Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Old Home Week

Back in San Francisco this week on business. It's wonderful to see the loving, familiar faces of family and friends. Beautiful as San Francisco is, however, I feel no pangs of homesickness, especially when freezing my ass off in August. However, the fog finally lifted and brought me a beautiful day today. I strolled through The City in all her sparkling glory, counting the iPods and admiring the unique architecture.

Beyond actual human beings, however, the only things I miss about San Francisco are as follows:

The Presidio
Trader Joe's
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Ridiculously steep hills

I also miss being 'downtown' amongst the hustle and bustle, moving through the throngs of city dwellers, eavesdropping on their conversations. I can't say I miss the bus, per se, but I do recall it fondly - my appreciation for public transportation runs deep. These days, isolated in the cushy home office, my version of commuter traffic now consists of tripping over my cat in the hallway. Gotta say, I love it. The cubicle life is not missed (with the exception of my co-workers, whom I adore) especially with my aversion to flourescent lighting.

Meanwhile, I could barely contain my pride with yesterday's announcement that Colorado is the leanest state in the nation. Ironic for me since most of my family lives in Mississippi, the fattest state in the nation. (I can't rub this in too much, however, since I am probably the chubbiest in the clan.) As a newcomer, I can attest to this 'lean state' business. I recall telling my mother, "I swear. Everyone is in shape here, even the big 'uns. I've only seen one fat person since I moved to Colorado and she zoomed past me up the trail."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Broken Levees, Broken Hearts

I dutifully stayed home these last two nights to watch Spike Lee's documentary, "When the Levees Broke" on HBO. In four heart-wrenching acts, Lee takes us through Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 and its devastating effect on the Gulf Coast, primarily New Orleans.

As a Mississippian by proxy (a Clisby contingent lives on the coast), my first reaction was resentment that the film (like much of the media coverage) did not pay more attention to Mississippi, where the damage was extensive. However, once the film got underway, it was clear that Lee zeroed in one subtle detail in all this mess, something I always point out to folks: The damage to Mississippi resulted from a natural disaster – the damage to New Orleans was the fault of mankind, bureaucrats specifically. It only happened because our government turned its back on the entire scene. Period.

This is the underlying point of Lee's film: This national tragedy did not have to occur. Everyone knew this could happen. The President (we see videotape of him being briefed on August 28 by federal meteorologists.) FEMA. The Governor. The Mayor. The media. And, yes, even the citizens. It was the ‘inconvenient truth’ before Gore showed up to claim the phrase.

No one wanted to foot the bill for capable levees to be built and the Army Corps of Engineers (they and FEMA Director Michael Chertoff are the biggest villains here) are either alarmingly ignorant or modern-day charlatans. Both options chill my spine. This is the crew that is supposed to make our blind little American lives safer?!? It’s like having a gang of mean-spirited pyromaniac teenage boys take care of your cat while you’re on vacation - makes it hard to relax.

The abysmal failure of every level of government in our great hour of need was astounding. A lieutenant from the Corps is caught on film proclaiming that the levees were 17 feet deep and, “We don’t know why the levees failed.” Hmm, could it be because they were actually only 10 feet deep? Half-assed job from an agency that used to boast the world’s best engineering minds and now they are a bunch of lazy liars. Don’t worry though, they promise to get the levees “built back up to pre-Katrina standards.” Great! Will they also be handing out floaties?

I suffered no personal loss and yet the ripple effect of Katrina continues to vex me. Certainly, I feel shame about the pointless war my country stubbornly insists on fighting but this situation takes it to another level– it’s personal. I liken it to the embarrassment you might feel when your asshole husband picks a fight with the neighbors, compared to the sick sensation you’d get watching the same prick admit he forgot to pick up the kids from school - he was simply focused on other things. More of an overall, “Uh-oh”-type feeling, the kind that produces cold sweat.

