Sunday, April 29, 2007

A tarantula on a slice of angel food

farewell my lovely, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

What is the fight that leads to "I smashed the bed-spring against his cheek"? I mean, dag.

There's nobody like Raymond Chandler [wiki]. No matter how hard other writers try, they never match the blonde-and-the-stained-glass-window imagery that he attains in the last line of this excerpt:

He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. He had curly black hair and heavy eyebrows that almost met over his thick nose. He wore a shaggy borsalino hat, a rough gray sports coat with white golf balls on it for buttons, a brown shirt, a yellow tie, pleated gray flannel slacks and alligator shoes with white explosions on the toes. He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.

Farewell, My Lovely copyright 1940. Pocket-Book edition published June, 1943.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Finger lickin' good, y'all!

He clogs, he stomps, he does that pepper-grinder hula-hoop move... ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Three rocks out to the Beastie Boys:

Friday, April 27, 2007

All that and a Venetian glass chandelier

Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. -- Robert Frost
(I don't like poetry as a rule but gosh that's a good line.)

You're not going to do any work today anyway, it's rainy and it's Friday. So:

1. Try this cool thing. MotherReader had it on her blog.

2. Also, check out this amazing rare books exhibition at Smithsonian online.

3. Then look at Mo Willems' blog. This post in particular cracked me up.

4. Have a scroll thru Bibliodyssey - wild awesome rare book illustrations and maps. To wit:

That giant kitty is fucked, no?

5. Go shopping at Dutch by Design. Buy me the multicolored glass chandelier.

6. Think about eating Indian tonight while skimming Manisha's Indian Food Rocks.

7. Or just let your brain dribble out your ears while reading goldenfiddle.

Let's talk about sex

And some old covers are just pretty.

This title always made me think "Learn piano in three easy lessons." It's still an interesting read, lots of action, kna'mean? although Auntie Margaret's style of observer ethnography is out of fashion now. Colin Turnbull, another AMNH alum, kind of put a cap on that when he went bananas at the Ik.

Do yourself a favor and go to the AMNH Anthro Dept's web site (not you, Jaime, I can hear you scoff from here). Click on Collections Database and then search any of the collections. Asia is good. Search on like "shoe" or "doll" or "hat". In Asia, search on "netsuke" or "cricket". The photos are achingly fine, and some of the objects are fascinating. From the bad old days when anthropologists brought home more than taped interviews and photos.

Bowl. Admiralty Islands, Pwam. Collected by Margaret Mead in 1929. AMNH cat. no. 80.0/ 4981

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Giant steps are what you take

surface tension

Ah the wild.

Ah our backyard. Every year we are like the last people in this hemisphere to mow our lawn. It usually doesn't even occur to us (me) that the lawn needs mowing until two weeks after everyone else has, and then we (Bob) wrestle the mower out of its flotsam-encrusted nest under the deck, gas it up, and curse at it until we acknowledge that he'll have to take it to the furtively snotty guys at the hardware store, who will hose it off, oil it up, and charge us $60 for "reconditioning." Money well spent, says I, although I know it galls Bob. He knows they're laughing at his soft hands.

So every year while we're waiting for the mower to start, I haul out the WeedWhacker and try to put a patch on the worst of it. I get the big tussocks of sawgrass that sprout around the deck posts and the fence and the sad mulchy flat areas I call "gardens." I do along the edges of things. Then I hit the highest parts of the middle of the yard, the parts that would stall the mower if it chowed down on them at full height. This year I beheaded a veritable shitload of dandelions. WhUZZZZ! Little yellow blizzards, that part was fun.

Every year, including the very first year we were in the house. We got here May 7. We didn't even own a lawn mower, louche renters that we were. Mr. Three was due May 21. We didn't mow and we didn't mow and Mr. Three wouldn't come and wouldn't come, and so finally, about as pregnant as humans get, I pulled out the WeedWhacker and used it as a scythe to cut the entire back yard. It was hot. I was wearing a blue flowered romper for god's sake, the last thing that fit. I waded in tall green grass up to my knees in some places. I must have looked like a migrant laborer. I still did not go into labor.

I think about that every time I WeedWhack. Every time I have to take apart the place where the line goes, and read the 4-part instructions ("Feed line through eyelet. Line up notch with eyelet. Assemble spindle. Snap on cover." I can assemble a stroller, a tiny dinosaur in an egg, a wireless network, how come I can never get the line to come out?) and end up cursing and wondering, atavistically, whether that assembly actually makes sense to the men who obviously designed the goddamn thing.

