Monday, October 31, 2005
Maybe in NYC, but I can't say I've ever dumbed myself down to get a guy to go out with me. Chances are, that's just because I don't have nearly as much dumbing-down to do as Ms. Dowd. I'm already half-way there on a good day. (And all the way there after two cosmos.) Any achievements, alas, are hardly of an intimidating variety; I can only hope to be of some ground-shaking professional stature one day. Most women can only be so fortunate as to have any chance of putting this scary, semi-elitist theory to the test.
Here's an excerpt:
Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death. "The H-bomb," they dubbed it. "As soon as you say Harvard Business School . . . that's the end of the conversation," Ani Vartanian said. "As soon as the guys say, 'Oh, I go to Harvard Business School,' all the girls start falling into them."
(Lemme tell you ladies, I've trolled for dates on the highest of professional rungs before; never been so bored in my life.)
But wait, there be more:
Many women continue to fear that the more they accomplish, the more they may have to sacrifice. They worry that men still veer away from "challenging" women because of a male atavistic desire to be the superior force in a relationship.
Good grief, this is ludicrous! I don't want to get into some silly bragging realm, but I always thought that by being smart and nicely put together (and what a chore that is (not) in this TV-stupified, Wal-Mart ridden, unhealthy, unattractive, mega-church, semi-literate, drop-dead boring culture) one attracts the best, and weeds out the kind of guy you wouldn't be caught (yawning) with.
Then again, I have the good fortune of living in the South and having been raised "southern," where, fortunately, no one ever told me you had to weed all of the wit and personality out of your life to be a successful, smart, sexy, happy, independent-minded woman. Or feminist.
Maureen hon, if you need a good time to go along with that Dream Job, I invite you to the ATL. Ain't too many good 'ole southern boys going to turn down a chance to see those red pumps fly across the bedroom, unless it's opening day for deer huntin', of course. And if it gets serious, well, you'll always have meat on the table!
Full What's A Modern Girl To Do? story here.
Friday, October 28, 2005
My dear friend Catherine, who's been a part of my life since we worked summers in the kitchen of Kanuga as teens, side by side in slop and a zealous quest to party-down religiously as soon as the last dinner plate was Hobarted away, left Atlanta a while back to seek her techy, progressive fortune in San Francisco. Talk about brain-drain.
Fortune she seems to have found. Not only did she meet and marry the enigmatic Robert Ach, or "Robbie Virus" when he's working his theremin, she is now head of marketing for Linden Lab, the company behind the wildly popular Second Life virtual community.
Second Life is once again in the NYT. Today in the Travel section. Or take a peek on RocketBoom.
You go, grrrlfriend of grrrlfriends! Even better, the Achs promise to be home for the holidays.
Here's an excerpt from today's WSJ:
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere.
I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.
Full column here.
Ahhh, Peggy hon, those Bushies promised you a rose garden, and you must have believed 'em. Try getting outta the house more. Or hell, just try a whole new world!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Now Ashley's ordeal-maker, Brian Nichols, has a buddy who says that Ashley and Brian had some sort of history of some sort of past relationship, of a yet disclosed variety.
I hear ya, I hear ya... all my conspiracy-loving pals just screaming, "I told you so!" Calm down for a sec. Get a holt 'a yourself. There's more. Uh huh, friend-of-Brian Nichols say that the "ordeal," which resulted in Bestsellers For Christ, wasn't quite the "ordeal" Ashley and her media made it out to be. Something more on the order of "one more for the road?" For old time's sake? Can't wait for the tell-all that Friend of Brian has likely wheeling and dealing as we speak. And who will drag us through Interracial Relations Muck first? I put my money on Boortz.
WSB video/story here, in the Video section just a ways down on the page. Those wacky Cox sisters sure make it easy to one-stop media shop here in the ATL. E-mail Dale Cardwell and ask him if he thinks Friend of Brian is working on a book.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Yes, I'd love to blog Rosa Parks' funeral, but I doubt I'll be able to make that one.
Monday, October 24, 2005
When given a choice, I tend to support the home team. That's just what Americans like to do, and that's why I utilize numerous BellSouth services. BellSouth provides my household with Internet access, local phone service, cellular service, various products and, this is very important, even a paycheck or two when the company utilized my copywriting services in the past.
In turn, I give you a portion of my money every month for providing such services. I have even purchased shares of BellSouth stock, hoping that the fruits of your labor will provide me with a (preferably immense) source of income at some point down the road.
I have been quite satisfied with the services BellSouth provides, give or take a few bumps in the road and the maddening lack of sales reps in your Cingular stores. Overall, I'd say I have been a darn good player on the BellSouth team.
However, BellSouth censors my blog (most blogs I'd imagine) by not allowing employees to access it from the BellSouth workplace. (Granted, anyone reading my particular blog while on the job and not on a break is likely a highly unproductive, lazy goof-off and should be fired at once. But even that point could be argued in the blog's slight favor, but I'll refrain from doing so here for brevity's sake.)
That one wee productivity issue aside and the larger one regarding "open media" brought to the front instead, I must say that I am considering moving all my communications services elsewhere -- and selling off my unvast holdings, too. I know such idle banter from a lone blogger will hardly have 'em trembling in the boardroom over on Peachtree, but it is a point to consider - and even respond to.
The issue of corporate censorship isn't just going to go "Poof" away one day. No, and pesky bloggers and journalists will likely keep writing about it for a while to come. See this recent Wired News story.
What if one day my blog reaches an audience of, oh say, 50-100K unique viewers a day? And this is not a far-fetched goal at all. What if I then urge my readership to give up their BellSouth services and products if their services and products in turn (their blogs) are not allowed in to that particular corporate environment?