Wisely, Lee stays out of the film entirely. You never see his face and only hear him in the background once or twice. He leaves the storytelling to the people that were there, lost loved ones, lost everything, are living in FEMA trailers, have scattered families and are just getting by, one day at a time. The best interviews are with key players during that time, including my favorite, the guy who told Cheney “Go fuck yourself!” on live television - twice. I love that guy. (Best part is, the guy's a scientist!)

We hear sad story after sad story and the images are beyond shocking. It’s just hard to get your mind around an entire government (ours, specifically) turning its back on citizens who were drowning and dying in a major urban city. Bush was on vacation and couldn’t be bothered to touch down on ravaged Gulf Coast soil until TWO FUCKING WEEKS LATER. Cheney was fly-fishing in Wyoming, of course. Condi was shoe shopping in Manhattan on Day Three. After that, she caught the Tony-award-winning musical, “Spamalot.” Omigod, such fun!

My anger is endless on this topic so I’ll try to calmly conclude this barbed rant. Bottom line: Please find a way to see this film. Hurricane Katrina is one of the defining moments in our nation’s history, for better or for worse. It will be studied and talked about for years to come but one thing is for sure, America will never, ever be the same.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Folks Festival - Rain or Shine

Yesterday, I had the wisdom to get up early and drive for an hour in the pouring rain to attend an outdoor music festival. Thankfully, the 16th annual Folks Festival in Lyons was worth every drop.

Being solo does have its advantages, especially when it comes to entertainment venues. Sure enough, I weaseled my soggy butt onto a choice sliver of muddy grass and made friends with the neighbors immediately – a group of about seven lesbians and one straight man named Gary. "I'm an island in a sea of ovum," he said.

I showed up during the set of Kathrin Shorr, a lovely Londoner who taught herself after finding an old guitar in her father's clock shop. As a struggling guitar student, I gotta hand it to her – I can barely get it out of the case by myself.

The next guy blew me away. Steve Seskin, a prolific songwriter, won me over with his first song, "Two-Paper Town" which talked about the lack of news choices and biased news reporting. The liner notes of his CD stated: "I'm disturbed by the notion that our country is starting to look all the same and that slowly but surely, the uniqueness of the different regions of this great land are disappearing." Gotta love Steve.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland came next. As the son of the late actor Anthony Perkins, the guy is a gifted poet. Sadly, Elvis also lost his mother on 9/11 (she was on the one of the planes) so he's got plenty of angst to pull from. He did just that but he also offered a few lively ditties, punched up by his band, one of whom happily beat on a drum strapped to his chest. "He was definitely the rebel in the high school marching band," Gary decided.

One of my favorite artists, Jane Siberry, was up next, except she now goes by the name of Issa. (I don't get it and apparently, am not supposed to.) She started off a bit too ethereal for the crowd, with recordings of birds, she did a spoken-word thing, talking about rivers and fairies and whatnot. "Yipes," said a neighboring lesbian. Eventually, she won everyone over with her quirky songs, admitted lack of rhythm and also the tidbit that she'd recently sold everything she owned except what she can carry. She's a unique Canadian jewel, that one.

In between all these sets, I walked around the festival and quickly got drunk on various flavors of mead (simply because there was no line) – black raspberry, boysenberry and sunshine/apricot. A darling young man named Quail (!) preached to me the wonders of wind power while I pondered why hemp clothing must always be so damn ugly.

I munched on sweet potato fries, wrote in my journal (it's been neglected since the blog was born) and read. Meanwhile, the rain came, went, came back and went away again. During one of the downpours, I snuck a cigarette under a tree with a woman who had just moved to Colorado from Utah. "It was time," she said. When she heard my story, she gave me her lighter for good luck.

One of my favorite musicians of all time, Guy Clark, came on next, accompanied by his talented friend, Verlyn Thompson. I love Guy and have seen him before but he seemed a bit weary this time, perhaps it was the altitude. (Most of the artists commented on it. Kris Kristofferson said: "Who took all the air?") Anyway, he played some favorites ("Old Friends," and "Homegrown Tomatoes")plus some tunes from his new album, "Workbench Songs." Fittingly, it began raining again during "Randall Knife," a song about his father's death. Oh, how I love that man - he's like 'Pa' on 'Bonanza' - you just feel safer when he's around.

