Saturday, May 13, 2006
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, a novella in four parts and an epilogue.
Completed Friday, February 24, 2006: 201 pages. 38, 669 words. Still 32 chapters.
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, still a novella in four parts, but now with a prologue and interludes.
Completed Saturday, May 13, 2006: 209 pages. 40, 270 words. 35 chapters.
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, a novel.
In three parts, interludes and an epilogue. I moved the material that I had called the prologue in the last version into the body of the book on the grounds of length. When was the last time you read a book with a 20-page prologue?
I think it's a novel. I think it's done.
Now what do I do?
(I mean, besides send a copy to my first-reader extraordinaire, the friendly, thoughtful and bright fellow known as a vision of manlyness and a man of vision not at all subsceptible to flattery, Corey Klemow.)
We’ll talk sex, religion, baseball, opera and even - Lord help us - television. But to stay in the middle of the deleterious snakepit of politics…no…there be monsters.
Now this engendered two reactions from me. The first I left as a comment on Glen's blog:
What's weird to me is that I still feel much the same way The Anchoress does.
I can't fully enjoy the GOP's panicky fall because I have no confidence in the Democrats' ability to do anything about it.
It's like they're still so hypnotized by this President, for some reason, that they just can't see that the mob has turned against him.
And if only one kid stood up, pointed and said "Look! The clothes have no emperor!" (to coin a phrase), the spell would be broken.
But the Democrats are too busy sewing, and don't want to disturb the circle.
And the second is, yes Anchoress, there are monsters, and the biggest and baddest is sitting in the oval office with your support. Heck of a job.
Original post: In Hullabaloo, Digby takes note of a recent poll comparing Bill Clinton's performance to Bush. As he says, it really shouldn't surprise anybody, much less progressives, that Clinton looks good and is looking better every day in comparison.
But he reminds us of something that should not be forgotten.
What the story fails to mention is that Clinton outperformed Bush while fighting off the rabid, slavering GOP congress of Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott that was determined not only to thwart his program but used every institutional lever of power they had to destroy him personally.
Emphasis Digby's. George W. Bush has had-literally-everything handed to him. From being a legacy at Yale to having a GOP congress and lapdog press corps, if he had been the slightest bit competent-oh what the hell I'll just say it:
If he had been a man able to rise to the occasion, to meet the context of the circumstances of his birth with character and integrity, who knows what he might have accomplished?
But he isn't, and he didn't.
Friday, May 12, 2006
You see, M:I:III's domestic grosses were considered to be "disappointing" for its opening weekend. And now, Cruise is gathering his friends around him for support in this traumatic time.
Emerson quotes a recent USA Today story that sez...
... according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll over the weekend when "Mission: Impossible III" opened to $47.7 million, about $12 million less than expected, the public has lost its loving feeling for Tom Cruise.
When 1,013 adults were asked their opinion of Cruise, 35% were favorable and 51% unfavorable. Nearly a year ago, when War of the Worlds opened on July 4 weekend to $77 million, the rating was 58% favorable and 31% unfavorable. (Sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.)
His popularity with women seems most affected: 56% were favorable in 2005, compared with only 35% now....
But that's not what made me want to fling up my hands and run screaming from the blogsphere. It's this: He also found a quote from Kathy Griffin that actually made me smile. I have rarely if ever found Griffin funny in the past. But...
How much fun is the Tom Cruise meltdown? Here's my favorite thing about it... He's so crazy the gays don't want him anymore. They don't want him. They don't care... I love how the gay guys only want hot guys to be gay, right? They want Gyllenhaal, they want Ledger, they want Colin Farrell. Here's what you'll never hear from one of the gays: "Oh, girl. Don't be naive. Don't tell me you don't know about Miss Gene Hackman."
Maybe it's because this reminds me of one of my favorite monologues Scott Thompson used to do as his "Buddy" character on The Kids In The Hall:
"When I find out someone is gay my admiration for them increases tenfold. Well, not everyone. I still refuse to believe Liberace was gay. I just don't want him to be."
“You’ll forgive me, but I’ll do the talking points on this as the new kid on the block. I’m not fully briefed into everything. I hate to read from a sheet of paper.”
