Friday, February 17, 2006

On Air Child Abuse (Or, More from the Corporate Clusterfuck Formerly Known as the Olympics)

The Today Show is always rife with early morning, easy-to-spot yet supposedly undercover bitchery. This morning, Katie Couric (current "See-You-Next-Tuesday" in residence) pummeled a very young figure skater with a series of questions, that went a little something like this:

KATIE COURIC: So, you're only four years old.

SKATER: Yes. I'll be five in March.

KATIE COURIC: How are you dealing with all of this pressure? Are you sure you are up to it, I mean, you're only four years old. That has got to be a lot to deal with for someone your age.

SKATER: I like skating. It's fun.

KATIE COURIC: But. What. About. The. PRESSURE? Our audience, Americans at home, really want to know one thing. How. Bad. Is. That. Pressure!

SKATER: I just like skating. It's fun.

KATIE COURIC: So, now that Michelle Kwan is out due to a groin injury and Emily Hughes is on the team, there must be one thing on your mind. ALL. OF. THAT. PRESSURE.

SKATER: I've been skating since I was a little girl. I will be five in March. Skating is fun. I like it.

KATIE COURIC: WITH ALL OF THIS PRESSURE, YOU MUST BE UNDER PRESSURE. TELL ME ABOUT THE PRESSURE!

SKATER: You are a scary lady.

KATIE COURIC: Listen, kid. Don't tell me about (bleep) (bleep) pressure. I have daughters too, there is pressure. I know this. Just because your here in Italy, or whereever the hell we are and you are competing for a medal, don't act like you don't know, kid. Because you are about to. Bigtime. Just tell me about the (bleep) (bleep) pressure, OK?

SKATER: Lady, you are really weird and your breath smells like my Aunt Shannon's. She's just moved to another town.

KATIE COURIC: Really? What is that town called?

SKATER: Rehab. Can I talk to the fat guy instead?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Agony of Victory and the Thrill of Defeat

NEWSCASTER: So, now that you've had such a poor spill out there and you've ruined your chances for Olympic Gold this year - and possibly forever, how do you feel?

WINTER ATHLETE: Uhhh. Bad, I guess.

NEWSCASTER: You know, I've heard from Olympic insiders that just about everyone had you pegged as the one to beat this year. Now that you've failed them, yourself, your family, your team, and most importantly, our country, how do you feel?

WINTER ATHLETE: Been better.

NEWSCASTER: I guess you must feel pretty awful. I mean really awful. All of that pressure.

WINTER ATHLETE: Yeah.

NEWSCASTER: That pressure must be so intense. Intense in a way I just can't imagine. All that time you spent preparing for this moment, all of that money spent and now, very clearly, wasted in the face of defeat. How do you feel now that all that pressure is gone, lifted from you like that great, oppressive weight that must just suffocate and stifle you?

WINTER ATHLETE: My butt hurts.

NEWSCASTER: From all that pressure, I bet. There is an awful lot of pressure. Your family flew in to see you. Both of your parents are grappling with terminal cancer, your sister is in a wheelchair, your twin brother is an alcoholic, your girlfriend is a kleptomaniac diabetic with a gambling problem, and your thirteen year old dog has fleas. And yet, they all made it here to see you compete. And it all ended - abruptly - last night.

WINTER ATHLETE: Yeah, my family's here. It's cool.

NEWSCASTER: What are you going to say to all of your friends when you get back home, how that you've failed under all of this pressure?

WINTER ATHLETE: "Hi," I guess. That's what I'd say first.

NEWSCASTER: You heard it here first. Up next, tragedy strikes the American Bobsled team as a series of stunning groin, head, neck, arm, chest, kidney, liver, wrist, knee, tongue and leg injuries may hinder their chances for Olympic Gold. Remarkably, the Bobsledders are still going to compete in tonight's final run. Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It'$ A $trange Condition (Or, $mell$ Like Pre-Teen Zeitgei$t)

So, New York Magazine just came out with a cover story on blogging. (Or, rather, the new "blogging establishment" and the financial gains to be had thereof). The article ends in a predictably over-hypey tag: "...the age of the blog-moguls is here."

Excuse me?

I will be the first to say it here:

Horse.

Shit.