Kathleen Edwards followed Guy and I'm not sure if it was her soothing voice or the mead but I passed out. I'm sure she's great but honestly, I can't confirm this.

I awoke to the roof-raising antics of The Waifs. Comprised of two Australian sisters and bunch of guys, this band rocked the house. One minute, it was a haunting solo acapella and the next, it sounded like some rock-roots circus had come to town. By far, they gave the best performance of the day. Impossible to sleep through, that's for sure.

At this point, the sun made a final appearance and really lit up the red cliffs and the bright green trees. Lordie, it was spectacular. Yet again, the reality of living in Colorado cheered me up immensely. Hearing one artist after another comment on the state's beauty made me so proud. Jane/Issa said, "If you live here, you are so lucky. You must feel different; your cells must look different. Please, go out in the world and spread this around. Go sit in train stations and such. Please."

Last but not least, Kris Kristofferson – the headliner of the day – made it out. I'd been forewarned about his onstage awkwardness by Fang and KK didn't stray from that. Though he is a phenomenal songwriter and his singing voice is full of gritty sincerity, his guitar playing is minimal, at best. At first, he wouldn't look at us or speak, except when abruptly ending his songs (each and every time) with a mumbled, "Thank you."

The audience found this charming, as did I. The Pilgrim is a legend and so obviously humbled by life circumstances, he is real. Gradually, after getting overwhelming love from the crowd, he began to relax and tell us stories - about being in the Army and then the National Guard, about being broke, about getting feedback from his kids. (His five-year-old son, "Um, dad, that's not a very good song.") So often he tips his hat to other musicians, citing them by name is a KK trait - Hank Williams and Roger Miller get the most love but Johnny and Willie show up too. (His song, "Wild American" is a perfect example of this.)

By the end of the evening, the crowd was on their feet. We had been there for 12 hours and now stood under the stars, wet and freezing, and hanging on every word of KK. I knew there was a barnstormer of a song coming, the words so clear and painful, that no one would be unaffected. Sure enough, "In the News" cut right to the bone and brought home the power of music – the reason we all showed up in the first place:

Read about the sorry the way he'd done somebody's daughter
Chained her to a heavy thing and threw her in the water
She sank into the darkness with their baby son inside her
A little piece of truth and beauty died

Burning the atmosphere and cutting down the trees,
The billion-dollar bombing of a nation on their knees
Anyone not marching to their tune, they call it treason
Everyone says God is on his side

See the lightening, hear the cries
Of the wounded in a world in holy war
Mortal thunder from the skies
Killing everything they say their fighting for

Broken babies, broken homes
Broken-hearted people dying every day
How'd this happen?
What went wrong?
Don't blame God, I swear to God, I heard him say:

Not in my name, not on my ground
I want nothing but the ending of the war
No more killing
Or it's over
And the mystery won't matter anymore

Broken dreamers, broken rules
Broken-hearted people just like me and you
We are children of the stars
Don't blame God, I swear to God, he's crying too

Not in my name, not on my ground
I want nothing but the ending of the war
No more killing or it's over
And the mystery won't matter anymore

Read about the sorry way he'd done somebody's daughter
Chained her to a heavy thing and threw her in the water
And she sank into the darkness with their baby son inside her
A little piece of truth and beauty died

Friday, August 18, 2006

An Early Christmas

Oh, the joy I receive when bad things happen to bad companies.

Andrew Young, an African-American civil rights leader, was hired by Wal-Mart to improve its public image and perhaps, keep the corporate nun company. Young's job was to, once again, help the obese entity with its tarnished public image.

For six months, Young has been traveling the nation, assuring everyone that WM cares about People Just Like You – as long as you are not Jewish, Arab or Korean, that is. (Insert smug squeal here.)

