Saturday, May 31, 2008

Miserable Creatures

I have a certain, tiny bit of sympathy for ole Scott McClellen. It is easy to look at him and his new book, in which he reveals the dishonesty and propoganda perpetrated by the Bush administration, and think that if it were you in that position of power, you would have done the right thing and exposed it then. In many ways, Bob Dole gets it exactly right in his email to Scott:

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."


Maybe he was caught up and has had his eyes opened, and has the interests of the country at heart now. But indeed, while the book reveals a lot about the Bush administration, it also reveals a lot about Scott himself. He was on CNN talking to Anderson Cooper about the whole thing, and he said several times that he is hoping his book will usher in a "new kind of politics" and shut down the partisan divide. Is he going to vote for Obama? He sounds a lot like him when he talks like that.

What gets me the most about this discussion, and political discussions in general, is how quickly rhetoric and talking points emerge as the important thing. Regarding Iraq, everyone talks about the mistakes, the what-we-have-to-do-now, the good of taking out Sadaam Hussein, and what we were trying to do versus what happened. Bush and company and even Scott McClellen in his "scathing critique" never really get around to admitting that people are dead because of this dishonesty -- Americans and Iraqis. It is very abstract to us over here, with our economy in shambles and yet still in the relative comfort of sea to shining sea.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hey Carolinians

Answer me this: when you were growing up did you ever hear about the Fort Fisher Hermit? He died in 1972, there's a movie and a book about him, and I am absolutely obesessed with his story. He is kind of a hero to me, someone who fantasizes about becoming a hermit, but knows it's nothing close to romantic. Anyway, this came up over lunch today and the girls I was eating with were looking at me like I was crazy. He was one of the biggest tourist attractions in NC at the time of his death, and he was up in Kure Beach from 1950 on. Escaped from a mental hospital, as legend has it, with a key he made himself. Anyway, validate this for me. This is something you just know about being a North Carolina beachgoer, no?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ten Toys That Make You Gay

I never had any of these (well, maybe Underoos), although I remember most.

Hybrid

I am the combination of a 75 year old man and a 14 year old girl trapped in the body of a 32 year old guy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pictures of Your Boyfriend

You're in love, you tell me. Such fine timing you've got there. Such time wasted on my part, and such a misguided attempt at something special. This disclosure came complete with pictures. "Cute." That's what I said. But what I was thinking was that's the kind of gay white boy I generally despise. Spiky hair, big teeth, patchy orange skinned thing that no doubt thinks way, way too highly of himself. At least it explains why nothing made sense. At least it gives me a reason to get the fuck over it.

Words from Janis

"A while back, it was about a year ago I think it was, I had this apartment in San Francisco, I lived on the third floor of this little tiny apartment building. Had two rooms and a dog, right? I lived up on the third floor. And I used to walk around town, and I had, you know, a couple pairs of Levis, and a couple of t-shirts, and I thought I had my shit together pretty good man. You know? I was out on the streets talking that talk and doin' all that shit, and every time I found a nice piece of talent, he went right strait down to this chick on the second floor -- there was another chick on the second floor, right? And I couldn't understand, I couldn't understand. I kept saying, 'Janis, what are you doing wrong?' So I decided to get up one morning and check out the chick's action, right? Figure out what she had going that I didn't have going. I got up at nine thirty in the morning, which I want you to know was an effort on my part. And I got up at nine thirty in the morning and I hid in the stairwell across from her apartment, and I watched her and watched her to see what she had that I didn't have. And I'll tell you what she had man. That chick hit the streets at noon. I mean, I didn't get up 'til three. This chick was already on the streets hustling, man. So I figured out what you gotta do, man. Every time you're lookin' for a little piece of...action. And you ain't gettin' it, man, you know what you better do, baby. You better try harder."

--Janis Joplin

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Maybe you came to your senses

Your eyes opened wide and you saw
the poison, in a little vial.
Your ears must have heard the symphony
and you had to have breathed in the scent
of home cooking gone wrong.
Suddenly it became clear to you
like the tiny little ship in a glass bottle.
How the hell did that thing get in there?