This time Mr. Three showed me where the line went, although he was mighty skeptical about what I expected that blue plastic string to do to a weed.

What I like about you

How did I miss this? The desperate, funny guy behind the blog Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About has a novel, called, uh, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About. It was published in 2003, I'm such a dork for missing it.

Maybe I think Mil Millington and his "violent psychopath" of a German girlfriend, Margret, are so funny because Mr. Librarian and I hardly ever argue. Maybe it's because I have a feeling I'm a lot like Margret, who expresses her displeasure about her boyfriend's driving by kicking him in the head from the backseat; and I'm incredibly fucking lucky that Bob doesn't take me too seriously.

I hope Mil doesn't mind me excerpting just one little exchange:
Margret is sitting at this computer (which is in the attic room, incidentally) typing something. I'm flopped in a chair close by with a paper and pad, scribbling away at a bit of work.
I pause and say to her, 'Tortoise and turtle is the same word in German, isn't it?'
She stops typing, reaches over, pulls off one of my Birkenstock shoes, throws it down through trapdoor (I hear it thud below, then flip-flop down the stairs) and returns to her typing. All in a single, silent movement.
Your guess is as good as mine, frankly.
("schildkrote", by the way. We had a colleague with approximately this last name at the Museum, and I thought it was pretty funny that she was Dr. Turtle.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

She looked just like her mother, if there could be another

This librarian blog thing is getting downright eerie. Every time I happen upon a blog that I think is funny or interesting, it turns out that the blogger is another librarian. SJ. Maughta. MotherReader (mother, reader, smartmouth). fusenumber8 (who got an advance copy of the next Kiki Strike novel, must be nice to work at Donnell). Marissa (also a Daniel Craig fan). Julie at work. There's a ton of em.

And just last night I came upon NixieKnox, who, come on, her blog is Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian! In addition, she has two kids, lives in Detroit (which is a lot like Baltimore), Daniel Craig is her secret boyfriend, and she really liked Kiki Strike in the Shadow City, such a great read, kind of like if Wednesday Addams lived in Manhattan and made friends; go to the website, it will satisfy your craving for detail and intrigue. So we're practically the same person.

To say nothing of the Society for Librarians* who say Motherfucker. That one puts me back on the rails every time.

Lust Dream

lust dream, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

He had to ravish her - he had to kill her!

Gosh I think I've HAD this dream - the one where I'm Parker Posey? and my tree-limb arms are like suspended from the ceiling and somebody's painted out my nipples and I'm being strangled and my coif is getting a little disarranged? Wait no I just have the dream where my teeth fall out.

You know most 1950's and '60's pulp porn was erotica disguised as cautionary tale... or cautionary tale tarted up to look like erotica. This is a humdinger of the genre. The teaser on the first page reads:

Harlot Mother!
He was blessed with a sordid memory of his 14th birthday. For on that night he saw his mother twisting and churning in the arms of a strange man, and ever after Sean McClain would know no peace. Not in the orphanage where they sent him after they took him shuddering from her grotesquely strangled body... that was where he had the first dream. Not later, when he joined the Police Force ... the dream of the wanton, willing, enticing blonde whose face was a mask of Death.
Churning. That's actually kind of effective imagery. But what I like is that it's not clear whether the john or the boy strangled the mother. Hm! Must read more! (Well actually not - I've had this thing for probably ten years and never even cracked it. I'll just leave it in the closet for the boys to find when they get older.)

This is an original Nightstand Book

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tribal spaceman

Your spaghetti fu is no match for my surreal martial arts imitations! I am Three! I will prevail!

Things with covers

things with claws, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

Inspired by Maughta (and excuse me may I say Yo? if you want to know what not to read, Maughta has an entire very funny blog basically devoted to the subject), I had a quick flip through my small collection of pulp paperbacks with covers too campy to pass up, and present to you this gem.

Copyright 1961, Things With Claws is a short story collection edited by Whit and Hallie Burnett. It originally went for thirty-five cents, but pencil marks inside indicate it has made the rounds of used book sales priced at 50 cents, 19 cents, and 9 cents. I got it for a quarter, a pretty good bargain.