Think about it. It could happen. We bloggers are many - as are our choices. And we are not likely to go away anytime soon. Heck, some folks seem to think we could even take over All Media As We Know It. Those wacky futurists!
When this happens, can I please be Maureen Dowd? Please, please? Pretty please? I can talk real sexy-like and turn my hair all fiery red too.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Does roasting a pine tree cure meth addiction? Heck if I know. Go ask a yuppie.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Danny and his mother had also attended the memorial at All Saints' church nearby, and were enjoying a hot dog and frosted orange afterwards, as my friend Doug and I were too. The Beards were seated at the next table in the Fox News room (poor Doug), so introductions were made and assorted small talk made, some chatter being about Cynthia McKinney, who's keeping busy as she ever was on The Hill, this time flaming Michael Chertoff with the latest of her conspiracy outbursts.
It's all various degrees of seperation in the this world once you get out and about in it. Consider that The Mouth of The South, McKinney, was on the brain not necessarily for making Race Card News yet again, but because all of us Varisty goers had just been treated to one of the finest eulogies ever at the service just minutes before, when Comer Yates, son of Charlie Yates, gave a beautifully orated, deeply touching and thoroughly entertaining speech about the life and times of his renowned father.
Comer Yates (D) ran against Cynthia McKinney (also D) and lost in a Congressional race (1994 I believe), with all the race-baiting by Cynthia & Co. resulting not only in Comer's loss, but a short-sighted gerrymandering exercise of the state's congressional districts, which had the dubious longterm effect of turning Georgia into a solidly red state. Is there any other force in the world more lacking in vision than a Georgia Democrat?
I can't really speak for Comer Yates' ultimate political vision or planning, but I do know when he spoke from the pulpit yesterday, it was with the fervor and plain-spoken eloquence of an old-school southern political orator, holding the audience utterly still and enthralled with story after long story of his remarkable father, his tale-telling so compelling you could've sat there on a hard pew for another two hours without realizing you were getting really, really thirsty for a Varsity Coke with the specially shaved ice that makes it taste better than a Coke in any other place.
One of the many stories Comer told yesterday morning was how he always wanted to thank his dad for being such a wonderful father, but that he never seemed to be able to do that the way he envisioned; he never could find just that right time or just the right place to express his feelings properly - and believe me, Comer Yates did not strike me in the least as being a man not capable of expressing himself.
Yet, he told a story of how one day he'd been determined to march into his dad's house and tell him "thank you" for everything he'd done for him. But when he got there, he simply ended-up leaving shortly thereafter with a handful of used-car ads from the paper, the appropriate Camry ads all carefully circled by his dad Charlie.
No perfectly chosen words fell that day, as Charlies Yates, "who sure loved the (Toyota) Camry for some reason," launched into a seemingly one-sided discussion on why his grown son, the Congressional candidate, needed a "new" used car that particular day.
It's good to be able to recall that portion of Comer's eulogy now, as to hear such oratory finery is why one gets all dressed-up and makes the effort to attend such an event in the first place. I'm grateful I did, as when I chatted with Danny Beard afterwards and gracelessly mentioned that I don't much get by his store Wax 'N Facts anymore because I tend to download nowadays, I don't feel quite so completely awful that I was unable, conversationally, to come up with anything more than a ludicrously ungrateful, offhanded remark.
That to a person who's had a hand in creating the music that's shaped nothing less than my entire life.
I remain a bumbling human yet again.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
It's Thursday. Time for -- The Week As We Know It, so far. This one was put together with a whole lot of cursing, countered by the sweetly painful Lee Ann Womack CD, There's More Where That Came From. See below. The cursing courtesy of (uuuuuugggghhhhh) pledge week at the hideous WABE, which is ruled over by Classical Music Commandant, Lois Reitzes, who spins more piss-poor selections than a blindfolded chimp.
Please consider NOT donating a cent to WABE this year, and instead pledging to the pitifully struggling WRFG instead. This will make you feel just great, trust me. Jesus will shower you will blessings and an Escalade and successful surgery, shit like that. If He don't, well gimme a call and we'll work something out.
Line DeJour From Aforementioned Disk:
"There's a whole lotta demons in this room. And none of them believe in fighting fair."
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The above (male) hottie was so special, even nasty insurgents never harmed a hair on his adorable head. So what does this imply about Judith Miller? Would hate to catch her without her makeup on. She'd wack you over the head with her Prada bag fastern' a NASCAR fan would if you tried to take away his/her Bible, or meth.
Then again, Danny Pearl was adorable; and look where that got him.
Oh BTW, there's an excellent rant going on over in Midtown at Narcissistic Graffiti. Looking forward to the book!
Now, I like a good lefty romance movie as much as the next gal, but having just re-viewed Reds for the millionth time, I was only reminded of the glaring political inadequacy of The Constant Gardener. After seeing Reds, where the characters' political passions and commitments are stewed in a brilliantly concocted context of the times in which they lived and worked and made out, I must conclude that The Constant Gardener was merely a heavy-handed propaganda piece, albeit a bit more epic-y and glamorous one to endure than, say, that clumsy Michael Moore maladroit, Fahrenheit 9/11.
I actually saw The Constant Gardener twice, not for the message, but rather for some terribly lovely audio edits (although drug company WASP execs do make for delightful villains in the post-cold war milieu). But when it goes up against a genuine lefty romantic epic like Reds, it falls so short of credibility that I wonder now why I liked it at all.