Young eyes see beauty sometimes
in the black night where scars
and suitcases filled with body parts
are invisible.
Young fingers feel silk
on hot ovens and points of nails.
The young walk right into the giant’s
foothold and touch his pounding heart.

But even the youngest knows better
than to play with rattle snakes
because they make a musical noise.
The young know that lightening is both
pretty and dangerous.
The young know better about most things
like locking doors and both sides of the street.

When someone says they have feelings
for you they might not be ones
you would have hoped for over
your birthday cake candles.
Maybe you just grew up a little,
got a year or two behind you,
looking over your shoulder afraid,
or maybe you just knew it all along.

Inside and Out

When I was in Charlotte, B and I stopped by a friend of his’s house and hung out for a while. She is a mother of two living with her boyfriend and kids in an apartment. While we were there I observed her and her boyfriend. They were kind of a typical couple in many ways. Comfortable with each other. Somewhat normal, as far as that kind of thing goes.

A certain realization came to me, looking at them and then looking at myself, that I might not ever find another “relationship”. Not because I would prefer to play the field and have my fun, which is in fact not the case. But because I am so fucking weird and consumed by complications and irritations, that I do not think that there is any person who would ever be entirely comfortable with me, nor would I be entirely comfortable with them in an “intimate” “relationship”. I’m not talking about liking every little thing about me or my personality – no one has that 100%. I’m talking about comfort, that is, the ease of being together even when you’re sad, mad, disappointed, etc. It’s so cliché but I really do just want that one man out there who would really understand me. Someone who would know what I need from him and could provide, or at least say what he couldn’t provide. Someone who would be tolerant of all the little neuroses and intricacies that make me me. Someone with whom I would have an understanding about things like sex, time apart, time together, household issues, family matters. Someone who would get a little bit of joy out of having me figured out. And someone I would feel the exact same towards. Someone that I would like so much and would like me so much that we’d be the most good looking thing ever to each other.

It’s a lot to ask for, I know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New York Plates

It may shock you to know that I am a somewhat aggressive driver. ("But ya are, Blanche!") Some might just say, "bad driver". I try not to be, but whatever. Anyway since I've been below the Mason Dixon line I've been really careful not to speed or do any four-lanes-across-traffic maneuvering because nothing would quite excite an NC cop like giving a NY driver a ticket.

I have had two or three little snafus that resulted in no metal-on-metal or tickets. But just the look on some of the horn-honking faces in the rearview mirror scream "Ya damn Yankee!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hard to Be Me, Volume 6,323

Yahoo! Green had a story on the front page the other day about “new survivalists” who see the bleak future and are preparing in the tradition of homesteading. I am absolutely convinced that this is a good idea. During this trip South I have spent way to much money for basically nothing except seeing my parents and my grandma, and it got me to thinking about my personal financial downfall and getting myself together for my move in September. So I called home, and got to talking to my brother, who knows very little but does know something about living off the land so to speak, and of course that conversation went EVERYWHERE and ended, as usual, with him exploding.

First he was talking about how he takes care of my mom and dad, which is complete and total bullshit. There was some crap in there about how he’s going to move to “this little town in Oregan where all people do all day is hunt, fish and drink cold beer”. I left the cold beer alone since he is a raging alcoholic. But I did tell him that no place is like you think it’s going to be, even though I know the dumbass ain’t gonna move out of MY PARENTS HOUSE much less to OREGAN. Then we got into it over, of all things, my grandmother. First of all he was talking about how she’s in her “second childhood” which if he knew anything he would know she’s still mentally sharp as a tack, but she’s just EIGHTY TWO years old and therefore needs a little help, it’s not like she has Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile this fool ain’t out of his FIRST CHILDHOOD.

He was saying how he doesn’t like how my dad gets ill with her sometimes, and what he didn’t like was when I told him that nothing my dad has ever said to my grandma is as bas as how he talks to our mom and dad. He went into how he just doesn’t like people telling him what to do and what’s wrong with him, and I told him that he lives under their roof and they can tell him anything they want to. He lost it and hung up. Meanwhile I cried in the McDonald’s drive through because of everything that’s gone horribly wrong in my life, you’d think having a stupid, mentally ill, delusional older brother wouldn’t have to be the cherry on the fruitcake.