The stories are reprinted mostly from Story magazine and were originally published in the forties and fifties, by such fantasy luminaries as Daphne du Maurier, Byron Liggett, etc.

But what I like most about this cover is that despite the amount of time someone put into that ludicrously unique painting, they couldn't bother to spend ten minutes on a cover design that wouldn't require the hyphenation of "creatures" in the tagline.

Pray for me - I'm going into the playroom closet to find the even tinier collection of ancient pulp pornography. That stuff is the Hello Kitty of my book collections.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sat on the roof and picked at the moss

I need a palate cleanser, don't you? The baby on the slide, the 6-year old runner, and what happened in Blacksburg... oh, man. Today dawned warm and blue, and it's time to talk about celebrity boobs, or things it would be nice to be able to buy, or, or, I don't know... kittens. Or something.

Picture books: Seattle librarian and NPR rock star Nancy Pearl has published a new version of her popular reader advisory guide Book Lust. Called Book Crush, it contains lists of recommended reading for kids and teenagers. Needless to say, Your Neighborhood Librarian ran out and bought it, and, since I am pretty damn geeky even among librarians, I have begun annotating my copy. The margins are filled with miniscule notations of books that Miss Nancy either missed or doesn't like as much as I do, or that came out after the book went to press.

Here are a few:

Not a Box, Antoinette Portis. I like this book because it's one of those empowered-toddler books (like Mo Willems' pigeon books). It's the kid that gets to be the smart one - there's an offstage adult voice saying, "Are you still standing in that box?" and the kid, who is actually standing in a rocket ship, has to explain over and over that "It's NOT a BOX." Plus the book is styled like a box, with a rough brown cover and red ink indicating "This side up" and "Net wt. 11.5 oz."

Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock. I wouldn't have given a damn whether or not my kids liked this book, which tracks big sister Adele and her careless little brother Simon as they journey home from school in late 19th century Paris, passing through the Paleontology Museum, the Louvre, etc. The illustrations are lovely and witty and detailed, and I just eat that stuff up. But part of the fun of this book is finding the items that Simon drops, and then retracing their path through the neighborhoods, and my kids did like it.

The Worm Family by Tony Johnston. They say things like, "We're Worm and we're proud!" and "Oh joy! We're worms!" Ordinarily this kind of 'up with people' stuff gives me hives, but I love this one. Probably because they're loud and the neighbors don't like them.

Bark, George! by Jules Feiffer. This is the first joke a little kid gets. George is a puppy who doesn't bark. Mom takes him to the vet. The vet asks George to bark, and George says, "Meow," whereupon the vet straps on a rubber glove and pulls a kitty out of George's mouth. Tells George to bark again, George quacks. Duck comes out. By the time the cow comes out, the mommy dog has passed out and the kid is in hysterics. I love the moment that the kid gets the joke. It's like this milestone welcome to our world moment.

The fox went out on a chilly night, Peter Spier. Peter Spier is Dutch, and so he traveled to New England and made millions of sketches before inking the illustrations for this adaptation of a traditional song. Pay no attention to the bloodthirsty shenanigans of the fox and the townspeople who are after him with guns, and drink in the beautiful details of a moonlit night in colonial New England. Plus the song is fun to sing.

Once upon a banana by Jennifer Armstrong. This largely wordless book tracks a Rube-Goldberg series of street catastrophes (slips, trips, skateboard mishaps) that are initiated and foreshadowed by street signs. God that makes it sound awful. But it's great. There's a monkey, and a garbage truck, and really that's enough to make a funny book.

Maxwell's Mountain by Shari Becker. Maxwell is a COC (Cherished Only Child) who wants to climb the big mountain beyond the playground. His parents think it's a bit beyond his grasp, but with careful preparation and planning, he achieves his goal. Maxwell is charming and stubborn, and the book details his preparation like a how-to manual. I love this book because it goes beyond that chirpy, "If you believe in yourself, you can do ANYthing!" and shows how a kid moves beyond his belief and takes action.

On a grownup level, may I recommend the useful web-based LibraryThing for keeping track of what you've read and what you want to read. That's the widget for it over there on the left right.

And hey! Movies! Movies are good for taking your mind off the news: we watched Happy Feet last night with the neighbors and their kids. The kids were laughing their heads off the whole time ("Dat penguin just called dat seal 'rubber butt'! Haw haw haw!") and we adults kept getting startled by the musical selections. I'm telling you, a huge choir of penguins singing Queen's Somebody to Love to the Northern Lights - I wish Freddie had lived long enough to see it.