“For today, I am not going to handle international issues or currency issues. I do not wish to set off global tempests. I frankly just don’t know enough on those.”
“I thought this would be nice and congenial and it is obviously just a mess.”
He was angry and unstoppable.
"No, no, let me ask you a question. How come you, a musician, maybe a good one, maybe a well-read one, but a musician with no training in affairs of state - how come you of all people were right about Iraq but the most respected, most experienced, most intelligent, most serious thinkers in the United States got it wrong?"
"That is a question I ask myself every day, because it scares the daylights out of me," I replied.
It means: less than one third of our American compatriots are insane or stupid!
Original post: Bush approval hits 29 percent (via Democrats.com).
I'm going to make a prediction. It may be wrong, it may even probably be wrong, but I'm going to make it anyway. Bush will not finish his second term. The only question is, whom will be installed as Vice-President (when Cheney resigns first for "health reasons") so they can advance to President when Bush resigns in disgrace?
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Stories like this remind me of one of my favorite exchanges from one of my favorite movies, Fosse's "All That Jazz:"
"God, I hate show business."
"Joe, you love show business."
"That's right, I love show business. I'll go either way."
Rather than talk about the specifics of that final episode, since IIRC the one or two of you who also watch the series are in other countries and a year or so behind, I thought I'd pay a little tribute.
These are, so to speak, a few of my favorite things: A somewhat-random, and certainly far from complete, listing of my favorite GG moments. They are in order of occurence, not preference.
Links in the episode titles are to capsule summaries; others are to quotes (to keep this post from being bigger than it is already)
The episode: Dead Uncles And Vegetables
The moment: A folky rendition of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." My favorite (ironic) musical GG moment.
The episode: One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes
The moment(s): Lorelei is bombarded with questions by high school junior asking her to justify her choice to have Rory at their age. And Lane shops for hair dye.
The episode: Those are Strings, Pinocchio
The moment(s) Rory (and Paris "Eustace" Gellar) graduate from Chilton. Possibly the best graduation scene ever on television, frustratingly full of too many good moments to quote.
The episode: The Fundamental Things Apply
The moment: Lorelei's rules for watching a movie.
The episode: Ted Koppel's Big Night Out
The moment(s): Lorelei learns a little something about football. A lot of these moments come from the fourth season, which I continue to see as underrated. I liked a couple of characters and storylines that may not have gone over big with everybody (Jason, Paris dating an older professor).
The episode: Luke Can See Her Face
The moment(s): Lorelei gets a feline visitor. And one of Liza Weil's best acting moments, which is saying something considering what an amazing actress I think she is. She's the girl who would play Annabel, if I had my druthers.
The episode: Last Week Fights, This Week Tights
The moment(s): Well, besides a brief guest star part by Teddy Dunn, the future Duncan Kane of Veronica Mars and a combination '80s/Renaissance themed wedding, there's Luke and Lorelei's first dance, to my favorite (non ironic) GG musical moment: Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips.
(Click on that to see an enlarged series of pictures w/excerpt from the lyrics)
The episode: Raincoats and Recipies.
The moment(s): Every reason you need to watch the first six seasons sandwiched between two great pop culture references:
RORY: What's your damage, Heather?
LORELAI: I think I'm dating Luke.
LORELAI: I'm not sure. It's just a possibility. I could be wrong.
RORY: But how? When?
LORELAI: I went with him to his sister's wedding, and it was really nice. We had a really good time. We laughed a lot, and we ate, and then we danced.
RORY: Danced? How?
LORELAI: We pop-locked.
RORY: Was it a fast dance, slow dance, group dance?
LORELAI: It was a slow dance. What is "group dance?"
RORY: The hustle, the hora.
LORELAI: No hustle, no hora. It was a slow dance -- a waltz. Luke can waltz.
RORY: Luke can waltz?!
LORELAI: Luke can waltz.
RORY: Look how you just said, "Luke can waltz."
LORELAI: What, I'm just saying, I'm surprised that Luke can waltz.
RORY: That sounded more like, "I'm surprised I still have my clothes on."
LORELAI: Oh, stop.
RORY: What else happened?