It’s kind of upsetting.

Meanwhile, Mr. Man in Greensboro remains to be heard from. As I said this is probably for the best all the way around. You don’t wanna get involved with someone like me, I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel.

I’m going to see my cuz in Winston now and tomorrow, early in the morning, I’m heading North, looking South, with apologies to Ariel Dorfman for using the expression.

Paging Doctor Freud...

I just took a nap and had a crazy dream about the kid in Greensboro.

In this dream, we were in a relationship and lived in my huge house. Some of my other friends were there but for the purposes of the dream were kind of nameless/faceless, except for B from Charlotte, who advised me to be careful because the kid was leaving everything on, unlocked, and bringing in shit like butterflies and other little critters.

Well we and all these people went to one of those things that’s like a mystery novel dining out experience. Where you participate in solving the mystery while you have dinner, you know what I’m talking about? Except this was like a combination of that and a haunted house. Me and the kid were having a great time in there, jumping around and I jumped on his back and he carried me through a lot of it, especially the one part where some straw in the middle of one of the rooms caught fire. It was all weird and moving fast, I lost my bags (for some reason I was carrying two – my real bag that I carry all the time and a bag that I had YEARS ago that I no longer have in real life). But it was okay because the woman at the check in desk had it, who happened to be the woman who plays the receptionist on Ugly Betty.

In reality, outside of the dream world, the boy got all weird on me in anticipation of my arrival in NC from NY, talking about how he has feelings for me, how I can’t possibly feel the same, and how he I don’t “try” like he does whatever that means. I told him I feel like the one getting overbearing about the whole thing with my attempts at contact which are brief. All this is through fucking text messages. He told me to call him yesterday so I did, when I said I would, around six.

All he really says during that call is “wassup” and “let me call you back in a couple of seconds.”

Well I’m here to tell you that it’s now about 24 hours later and I have not received that call back, nor have I heard at all other than seeing him online like the stalker I can become. WHAT’S THAT ABOUT. Maybe the boy came to his senses and changed his mind which in the end is better for everybody. But I’m all tore up about it, but I’ll get over it.

Meanwhile my roommate just called because something is wrong with the oven and she wanted the super’s number. She was going to bother the neighbor’s about this shit. JUST MAKE DUE, you know, until I get back. I don’t like the super up in there while I’m away, but anyway, I told her to go to his front door if she must. I will be so glad when I’m done with that living, breathing headache, and I will live in a box on High Point Road before I have a roommate again.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chillin

Queens, NY to Charlotte, NC -- that's a long fucking drive. However, it went really fast and I made excellent time. I did not get lost once (except in Manhattan, because in typical Stroll fashion I have to fuck up before I even get out of town), and ran into no traffic delays (again, except in Manhattan, which felt like half the trip in itself). I had to stop at a pizza joint downtown to pee and ask for the way back to 278, but the cutie serving me gave me a whole new route: Holland Tunnel to 95, and a strait shot south from there, which was excellent travelling advice. For getting out of town at close to 5:00 PM and getting to South Hill, VA a little after one, I think I did a good job. And no speeding tickets to boot, what with the cops all over the place for Memorial Day Weekend.

I'm debating should I start the journey back tomorrow or Tuesday. I think I might get started tomorrow in case I have to stop somewhere for the night, since I have to be at work on Wednesday and wouldn't have that option on Tuesday. At any rate, more later, the boy trouble follows me across state lines.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AMERICAN IDOL

Ok, congratulations to David Cook, and even though my heart is a little broken for David Archuleta, baby boy will still go far.

How many people thought during the George Michael medley they were gonna bust into "I Want Your Sex"? Or hoped at least? LOL

When George himself emerged I died a thousand deaths. I love him. And then he sang "Praying for Time", one of my favorite songs ever.

Tomorrow around 5:00 PM I'm driving to North Carolina, which may not be the best decision ever, but I'm gonna have to take The Very Best of George Michael with me for driving inspiration.

I have no idea

what the hell people are talking about half the time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Note to self: Stay the hell out of The Gambia

The president of The Gambia plans to kill off every single homosexual. I had never heard of The Gambia, the tiny sliver of land under Senegal. Maybe he's trying to put himself on the map, so to speak?