Then Bob and I stayed up and watched Friends With Money. Eh. It sure is nice to see a movie that features actual natural-sounding dialogue (and Joan Cusack) (and Frances McDormand, you know she's my role model), but you know, Bobby and me, we likey the big splosions an stuff. Tonight we got an Almodovar movie, maybe somebody will get slapped at least.

Other things worth thinking about:

Who in Hollywood ever thought David Boreanaz was a big ol dreamboat?

Why aren't there more restaurants with outdoor decks on the water in this town?

Who plants barberry and why?

fuckin' ouch

Will you give me a massage?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication

I have the utmost respect for Lori and for AH, who demonstrate their awesomeness all the time. Lori likes comics and reads my blog (good enough for me!), and AH is foxy and reads my blog (yeah ok plus she's funny).

Lori and AH cite what is widely regarded to be the spirit of the Second Amendment - that the people of this country grant our government its power to govern us, but we retain the right and the means to rescind that grant.

Fine. But at the risk of sounding effete, I say that the means to revoke that grant have changed. We don't live in the late 1700's. We needed guns to effect change then; (and here's where the effete part comes in, I'm kind of sick with embarrassment) now we need talkers and writers, bloggers and YouTube videographers. Even the famous Thomas Jefferson "tree of liberty" quote sounds barbaric to 21st century ears. Jefferson's "few lives lost" is a pipe dream now.

We also don't live in 1990's Rwanda, or 1930's Germany. Every move of the U.S. government is scrutinized by the world - Bob reads The Economist, and I swear, those English guys report more U.S. policy decisions than the Washington Post does. An armed populace is not going to be the force that stems the tide of totalitarianism in this country, if it comes to that. (Besides the fact that the majority will probably be all for it, and the rest of us are gonna get squashed no matter what.)

But even if I were to concede that we would need guns in order to 1) assert our right to overthrow our elected government; 2) resist governmental efforts to restrict our freedoms; or 3) protect ourselves in the event of societal breakdown... I just can't balance the actual cost of legal gun ownership against the benefit of having guns should any of these situations arise.

Scenario A: The pogroms start, and we begin an armed insurrection. The troops knock on your door, and you pull out your gun. You are shot, instead of being taken to the camps. (Yes Dad, I know you'd say that would be preferable, but we're talking about society at large here.)

Scenario B: Criminals and people with poor impulse control use guns to conduct their business and to victimize people. Collateral damage ensues.

We live in Scenario B. Scenario A is about as likely as an EMP (which is not to say completely unlikely).

I recognize that it may seem a bit cart-before-the-horse to say "We are in a country where crime and mental illness go unremediated - let's outlaw guns so that criminals and crazy people can't have any." And indeed, if it were within our grasp to create a society that is devoid of any motivation to pursue a life of crime, and in which all crazy people were identified and cared for appropriately, and domestic arrangements were consistently and purely harmonious, I'd be all for it.

Break for funny:
Window washers, 1962
My Granny, she was a good sport.

Anyway: come on. That is not within our reach. Crime exists because there is economic motivation. It can be an easy way to make a living if you are not equipped with the skills or interest to pursue productive employment. Men get drunk and threaten their women. Crazy people go off the deep end.

It is far more likely that you or I or my co-worker will be menaced with a gun than it is likely that the government will become so foul that taking arms is the only alternative. I don't trust the government - this government - any further than anyone else. But yo, let's take our example from the most effective current armed insurrection: buy a dozen copies of The Anarchist Cookbook and stockpile explosives and shitty cars if you want to be ready to fight the power. Your handgun will be of little use.

And my dear AH, you come to my house, I'll load you and LF into the Subaru, and get you guys the fuck out of Dodge when the shit comes down. My folks have a place in the country for Just This Reason (so you know I come by that brand of paranoia naturally). If it helps, Dad has a bunch of guns. (And when that house was broken into, some of them guns fell into the hands of the meth-heads. Bra-fucking-vo.)

It's a bitch convincing people to like you

What can you prevent?

Can you figure out who's crazy and who is not? Well, no. It can be hard to tell, especially if someone is crazy and also smart. Or if someone is crazy and has no access to health care.