Reds, which has yet to be released on DVD, but is now playing on HBO, reminded me that if one is to develop convictions and a purpose driven political life, one must be actually challenged and defined by more than whatever circumstance happens to be swirling about, politically tempting as it might be. You must be challenged by the social as well as the political. And the historic and the absurd and the emotional... well, you get the picture.
The poorly developed characters, but fine actors who did their utmost best, in The Constant Gardener were given no societal context in which they could be nurtured and watered and ultimately understood and cheered on with. They were merely plopped down as presumably fully-matured adults, in an almost randomly chosen hell, then required to go out and behave, good or otherwise, in a manner befitting an unsubtle director.
The main characters of The Constant Gardener were so poorly defined in the context of contemporary (British) culture and their own unchallenged personal circumstances that I now find them all terribly forgettable, and instead fondly recall only the bad guys on a perfectly staged golf course encounter/scene.
On the other hand, I will never forget the characters of Reds, played to utter perfection by Beatty, Keaton and Nicholson, all in their acting prime. All were given the space and the context in this delightfully long film to become what they needed to be, to ultimately do what they needed to do. Whether that is what you want them to do or not is irrelevant. They were going to do it regardless because that is what they had become - and we were treated, as the audience, to the process.
One example, and then I'll let you go, consider the moral circumstances of Louise Bryant in Reds. Had she never been allowed, cinematically or otherwise, to fall prey and be weakened by the icy seduction of Eugene O'Neill, so swooningly played to nihilistic perfection by Jack Nicholson, she would never have become the morally strengthened woman and wife who was able to move forward in the manner in which she eventually behaved... trying bravely and desperately to give help where help was desperately needed. Not to the Communists, whom she couldn've given a rat's ass about, but to her husband Jack Reed, portrayed in the role of a lifetime, by Warren Beatty hizseff.
Now that was progressive filmmaking. Given the flattened, one-dimensional nature and circumstances of the characters of The Constant Gardener, that was no progressive film at all, merely high-handed pomposity set in a deceptively complex circumstance perfect for artifically manipulating the characters' emotions and politics for them -- and thus ultimately for us, the audience.
Heavy-handed political filmmaking never allows one thing - a chance to stir things up for ourselves.
My occasionally brilliant baby brother, Christopher, now Libertarian-tacking portfolio manager economist, father of two and still-avid rower, has this to say about all our political flailing about of late in a wee e-xchange we had yesterday:
(All I'm saying is that) The law of unintended consequences can make a twisted mockery of carefully crafted, supposedly enlightened and selfless top-down authoritarian planning, just as the results of untrammeled freedom can make a obscene mockery of carefully crafted bottom-up self-interested motives.
We are all being mocked by reality, only utopians or fascists feel that somehow they can stand in the road and say turn left or right as reality steamrolls on.The problem is that those utopians and fascists can, at least for a time and at least for large chunks of the world population, can screw things up worse than they would have been anyway.
And least we all stray into dangerous territory, pickling our own livers on the pleasures of misguided snark and sensibility, take a moment out of your purpose-driven, hectic-for-Jesus day to ponder the best in overwrought futility here.
Sorry to say, Metroblogging will no longer allow commenting from scuzzy, amateur Blogspot folk. Call Google now and give 'em whatfor. Are they in the phone book?
Mooners, what the f is "Mezzanine Capital?" Is this a financially good thing or the daquiri bar on a cruise ship?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
So thank goodness for Jeneane when she links us Special Needs Bloggers (SNB) by the hand and right on over to where we will surely find salvation, if not a timely expose on tampons. Just in time for Halloween, too!
Stephen Colbert is from Charleston? Yippeee -- someone actually escaped from there and became successful. Hell is surely freezing over. Maybe that explains why he was on CNN during a convention last year talking about his Ben Silver cufflinks rather than politics. That sure clears up a burning mystery 'round here. Colbert casts the best glances in fake TV journalism, but is he received?
Saturday, October 15, 2005
MSM had the balls and the bucks to get what it took to cover a story that outrageous: satellite trucks, sat. time and a place for reporters to sleep and eat, chiefly rented RVs. Oh yeah, they had an audience too. Now, bloggers don't need no stinking sat. trucks, nor do they need to be fed or watered much. Most can survive on coffee and cigarettes for weeks. And some may even have an audience.
Of course bloggers played a role in the Katrina story, and I won't get in to the particulars of that role here. The American Journalism Review says it a lot better than I can, so be sure to click on the link.
Let me just talk for a moment about what role bloggers can play in the future of journalism. First, they will need to get off their asses, cute or otherwise, and actually show up at a breaking news situation if they want to pursue that gold ring of credibility. If you want to be a journalist, then you gotta start acting like one. And believe me, most MSM broadcast "journalists" are just that - actors at best, particularly the ones who need poofy hairdos and lots of makeup to do their work. Once you get there, then you "act" as you see fit. Get yourself up in lots of poofy hair for chrissake if you're a vblogger!
For instance, I was working for GMA, yes I occasionally whore for MSM, during all the RunawayBrideAshleySmithInc.AbductionsTerryShiavoVisitsthe11th Circuit nonsense here in Atlanta a while back. It was all happening so fast, one thing right after the other, that it's all still a groggy blur of dumb news on top of dumb news. GMA actually cuts a check though, so there. Blogging don't pay shit, for the time being.
Every flavor of local and national sat. truck and personnel, big ones and small ones, was all over the ATL, for days. The media herd was massing downtown, in the 'burbs, all up and down Peachtree St. Everywhere you looked, MSM was destroying public and private property, eager to "get" the hot story de jour, like it was something only they were privy to.
Now just pretend the RunawayBrideAshleySmithInc.AbductionsTerryShiavoVisitsthe11th Circuit stuff was really worth covering. Would there have been bloggers present? Hard to say, since there were NO bloggers covering any of the seriously dumb shit going down during those many dark days.