At least they're honest

Based on a survey, the residents of Tokyo are supposedly the least eco-conscious city dwellers, with 4 in 10 saying they "don't want to sacrifice a convenient lifestyle to prevent global warming".

Meanwhile, in other cities, more peole are saying they do want to sacriice their lifestyle of convenience to prevent global warming but still not doing so.

Monday, May 19, 2008

RODENTIA

Last night when I was entering my apartment building at approximately 10:30 PM, a squirrel darted towards me causing me to jump sky-high over it, as it ran out through the door, trapping itself between the two sets of main doors in the foyer. The two Muslim dudes who live on my wing of the building had been trying to usher it out, and when they witnessed this, the normally humorless, non-smiling, head-nod only men doubled over in laughter, as did the Mafioso dude who lives on the other wing, who had a broom in hand, trying to get the little critter down from the third floor. It was me who accidentally gave it its freedom. Well, actually, one of the Muslims did because I wasn’t going into its between-doors cage for fear it might try to climb my leg in a terrified attempt to claw my eyes out. It’s not a rat but it’s still a RODENT!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Darkest Secret of My Heart...

“Don’t wanna live
Don’t wanna die
Just wanna see
If I can fly…”

It’s 1:35 EST and I’ve been home a couple hours. I just took two of my knock out drops so I can sleep hard and long tonight, because I’m very tired and just returning to NY is draining. All day in airports and on airplanes, thinking about all that hard work and all those good times in Phoenix. The three guys that I met over the course of my time there, that chauffeured me and showed me a good time are of course in my thoughts and it’s unfortunate to meet people you really like, when after getting to know them and show them the dark side, you will be thousands of miles away.

When we were alone at the registration desk, my boss asked me how my “transition plan” is coming along, meaning of course, if I’m still set on moving. We talked a little about it, and she implored me to think about whether or not this is really what I want to do. She told me I don’t have to get all personal, but I of course did, and I told her a lot of the major reasons for this decision, and she shared with me her own decision back in the day to get out of DC and head back to her homeland, which is also NC. I appreciated her insights, but it’s a bit different when you have a husband and a child. In that case, wherever you go, you still have something that you will always have, and wherever you end up you’re still a part of a nuclear family and nothing is really going to change besides the scenery.
She told me that no place is like you think it’s going to be, which I know, and that one’s problems come along wherever you go, which I also know. Despite how it sounds typing it out, it was actually comforting to talk to her. I don’t know if she really feels solid about it from a work perspective. But she’s said it’s okay, so we just have to clear with the Big Boss. When that will happen I don’t know, but time’s ticking.

The thing is, I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision, but it is the decision that I’ve made, and people who know me know that when I make up my mind my mind is made up and that’s that. So while I will never say never, at this point, I’m planning on going through with my plan – spending a small fortune to relocate and split my time between Charlotte and Winston-Salem. On my flights back I read this crazy novel Rant , watched I Am Legend and Charlie Wilson’s War and kept being overcome with waves of emotion and uncertainty. Am I going to go home for Memorial Day? Am I going to go ahead and move some stuff? Am I going to be able to get to the airport in July for my heinous six AM flight for Saint Thomas? Am I going to have enough money saved come September? Am I making my own myth, am I finding the meaning of life, am I in over my head, am I changing along with an unsecure world?

Am I going to spend the rest of my life surrounded by people who can't relate and don't understand?

Are Antonio, DJ, Jason…my three friends in AZ – three people I will likely never see again – gonna think about me like I’ll be thinking about them?

And the one in Greensboro who knows the darkest secret of my heart but NOTHING else about me…is having a friendship with him upon my arrival – having him as someone to turn to, ears to listen, us as mutual beams of support – a fucking pipe dream, the imaginings of an idiot who can’t see the huge, clear, bright sign right in the middle of the road?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What the hell am I doing...

So last night, in all of my infinite wisdom, I went out and drank way too much the night before I had my big presentation on SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION. I was hung over this morning and after two Aleve and lots of fluids, I pulled myself together and my presentation was a smashing success, earning me higher marks on the evaluation than even my boss received. They liked me, they really liked me!

