has a deserted carnival feel to it. So far the weather has been quite rainy, but it is looking like there is hope for today. It's endlessly strange to me that it does get cold here in winter. It doesn't seem right, that this place you see in the movies always seeming warm, actually gets quite chilly in January. I take it personally.