In an interview yesterday with an African-American newspaper, The Los Angeles Sentinel, Young stated distrust of small neighborhood market owners, you know the ones, those that are disappearing into the tire treads of a certain big box retailer we know? "(They've been) selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables," Young huffed, setting the stage for puffing.

“You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,” he said of the mom-n-pop store owners, “and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now its Arabs.”

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!! Can we sing carols now???

Here's where Mr. Young, former mayor of Atlanta, gets to learn that being black does not disqualify you from being a bigoted fool. Nor does being a former representative to the United Nations, which Young was in a former life, before the accident.

Anywaaaay (interject sing-songy tone here,) less than an hour later, Young resigned as chairman of Working Families for Wal-Mart, a group created and financed by the company to trumpet its accomplishments. I guess Wal-Mart assumed that just because Young was black, he could play the trumpet …

What? Who said that?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

101 Ways to Be an Asshole

I nearly choked on my toothpaste yesterday morning when I heard about Northwest Airlines new 'money-saving tips' offered to laid-off employees. Titled "101 Ways to Save Money," the list crosses so many lines of sensitivity and good taste, it's like a lap dance at a wake – before the flasks appear. As a public relations professional, I have to wonder if the Northwest pr team was unavailable, having all died in a team-building off-site gone awry or if they (now) just wish they were.

Helpful tips (set-ups are mine) include:

-Need a sparkly bobble? Get jewelry from pawn shops!
-Car break down? Snag car parts at junkyards!
-Drowning in bills? Take shorter showers!

The Eagan, Minn.-based carrier gave out 60 of the booklets before it began getting complaints, and it cut the list from remaining copies. Northwest, the fifth-largest U.S. airline, is reducing pay and benefits and shedding jobs as it trims labor spending by $1.4 billion annually to exit bankruptcy protection as soon as 2007. The job cuts include 1,000 machinists as well as members of other unions. The airline also is seeking $195 million in wage and benefit cuts from its flight attendants, who have said they will begin a series of unannounced, random work stoppages as soon as Aug. 25.

Any way you look at it, it's a sad story. Though it is happening all across the industry, I pay particular attention to Northwest because it is the only airline willing to fly me to North Dakota.

More sage advice:

-Generous but broke? Give homemade cards and gifts!
-Sick but broke? Ask Doc for free drug samples!
-Need to get laid? Borrow an employed friend's dress for a big night out!
-Kids have a birthday? Hand-me-downs – they won't know the difference!

This is my favorite tip as it requires no additional exaggerations:

"Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

Mind you, I lived by this philosophy during my time in San Francisco, a town of wealthy transients. Hell, I furnished half my apartment with 'trash,' including the chair I currently sit in. However, I never thought I'd live to see the day when my scavenger tendencies would be backed by a major airline.

Clueless, beleaguered and broke, Northwest must take the ultimate blame for this embarrassment. However, there is another player in all this. The 165-page booklet was apparently created for Northwest by NEAS, an employee-assistance company based in Waukesha, Wis. According to them, NEAS is comprised of "...people who truly listen, who genuinely care, who are available at all times, and who know how to enhance the lives of employees and support the productivity and profitability of employers."

I admire their dedication in "being there at all times" – especially since a spokeswoman for NEAS referred all calls back to Northwest regarding this issue.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's a (Early) Girl!

Saturday was an exciting day here at Clisby Gardens: I harvested my first edible item! Isn't it a beautiful red? Tomato Red, I think they call it over at the paint store. Marvel at its miraculous girth. Lust over its taut perfect skin. Admire its perfect green soul patch.

Go ahead, I'll give you a moment.

No matter that the blender in the photo is only four inches tall - I still consider this a miracle - mostly because it happened under my fidgety watch. Though I have explored online, read books and scanned gardening magazines, I find nothing to prove that misplaced maternal hovering helps foster plant growth. Well, I-be-damn, here's your proof! Okay, perhaps these daily Colorado rainstorms help some but clearly, divine intervention is at work here.