Where were they? Heck, I don't know. I do know I was right there, sans laptop and sans credentials, for a good long while. Not blogging at the time though. All anyone had to do to "cover" this cycle of breaking news was just...SHOW UP. There wasn't even Mother Nature messing with the coverage logistics then either, meaning there were plenty of landlines and cell services and Wi-Fi all over the place, all functioning quite well.
The only "citizens" I saw taking advantage of the situation were a bunch of really strange religion groupies standing around with packing tape all over themselves while someone took digital pictures of 'em, which the little freaks then took over to the nearest Starbucks and uploaded on out to wherever their particular brand of Kool Aid was coming from. They also dropped by a host of local MSM sites to gaze adoringly at themselves online.
I actually wrote up an account of this Wi-Fi weirdness for a hideous local rag with a name not worth mentioning. That rag has no archive feature on their site, or I'd provide a link. Maybe I can warm up a PDF for ya later in the day.
So the lesson in all this longwinded tale is this... there has to be some kind of a Blogger News Network, with bloggers interested in getting out there in the field to actually report on things the way THEY want to report them. I mean, come on folks! The MSM was treating religious wackos with packing tape all over their faces like they were some kind of news iconography. Moreorless how they treat the White House. What if a blogger had been there with a friend and a camera following those freaks around? Now wouldn't that have been a blast to blog?
If you want to move blogging to the next level, you gotta go to the party - whether you are invited or not.
Friday, October 14, 2005
From today's NYT:
Bucking the president on Ms. Miers's nomination, though, carries risks. Many conservatives say Ms. Miers lacks the qualifications or a dependable enough conservative record to warrant a Supreme Court seat. But some evangelical Christians support her as one of their own.
"They're going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative president, and they're going to vote against her for confirmation?" Mr. (Pat) Robertson said Wednesday on his television program. "Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office."
Full story here.
Question: What's the Southern girl's mating call?
Answer: "I'm sooooo DRUNK!!!!"
See the movie Junebug and you'll know what I'm talking about. The movie is brilliant, even if you loath Outsider Art, which I happen to, but that's another blog for ya.
Come on, Grrll, I hear you say. Urbanista Southern gals don't really ponder Old South all that much? Given that we're so immersed in New South, right? Well, I wish it was that easy. I don't really like sitting around thinking about The War or Gone With The Wind or Episcopalians paying reparations for slavery.
But as I am a southerner, a movie lover and an Episcopalian, there is simply a point of inevitability, although I've yet to hang with Brad Pitt and Bono and The Archbishop. Actually, one of Ava's friends was baptized by The Archbishop Hizseff on his whirlwind drive-by of (hopefully not insignificant) southern parishes a few years back. (I wore a lovely brown velvet hat and cream colored suit, if I recall correctly.)
Bono was not with him at the time, as that was before Archbishoping duties included hanging out with rock stars to end World Suffering. And if you believe Episcopalians are going to do much of anything that involves leaving the club or the bar (see Bunny's World) then I personally have already ended World Suffering -- singlehandedly!
But then most of you don't drive along Peachtree Street, right over the very spot where Peggy Mitchell died, virtually every day. That alone is weird. Then another time, I was watching Gone With The Wind, yet again, on one of Ted's Gone With The Wind Channels, where it plays in a loop, and Ava came running in just as the Battle of Atlanta was raging on our 18" TV set.
Being fascinated by warfare, and what inquiring child wouldn't be, Ava asked, "Where did that war happen, Mommy?" I tried to be tactful, as children have little sense of "the past," and if you talk about events in history they more or less believe them to be unfolding right here and now, often lurking in a closet in their own bedroom, or under the proverbial mattress.
Still, I found myself blurting out, "Oh that? It happened right out the window, dear."
But first, I gotta stay on Raised Right Southern Girl task of cranking out the obligatory thank you notes on monogramed stationary. Then again, someone mentioned the other day we actually lost the war, so it is highly unlikely I'll be Marthaing around Tara today, so here goes my e-version...
Thank you Kevin and Jeneane for being on the WRFG show yesterday. You two are delightful, smart, and I'm glad you're my new friends. I'd insert a little Harriet Miers smiley face here, but then I'd have to go bitch slap myself, and I've made such amazing strides lately, Praise The Lord, in NOT slapping myself silly in the mirror before I drive carpool all the freakin' time, that I'm going to just NOT DO IT. hee hee good for me. tralalalalaleedee.
Speaking of friends, here's the tale of one you do not need. Then again, if you pick friends with ugly hairdos and stupid expressions on their beady-eyed faces, don't be surprised when they want to give you a Carrie-esque baby shower. I ain't talking Carrie Bradshaw here either, Ladies.
There's a fine line between sass and total idiocy. British chicks seem to be crossing over that puddle in droves, if not in really loopy level heels. Still, if you didn't have to be a roaring lush to be a Bint, it sounds kinda fun to be a Girl Gone Wild in the old country. You gotta love their odes to oldies like Paula Yates, Catherine The Great and The Princess and The Pea.
Other than that folks, here's a report on Christopher Hitchens' raging impotence. As if that's news, believable variety or not. Now why should I give a flying fritz about shagging writers?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Ladies -- just not getting the multiples you feel entitled to? Maybe it's because you're f-in a fundamentalist. Seems the Stupid People have issues with women gettin' off while gettin' it on. The AFA, yawn, is targeting Target for a boycott as Target is now selling sex-enhancement products in the female products section, wild stuff like Elexa by Trojan. Sounds more like a toga-themed porn selection: Helen Tours Paris and Hector. Troy Comes In Elexa... you get the point.