Maybe the hot sting of the dot-com boom is still a little fresh on my mind. I moved to New York six years ago in the wake of that particular technology cash-storm and witnessed, well, mostly a lot of hot air and unfulfilled caviar dreams, coupled with strings of layoffs and the suffocation of an industry I had already spent five years building a career in. Sensing the upcoming giant-assed disaster, I was able to job-hop and avoid unemployment fairly well.

I remember the rush of possible, promised riches all too clearly, sitting across from my new (now, non-existent) employer's HR director in a quietly well-designed conference room.

I remember him sketching out several sets of figures on a legal pad.

If I were to stay with said company for three years, I would be completely vested and worth something in the ballpark of $2,000,000.

If I were to stay with said company for five years, with the additional stock options that would kick in at that time, I would be completely vested and filthy rich and worth something like $6,000,000.

I remember walking up University Place toward Union Square, with the offer letter burning a hole in my pocket and the thought of the $5,000 relocation bonus check I would receive shortly and the heat and holler of a future in New York and money, money, money, money.

Exactly six years ago this month, that's where I was, on a cold February weekday.

Needless to say, said company didn't last the year.

So, before we get ahead of ourselves again for the first time today/this year/ this decade, sloppily deep-throating a pipe dream like an underpaid pornstar, let's all remember:

Money Changes Everything.

Or, more like:

The Thought of Easy Money Changes Everything Until You Wake Up, Bitter and Banged-Up Like a Two-Dollar Whore Who Was Promised At Least a Ten Spot For One's Troubles and a Free Breakfast and/or Cab Fare Home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love Day! Whee!

Happy Valentine's Day (Or, V.D. for short), courtesy of 80east Design.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coming Up Next on W-ORK (Or, A Guest Speaker Takes the Mic)


Lily is dancing on the table

We've all been pushed too far

I guess on days like this

You know who your friends are

Just another dead fag to you that's all

Just another light missing

On a long taxi ride

Taxi ride


And i'm down to your last cigarette and

This "we are one" crap as you're invading

This thing you call love -

She smiles way too much but

I'm glad you're on my side, sure

I'm glad you're on my side

Still


You think you deserve a trust fund

Just because you want one

Sure you talk the talk when you need to

I fear

The whole world is starting to

Believe you

Just another dead fag to you that's all

Just another light missing

On a long taxi ride

Taxi ride


And i'm down to your last cigarette and

This "we are one" crap as you're invading

This thing you call love -

She smiles way too much but

I'm glad you're on my side, sure

I'm glad you're on my side

Still


Lily is dancing on the table

We've all been pushed too far

Today

Even a glamorous bitch can be in need

This is where you know the honey

From the killer bees

I'm glad you're on my side

Sure I'm glad you're on my side

Sure I'm glad you're on my side

Still

Got a long taxi ride


Yes, it's Tori Amos, © 2002.

Yes, I am lame for not writing.

Yes, February has it's maudlin qualities, fer sure, dude.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"Truth." "Truth!" "Truth?" (Or, Memoirs Lie Like Corners of A Rug)

Memoirs,
Lie like corners of a rug.
Misty falsely-colored memoirs
Of the way we weren't.
Doctored pictures,
Of the times we never had.
Times we lied about to others,
Of the way we weren't.
Can it be that it was all so fictional then?
Or have editors sensationalized every line?
If we had the chance to make it up again,
Tell me, would we, could we?
Memoirs may be fanciful and yet,
What's too boring to remember,
We simply choose to fabricate.
So it's the book sales
Yes, it's the book sales
We will remember
Whenever we "remember"
The way we weren't...

Maybe I'm a bitter reader.

Both A Million Little Pieces and "JT LeRoy's" collected works of "memoir"y fiction never rang "true" to me in any sort of non-fiction-account-of... sort of way.

Not for a second.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading them.

I did.

In the case of "Mr. LeRoy", very much so - especially the short stories collected in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (also coming soon to a theater near you - by way of the one-and-only Asia Argento).

Now that James Frey's book is getting biopsied in every imaginable medium (and Oprah herself has shamed him on her show) and JT LeRoy "himself" is about to be revealed as a total fiction (complete with faux-transgendered stand-in, who has made countless public appearances on "his" behalf), I have to wonder:

What's so great about "truth" in both of their circumstances?