I'm feeling mighty powerful and self-sufficient from this accomplishment. Dirt, up until now, was something to be washed off, never dug into. Big, leafy new worlds are opening up for me with this new birth - worlds that welcome worms and produce brand new tomatoes.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy to be Blue in Denver

I have lived in Denver a mere 2.5 months and it wasn't until tonight that I began to feel like a local. Weeks ago, after reading a compelling feature in the Denver Post, I bought a single ticket to see Josh Blue at The Gothic Theatre on 8/11/06. He was voted favorite local comedian in a recent poll and I thought it would be cool – as a cheerleader of all things comedic – to support a talented Denver fellow making his dent in the world through laughter.

This was weeks ago. Meantime, JB managed to actually be the last comic standing on the NBC show, "Last Comic Standing" – declared just last Wednesday. Tonight was his first performance since grabbing that title.

Because of his 'standing,' they were filming a DVD of tonight's show and the atmosphere was celebratory. Josh looks like any other Colorado stoner and he is, but also, he is not. Josh has cerebral palsy (while I am merely drunk) and uses his jerky condition as fodder for his act. In fact, he declared a cure would surely ruin his life at this point, "Well, there goes my gig." The above photo shows Josh as a U.S. soccer team member in the Para-Olympics, not to be confused with the Special Olympics. "We play for medals, not hugs," Josh insists.

Ah, The Gothic Theatre. Ceilings painted sky-like, the venue is a Denver legend, despite its location in nearby Englewood. Known as the first theatre in the area to show talking pictures, it is a holy church of entertainment. A band plus a few other comics came out first to warm up the crowd ("Hippie Man" was an especially big hit) but it was Josh the crowd wanted. With all the hovering boom mikes and fancy cameras plus his recent win, the atmosphere in the room was sheer pride, absolute love. (Walking to the theatre from where I'd parked, I passed a small house just behind The Gothic - sprinklers were on and kids were jumping through them. In the window were pasted four large letters made from blue construction paper: J-O-S-H.)

Josh arrived with his shaggy blonde locks, his famous jiggy right arm and the crowd jumped to its feet, so wildly proud of his accomplishment – local boy makes good – great, even. It was at that moment I felt a small membrane of my world melt through. As I stood, clapping wildly for a comedian I had never seen, I felt like maybe Denver was a place I was going to know, would grow to care about, be proud of. I felt the first inklings of being a true citizen.

Sure, Josh was funny but that wasn't even the real point of the evening; Josh was HOME. There was so much affection in the room, it was practically squeezable. I have been an audience member many, many, many times and rarely have I felt that kind of emotion. The last time I recall such glee was when the White House blew up during a July 4 screening of 'Independence Day' – mind you, this was all pre 9/11, before such things were tinged with reality.

I left the theatre with a huge grin, and deliberately walked past the line for the next show, just so they could be assured that good times were ahead. I then stopped to notice an artfully lit-up church (a sure sign of God's love) across the street. I had passed it many times and always admired its steadfast steeple amongst the Burger Kings and Brakes Plus along Broadway. I was supernaturally drawn to it, in my Jack Daniels stupor. All the doors were locked, except one, which, turns out – was all I needed.

I entered the dark chapel and walked straight to the first pew. I plopped down next to an empty tithing basket and thought about the evening, about my life, about the world – both past and present. I felt small. I felt marinated. I thought about Josh. I thought about Israel. I thought about Lebanon. I thought about my ex-boyfriend – all of them. After 20 minutes or so of staring at the cross, taking in the silence of an empty urban church (I think it was Baptist, not that it matters,) I stood to announce: "God just isn't here." And I left.

I'm pretty sure, He was at The Gothic, waiting patiently for the next show.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Very Small (Strange) Animal

As I have stated once before, who needs science fiction – or any fiction for that matter – when we've got creatures like this squishing around the planet? Meet the Piglet Squid, which is precisely what it looks like, minus the adorable jumper, though there is something reminiscent of Cameron Diaz in "Something About Mary," no?