But hey, since it's right there with all that other stuff I just have to have in my life everytime I go to Target, no doubt I'll toss a tube into the already-overloaded shopping cart. Or heck, maybe I'll just get inspired and go wild right there and then, and break out the WOW-inducing product in the freakin' aisle -- as I'll no doubt be so crazed with an HBO-induced lust that I won't be able to wait the 15 minutes needed to jump in the Sport-Ut (as Clark calls them) and get home to the PRIVACY of my McMansion, filled no doubt with sex toys, and proceed to Get It On, with a gay guy no doubt -- right in front of someone's family values! Care to volunteer for conversion to Gracieanity, AC? Thanks for the inspiration, AFA. Even nice Christian gals have been known to do that which they can imagine. Shocking, n'est ce pas?
And please, just keep your joyless idiocy away from us normal folk, you Stupid People. They are the ones who need Jesus, now more than ever. In fact, I could've sworn I saw Him just the other day, browsing the sex products section at the new Tattoo Target. And yes, his hair was perfect.
Don't miss this hilarious story, one just humming with the essence of life, on hanging with the White Folk before and after Hurricane Katrina. Here's a bit for your sampling pleasure:
Haywood Hillyer was his name. He had been two years behind me in school. We weren't good friends, just pieces of furniture in each other's lives. He had grown up four blocks away from me and now lived two blocks down the street, in the smallest house in the neighborhood.
Any panel of judges would have taken one look at Haywood's house and voted it Least Likely to Be Looted. Haywood nevertheless insisted on risking his life to protect it. Outwardly conformist - clean-shaven, bright smile, well-combed dark wavy hair, neatly pressed polo shirts, gentle and seemingly indecisive manner - Haywood was capable all the same of generating a great deal of original behavior.
Full story here. And here's another, way drearier account of what it's like to be living in NOLA about right now. Still, no matter how tragic and dreary, given a choice of fucking a fundamentalist or having to live in a post-Katrina NOLA, I'd take the NOLA and run. Hard.
Be sure to tune in to WRFG today at 12 noon. I'll be rapping there about blogging. And if you can, think about donating, preferably a LOT of money, to WRFG. The station is just having a heap 'o woes about right now.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Mrs. Manning, or Betty as she was fondly called, died a terrible, lingering death from Alzheimer's. To witness such a vibrant, original life utterly crippled by such an awful disease is another blog altogether.
What was beautiful and forceful and fascinating was the life Betty Manning lived with zeal and wit and fascinating aplomb, and so was the immeasurable influence she had on the host of people who trooped in and out of her divinely welcoming life and home.
I was the beneficiary of Mrs. Manning's wordly presence and grace due to my friendship with her only child, Elizabeth Carrison Manning Dorn. Here is Elizabeth with her mother, just as the Alzheimer's was setting in for Betty. I wish I had a picture from long ago, with a display of the fiery red hair Mrs. Manning always had set to perfection.
I met Elizabeth on the day my family moved from Charleston to Columbia, to the apartment near USC on Green Street. Upon arrival at Green Street, mid-sixties or so, I promptly set off down the new street to make a new friend, where I ran promptly right in to Elizabeth. We were five or six-years old. We've been friends ever since.
Elizabeth cared for her mother ceaselessly and with complete compassion until the moment she died, all the while being a devoted wife and mother herself to three young children. She was never far from her mother's side most of the time, so it seemed. We can only wish for our own daughters to grow up to be just a tiny bit like Elizabeth. Chances are they will, as long as we make certain they have her kind and always on the sunny-side perspective in their young lives as they grow and learn.
Elizabeth's loyalty and devotion to her many friends, weird ones or not, is legendary. She learned from a master, after all. Her mother immediately welcomed me and all of my rather freakish family into her grand home at 1828 Green Street. Mrs. Manning was a bona fide Grande Dame, and that's just what Grande Dames do. Elizabeth's father, Bernard, was much more imposing, but welcoming too in his own glaring, towering way. I doubt he muttered "dirty hippies" more than four or five times, although he was surrounded by a university full of them at the time.
Another childhood friend, whom I was delightfully reunited with after a nineteen-year absence today at the funeral, Dorothy Fowles Kendall, happens to be a fellow blogger -- a wonderful writer with almost perfect recall of every event and and every absurdity and every person from our childhood in downtown Columbia during the turbulent sixties.
Dorothy blogs today's funeral, cherished tidbits and many dusty memories of our shared history with the Mannings here. But don't believe everything she says! Particularly the bit about how I started the infamous birthday Barbie incident. (She started it.)
Friday, October 07, 2005
An American Playlet - American Empire
Posted by Jeff (Monday October 03 2005)
Bush: Will you please stop bothering me?
Aide: Mister President, you really must pick a nominee
Bush (mounting bike): I said 'I'm busy.'
Aide: Mister President, the country is getting anxious.
Bush (spots a lawyer walking by): Oh, good Lord, tell 'em it's ... what's her name?
Bush: Really? Heh, she'll do. (bikes off)
Wanna see what a few good lies look like? Click here.
From WiredNews, Oct. 6, 2005:
In a freewheeling conversation with Web 2.0 conference organizer John Battelle, InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller, who recently purchased Ask.com, dismissed the idea that citizens with blogs and video editing software were major threats to the entertainment industry.
"There is not that much talent in the world," Diller said. "There are very few people in very few closets in very few rooms that are really talented and can't get out."
"People with talent and expertise at making entertainment products are not going to be displaced by 1,800 people coming up with their videos that they think are going to have an appeal."