If you could figure out who is crazy, would you be able to accurately assess who is crazy and violent and who is just crazy? No.

If you could single out the people who were both crazy and violent, would you be able to enact restrictions on their access to weapons that actually kept them from obtaining them? No, that stuff never works.

Could you make guns illegal? Why yes, yes you could.

Yeah, and don't give me that - Australia did it, and if there were ever a country more testosterone-soaked and frontier-oriented than ours, it would be Australia.

The fact is, if this kid hadn't had a gun... you can't kill 30 people with your bare hands and the worms in your brain. Bombs are hard, and require more organizational skills than most mentally ill people possess. Even the Unabomber only managed to kill 3 people. If my little stalker in the 80's had had a gun, he might have shot my sweet protective friends (Rudy, Chip, Dan, etc., I am still humbled), and all our lives would now be ruined.

And this is saying nothing of the everyday violence that permeates the criminal trades. It's hard to believe that there are compelling arguments for free ownership of guns that trump the mortal and economic cost of gun violence in this country.

On the other hand, the fucking Supreme Court today says that "government has a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life." Go fetuses! To hell with pregnant women and college girls! Our friend at VA Tech would have gotten in trouble for performing a life-saving medical procedure on a woman which would have killed one fetus, but he could legally buy all the guns he wanted.

Not everyone has good impulse control, and impulse is all it takes to kill a person when you have a gun.

(AH, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I know I'm not going to change your mind, and in fact, I think that if guns are legal in this country, you should have some.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let me take you to Funky Town

Orange sesame soy style, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

All right. I thought everyone did this, but my friend A has assured me not, and thinks I have hit on a brilliant time-saving idea. Well. Brilliant I don't know. But here it is.
  1. Buy a whole buttload of chicken when it's on sale at Whole Foods.
  2. Separate it out into freezer bags, each bag holding enough chicken for one meal.
  3. Put marinade ingredients in the freezer bags with the chicken. (Don't bother to mix together prior)
  4. Seal the bags and squish the chicken and the marinade ingredients together to mix.
  5. Freeze.
  6. Bring out of the freezer on the morning of the day you want to eat chicken. You can pull the chicken pieces out of the marinade and brown them and then dump the marinade in, or you can just dump the entire contents of the bag into a Dutch oven or chef's pan and simmer 45 minutes.
To make the marinades:
I try to include the following 5 elements, culled from fruit that's a bit past its prime, condiments, the spice rack, basically whatever's around.
  1. Acid: lemon, lime, orange, vinegar, hot sauce, wine, onions, olive juice, mirin
  2. Fat: Olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, ghee, butter
  3. Salt: Soy sauce, salt
  4. Sugar: honey, brown sugar, fruit, preserves, applesauce, piloncillo, molasses, barbecue sauce
  5. Pepper/spice: hot sauce, black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, sriracha, curry powder, curry paste, salsa, sambal, kimchi, chili oil, mustard, Old Bay, ginger and/or garlic paste
And then there's Misc: yogurt, miso, coconut milk, tahini, pine nuts, peanut butter, etc.

It's very satisfying to get rid of the last 3 Tablespoons of some artisanal mustard you picked up somewhere or that odd can of coconut milk that's been skulking in the cupboard for half a year.

It's even more satisfying to get home from work and realize all you have to do is dump a bag in a pan and start the rice cooker.

Here are some variations:

Orange sesame soy style (at top): juice of 5 clementines (sugar and acid), 1/4 cup soy sauce (salt), 1 T sesame oil (fat), 1 T sriracha (pepper)

Burrito style: 1 can black beans, 1/4 cup mango hot sauce, 1 T olive oil, couple T red salsa. I thought better of the salt, I think the beans are salty.

Indian style: 3 T curry powder, 1 T ghee, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 2 onions, chopped

Thai style: 2 T green curry paste, half a can of coconut milk, juice of half a lime. Oil not needed, there's oil in the curry paste. God this one turned out good. Finish with more lime juice at the end of the cooking time.

Iranian barbecue style: 2 T Worcestershire, juice of half a lemon, 1 onion chopped, 1 cup applesauce. Add a can of tomatoes when you cook this.

Freezer ready, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cleveland rocks

decomposition, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

So they've found out that the VA Tech psycho was a 23-year-old South Korean resident alien. Not exactly what I was expecting - especially that he was an English major, what the hell, how many English majors do you know who can shoot guns? But I still get it.