And now, for some random Piglet hate-related trivia:

Tiny Pig Takes Heat: Piglet's character was originally omitted by Disney in the first Pooh film, "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree" (1966). According to the film's director, Wolfgang Reitherman, Piglet had been replaced by Gopher, which Disney thought had a more "folksy, all-American, grass-roots image." But Disney relented to pressure, particularly from the British, who were familiar with the classic Milne books, and added Piglet back into the story.

Furthermore, on June 19th, 2006, it was reported in the New York Times that Winnie the Pooh had been taken off the air in Turkey by the state broadcaster TRT. The ban was due to the fact that Piglet is a pig, an animal considered unclean by muslims.

Many thanks to my pal, Trillwing, for consistently enlightening me on all things strange and creepy, such as elaborate sea spiders, feminism and doctoral dissertations.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Magical People

Despite my accurate impression of a two-toed sloth yesterday ("Hey, look 'Overboard' is on!) the weekend was productive, humanistically-speaking. I can't tell if it is my new and improved mindset paired with a clean social slate or the fact that Denver is just damn friendly, but I'm finding some high quality folks lately.

Friday evening,I met up with local writer, Nick Hartshorn, at My Brother's Bar downtown (jalapeno/cream cheese burgers, yum!) He published a book called "Catch." To research, Nick traveled along seven major highways throughout the U.S. with a stack of recording tapes, three baseball gloves (including a lefty) and one goal: To talk to anyone willing to play a game of catch with him. A review called it a "profound and an affectionate glimpse into the uniquely American summer twilight passion, a slow, sweet game of catch." Since then, Nick has covered nightlife for Denver's glossy lifestyle mag, 5280, and is getting ready to launch his own endeavor – more on that later.

Nick is everything one could want in a writing buddy – he knows the book publishing ropes, happily shares coupons for free cocktails and wears steel-toed boots, figuratively-speaking. He gave me a swift kick or two regarding my pie-in-the-sky writing project that I've been toying with but have done nothing about. I've dreams of writing a book about the changing American landscape, using North Dakota as a setting, and my take on it all. Think Bill Bryson style but with more caustic, political overtones.

Anyway, Nick gave me deadlines and refused my lame bullshit excuses. God bless him - his timing is impeccable. What's odd is that I often perform this service for other people – it's great how it gives the impression of stern self-discipline. (I'm such a fucking sham.) Color me thrilled to finally have my own Drill Instructor.

I then attended a reception for my favorite local artist, Adam Ambro. He uses Sharpies and colored pencils to draw old cars and trucks against newspaper classifieds. So simple – guess that's why I like it, combines many of my favorite white trashian elements. I'm gonna get me one – just can't decide yet … the caddy, the tractor or the old truck? Advice welcome.

Later, I dropped by the 3 Kings to attend the CD release party for The Nancy Drews. They celebrated the release of their first CD, "Fridge Full of Food" by happily rocking the house. Though I was to meet up with friends later, I initially arrived solo, fully planning to hide in the corner until Sarah or Karen arrived. (Karen, I must point out, looked extra hot that evening in her black halter dress with pink skull-and-crossbone accents. God, I need to get me some style ... )

Barely two steps into the joint, I was approached by a beautiful young woman named Carly who, apparently, knew me. "Come hang out with us!" and just like that, I was adopted by a lively bunch – Carly, Bliss, Heidi Sue, Neil and Ray. All of 'em except Ray hail from Mississippi which, of course, won me over immediately. We had meaty discussions of music, Halloween parties and spirituality. The appropriately-named Bliss is videographer/editor and has documented some very powerful sources in the spiritual world. Heidi Sue is an accomplished artist – the intense, colorful pieces (sort of wall reliefs) I saw at her apartment were unbelievable. Neil was simply a force of nature unto himself - he reminded me of a young Jim Carrey on cocaine. Together, we had a great time hurting ourselves long into the night.