LORELAI: Nothing. We spent the evening together. We danced, he walked me home, then he asked me to a movie. All of these things individually do not add up to dating, but together, I don't know. And there was this moment, when he walked me home, where I thought -- I don't know.
RORY: Did you say yes?
RORY: To the movie. Did you say yes?
RORY: That sounds like dating to me.
LORELAI: But maybe he didn't mean it as a date thing. Maybe he just needed to get out of the house, and since I'm currently one of the women sitting home, thinking, "If I could only find a man like Aragorn," he picked me.
Also: Lorelei runs into possibly the only door in the world with comedy timing (you have to see it).
LUKE: You know the last time I bought flowers for someone? Never! That's when! Very easy stat to remember!
LORELAI: I loved the flowers!
LUKE: And then when I walked you home after the wedding, there was a moment. I thought there was a moment.
LORELAI: There was! There was a moment. [Luke gazes at Lorelai, then moves closer.]
LORELAI: What are you doing?
LUKE: Will you just stand still?
[He gathers her in his arms and they kiss.
And Lorelei "ruins" Rory's first time.
What have we learned from all this? Well, I've learned that I like Daniel Palladino's writing even more than I thought I did-he's the credited writer or co-writer on five of the listed episodes. Amy Sherman-Palladino is "only" credited on three.
We've also learned that besides loving Paris in the springtime and the fall, and just generally being an old softy, I love me some Lorelei ranting, and I am all about the Luke-and-Lorelei love.
Which may be a clue to why I was so disappointed with last night's season ending (you see how it all comes back in a loop?).
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I don’t care what anyone smoked 20 years ago, I approve of those who boogie ‘til they puke, and I don’t care who anyone in politics is screwing in private, as long as they’re not screwing the public.
On other hand, if you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead—has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Hookergate is rife with public interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children. Recommended for Sunday school use, grades seven and above.
Read her. Rejoice in her. Luxuriate in her.
Some series would have had the best finales, had they had sense enough to stop in time. Buffy, for instance, had a terrific series finale that aired at the end of its fifth season. Unfortunately, the show went on (and on...) for another two.
The West Wing, of course, gave us nearly one of the best episode of the entire series with 25-but again, has gone past that stopping point.
Babylon 5 pulled off a great last episode. Made at the end of the series fourth season, it was delayed until the conclusion of the last-minute renewed, violently erratic fifth season.
On a side note, I'm starting to wish Huff had run for only one season, but I'll talk about that more later.
And Futurama had a great last episode, even though it wasn't intended as one.
I'd definitely add Cheers, especially the great final moments. Everything after Sam comes back to the bar is a gem.
And Sports Night. I'm sorry that only ran for two years, even though it must have been killing Sorkin to write on that and West Wing at once. But at the same time, I'm glad it never had a chance to go terrible on us.
Which brings me to NewsRadio. I've said it before: While Friends and especially Seinfeld got all the hype, this was the best new sitcom of the '90s. And the finale of this terminally disrespected sitcom was true to its anti-cheap-sentiment, funny heart.
I think that's all I got. Yr. nominations, pls?
Monday, May 08, 2006
This is one of my favorite album covers of all time. The band was pretty cool too-pop at it's purest, most bubble-about-to-break gloriously transient, but they still got two good albums out of it. (Provision's predecessor, Cupid and Psyche 85, might even be better as its songs go, but I didn't like the artwork nearly as much.) Green Gartside did have an insanely high voice for a man, but man could he use it sweet.
I've always remembered a Rolling Stone review of this album referring to its "air-conditioned, studio-bound feel," and they're right. Most of the sounds are sequenced to within an inch of their lives.
But, well, you've got the opinion of Rolling Stone, and you've got Miles Davis making guest appearances on your records and covering your songs. Which do you think means more?
'Doctor Who' actress Billie Piper, who plays Rose on the revamped sci-fi hit, was on hand to accept the show's BAFTA trophy for best drama. 'Doctor Who' was also the audience pick for best TV program of 2005...
Doctor Who picked up two honours at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gala in London: best drama series and the Pioneer Audience Award for best program of 2005, a prize voted on by television viewers.
Winning the audience honour was "lovely, it's gobsmacking," Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies told the BBC. "It's a programme that children watch and the family watch."