When I was at Case, I had me a little stalker once. A kid from Syria who lived in my dorm, or had a class with me or something. Maybe he played soccer on our intramural team or was a friend of Samir's. The fact that I have no idea how I knew him speaks to the whole process. Anyway, he was a casual acquaintance that I acknowledged when we passed in the cafeteria.

And, you know, time passes. With no further basis for our acquaintance, I guess I stopped nodding to him. Also, I had something of a nervous breakdown, stayed in my dorm room for about 3 months, didn't speak to anyone, stole loaves of bread out of the dining hall to sustain myself - so with all that going on I might have walked past him a time or two without acknowledgment.

So I started getting these phone calls, a male voice telling me what a bitch and a slut and a tease I was. I was kind of flummoxed. In that state of mind I was perfectly willing to accept that I was all those things, but I didn't know who was so mad at me. I kept demanding, "Who IS this?" and he kept saying, "You know who I am." I would hang up on him, but I really wanted to know who he was and what I had done. His accent was thick, and he was always angry and possibly drunk when he called, so I had trouble understanding what he did say... which, kind of laughably, made me feel even worse. Not only was I a slutty bitch tease, I was a culturally insensitive one!

So eventually he called and said he was coming over to teach me a lesson once and for all, and I picked up the phone for the first time in weeks and called my friends, who showed up with nunchaku and clenched jaws, and they talked the guy down.

I honestly don't recall what else transpired. I know it blew over, and I do remember that he didn't come back the next semester. But college is such a fraught time - you actually have enemies, and jilted lovers, and people cheat on each other, and roommates sleep with each other's crushes - being threatened was just kind of another inexplicable float passing by in the Halloween parade of college emotional experience.

Sooooo... yeah I have a pretty good picture of what could have happened at VA Tech. First victims were a girl in her dorm room and an RA. You get that bitch slut tease girl taken care of and after that clean up everyone else who didn't understand your accent, didn't invite you to sit with them in the dining hall, all those stupid American children living their American soap opera college lives.

UPDATE: Ok he's been in the US 15 years. So... back to the original picture - a boy with a head full of dust and weevils.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ill wind

Someone shot up the place at Virginia Tech. It's serious - many were killed. Way many, which in itself is weird and makes you wonder about logistics.

I know VA Tech a little. My cousins went there - one even lived in Ambler Johnson, the freshman dorm where the first two children were killed. It's in Blacksburg, idyllic little town, but it's also a competitive tech school, like Cornell or Carnegie Mellon. When I was at CWRU I was always a little worried about what the school was doing to those poor mental Casies, who had to work all day and night just to not fall behind in class.

Maybe not the place to be when your girlfriend dumps you, or you just don't understand the next set of equations, or when you wake up and it's raining, when the wind shows you malice and caprice and talks to you like your favorite demon.

My children will never be safe. Hell, I know that. I'll never be safe either. Getting out of the third trimester was an achievement, getting past 7 months also. Getting them out of high school and into college, man you can see how a parent might want to think, "Ah, now he's safe." He's gone off to live with his social and intellectual peers. They drink on campus there instead of getting into cars. It's elitist, self-deluding thinking, but you can come up with a lot of insane, ugly shit sometimes just to gain a little peace.

If one of my packages of care, time, and intent, one of my two bales of thought, education and love, were destroyed by some kid who woke up one morning and heard the wind laughing at him like bullies in the cafeteria - it would cut me down. But there's nothing I can do about that.

What makes my heart vomit is the thought of being that kid's mom. He's been in pain for years and she never knew a way to help him out of it. How do we fail them?

What would make me torture a man

Some demented vicious fucker poured drain cleaner on a playground slide. A two-year-old was burned so badly he may not walk. It was in the Sun.

I ... I mean... I can't make my mind bend around an intentional act like this. I keep constructing scenarios... some kid wondering if the chemical would dissolve the slide and not thinking...

But then I think of the little boy's grandma confronted with his clothes dissolving and his skin peeling off before her eyes, putting him in the wagon and running him home, trying to hose him off, him screaming all the while, and my mouth goes dry.

The skin of a two year old is so soft and luscious.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Come as you are

img028, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

Spent some time sur le mal today. I mean "at the mall," but "sur le mal" cracks me up. I never said I wasn't pretentious, right? Leave me be, it wasn't fun.