Saturday night, I spent time with a yummy ex-Marine named Dan. As we sat on my front porch smoking various substances and drinking Maker's Mark, I tried not to stare at his beefy arms and instead focus on his Forrest Gump-esque tales of world events.

Dan was a Marine stationed in Beirut, Lebanon when the 1983 terrorist bombing occurred in the Marine barracks. "I just happened to be out on maneuvers that day," he said, shaking his head. In all, 241 American servicemen died, many of them friends of Dan. With the current Lebanon-Israel clusterfuck, Dan's emotions are being rubbed raw once again.

Flash forward six years and Dan is living in the Bay Area with wife and kids. Driving a delivery truck, he passes through the Bay Bridge toll booth and heads to San Francisco. He feels some bumping and jerking and wonders if his shocks need replacing. In his rear view mirror, he see cars pulling over, people getting out. Up ahead, he sees a car stopped and a man out, waving his arms wildly. "It's gone!" he was yelling, "The bridge is gone!"

Sure enough, Dan stopped, got out and a huge section of the span had fallen to the lower deck. Dan missed being part of that chunk by mere seconds. Later, Dan discovered that the bridge chunk had landed on a Volvo below, carrying twin babies, who survived, and their parents, who perished immediately.

Lessons learned/re-affirmed:
Don't be lame.
People are fascinating.
Life is short.

And also, a timely quote from yesterday's slob-fest:

"A writer writes."
--repeated line from "Throw Momma From the Train."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's So Fun Being Famous

Poor Mel Gibson. What's a drunken anti-Semite to do? (My favorite headline today: "Let's Talk About Healing, Mel Asks Jews" from The Australian.)

As Mad Max gets increasingly madder and the frenzy over TomKat's MIA baby grow, I have to pause once again, and thank Christ that my talents are small and few. Otherwise, I would be world famous and inevitably become the daily target of web spites like Go Fug Yourself.

'Fug' is defined by the site's creators, Heather and Jessica, as a contraction of "fantastically ugly." They ponder such things as the mysterious cave in Paula Abdul's chest, Hayden Christiensen dressing awful on purpose to squelch those gay rumors and then there's showbiz veteran Dyan Cannon and her apparent cluelessness on the effects of flash bulbs. That's all fine and dandy but what is truly fun here is the writing - so wicked, so funny, I could've roamed the archives for days. For anyone, like myself, who is allowed to buy People at the airport where no one will seem them, this will be a new playground for ya.

I love that on the far left column of the site, they include proper media endorsements ("Hilarious bitches." --Defamer, "Visciously funny duo." -Hollywood Reporter) alongside actual hate mail from readers ("Your shriveled little hearts must be made of tar." -A reader, "Were you fat in high school? You probably still are." -A reader.)

Less joyful is the accurately named site, The Superficial, which presents a world of unnatural scrutiny on the beautiful people, where actual circles are drawn around celebrity pimples. Consider choice headlines such as "Anna Nicole Smith has no friends," "Brandon Davis' grandma is a liar" and, my favorite, "Lindsay Lohan doesn't like being called fire crotch." Check out their self-explanation:

"The Superficial is a brutally honest look at society and its obsession with the superficial. It is not satire. It is not social commentary. It is the voice of our society at its worst. It is first impressions without sense of social obligation. It is the truth of our generation. It is ugly racism. It is jealousy. It is honest.

Just kidding. Our goal is to make fun of as many people as possibl

So, why am I finding all this refreshing? I guess I'm celebrating the fact that other than the 3-5 people who actually read this blog, the world fails to note my romantic blunders (sounds more cuddly than 'epic failures,' doesn't it?) or the acreage of cellulite quickly grabbing real estate on my thighs or the fact that I just henna-ed my hair and accidentally dyed half of my forehead orange.

Yes, indeed. Times like these, it pays to be a lowly nobody.