That clear-headed observation didn't set well with some, including media critic Jeff Jarvis, who promptly blogged the talk and labeled Diller with the deadly moniker, "Web 1.0."
Full story here.
Video? Who said anything about just video, Mr. Diller? What about original content and a few feathers! (See below.)
Oh, to finally get to go to the ball. The ball being one of those preening conferences where everyone struts around all their e-stuff. Maybe Web 2.0 will have me along for the ride, who's to say? I didn't do too bad with 1.0, actually. Got my little 'ole Deep South head around some things at least.
Hang on Barry, hon. Maybe you will be taken for a ride... I could show up wearing this number. I own it now, baby. Bought it on eBay with 2.0 dreams in my head. Well, a themed costume party this past summer, actually. But what the heck - unlike the Beloved Cause, New Media will rise again.
Quote regarding above costume from a brother's wife, "How many chickens had to die for that?"
Oh yeah, don't miss the latest installment of True Love Pillow Talk On-Air Confessions. I've ordered my people at CNN to b-slap that Daryn Kagan for me. They're processing the data as we speak. Hmmm.. did I remembered to program some kinda default order to squash her in the Ladies' Room door? Hope so!
I usually refrain, for your benefit, from blogging about books. I read too many. Is there anything more tediously dull, annoying and sophomoric than people babbling about books they just "love"? That's a menopausal, Chicos-wearing, Oprah-lovin' bookclub nightmare just waitin' to happen. Shut up and read, OK? Moreorless the same sentiment expressed in a quote in Ms. Smith's book from a character who remarks, 'Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.'
But I'm really enjoying Zadie Smith On Beauty. Only thing is, the Ministry of Style, Vogue Mag, seems to have gotten her all wrong. I'd be pissed off if someone did that to me. Then again, since the only thing I'm likely to ever write is Internet-related blather, I don't have that kinda stress in my life. Whew!
Thursday, October 06, 2005
But trust me, the lunatic-level of aggressive behavior came in all-gendered flavors and levels of disgusting demeanor, such as that audio tech, who will remain nameless here, who would bring the crew van to a screeching halt to oogle women's boobs jogging merrily by. Ughhh. That sort of unprofessional behavior was tolerated (at that point in time) even while the Clarence Thomas hearings were in full swinging D mode!
And then there was that hyped-out, now "former" on-camera correspondent with whom I had to travel the SE periodically with as she needed a sherpa to procure those all-important first-class upgrades for her while she, presumably, chased down a breaking news situation. That particularly unappealing "on-air" once ordered me to dial a Delta reservations number for her, right in the middle of something like, oh say, a Cat 5. "It's 1-800-323-2323," she barked. "Even you can remember that." Yeah, and some of us never forget, hon.
But back to the point at hand... Here's more on that dangerous, self-server journalist, Judith Miller, from New York online edition:
The Judy Miller problem is complicated. That is, the very qualities that endeared Miller to her editors at the New York Times—her ambition, her aggressiveness, her cultivation of sources by any means necessary, her hunger to be first—were the same ones that allowed her to get the WMD story so wrong.
Miller is a star, a diva. She wrote big stories, won big prizes. Long before her WMD articles ran, Miller had become a newsroom legend—and for reasons that had little to do with the stories that appeared beneath her byline. With her seemingly bottomless ambition—a pair of big feet that would stomp on colleagues in her way and even crunch a few bystanders—she cut a larger-than-life figure that lent itself to Paul Bunyan–esque retellings.
Most of these stories aren’t kind. Of course, nobody said journalism was a country club. And her personality was immaterial while she was succeeding, winning a Pulitzer, warning the world about terrorism, bio-weapons, and Iraq’s war machine. But now, who she is, and why she prospered, makes for a revealing cautionary tale about the culture of American journalism.
Full Judith Tell-All tale here. And yes, former ABC News colleagues, remind you of anyone? Everyone? Oh, I won't tell if you don't!
This excerpt from MediaBistro's fine NY Fishbowl imprint:
We left off with Jon Stewart turning to Jim Kelly. He licks his chops. "Time magazine has been a tradition in America, yet...what's happened?" (I-can't-believe-he-just-said-that laughter). "One federal prosecutor says 'let me see your notes' and immediately everyone pulls their underwear over their heads and hands it over." A pause. "Not only that...Newsweek breaks the story." Oooh, snap! "Jim," he intones, solemnly, "what the fuck?"
Graydon Carter is shaking with laughter. His turn next. But Jon wants to know; this, he says, "is a huge issue." Meanwhile, in the outside world, news is breaking that Judith Miller has been released from jail. Jim plays the Blame Game, immediately invoking corporate parent Time Inc. and how "Norm Pearlstine in his corporate role decided" to release the notes only "after fighting it out in the Supreme Court." Don't looky here, mister. You think I like having to defend this stuff? "
Needless to say, we wish that we didn't have any emails to turn over." Jon waves it aside for the next pressing question. "Let me ask you this: why is your magazine so gay?" Nice. The crowd loves this! I do too. Jon is so damn quick, and he has this effortlessly under his control. The guy is a pro.
Read a full workout of the evening's festivities here.
And whatever you do, do NOT try to engage priviledged, self-satisfied, smug lawyer-types in a conversation about the very issue that's tearing apart the Episcopal Church while you're at, of all weird things, an Episcopal retreat!
WASP lifestyle-driven yuppies just hate to be mentally agitated, guess that explains their love of drugging-up their small children. And they certainly don't like to think about much beyond the ALTA/country club box about gay rights and certain priests (their own at All Saints', for instance) who might be compelled to take a moral stand one way or the other on the issue of acceptance of homosexuality, or not, in the Anglican church and community.