I'm not dogging truth. At all. What I mean to say is, in terms of the current confessional, sensational, infinitely obsessed with "saleable" world of book publishing, does "truth" really matter?

Besides, isn't the act of recollection, especially filtered and rewrought through the written word, a way of altering or reformatting the "truth"?

In the case of each writer, both the stylization of prose and description of events made it very clear to me that liberties were being taken. (Mr. Frey doesn't even use standard grammar when writing dialogue or quoting people; "LeRoy"'s sensational tales of underage prostitution have a decidedly Genet-ian, mannered fantasy about them.)

But, honestly, as a reader, I didn't mind.

Given the state of our culture (the phrase "to hell in a handbasket" comes to mind as a blunt understatement), I'm just glad people are buying books (let alone reading them) at all. It's doubly funny that under our current President, "truth" is not thought of as any sort of commodity, so why are we so obsessed with it from the books we read?

So, fuck "truth".

At least, in the "non-"fiction aisle at the bookstore.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cassette Side A (Or, Sometimes an Eighth Grade Notion)

I got re-entranced with VH-1 Classic recently. I let it fall off my personal TV radar for a while, since watching wall-to-wall 80s videos, despite being fun and invigorating here and there, has the overall effect of making one feel like an aged forgotten dog turd in the sun.

When your head spins with notions like: "No way. This is classic? But...but...but...this is only...um...five...ten...fifteen...oh, nevermind." as hit songs from yesterday hobble their way onscreen. (For instance, Beck's "Loser" has recently entered its heady adolescence, turning 13 years old this year).

Ouch.

Watching the video for Madonna's "Material Girl", a scene from my own life (circa eighth grade) hobbled into the periphery of my thoughts. I remembered watching the video with a neighborhood friend in his plush basement TV room. As Madonna writhed and pouted for an army of tuxedoed suitors, my head was spinning with excitement.

"This is exactly like that scene from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!" I noted.

My friend rolled his eyes at me. Turns out, another smaller head of his had been spinning with excitement.

"Whatever, dude. I'm just hoping her tits pop out of that dress."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Bride Swore Back (Or, Never a Bridesmaid, Always a Bride)

Overheard just now on the street outside my apartment building - a young woman, drenched, walking in the rain and talking on her cell phone:

"No fucking way. She's such a fucking bitch. It's like one o'fucking clock and she is not even fucking here yet. Omigod, I know. She IS such a fucking bitch. I should have fucking listened to you. And she, like, fucking wants to be my fucking Maid of Honor? No fucking way. She'll be fucking lucky if she's even a fucking Bridesmaid at this point. Making me wait in the fucking rain for her lame ass to show up. It's like not even fucking funny at this point. I'm so fucking over her."

I just wish to Baby Jesus I was going to that fucking wedding.

I'm sure it will be a fucking sensation.

I can hear it now:

"Yes, I fucking do. Now give me the fucking ring, fuckface."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Requiem for a Broad (Or, Wives Are the New Hookers)


As award season continues...here's to Liz Taylor's Oscar-winning turn as Gloria Wandrous in Butterfield 8, the broadest of broads.

Hard to believe there's not a single "hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold" actress role nominated this year. (Not that Gloria Wandrous was either "hooker" or "golden-hearted". She came before all that. She was a sort of kept woman, who comes close to redemption only to get...well, rent the DVD kids. It's worth it.)

Instead, this year, we have:

The British Lady With a Heart of Gold
The Pre-Op Trannie With a Heart of Gold
The British Ingenue With a Heart of Gold
The Woman-in-a-Man's-Work-World With a Heart of Gold
The Long Suffering Wife With a Heart of Gold

and...

The Hillbilly Wife With a Heart of Gold
The Long Suffering Virtual Wife With a Heart of Gold
The Best Friend With a Heart of Gold
The Seemingly Villainous But Long Suffering Wife With a Heart of Gold
The Long Suffering Wife With a Heart of Gold (Whose Husband Prefers the Company of Men)

Ah, the breadth and depth of character this year!

My blunt rundown sounds like a seasonal synopsis of Desperate Housewives.

I would like to thank my agent, my management, my parents...