Here in Arizona – a state that I have started to full on fall in love with – I met two guys. One picked me up for our night on the town and the other met us out. They both were really, really nice, but one of them was just so fucking good looking it hurt a little bit to look at him. Just beautiful, perfect body, perfect face, but I kept in line with my good girl routine that I’m doing lately, and also thinking he’s really nice and I’d like to have him as a friend but he wouldn’t imagine in a hundred years thinking of me like that. But he did, at least a little bit and after I had sucked down 6 vodka-and-sodas and we all wound up back here at the resort. Where my work thing is taking place. Where our participants and staff are running around. I had all been meant to be so sweet and innocent, which it was to an extent, but I digress…

Anyway, this morning I woke up at like 7:00 buck naked with a throbbing headache, so I put on the hotel’s terrycloth robe, hair going everywhere, eyes bloodshot, face a wreck, coffee cup in hand, curtain wide open with a two hotass black boys sleeping in my bed, and I stepped out onto the balcony to smoke a cigarette.

I get to smoking and thinking about the day ahead and my work duties, when I hear, like a primitive arrowhead being smashed into my head repeatedly, “HAY! STROLL! HAY! HAY!” I look around through blurred vision and a cloud of cigarette smoke only to see my coworker on her balcony fully dressed to the nines, with a big chipper fucking smile on her face, excited and ready for this presentation, waving with both her hands, bright as a thousand suns shining on my vampiric, pained face like I’m gonna somehow miss seeing the bitch.

I just sat the coffee mug down on the table, dropped my half smoked cig into it, turned around and walked back into the room.

In other news I called this woman a cunt in front of my boss who, I could tell, was deeply offended by my use of the "c" word, but it is true...oh well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Famous Last Words

Completely exhausted after an entire day spent in airports and on airplanes, I arrived in Phoenix yesterday and promptly got a cab to the Scottsdale Circle K, where I bought a luxurious dinner consisting of a Lunchable, a Diet Coke, and a free hot dog courtesy of the cashier, who felt so bad for me with my tired eyes and inability to score any food at that hour that doesn't come in a sectioned-off plastic container filled with neon-yellow cheese, turkey in small circular shapes, and more crackers than anything else. He asked me where I'd come in from, and I told him Queens. He happened to have lived in Astoria for a while, he said, so we had a nice little chat about the borough and the City and then the cab brought me back to the resort (which is nice enough for my standards which are admittedly low, but a bit dingy in the rooms and could use some new wallpaper honestly) where I promptly fell out before today's business of registering the arriving participants, sucking down cup upon cup of coffee, and stuffing my face with six pound slices of cheesecake and shrimp sandwiches. Arizona is unique and beautiful and I hope that while I'm here I have a chance to get out into it a bit, soak up some of the dry 95 degree days, and I'm silently threatening to even put on my box-cut swim trunks and lay out at the pool. But in the meantime my stomach is turning in knots because I am, as usual, terrified of the public speaking effort that I will have to put forth in my little workshop on Thursday and Friday. By the way, I can already tell that by Saturday I am going to be so sick of the desert theme, particularly the color topaz, that I may go insane. But I will accept topaz and desert motifs till the cows come home, because the sky is blue, the weather is nice, and everything just feels so clean.

The cab driver was a character. He was an older man from Poland with longish silver hair and a gigantic mustache. He had lived in New York for a while too, where he was a magician's assistant, which I could totally see. I asked him if he learned any tricks, and he said, no, he just mostly did the music for the shows, and I said, well that's magic enough, isn't it?

The magician used to order these special butterflies from South America. They would pop out of the end of his wand – as if by magic, naturally – and fly off. The cab driver was in charge of the butterflies, but one time the butterfly that was to pop out next was injured somehow in transit. The cab driver had tried to tell the magician that it was a bad idea to do the butterfly bit that night, but in a panic the magician insisted the show would go on as planned. So when the butterfly bit came to pass, the little butterfly popped out of the wand, fluttered it's little wings for a lift off…and then dropped to the floor, dead.