At a church outing last weekend, I tried to find out about how fellow parishioners were thinking and feeling about our own priest at All Saints', Geoffrey Hoare. His deep reflections and prayer and meditations on the issue of homosexuality, in the Anglican body and in our church, are present in a blog he is keeping while on on his corporately-funded sabbatical to Africa and elsewhere.
Careful what you go looking for, Dear Readers; you might find it. Here's a sampling of the responses I was met with upon bringing up the subject:
"No, I haven't read it." (Translates to: I haven't read anything in the last ten years other than the WSJ at best.)
"What's a blog?"
"Marriage is a man marrying a woman, and that's it."
"He's vulgar (Geoffrey). He uses the "F" word all the time."
"The parish is doing just fine without him."
"He's too intellectual for me. He doesn't get through to me at all."
At that point, I (silently) suggested they all drop the "F" outta All Saints' and opt for the utmost in simplistic drivel by reading The Purpose Driven Life instead of having to deal with Sir Geoffrey's complexities and utter lack of relentlessly cutesy-cute babblings about fantastical "good news."
What a bunch of boring yuppies they were. I was appalled at the extreme lack of intellectual curiosity in just about anything, except for the small matter of me being divorced and a single mom and would thus upset the couples-only seating plan of the dining hall, as one shrieking Muggle of a soccer mom just couldn't wait to point out when I tried to sit down at her married couples-only table.
And yes, that was hurtful, and what a bellowing hag she was, that Yet Another Atlanta Lawyer's Spouse Thing I made the gross mistake of trying to engage in something resembling a conversation. The numbers just don't add up so cutesy-cute and paired-off when you're alone with your kid at a FAMILY retreat.
But let's take a moment and back away from the bitterness and see what Sir Geoffrey has to say lately about what the issue of homosexuality may or may not do for his continuing leadership (I have hope) of this one Atlanta church.
"In the meditation period I re-read Romans 1 and 2. While I have come to accept that the overriding issue of my entire life in ministry will be shaped by discussions about homosexuality, it is not the only or the most important thing to me and I'd like to be able to put it aside. This morning I allowed the faces of many of the people of All Saints' to come before me in prayer.
And here is where I am: I see nothing especially wrong and much that is more than right in the way many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters conduct their lives in the faith. I see no reason to bar any of them from the Lord's Table or from offering their gifts in ministry. I pray that our Communion does not ask me to abandon them or ask them to be less than who they find themselves to be.
The phrase that kept coming to my mind as I prayed was "The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Without grandiosity or any hint of a savior complex, and with a good measure of fear and trembling, I know that I will stand with those I am called to serve and lead." I hope, --maybe in vain, but I hope that those with power in our church will find a way forward together.
I fear that there is too much hurt and anger free floating around to allow that to happen and once more our sin (the sin of all of us) will lead to an even more broken body of Christ and an even less effective mission. I have heard the argument that we should go our separate ways so that we may all focus more clearly on proclaiming the gospel.
This is dreadful theology for anyone who reads the Gospel of John in which the unity of Jesus' followers is required for the sake of the right proclamation of the good news. Arguments about who fired the first shot, started the war or chose to split the church are not helpful, nor are proposed ways forward that ask us to give up on the people we are given to love and serve. I also, in no way, ask others to stop those ministries of reaching out to people concerned about their obsessions or who experience their lives as disordered.
I hope that in time those who proclaim homosexual people to be "objectively disordered" (a la Benedict XVI) will temper their certitude and maybe do what Archbishop Williams asks, taking another look and perhaps finding things of which they may repent."
Full blog here.
And BTW, least you think me too snarly today, I met and talked and danced with some wonderfully delightful, engaging people while at the All Saints' Kanuga weekend: Keith the Mad Scientist, who likes to banter almost as much as I do; Jan The Doctor and her cheerfully shopping husband; MaryJo, a widowed mom and her sweet angel of a son. That other single mom with that amazing dancer of a three-year old who's name I can't recall right now. And always in my life, my dear kind friends and former neighbors, The Jacobs family.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
From The Guardian, Wednesday Oct. 5:
By the time she was in her early 20s, Rania al-Baz had become one of the best known and best loved faces in her home country of Saudi Arabia. As presenter of a programme called The Kingdom this Morning on state-owned television, her hair was always covered by a hijab, as is required, but her face remained uncovered, and she would choose headscarves of defiantly flamboyant colours to cover her immaculately styled hair.
She became, for hundreds of thousands of Saudi women, admirable, enviable and challenging - and, thus, an implicit threat to a society in which women are forced to cover themselves, are not allowed to drive, cannot vote or participate in political life, cannot leave home unless accompanied by a chaperone or travel without authorisation from a father or husband, and cannot establish a business without a male sponsor.
See and read what happened to Ms. al-Baz here. WARNING, it's ugly. Very ugly. She may or may not have fled to France.
And wouldn't ya know... as soon as I go blogging about women in Saudi, the Ministry of Thought Control there goes and shuts down Blogger.com. Damn them damn them damn them. Hang in there, Ladies. We Yank gals will keep writing anyway. We won't believe the hype until you can read it yourself!
Of course my recall of such defining moments remains as it ever was -- pretty hazy, but what the hell! I survived it all, which is a remarkable thing in itself. A lot of folks, some good, some very very wicked, did not. So cheers to us 80's debauchery survivors! We're the toughest, baddest of the lot.