Davies also won BAFTA's Dennis Potter Award for outstanding writing for television.
If you'll forgive me indulging my inner fanboy for a minute...I could almost cry.
Why? Because Russell T. Davies...the fuckers actually done it! After over 40 years, he's turned Doctor Who into a hit, mainstream award-winning, drama series! Can any other science-fiction writer/producer make that claim for their own program?
At a time when the bestseller lists are loaded with entries from only America's largest houses, when millions will soon be paid for Valerie Plame's memoir and Little, Brown mourns the half-mill it spent on a bad, very bad Harvard student, a tiny book from a heretofore nonexistent publishing house suddenly becomes the highest-ranking title on Amazon.com for three straight days.
How did a San Francisco–based do-gooder telecom organization—20-year-old Working Assets is primarily a wireless and credit card company that has donated millions to what cofounder and CEO Laura Scher describes as "progressive" causes, such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Planned Parenthood—suddenly find itself in the book business? First, it hired editorial director Jennifer Nix "to find ways to bring the progressive message into larger media." She immediately contacted Greenwald, who'd recently given up his day job as a lawyer to blog full time on glenngreenwald.blogspot. He agreed to write a book for a small advance in a short time. Patriot was finished in April and sent out to a printer (Donnelley, which Working Assets had used to print some of its phone bills and flyers); while still in conversations with PGW about distribution, Nix got an ISBN number and then submitted the book to Amazon. For promotion, she relied on Greenwald's popular blog and "about five or six" other bloggers to spread the word. Obviously, they managed to do so.
I don't have much to add, I just want to make sure I know where this article is...should I need it in the future...
President Bush's approval rating has slumped to 31% in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, the lowest of his presidency and a warning sign for Republicans in the November elections.
Only four presidents have scored lower approval ratings since the Gallup Poll began regularly measuring it in the mid-1940s: Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush. When Nixon, Carter and the elder Bush sank below 35%, they never again registered above 40%.
Truman twice sank into the low 30s and then rose into the 60s, but the third time his rating fell, it stayed below 40% as well.
Here's my own comments on the articles. The first is written by a couple of lesbians who used to work for the HRC. The thrust of that article seems to be that despite what Cheney has done in the past (or, more to the point, what she has not done), the chances for what she may do in the future mean the gay community should let bygones be bygones.
I'm not a member of the gay community but if I were, I'd be disinclined to give her such a pass, for reasons I'll get into with the second article. It's a profile that appeared in USA Today, containing this charming piece of denial:
Numerous gay rights supporters — and an infamous webcampaign called "Where is Mary Cheney?" — called on her to speak out against Bush's stand and considered her sexuality fair game. "Fair game?" she writes in the book. "My sexuality is fair game? It was completely outrageous."
Sigh. No, Mary, your sexuality is not fair game, your hypocrisy is. You were taking hush money from men who were actively trying to deny rights to people just like you, only not as wealthy and powerful...
You know, suddenly I don't feel like beating around the bush (no pun intended). Mary Cheney is a whore.
That's the one that refers to unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures. Mark Evanier has some discussion of Hayden's remarks, and the clip in question. Mark sez:
In fairness, there is a way to interpret Hayden's remarks that isn't quite as clueless as he may have seemed that day. The reporter, Jonathan Landay, suggested that the government has to have probable cause to execute a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures. That's not exactly right, either. The Fourth Amendment says there can be no unreasonable searches and seizures, period. That's probably the point Hayden was trying to make.
...the General's error came when the reporter asked, "Does it not say 'probable cause?'" Hayden said no, which left him wide open to the charge that he really didn't know those words were in the Fourth Amendment. But he may have meant, "No, it does not say that in quite the way you're presenting it." In which case, his mistake was not in also saying something like, "Yes, I know the words 'probable cause' are in the Fourth Amendment," and explaining the precious distinction he was trying to make.
Mark may well have a valid point here but to me the most telling thing about the clip is how flipping pissy Hayden is about answering the question. He doesn't just state the truth as he believes it to be, which leaves room for later correction along the lines of: You know what? I misspoke.
No, he runs his mouth about how "If there's one thing he knows," it's the Fourth Amendment, prior to demonstrating that in fact, he doesn't know it all that well. Which makes him, I suppose, yet another perfect Bush nominee.