Ain't no magic gonna revive that dead butterfly, and he was laughing while he was recalling this, but wanted me to be sure to understand that at the time it was horrific. The magician was more upset about the 25 bucks he wasted on some dead butterfly than he was about his magical powers being exposed and the show being ruined.

I do not have any butterflies involved in my presentation this week, and there is no magic to PowerPoint and talking-point memorization. So I think I'm good. What could go wrong?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Butch Stroll National Tour begins tomorrow

Tomorrow I'm heading to Phoenix, Arizona for the week, then I'll return to NY, and turn around for NC via car over the memorial day weekend. Upon my return I'll cool my heals for a bit, so at any rate, send me messages of text, voice, Yahoo, AIM, or just call a bitch.

Oh, and I hope all you mothers had a wonderful Mother's Day, and all you mother fuckers had a wonderful Mother Fucker's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

There's no basement at the Alamo

At Unfogged they were talking about 80's movies, and someone mentioned Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which is, despite what those smarties say, the single greatest movie ever made. This is my favorite scene, which is also a metaphor for my life:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Loose Funnies

For you IT people out there, from the b3ta newsletter:

And finally, some handy IT advice from Axeman Jim:
"Here's the only tech advice I am prepared to give out for free:
1) try rebooting it.
2) if that doesn't work, shove it up your arse."


And from Sickipedia via b3ta, a joke:

I was walking in a cemetery this morning and
saw a bloke hiding behind a gravestone. I said,
"morning." He replied, "No, just having a
shit."

Mother's Day



[via Bitch, PhD]

Soterios on Bed Bugs

Every morning I awake to the sounds of "Morning Edition" on WNYC, our local public radio, and I listen to my disembodied boyfriend, the voice of Soterious Johnson, tell me the news.

Well this morning Soterios warned further about bed bugs in the subways...theaters...offices...in the words of Sarah Connor, "No one is ever safe!"

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Nightmare Grows

Regular readers know that I am obsessed with and horrified by bedgus -- or more acturately, with getting bedbugs, the indefatigable enemy of human comfort that are making a comeback with NYC as their plagued hotbed. I blogged about that recent siting of a sign on a mattres in my buildings trash room stating simply "infested", with no identification of what had infested it, as one more thing that is stoking my paranoia and my belief in the inevitability of encountering these bloodthirsty creatures.

Yesterday I was sitting in a pizza joint on the UWS, and from the corner of my eye I noticed a tiny little bug moving over the table. It was of course disgusting so I immediatly stood up and prepared to leave. Before I did, I examined the critter. Based on my personal research into the subject, I do not think it was a bedbug...but one can never be sure. I

Well this morning when I got up, I checked my text messages, and there was one from Kevondrala -- who is experienced in bedbugs because he manages properties that have been infested. The message read: "Emergency. News reports that bed bugs are in the subways."

Watch in horror, friends.

When does the nightmare end?! Bring back DDT, I say. My own thoughts on an inventive and simple solution for ridding a residence of bed bugs forthcoming.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Landlord

Today I had a long talk with my landlord, the first time I've ever really spoken to him face to face for more than a "hi", and he's actually a very nice man.

He inquired about my job, and I told him the name of the Church, so he told me his son is now a member of the World Church of Assimilation, lives in Charlotte, and is going to Cuba on a mission trip next month. He was strangely fascinated and excited by me and our conversation.

He explained to me the new, higher rent. He stated quite plainly that it is in his interests that I move, so they aren't gonna give me a hard time about the lease. And he advised me that now is the time to buy a house in Charlotte -- he's lived through these cycles before. He also shared how unique and amazing the building I live in now is, because the cost of construction prohibits elaborate foyers like the one we have.

He also told me that he had never seen me before in his life, which, while he believes it with all his heart, is just not true.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

You can't help how you feel

Pretty much everything life is controllable, except how you feel. One can control and manage his emotions, but one can't just, for example, make himself not be sad.

How do you just let something go? A person, a place, a thing that you hold dear and that begins to kind of control your thoughts. How do you just stop that? How do you just forget something?

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Do you know how many times they went to Wal-Mart?!"