For instance, I think that anyone who walks into Abercrombie & Fitch should be tackled and the HPV vaccine forced upon them.

Also, I now know it's Hollister's fault that so many tweens think that a bikini top is an acceptable substitute for a shirt.

But what tore it was our experience in the usually soporific TinyTown, the walled-in, no-sharp-edges play area in the basement of our mall. School's out for the week, and it was unusually crowded. There were some bigger kids there, none over seven I'd say, all older siblings of the littlies that were crawling all over. Typically this kind of older kid is extra-considerate of little kids, since all his life mom has been yelling, "Watch out for your little sister!" "Be careful of the baby!"

So there were these dads... oooh, dads, sometimes they are so goddamn clueless they make me mad... anyway, there was a little posse of hipster dads, each with his own wee single child. I sat down with my Vanity Fair and sent my sons into the melee. "Make me proud, boys. Crack some toddler heads." No, I mean, of course not. I lectured them sternly about watching out for the smaller kids and being patient about taking turns.

THEN I catch Jason and Jeremy Alternadad querying each other about age limits in TinyTown. Loudly. In my direction. Big Man, you may know, is five. And well below the height limit for TinyTown, which, if they were regulars (i.e. moms), and not merely filling in during Spring Break and feeling all self-righteous about doing it, they'd know was on the wall next to the signpost in the area where you're supposed to leave your strollers.

Whiny overprotective posers. You wanna crank with the mommies, you need a little more practice. And by the way I'd like you guys to explain to my kids why we had to leave TinyTown earlier than they'd have liked, because me saying, "Sorry, guys, but those daddies over there were being passive-aggressive dickbags and I couldn't read my Vanity Fair in peace," is probably not ok.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

If I should fall from grace with god

Yeah you may have noticed I changed the layout. Mostly a pain-free process, but somehow my blogroll reverted to an old old version. So Heidi, Juliet, Gretchen, I've lost you. Write me back and send yer web addresses so I can add them back in. Blogger apologizes to you.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Big Mouth Strikes Again

Milk and Cheese (dairy products gone bad) by Evan Dorkin

I used to try to skeeve out of work early on Friday afternoons. Well, doesn't everyone, but I did it because Friday is when the new comics would come out. I would pretend I had an offsite meeting, go to the comic book shop, drop fifty bucks on the Hernandez brothers and Mister X (Hi, Sean!) and Matt Howarth, then go over to Tio Loco's on Cross Street and drink one margarita (they came in Mason jars) and read my comics. Eventually I got to know those bartenders pretty well (eventually, one became my massage therapist), but for the first year or so they referred to me as "Comic Book Girl".

The other day, for work, I came up with a list of graphic novels, writers and artists that would be considered "indie". Here's what I said about 'how to tell if a graphic novel is "indie"':

These books are easy to identify: no superheroes, no girls with giant eyes. Often published by Drawn & Quarterly or Fantagraphics. And the title? Put it this way: if it references insomnia, depression, OCD, or uses big words, it’s indie. Also if it’s called This will all end in tears? Indie.

I've taken that list and edited it down (and up) to the writers, artists, and titles I would actually personally recommend. If you scan the titles, it is unrelenting. You deserved it. Cruddy. Cry yourself to sleep. He done her wrong. My twenties were SO much fun.

Although, to be fair, there was lots of Milk & Cheese, Concrete, Tank Girl, and Bacchus in there too.
These are just the people whose names I can remember. You can find a lot of their books at Atomic Books, and a few at your local public library.

Helplessly hoping

He's totally gonna nail me, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

Weather improved later in the day, snow melted, I got hit with a snowball. It was a great party, always is. Video of the pageant and the parade is up on the YouTube.

I got a peaceful easy feelin

Snow for Easter Saturday, originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

We were in the country for most of Easter weekend, and yes, it snowed. This year we've had snow for Valentine's Day, St Pat's, and Easter. Easy to remember, I suppose.

Sleeping at my parents' place in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we were awakened at 7am by the Big Man: "Guys! Guys! You gotta look outside!" Since we were on our way to a big mostly-outdoor egg hunt, pageant, and bonnet competition at Uncle Joe's, this wasn't the most welcome news. But holy crap, look how pretty!