It's not just that they're ignorant. It's not just that they're arrogant. It's that they're arrogant about being ignorant.
ETA-Unclaimed Territory recaps the broader objections to Hayden's nomination, and shows again the Democrats tendency to shoot themselves in the foot:
...the extremely unpopular Bush nominates as CIA Director (a) an active military general who (b) is a close ally of Dick Cheney, (c) is the person most responsible for, and associated with, the illegal NSA program, and (d) has caused a serious break between Bush and his most reliable Congressional allies. And the first instinct of Democrats like Feinstein and Harman is to prevent any Democratic message unity on this issue and to jump to the defense of the President by defending his pick and insisting that the NSA scandal not even be talked about.
When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good?As it turns out, the old jokes actually are the best jokes. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice.
Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task — playing a C-minor scale 100 times, for instance, or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops out of its socket. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.
A lot of this may sound suspiciously like the kind of advice you got from your parents-those of you who had good parents, that is. But now, there's research by a man named Ericsson to back it up.
...when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don't love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don't like to do things they aren't "good" at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don't possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.
"I think the most general claim here," Ericsson says of his work, "is that a lot of people believe there are some inherent limits they were born with. But there is surprisingly little hard evidence that anyone could attain any kind of exceptional performance without spending a lot of time perfecting it." This is not to say that all people have equal potential. Michael Jordan, even if he hadn't spent countless hours in the gym, would still have been a better basketball player than most of us. But without those hours in the gym, he would never have become the player he was.
[Rush] and his apologists on the right hope to keep him afloat with some phony story that draws a distinction between legal and illegal drug use. Rush was a drug gobbling pig who sent his $370 a week maid out to cop for him. He doctor shopped. He knew what he was doing was illegal and he tried to cover it up. He’s spent a lifetime bashing the ACLU but wasn’t afraid to go running to them when he suddenly started valuing his right to privacy, something he’s also spent a good deal of wind trying to destroy for others. Rush’s whole pitch is based on self-pity, deception and the demand for rights he would deny anyone else in the same situation.
It's the hypocrisy, stupid.
But they were still able to name "best moments of [their] Presidencies" that weren't bullshit jock stories they made up.
So: Remember yesterday, when I told you that, when asked to name the high point of his Presidency to date, George W. Bush said
"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake."
Well, obviously, my point at the time was that even those of us who think Bush is a drunken frat boy of an excuse for a President could come up with better answers than that. But, as always, there's more.
...the world's record for the largest freshwater perch caught is 4 pounds 3 ounces.
Oh, my god. It's really, absolutely true. He lies about everything.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
But there are no rules. Please remember that. There are no rules. The moment some precept or other obstructs your path rather than opens it, you must stride right past it. The moment some opinion acts to stifle your work rather than help it onto the page, you must banish its power.
But maybe that's just me.
Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
|You Are Gilbert From "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"|
You are very giving and self-sacrificing. You're always there to lend a helping hand to family and friends. However, this generous nature often robs you of fulfilling your needs and desires, and may cause you to become resentful. Find a way to balance your kindness with your independence.
Take The Johnny Depp Quiz!
Now-putting aside that I remember it differently-when I think of my best memories of my friends, I think of late night conversations, in person or on the phone, when we tried to make each other laugh and otherwise help each other get through. I think of kindnesses offered and generosities extended without expectation of reward, simply because they could.
I do not think of putting the boot in to a writer who has just seen his work shit on, as well as having spent a week away from home, during which, oh yes, his cat died.
One last thing: As much as I may have made a fetish of Tennessee-bashing on this blog or on the old one, you know what you've never seen me do? Use the names of the divas and amateurs in question. I dunno, I thought that might be...oh what is the word..."childish."
Now, in the words of Bill Cosby, "I told you that story to tell you this one." I think what someone thinks of as their "best memory" reveals much about their character. Which brings me to President Bush.
"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.
"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
So I punched in the code to retrive my messages. Now, like you perhaps, when my phone rings after two AM, I worry. A family member taken sick?
The message on my voice mail consisted of a male voice I did not recognize critisizing my outgoing message.
Try going back to sleep...