Sometimes, I still conjure up that stack of burned out TVs-turned-monitors from 688 that stood in the corner by my favorite table and looped a bloody, fanatical, ritual romp of self-flagellation video clips, via a Betamax machine I bet. The TV-stack was spray-painted in dayglow psychedelic colors. To this day, that was one of the best video-as-art installations I've ever seen. Likely ever will, other than astonishing video-installation work done by Iranian-born photog, Shirin Neshat.
Here's a photo by Ms. Neshat I really dig, titled The Rapture:
If anyone out there has any kind of print or clip or ANYTHING relating to 688, please get in touch. Let's do that doc!
Ahh heck Dear Readers, I'd love to sit down and tell you the story of one night alone at that place, but my entirely innocent, everlovin' quest for a clear recall of the time Freddy Vomit fell through the ceiling landed me in such a world 'o heartache that I'm still trying to weed my way through it all, a year later! Maybe some other time...
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
And that was way before lingerie became outerware - a nifty trend I don't mind stealing from the younger set on occasion. Another was an Album 88 number, which I'm convinced was stolen - by whom I have no idea, or I'd go back and get the darn thing even 20 years later.
And then there was the Black Flag Tour In My Head one, which to this day never ceases to crack me up. Kinda like a Python line that floats through your brain during a mindnumbing corporate meet-a-thon.
"We've got to redirect the paradigm to reflect our inculturation within the upcoming fiscal cycle."
"Crucifixion?" "No, I'm to be set free."
I kinda miss the little buggers. So I got to thinking about an old timey band from 'round here, The Swimming Pool Q's, and Lordy if they aren't still going at it like the whippersnappers they used to be. The Pool Q's even played, yet again, one of my favorite venues on the planet recently, The Windjammer on Isle of Palms, S.C.
That place is an entire short story in itself. It was a slow night at the Windjammer unless a pack of Navy enlisted guys commenced to beatin' the crap out of a bunch of bat-eared Citadel cadets, or "Knobs" as they were relentlessly taunted. Fortunately, such a show of drunken stupor was an inevitability at the Windjammer, before they closed the Charleston Naval Base at least. I'll never forget some smarty-alekky djs cracking on Navy wives just after Hurricane Hugo. Saying stuff like, "They're going to riot (Navy wives) 'cause their shipment of Twinkies can't get through."
Lordy how I diverge! Back to the concept at hand... I used to sigh and avert my eyes when I'd see one of Jeff Calder's fine, brocade vests turn up at a show. Why was I so shy then? Now that I've got some semblance of nerve about me, I went and morphed into a soccer mom, where it all gets yelled out on the field.
Oh, but there was that fleeting, danceable moment not so long ago when 2004 shifted to '05 with the sound of Pylon at the 40 Watt blaring me right up against where I always wanted to be.
The chronic late bloomer can be a bitterly romantic wench...
Monday, October 03, 2005
That wacky dude is a relentless source of hilarity in print and assorted other media. Where else would we keep abreast of the latest propaganda-spa products on the global (NOT) market? (Thanks for the heads-up, Ms. En Vie.)
This from Andisheh's latest column:
Usually, it's good policy to ignore everything that North Korea announces via its news agencies. After all, on the same day that the Korean Central News Agency announced the country's intent to de-nuke, it also ran a "news" story proclaiming that North Korean scientists have developed a breakthrough drug called "Royal Body-Fresh" that cures nephritis, diabetes and, I kid you not, bed-wetting - all without side effects. Ask your doctor if Royal Body-Fresh is right for you.
His podcasts here.
When the land became water and
Water thought it was God,
Consuming lives here, sparing lives there,
Swallowing buildings, and devouring cities.
It was power, mighty power, grown careless
And intoxicated with itself, and
The American people were tested...
SPACEY GRACEY ON KATRINA
When God done flood our party city
It's high time to shelve the pity.
These old ways the wind done gone
Best to gas up 'fore too long
The Hummer we do drive the best
Might keep you drier than the rest.
Some got power, some got fun
Won't be long we're on the run.
Own two legs and shit. You remember those?
Gotta run, find some fun
Gotta run, find some fun.
Oops outta gas. Oops outta gas.
I've been immersed, once again, in the hyper-networked urban Atlanta landscape of ideas and techies and bloggers and start-ups and investors and too many futurists and RSS overload in my head. So I decide to get away from it all for a weekend, and I end up driving through my own home state, where the side of the road continues to look like this:
Even if that's kinda pretty in that desolate kinda way to you, it sure ain't no Wiki-world 'round those parts! Talk about getting away from it all. It's only getting away to la-la land, folks. Don't over-romanticize what don't need over-romanticizing. In other words, do as I say, not as I tend to do.
Personally, I think I could use a little mercy now. I ain't likely to make it to the big-ass blogger conference, ConvergeSouth, in Greensboro this coming weekend.
I'm the Hank Williams of the bloggersphere, and Lordy wasn't he a pathetic little culture-freak when all gets said and done? About all I'm likely to converge with is a six of Stella and a pack of those "liberal cigarettes", as my dearest righty friend, Jenny K, calls my favorite poison. She on the other hand is still a Marlboro Light kinda gal, God Bless her Bush-lovin' heart. Jenny K's just that ever-lovin' force of friendship that's kept me from drifting too hard in many a direction lately -- and it's all beyond the political at this point...
Even Ashley Smith is getting nowhere faster than me. Talk about the ultimate Fake Christian; Ashley the (former) meth freak, says in her book of Utter Blather that she won't visit Brian Nichols in jail, even though he asked her to. Now that just ain't right, and it sure ain't Christian-like. And ain't it just like an idiot Southerner to start hollerin' for Jesus to get them out of the shit-hole they've managed to dig their own stupid self into yet again?
Ahhhh... sometimes a good whine is just what you need to get up and get out the door.