--question from my boss regarding African travellers whose luggage was lost in Lumbashi upon their return home.

Madonna on -- what? -- BET

M-Dolla! Okay this is a great interview with Madonna from Friday's 106 & Park on BET, talking about her favorite hip hop artists, her horse, and B12 shots among other things.



My favorite part is at around 12:35 where they ask her what video from her entire catalog would she want to show, and someone in the audience yells out "Like a Prayer!" To which she replies -- given the show she's on -- "No, no, no, not 'Like a Prayer'."

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I'll have you know I did a GREAT JOB.

Today I was going to go downtown to meet some friends and do a little shopping, but my plans were quite literally DERAILED.

I was sitting peacefully reading my book (Middlesex, which is excellent, review forthcoming), when the subway jolted to a stop in the tunnel. I knew this is what happened because the train was kind of lopsided on the track, and after a good 10 minutes waiting, people around started to speculate as well. The conductor came on the intercom to say, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductah speaking. There has been an emergency ahead of us. We will be moving shortly. Please be patient.

“Shortly” in MTA speak means “no idea when”, so I just went back to my book. The “please be patient” lament pisses me off so bad, because WTF else am I gonna do but be patient? And if someone is going to get all impatient, WTF are they gonna do? We are stuck in a METAL ROOM UNDERGROUND for chrissake. “Please be patient” strikes me as a stupid request.

Eventually, the conductor came back on the intercom – identifying himself again as “the conductor” lest there be any confusion about who was in charge here – this time a sample of strait-up panic in his voice, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THIS IS YOUR CONDUCTAH SPEAKING. PLEASE REMAIN CALM. THE TRAIN HAS DERAILED. PLEASE REMAIN CALM!" Mind you, everyone was perfectly calm. And being patient. But, after this went on for an hour – with him continuously checking in, identifying himself, sounding frantic and imploring us to “please remain calm” each time, it started to get a little concerning.

Anyway, this went on for a good hour, when suddenly, the same lament came over the intercom again, but this time: “A RESCUE TRAIN IS ON THE WAY!”

OMG, at this point we’re being rescued?

So the rescue train pulled up to the back of the endangered, uncalm train, and soon enough we were ushered through each car, into the rescue train, where we all found new seats and got to talking.

The girls around me – strangers to one another and to me – were sharing stories of train experiences. All of them told the lady from Miami that this has never happened to them in all their years in New York, and I was thinking, “Which MTA are you riding on the day to day?” Because in my experience this shit happens ALL THE TIME.

One of them was headed to a performance at the Joyce Theater, where she would be dancing, and she was nervous because now she would be late for her arrival at 5:30, for the show that started at 7:30. We all comforted her, letting her know she’s probably make it by 7:30, and she wouldn’t be the only one late for the 5:30 arrival time.

The conductor came through each car of the Rescue Train, and we, the rescued, listened as he told us, “WE WILL BE MOVING SHORTLY. YOU ALL DID A GREAT JOB. WE WILL GET YOU OUT OF HERE QUICKLY AND SAFELY” and some other BS.

Then we started moving, we breathed a sigh of relief, and as we got back to 5th Avenue, before the train stopped, I told the dancer that, if there were any problems with her director, she could tell him that the conductor told her she did a great job. Everyone got a kick out of that.

Ride Like the Wind

When I moved to Texas in 1998 -- ten years ago, time flies! -- my friend Mike Hunt made me a mixed tape, complete with personalized packaging, that I cherished, and listened to during the whole insanely long drive. I still have it to this day though it might, at this point, be damaged (not to mention the technology is obsolete). One of the songs on that tape was "Ride Like the Wind", a personal favorite. For that move it was just me, my little red Mazda MX3, and all of my worldly posessions which fit in the hatchback. I found the group I was meeting there, stayed with one who would become one of my best friends for a few days, and then found a 250 square foot domicile with shelving and the bed built into the wall. Life was quite simple back then.

When I moved to New York, it was fairly straitforward also. My dad and brother helped me load the truck. This time I needed a Uhaul, but that was pretty much it. I also had help upon arrival in Astoria. Lito was in town over the New Years holiday, and he actually drove that Uhaul from NC to NY. Upon our arrival I had him and Kevondrala to assist in the moving in process. Long and exhausting, but easy, and on New Year's Day 2000, I was all set in Queens. I had an apartment just waiting for me, the one I live right now.

Well it is almost time to Ride Like the Wind again. This time it ain't so easy. I do not just have an apartment waiting for me down there. I have to go ahead of time and find one. I do have places to stay, but I have a lot of shit to move in a truck -- some of which will be left behind -- and no one to really help me, so I'm considering against my better judgement hiring day laborers from outside the paint store to lug this shit down the stairs.

Upon my arrival, I will have limited and unreliable help -- someone could back out, someone could have to work that day, etc. -- and I don't really know where one finds day laborers in Charlotte. Additionally, upon my arrival I have to get immediate access to a car, which I also plan to purchase ahead of time, and coordinate the return of the truck with the pick up of the car. The more I think about it the more complicated it gets. A bitch has a lot to do! I've started planning now and I can tell you it is going to take more vacation days than I've got and about $100 million dollars to do this.

Then there's the cats, who I'm thinking about moving over Memorial Day which may or may not work out. They'll have a big backyard and a lot of other cats to play with/attack at their foster home, but they are gonna be a nightmare to get down there. Jackie is NOT going to like a cat carrier for 10 - 15 hours of driving.

I'll figure all this out. It's giving me a headache, and I haven't even had my talk wtih my boss yet. Sigh.

"But I've got such a long way to go..."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Visiting the Graveyard

by Mary Oliver

When I think of death
it is a bright enough city,
and every year more faces there
are familiar

but not a single one
notices me,
though I long for it,
and when they talk together,

which they do
very quietly,
it’s in an unknowable language—
I can catch the tone

but understand not a single word—
and when I open my eyes
there’s the mysterious field, the beautiful trees.
There are the stones.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Sweet Sweet Motherhood


A good while back (2005 in fact), I asked, on this blog, “Who the hell needs a live chicken in New York City?”

And shortly thereafter, I received a random, entirely serious answer (in 2006) from one Jeremy Kareken.

As it turns out, I think Jeremy used the “add everyone in your Yahoo address book” feature on Facebook, and I received a request and added him, only realizing he was the Live Chicken Question Answerer a few months ago.

Well now, Jeremy’s play, “The Sweet Sweet Motherhood” is kind of hitting the big time and coming to New York. (See flyer, click for bigger.)

He writes on Facebooks' Super Wall:

As many of you know, last year I had a play commissioned by the Guthrie Theater and the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. That play will be having a number of readings this Spring in New York City.

The play's the story of a young woman and her bizarre proposal for her undergraduate thesis. She wants to inseminate one of her eggs with chimpanzee sperm. I wrote the play in collaboration with Prof. Lee Silver, a molecular biologist and professor of Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

I hope you get folks get a chance to see this piece on its feet. It's become a real labor of love for Lee and me. You can hear a little more about the piece on NPR's RadioLab. And of course we just got mentioned in the New York Times in the context of that "abortion artist" at Yale. Yale, always a few years behind the curve, huh?


The schedule of the readings are:

The following readings will be featuring Caroline Cooney. She read the piece in Minneapolis and she was so good, I got her a plane ticket so she could read the piece again here in NYC. She just got done with the Guthrie's Jane Eyre. Directors, producers and casting directors take note, these are great (possibly only) chances to see this amazing talent. She'll be working a heck of a lot, and I don't think Minneapolis is ready to give her up yet so don't miss this chance.

May 12 – 2:00pm at Manhattan Theatre Club's 43rd Street Studios. This is really more of a rehearsal for us, but I'm opening it up to you folks because some of you work at night and we'd like an audience and your comments, as always.

May 12 – 6:00pm at Ensemble Studio Theatre. While the Marathon at EST rehearses, we'll be on our feet showing you just how to make a chimp baby. With the proper tools and expertise you'll be feeding your kids bananas in as little as seven short months!

May 13 – Time 7:00pm at The Actors Studio.


I think this proves that The Butch Stroll is read by IMPORTANT and SUCCESSFUL people. Congrats to him. I plan to attend.